A note from Neurosurgeon-in-Chief Mark Proctor, MD

Mark Proctor, MDDear colleagues:

Here is a quick note to recap our spring events, as well as some recent faculty updates.

Spring events

The second annual R. Michael Scott Day on April 3 featured a talk from Cormac Maher, MD from the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Dr. Maher specializes in the neurosurgical treatment of children and adults with congenital anomalies. His major areas of clinical interest include Chiari malformations, tethered cord, AVMs, moyamoya disease, cavernous malformations, pediatric brain tumors, spinal dysraphism, and hydrocephalus.

This year’s 16th Annual Sport-Related Concussion Conference on May 9, hosted by Boston Children’s Brain Injury Center, was a resounding success. Participants gained knowledge and skills in the basic science and clinical management of sport-related concussions, specifically in the female athlete, through lectures, panel presentations, and Q&A sessions.

The 2019 Marcus Chae Moyamoya Family Day, hosted by our Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center on June 1, highlighted the latest moyamoya research, management, and treatment practices. Patients and families were able to meet and network with one another and speak with leaders in the field, including Eric M. Jackson, MD of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Greg James, PhD, FRCS of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, UK.

Faculty news and new grants

Larry Benowitz, PhD received an NIH grant, with Stanford University as the primary site, to conduct molecular studies of optic nerve regeneration. The aim of the project is to identify genes that are differentially expressed in those retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that successfully regenerate injured axons versus those RGCs that fail to regenerate axons. Such differentially expressed genes may be the key to successful regeneration. Larry also co-chaired a symposium on regeneration of the optic nerve at the Low Vision and the Brain Conference in Berlin, Germany last November.

Katie Pricola Fehnel, MD is embarking on a new project on intraoperative ultrasound use in CNS tumor surgery. Her project aims to evaluate the utility of ultrasound for intraoperative decision-making and predicting the extent of resection of brain tumors. The study will include data from all brain tumor cases in the Department in which intraoperative ultrasound was used.

Stefanie Hartman, NP and I have started a new project on seizure prophylaxis in patients with traumatic brain injury. We will be investigating correlations between the mechanism of TBI and seizure onset and type at time of presentation. We’re particularly interested in the type of prophylactic seizure medication used, with the hope of better understanding which groups of patients are more at risk for developing seizures after TBI.

Thanks for taking the time, and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or thoughts. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Mark Proctor, MD

Department of Neurosurgery
Boston Children’s Hospital