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Research and Clinical Studies

The Cerebral Fluid Center continually advances medical understanding of hydrocephalus and other conditions affecting cerebrospinal fluid through basic science, translational and clinical studies.

Current Projects

Non-invasive Diagnostic for Assessing Elevated Intracranial Pressure

JHM eIRB Application Number: IRB00160221
Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Jackson

This research is being done to find out if a camera that tracks eye movements can reveal whether there is too much pressure on the brain. Participants in this study will have eye movements recorded and compared to the pressure on the brain. All participants will continue to receive normal medical care. The only difference will be that we will record eye movements with a device called the EyeBOX. If you agree to participate, you will have one study visit while you are in the hospital. Someone from the study will bring the EyeBOX to your hospital room. You will watch a film on the screen for about 4 minutes while a study team member writes down your ICP pressure. You may be asked to repeat the test on multiple days while you are in the hospital. You can say no if you are tired or don't feel like it. You will not be paid to participate.

Eligibility Criteria: People ages 4 to 70 years old may join this study if their doctor decides that pressure on their brain needs to be measured for medical reasons. If you are scheduled or planning to schedule ICP monitoring, please call us to learn more about the study.


Contact Lynn Smith by phone (410-550-7391) or email ( for more information.

Establishment of a Cerebrospinal Fluid Disorders Registry and Biorepository

JHM eIRB Application Number: NA_00029413
Principal Investigator: Dr. Abhay Moghekar

The Cerebral Fluid Center at Johns Hopkins evaluates patients with hydrocephalus, pseudotumor cerebri (idiopathic intracranial hypertension) and cerebrospinal fluid leaks. We evaluate patients with all forms of hydrocephalus - normal pressure hydrocephalus, obstructive hydrocephalus and decompensated congenital hydrocephalus. Cerebrospinal fluid leaks can be due to CSF leak through the nose (CSF rhinorrhea), through the ear (CSF otorrhea) or within the spinal column itself. The cause of these disorders is not well known and none of the current treatments are based on a good understanding of what goes wrong in the brain or cerebrospinal fluid.

This research study will help researchers understand the variability, progression and current treatment practices for hydrocephalus, pseudotumor cerebri and CSF leaks. As part of the study we will collect information on routine tests that are given to you at the time of the clinic visit. The evaluation of these disorders often needs a spinal tap and analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid. Normally any excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected as part of this test is discarded. As part of this study we will bank this fluid and use it for research studies to better understand what causes hydrocephalus, pseudotumor cerebri (idiopathic intracranial hypertension) and cerebrospinal fluid leaks. We will also collect some blood at the same time to determine if protein levels in blood could give a clue about causes these disorders.

Eligibility Criteria: All patients who are seen the Cerebral Fluid Center for assessment of normal pressure hydrocephalus, obstructive hydrocephalus, congenital hydrocephalus, pseudotumor cerebri (idiopathic intracranial hypertension) and CSF leaks are eligible for the study.

Non-Invasive Measurement of Intracranial Pressure

IRB Application Number: IRB00054380
Principal Investigator: Dr. Abhay Moghekar

Study Aim

This is a research study investigating the use of a device that measures intracranial pressure non-invasively. The trial is designed to evaluate the accuracy and reliability of this device.

Currently, measurement of intracranial pressure (ICP) is accomplished by a lumbar puncture or direct intracranial pressure monitoring via a hole in the skull. These procedures are invasive and cannot be accomplished with rapidity in certain situations -- patients on blood thinners, patients with degenerative spine disease and severely overweight patients.

We plan to use this device to measure ICP noninvasively concurrently with measurement of ICP invasively to determine accuracy and clinical utility.


Patients with eye disease involving the cornea, eyelids or lens of the eye are screened to ensure it is safe to use the device. The device consists of a thin, light probe that is placed on a closed eye to read the Doppler signals coming from the arteries behind the eye. A cuff filled with air is then inflated and pressure readings are obtained. These readings will be obtained at the same time either a lumbar puncture or direct intracranial pressure monitoring is being performed to see if the values obtained by this device match those of the current invasive methods.


This device has been used to measure pressure in over 100 patients without any adverse effects. The FDA has deemed this device to be “non-significant risk”. Most patients experience pressure on the eye equivalent to being submerged about a foot under water.


If you are interested in this study please contact Dr. Moghekar at 410-550-1470. You have to be a patient in the Cerebral Fluid Center to be eligible for this study.

Research Study of Memory

IRB Application Number: IRB00055187
Principal Investigator: Dr. Arnold Bakker

We are recruiting volunteers who are experiencing memory problems. If you or someone that you know are experiencing symptoms such as forgetfulness, getting lost or often misplacing items or have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, you may be eligible to participate in this study.

The study involves two sessions, up to 8 hours total. Participants must be between 55 and 90 years of age, right handed, and native English speaking. You will be compensated for your participation.

Located at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore.


Contact Caroline Speck by phone (410-955-5057) or email ( for more information.