A Letter From the Directors
Date: September 1, 2007
In this time of tremendous excitement in the neurosciences, we are exceptionally fortunate to have the right people in the right place at precisely the right time in science to translate into patient care the important discoveries now taking place.
Deep brain stimulation, for example, highlighted in this inaugural issue of NeuroNow, is a surgical treatment principally for Parkinson's disease, and Johns Hopkins has long been a leading center for DBS. Now investigators suspect that the technique holds tremendous promise for conditions as diverse as refractory depression, obesity, Tourette syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder. But we want to systematically study and introduce these powerful new treatments in a responsible manner. To do so, our physicians cannot rely on clinical reimbursements alone.
Nor can our scientists rely on shrinking National Institutes of Health dollars. Our young investigators, in particular, who are making the jump from residency training to junior faculty, need to establish their clinical research programs, but without a proven track record of publications, they often face repeated rejections when applying for NIH grants. Some, no doubt, will be tempted to abandon academic medicine altogether. In the Department of Neurology we will endow a discovery fund which will help support — and retain — these talented young scientists who will help us translate neuroscience discoveries into effective treatments.
It’s also a time of unprecedented growth. With six new faculty in pediatric neurosurgery, brain tumor and spine surgery, our Department of Neurosurgery now is one of the largest academic programs of its type in the country. In these areas, as well as in vascular neurosurgery, where new therapies for aneurysms and subarachnoid hemorrhage continue to be developed, breakthroughs are taking place at breathtaking speed.
But these innovations might never have been realized without the support of our many friends and donors. Each and every contribution, no matter how small, brings us closer to our goal.
Henry Brem, Harvey Cushing Professor and Director of Neurosurgery
Justin McArthur, Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology