Assistant Professor of Neurology
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Department of Medicine
Division of Rheumatology
MFL Bldg, 4100 Center
5200 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224
The Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center has pioneered a new clinic to evaluate neuroinflammation in patients with lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, antiphospholipid antibody syndromes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other rheumatological diseases.
Dr. Julius Birnbaum received his M.D. from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his Residency in Neurology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York. He then returned to complete a full Residency in Internal Medicine at Jacobi Medical Center; Bronx, NY. He is in his final year of a Rheumatology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He earned his Masters in Clinical Investigation at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins.
Uniquely trained in both Internal Medicine/Rheumatology and Neurology, Dr. Birnbaum specializes in the diagnosis and care of patients with neurologic disease occurring secondary to rheumatic disease. Although attacks of optic neuritis and transverse myelitis are associated with multiple sclerosis, these devastating syndromes can also occur in patients with rheumatic disease—such as lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, and scleroderma. With Dr Kerr, he has pioneered a clinic at the Transverse Myelitis Center, exclusively devoted to proper diagnosis and treatment of patients with rheumatic syndromes and inflammatory neurologic disease.
No other clinic in the country is exclusively devoted towards managing neuroimmunologic complications in patients with rheumatic disease. Dr. Birnbaum was awarded a NIH K12 grant, which will enable studies geared towards elaborating diagnostic criteria enabling physicians to distinguish between rheumatic disease and MS. Crucial diagnosis is essential, as the interferon treatments for MS can induce and worsen lupus disease. Other planned studies will examine serum and CSF biomarkers to better predict patterns of neurologic rheumatic disease, enabling earlier and more effective treatment.
Traditionally, patients with inflammatory rheumatic and neurologic disease have care which is fragmented among many specialists, often leading to an overwhelming number of dissenting opinions. Because of Dr. Birnbaum’s broad background in Rheumatology and Neurology, patients are gratified that a single Clinic and physician can engage salient symptoms, and unify complex symptoms into a logical and coherent treatment plan.
Patients with lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and vasculitis can be evaluated by Dr. Birnbaum. He sees patients at the Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center, on Wednesday afternoons.