From the Directors
Date: January 3, 2010
It’s so predictable.
Usually within four months of the time new clinicians or researchers arrive at Hopkins, they make the comment, People collaborate here more than I imagined. That’s certainly the case in neurology and neurosurgery. Here’s why: At a tertiary care medical center like ours, many patients we see are extremely ill. They may need highly complex surgeries, for example, for spine or brain tumors.
And diagnosis can be especially difficult because nervous system symptoms are sometimes subtle or broad—or both. The brain, for example, only has a certain number of ways to reflect something’s not right: Patients most commonly have headaches, have visual, hearing or thinking problems, are weak or have trouble moving. These symptoms overlap in many diseases or conditions.
So complexity and difficulty, then, are enough to keep our clinicians from going it alone. That’s why you’ll notice a common theme in the stories of this issue of NeuroNow: We work together and our patients reap the benefits.
Neurosurgeon Alex Olivi and neuro-oncologist Gregory Riggins, for example, (page 3) are pooling their talents to be able to spot which brain tumors can be ignored. Or consider Carlos Pardo and Harvey Singer (front page), investigating an immune basis for autism. Both are interested in antibodies, but they’ve divided up the necessary studies, with each taking a different angle. Our Center for Cerebrospinal Fluid Disorders (page3) couldn’t exist without specialist neuroradiologists, neuro-ophthalmologists and cognitive testing experts who share patient findings. In heading our Packard Center for ALS Research, Jeff Rothstein (page 2), has raised collaboration to an art form. Unusual alliances he’s set up with scientists worldwide, with pharmaceutical and biotech companies and even other ALS organizations have changed the face of research for that terrible disease.
Yes, we know we didn’t invent collaboration. But we carry it to a high degree, and it shows.
Harvey Cushing Professor and Director of Neurosurgery
Director of Neurology