Neurological conditions affect millions of Americans and have a devastating effect on their quality of life. But there is hope on the horizon for many of these patients.
Researchers at Allegheny Health Network’s Neuroscience Institute are making discoveries that hold the promise of restoring function and independence for patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, stroke and disorders of the spine.
The institute’s research program spans a diverse range of investigative areas, including basic, translational, clinical and surgical research. In addition, the Institute is a partner in more than 20 clinical trials, giving patients access to some of the newest and most promising treatment approaches.
Currently, researchers at the Neuroscience Institute are:
• Assessing which pathways in the brain become disrupted and cause epileptic seizures following stroke and traumatic brain injury. Once those disrupted pathways are identified, an appropriate intervention could be developed to block the abnormal mechanism and prevent or limit epileptic seizures.
• Using an oculomotor (a vestibular and reaction time testing device) to assess the short-and long-term effects of sports-related concussion in middle school and high school athletes. This will help to more accurately plan an athlete’s clinical care.
• Evaluating the effectiveness of deep brain stimulation as a form of treatment for movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, as well as for morbid obesity and psychiatric disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
• Assessing the use of an iPad-based functional performance application in the multiple sclerosis (MS) population. This technology may enable MS patients to have their own neurological functioning monitored in the home setting and to have the collected information transmitted directly to the physician office.
• Assessing different treatment options for intraventricular hemorrhage with low dose clot-dissolving medication. This treatment may remove the clot more quickly and may improve functional outcomes.
• Investigating the relationship of atrial fibrillation and ischemic stroke. Information gained from implantable device recordings can help physicians make the best treatment decisions with anticoagulation.
• Contributing to a better scientific understanding of intracranial aneurysms so we can better assess the likelihood of rupture.
• Assessing new spinal joint replacement technologies—such as artificial discs, facet joints and flexible spinal rods—that can reconstruct the spine while preserving motion.
• Evaluating new spinal diagnostic imaging technologies, such as the Vertebral Motion Analysis (VMA) system, which will allow surgeons to more accurately diagnose and treat back and leg pain.
• Developing new techniques and evaluating next generation technology in our laboratory with particular emphasis on motion preservation devices and cutting-edge bone anchors.
Neuroscience Research Milestones at Allegheny Health Network
Our researchers have been on the forefront of many landmarks advancements in the neurosciences, such as:
• Pioneering and establishing established several models of post-stroke and post-traumatic epilepsy with long-term video-electroencephalogram (EEG) studies.
• Piloting the use of mobile devices to symptom management and disease progression.
• Developing standards for the preclinical assessment of implant devices.