Optimal neuro|spine

By Maxwell Boakye, MD MPH

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Description

I am Dr. Max Boakye, Neurosurgeon, and Neuroscientist, currently Professor of Neurosurgery, Chief of Spinal Neurosurgery, Director of Quality Improvement, and Clinical Director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Center. I interview leading neuroscientists, health administrators, neurosurgeons, educators, neuro and spine health care experts, and patients in this show. How do we optimize our brain and spine health, prevent aging brain and memory deterioration? What to do when something goes wrong, how best to heal and recover injured brain and back? How do we optimize our inpatient neuro|spine care in hospitals and provide more value-based care- prevent errors, improve quality, and improve patient satisfaction? How do we teach better and better train doctors? Which hospitals offer the best neuro and spine care: why and how? We present the most innovative emerging research that will impact neuro|spine care. Join us as we delve one on one and have insightful conversations with exciting researchers and experts, voices who have something to teach, enlighten and inspire us about Optimal neuro|spine.

Episode Date
Episode 22: Restoring Ambulation after Paraplegia. A Conversation with Drs. Gregoire Courtine and Jocelyne Bloch
870

Has the future of spinal cord injury treatment arrived? On this episode, I sit down with Drs. Gregoire Courtine and Jocelyne Bloch to discuss their recently published and highly publicized paper on restoring motor function after paralysis. They briefly dive into their protocol, their approach to Epi-Stim, and their answer to the magic wand question.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • A brief overview of the recent paper published by Drs. Courtine and Bloch [2:43]
  • How Drs. Courtine and Bloch designed their protocol to strengthen residual pathways [5:31] 
  • What Dr. Courtine wished he knew 20 years ago [7:46]
  • Dr. Bloch’s training and evolution as a neurosurgeon [8:48]
  • Dr. Courtine breaks down his approach to Epi-Stim [10:36]
  • Drs. Courtine and Bloch answer the magic wand question [12:27]

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Drs. Gregoire Courtine and Jocelyne Bloch

Connect With Maxwell Boakye

May 01, 2022
Episode 21: The American Spine Registry. A Conversation with Dr. Steven Glassman
2320

How do we optimize spinal surgery outcomes? Dr. Steven Glassman believes better data is the answer! On this episode, we discuss the American Spine Registry, what it is, what it's currently being used for, and its potential to provide better evidence for spine surgery, improve patient outcomes, and establish universal best practices.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Getting to know Dr. Glassman, his clinical practice, and why he chose spine research [0:59]
  • Exploring the nature and necessity of registries [3:56]
  • What is the American Spine Registry, what areas of spine surgery are represented by it, and how long has it been in place? [6:27]
  • What areas of spine surgery are represented by the ASR? [13:24]
  • The most surprising findings from studies based off of the Quality Outcomes Database [18:08] 
  • Predicting the future evolution of the ASR [21:35]
  • Examining ASR logistics and how hospitals can join the registry [25:10]
  • How the ASR can bring better clarity to spine surgery outcomes [28:28]
  • Using the ASR to develop predictive models and the role imaging plays with the registry [30:50]
  • Exciting future studies and the magic wand question [35:15]

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Dr. Steven Glassman

Connect With Maxwell Boakye

May 01, 2022
Episode 20: Unaging - Memory, Aging, and Alzheimer’s. A Conversation with Dr. Robert Friedland
2393


Have you ever misplaced your keys or forgotten a random fact and worried that you had a neurodegenerative disease? What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and simply getting old? On this episode, I sit down with memory and aging expert, Dr. Robert Friedland, to discuss his research, how Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, and habits you can start right now to help protect your brain and keep it healthy.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Dr. Friedland’s current clinical practice and research focus [3:25]
  • The logistics of Dr. Friedland’s research [9:16]
  • Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease and the current status of treatment options [11:02] 
  • Aging versus Alzheimer’s and the four factors that impact how you age [18:57]
  • Why Dr. Friedland chose memory as his medical focus [30:47]
  • Dr. Friedland’s most surprising discoveries and the magic wand question [34:26]

Connect with Dr. Robert Friedland

Connect With Maxwell Boakye

Apr 15, 2022
Episode 19: Optimizing the Neurosurgery Residency and Training Experience From a Chief Resident’s Perspective. A Conversation With Dr. Aurora Cruz
3041

Training to become a neurosurgeon is both incredibly rewarding and incredibly difficult. But is it more difficult than it needs to be and how can we make the experience better? On this episode, I’m pleased to speak with University of Louisville chief resident Dr. Aurora Cruz about neurosurgical training, residency, leadership, burnout, and her advice for prospective neurosurgery residents. 

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • A day in the life of a modern neurosurgery resident [3:56]
  • How COVID has affected the neurosurgery training experience [5:24]
  • The unexpected challenges of neurosurgery residency [7:18]
  • Dr. Cruz’s advice for residents with spouses and children [9:22]
  • Advice for those considering studying neurosurgery [12:18]
  • Pursuing professional goals in the field of neurosurgery [13:57]
  • Fighting burnout and improving resident wellness [21:02]
  • The biggest impediments to learning neurosurgery and the acquisition of appropriate psychomotor skills [26:38]
  • Mentorship in neurosurgery residency [29:27]
  • Describing the modern neurosurgery residency experience [32:48]
  • Training neurosurgery residents to become better leaders [39:52]
  • Book recommendations from Dr. Cruz [42:48]
  • Advice for struggling residents [44:10]
  • Dr. Cruz answers the magic wand question [46:32]

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Dr. Aurora Cruz

Connect With Maxwell Boakye

Apr 01, 2022
Episode 18: Insights From a Lifetime of Training Residents and Neurosurgical Research. A Conversation with Dr. Haring Nauta
3721

Few people have as long or as distinguished a career as Dr. Haring Nauta. On this episode, we discuss his observations about neurosurgical residency, neurosurgical training, and how to improve the quality of that experience. We also dive into his exciting work using the punctate myelotomy procedure to treat pain and current research topics.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Diving into the current practice of Dr. Nauta [3:02]
  • What is a punctate midline myelotomy and how does it help neurosurgical pain? [10:03]
  • The logistics of a punctate myelotomy [26:00]
  • Dr. Nauta’s thoughts on the evolution of neurosurgical training [32:11]
  • Defining leadership and the qualities that make a good chief resident [38:48]
  • Fighting the resident burnout epidemic and the role of emotional intelligence [41:42]
  • Looking back at Dr. Nauta’s incredible career [46:05]
  • Dr. Nauta’s advice for young neurosurgeons striving for excellence [49:39] 
  • Dr. Nauta answers the magic wand question [55:30]

Connect with Dr. Haring Nauta

Connect With Maxwell Boakye

Mar 15, 2022
Episode 17: When Cancer Spreads to the Spine. A Conversation with Dr. Mark Bilsky
2154


One of oncology’s greatest challenges in treating cancer is when it spreads to a different part of the body. When cancer spreads to the spine, it presents unique challenges for doctors creating a successful treatment plan. On this episode, I have the pleasure of interviewing the chief of Oncology at Sloan Kettering, and one of my mentors, Dr. Mark Bilsky. We’ll discuss the logistics of his practice, surgical and non-surgical treatment strategies, as well as recent advances in the field of spinal oncology.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Getting to know Dr. Mark Bilsky and his practice [0:56]
  • Why Dr. Bilsky decided to focus on spinal oncology [4:18]
  • The epidemiology of spinal cancer, the role surgery plays in treatment, and how surgical techniques and equipment have changed over time [6:45]
  • How Dr. Bilsky evaluates spinal metastases at his center and the logistics of his practice [18:03]
  • Examining advances in radiosurgery and the systems Dr. Bilsky uses at Sloan Kettering [23:51]
  • Treating instability in spinal cancer patients [25:48]
  • Rapid-fire updates on modeling management for various types of tumors [28:42]
  • The magic wand question [33:19]

Connect with Dr. Mark Bilsky

Connect With Maxwell Boakye


Mar 01, 2022
Episode 16: Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury Research. A Conversation with Dr. Andrea Behrman
3044

Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2022 by shedding light on an area of research that isn’t talked about enough: pediatric spinal cord injury. Most spinal cord injury conversations revolve around adults, but children also suffer from injury and face unique challenges in both treatment and research. Thankfully, my guest, Dr. Andrea Behrman is leading the way for both! We discuss her work, her breakthroughs, the current state of pediatric spinal cord injury treatment, and what the future looks like for this vitally important field. 


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Getting to know Dr. Andrea Behrman and her work [1:01] 
  • Why Dr. Behrman’s work is so important [7:36]
  • The epidemiology of pediatric spinal cord injury [11:46]
  • The quality of life for kids with spinal cord injury [13:30]
  • Taking a closer look at initial care for pediatric spinal cord injury [21:43]
  • Dr. Behrman looks back at her accomplishments over three decades [25:19]
  • The challenges of pediatric spinal cord injury treatment and research [32:48]
  • Looking at the future of pediatric spinal cord injury treatment [38:13] 
  • A message of hope for parents and physicians of kids with spinal cord injury [40:38]
  • Training the next generation and the magic wand question [43:42]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Andrea Behrman


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


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Jan 15, 2022
Episode 15: Digital Neurosurgery. A Conversation with Dr. Thomas Picht
2269

If you’ve never heard the term digital neurosurgery before, you’re not alone. While it sounds like something out of a space opera, digital neurosurgery is likely the future of medical neuroscience. On this episode, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Thomas Picht, the first professor of digital neurosurgery in the world. We take a deep dive into everything that digital neurosurgery entails, exciting technological advancements in the field, and the future ramifications of the digitalization of medicine. 


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • What is digital neurosurgery? [3:04] 
  • The Adaptive Digital Twin in digital neurosurgery [9:14]
  • The challenges brain tumor neurosurgeons face and how Dr. Picht is trying to solve them [12:38] 
  • Exciting technological advancements Dr. Picht is using in the field [13:57]
  • Dr. Picht’s research at the Berlin Simulation and Training Center [15:59]
  • How simulation training impacts education in the medical field [18:21] 
  • How the advent of electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) improves patient outcomes [29:29]
  • The reason Dr. Picht chose digital neurosurgery [32:41]
  • Dr. Pichts advice for young digital neurosurgeons [35:32]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Thomas Picht


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


Follow Optimal Neuro|Spine on
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Jan 01, 2022
Episode 14: Quality Improvement. A Conversation with Dr. Jordan Peck
2578

We constantly talk about quality improvement on this podcast, but what does it actually take? Is one method better than another? Where should hospitals start in terms of improving quality? On this episode, I sit down with Dr. Jordan Peck of Southern Maine Healthcare and the Harvard School of Public Health for a multifaceted conversation about quality improvement in the medical field.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Defining quality improvement in healthcare [2:24]
  • How do we assess the quality of a healthcare institution? [6:47] 
  • Dr. Peck’s take on the best way to improve the quality of care [10:05]
  • Comparing different methods for quality improvement [13:17]
  • The relationship between patient safety and quality improvement [18:15]
  • The role of physicians in quality improvement [20:14]
  • Which problems should hospitals tackle first to improve quality? [22:42]
  • Looking back at the quality improvement and patient safety movements [25:45]
  • Examining the benefits and limitations of checklists [31:48]
  • Areas Dr. Peck thinks are overdue for a quality improvement [35:38]
  • The future of quality improvement and the “magic wand question” [38:32]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Jordan Peck


Connect With Maxwell Boakye



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Dec 16, 2021
Episode 13: Four Decades as a Spinal Cord Injury Research Scientist. A Conversation With Dr. Scott Whittemore
2531

It’s not every day that you get to talk to someone with 40 years of research experience in your field. Let alone, someone as distinguished as my guest for this episode. Join me as I sit down with Dr. Scott Whittemore to discuss a myriad of topics from his four-decade career as a spinal cord injury research scientist including stem cell research, proteostasis in spinal cord injured patients, and the reversible silencing of lumbar interneurons.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • The secret sauce that makes scientific collaborations work [3:24] 
  • Taking a deep dive into Dr. Whittemore’s research [10:06]
  • Dr. Whittemore’s take on the current potential of stem cells [18:40]
  • What is proteostasis? [21:22] 
  • Pharmaceutical solutions for proteostasis [27:18]
  • The silencing of the lumbar interneurons [29:19] 
  • What Dr. Whittemore wish he knew 40 years ago [35:02]
  • Becoming a good scientist and training the next generation [37:14]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Scott Whittemore


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


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Dec 01, 2021
Episode 12: Optimizing Musculoskeletal Care Delivery. A Conversation with Dr. Ryan Grant
2868

Optimizing the quality of patient care is what this podcast is all about and my guest for this episode is challenging the status quo by creating incredible patient experiences. Dr. Ryan Grant left a promising neurosurgery career to start Vori Health, a virtual one-stop-shop for musculoskeletal care. We discuss how he made that transition, the current challenges of the medical system to provide next-level care, and how Vori Health is answering the call for better patient experiences.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Getting to know Dr. Ryan Grant [1:44]
  • What is Vori Health? [6:11]
  • Why Dr. Grant started with musculoskeletal care [12:04]
  • Dr. Grant’s take on how to improve the treatment of chronic back pain [14:10]
  • The Vori Health patient experience [19:32] 
  • Virtual versus in-person treatment [26:12]
  • Mental health as a component of musculoskeletal care [29:11] 
  • Patient outcomes and feedback [32:30]
  • Applying the Vori Health model to academics [36:04]
  • How Dr. Grant measures success [38:51]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Ryan Grant


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


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Nov 15, 2021
Episode 11: Functional Neurosurgery. A Conversation with Dr. Joseph Neimat
2210

Functional neurosurgery is a small but growing medical field that has had a major impact on the treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. On this episode, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Joseph Neimat, a brilliant neurosurgeon and clinician-scientist helping lead the charge for greater research and innovation in his field. We discuss the evolution of functional neurosurgery, its future in modern medicine, and ways to optimize it for safer and more successful results.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Getting to know Dr. Joseph Neimat [1:49]
  • The progression of functional neurosurgery [6:46]
  • Technological advancements in the field of functional neurosurgery [12:23]
  • Functional neurosurgery as a treatment for depression and obesity [16:21]
  • Taking a deep dive into Dr. Neimat’s research [19:43]
  • Training the next generation of neuro-innovators [23:38]
  • The development status of Dr. Neimat’s novel devices [27:53] 
  • Optimizing functional neurosurgery [29:51]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Joseph Neimat


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


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Nov 01, 2021
Episode 10: Developing Self-Directed Learners in Quality Improvement. A Conversation with Dr. Staci Saner
2214

In the ever-growing, ever-advancing field of medical science, the need for self-directed learners is at an all-time high. This is especially true for both graduate medical students and medical professionals who wish to improve their patient’s quality of care. On this episode, I am joined by the brilliant Dr. Staci Saner to discuss the science of learning and the best methods for developing self-directed learners to further quality improvement in medical care.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Understanding learning on a scientific level [2:04] 
  • Utilizing different learning techniques [5:20] 
  • The importance of self-directed learning [10:55] 
  • Breaking down different theories for learning [16:57] 
  • Reflective practice as a learning tool [20:48] 
  • What is the QARRD? [28:01]
  • The role of motivation and growth mindsets in self-directed learning [30:43] 
  • Dr. Saner’s encouragement for healthcare educators [34:52] 


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Staci Saner

  • Email Dr. Saner
  • Follow Dr. Saner on Twitter 


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


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Oct 15, 2021
Episode 9: Treating Paralysis. A Conversation with Dr. Susan Harkema
2477

One of the leading scientists researching treatments for paralysis and spinal cord injury is Dr. Susan Harkema. Her work has led to multiple breakthroughs that led to improved function and quality of life for patients that were previously deemed impossible. On this episode, I invite Dr. Harkema to discuss those discoveries, how they came about, and the future of treating paralysis.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Dr. Harkema’s background and training [1:20]
  • An overview of paralysis and spinal cord injury [4:35]
  • Non-pharmacological approaches to treating paralysis [10:12]
  • Dr. Harkema’s groundbreaking study on neuromodulation through epidural stimulation [15:24]
  • Redefining the possibilities for paralysis recovery [19:28]
  • Other benefits of epidural stimulation [23:56]
  • Overcoming technological limitations and pioneering the future of paralysis treatment [29:09]
  • What Dr. Harkema believes is missing from spinal cord injury care [32:04]
  • The future of epidural stimulation in the treatment of spinal cord injury [34:02]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Susan Harkema


Connect With Maxwell Boakye



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Oct 01, 2021
Episode 8: The Problem of Polypharmacy in Spinal Cord Injury. A Conversation with Dr. Sara Guilcher
2170

A major issue plaguing spinal cord injury patients and the medical field as a whole is polypharmacy and the over-prescribing of pharmaceuticals. It’s a complicated problem without a “one-size-fits-all” solution. On this episode, I’m joined by Dr. Sara Guilcher to discuss the impact and risks of polypharmacy as well as some of the ways physicians can help tackle the problem and increase the quality of care for patients with a potential need for multiple medications.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Defining polypharmacy [2:06] 
  • The impact and risks of polypharmacy [5:48] 
  • The role of pain in polypharmacy [11:00] 
  • Examining the complexities of the polypharmacy problem [13:49] 
  • Polypharmacy as a systemic patient safety issue [22:46] 
  • Dr. Guilcher’s five steps to prevent polypharmacy [27:15] 


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Sara Guilcher


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


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Sep 15, 2021
Episode 7: New Insights for the Neuroimaging of Chronic Pain. A conversation with Dr. Vania Apkarian
2000

Chronic pain impacts fifteen to twenty percent of the world and costs the population of the United States somewhere around $500 billion a year. And even though opiates are commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain, the epidemic we’re seeing from opiate addiction is staggering. There has to be a better way! That’s exactly what my guest for this episode has dedicated his life to discovering. Join me for a fascinating conversation with Dr. Vania Apkarian as we discuss what causes chronic pain, its relationship to the brain, and the future of chronic pain management.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Defining chronic pain [1:59]
  • How well do we manage chronic pain? [4:20] 
  • The biggest misconceptions about the relationship between acute and chronic pain [6:07]
  • Dr. Apkarian’s most significant findings on the mechanisms of chronic pain [7:18]
  • The role of the mesocorticolimbic system in chronic pain [13:52] 
  • The relationship between addiction and chronic pain [16:19]
  • The role of learning and memory for development and maintenance of pain [18:42] 
  • Examining the ways chronic pain changes the brain [23:42] 
  • What Dr. Apkarian needs surgeons to know about chronic pain [26:42] 
  • Dr. Apkarian’s most gratifying contribution to his field [29:25]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Dr. Vania Apkarian


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


Subscribe to Optimal Neuro|spine on
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Sep 01, 2021
Episode 6: Brain Computer Interface (Part 2). A conversation with Dr. Eric Leuthardt
1924

When we think of neural prosthetics, we typically think of devices that enable patients to overcome a deficit in normal function after injury. However, Dr. Eric Leuthardt’s research is challenging us to rethink how humans interact with machines. What if repairing a deficit is just the beginning? What if we could use a neural interface to actually enhance human function? In my fascinating conversation with Dr.Leuthardt, we seek to answer those questions and discuss the future implications of his groundbreaking research.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Understanding Dr. Leuthardt’s current clinical practice [1:32] 
  • How Dr. Leuthardt got involved in his field of research [3:52] 
  • Dr. Leuthardt’s unique approach to BCI [6:21] 
  • Using neural interfaces to enhance human function [8:47] 
  • How Dr. Leuthardt’s theological background has shaped his research [15:33]
  • Blurring the lines between science fiction and reality [17:05]
  • Dr. Leuthardt’s advice for future innovators [20:41] 
  • The most gratifying aspects of Dr. Leuthardt’s work [24:47] 
  • The first FDA-approved Brain Computer Interface [27:04]


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Dr. Eric Leuthardt

Connect With Maxwell Boakye


Subscribe to Optimal Neuro|spine on
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Aug 15, 2021
Episode 5: Brain Computer Interface. A conversation with Dr. Jaimie Henderson
1979

Prosthetics are used to help patients recover the normal function of their limbs after injury. What if we applied the same principle to our brains? That's exactly the kind of research Dr. Jaimie Henderson is doing at Stanford University. Alongside his brilliant team, Dr. Henderson is using Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology to help patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries regain the ability to communicate. What’s even more fascinating is that their findings are turning what we know about neuroscience upside down! This is a can’t miss conversation with one of the world’s leading researchers in neural prosthetics. 


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • The details of Dr. Henderson’s clinical practice [2:33]
  • What is brain computer interface (BCI) technology [3:31]
  • How Dr. Henderson got involved in neural prosthetic research [4:39] 
  • What is BrainGate? [8:04]
  • Using BCI to help patients with spinal injuries communicate [10:22]
  • Other projects Dr. Henderson and his team are working on [17:00] 
  • Dr. Henderson’s insights after over a decade in the neuroscientific field [19:26]
  • The logistics and risks of neural prosthetic research [21:08] 
  • The fundamental breakthrough that enabled the field of neural prosthetics to move forward [25:23]
  • Getting life-changing medical technology from the lab to the clinic [27:38]
  • Dr. Henderson’s advice for those looking to pursue a similar field of research [29:23]


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Guest Name


Connect With Maxwell Boakye


Subscribe to Optimal Neuro|Spine on
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Aug 01, 2021
Episode 4: Immunotherapy for brain tumors. A conversation with Dr. Michael Lim
1606

Dr. Lim is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in brain tumors. Prior to becoming Chair of Neurosurgery at Stanford at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Lim was Professor of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins where he built one of the largest brain tumor practices. Dr. Lim’s research involves the development of immunotherapies for brain tumors and focuses on understanding mechanisms of immune evasion by cancer cells. He has been the Principal Investigator of several large national immunotherapy clinical trials for brain tumors. A world leader in immunotherapy for brain tumors, Dr. Lim has published over 200 manuscripts on the treatment of brain tumors and trigeminal neuralgia.  Dr. Lim is a member of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the Society for Neuro-Oncology. Dr. Lim served as the program co-chair of the Society for Neuro-Oncology and CNS section of the American Society for Clinical Oncology. He also served on many executive committees, including the Executive Committee for the Joint Tumor Section of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Jul 06, 2021
Episode 3: Spinal deformity surgery. A conversation with Dr. Christopher Ames
2252

Dr. Ames is Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery and Orthopedic Surgery, Director of Spinal Deformity & Spine Tumor Surgery, Co-director, Spinal Surgery and UCSF Spine Center. He is also Director, California Deformity Institute, Director, Spinal Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. He was named to the 2015-2019 Top Doctors lists in San Francisco Magazine, and Castle Connolly named him one of the country's top doctors for both neurosurgery and cancer from 2010 to 2019. Dr. Ames earned his medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He completed a residency in neurosurgery at the University of California, San Diego, where he served as chief resident. He completed a fellowship in complex spine surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Ames serves as the UCSF site director for the International Spinal Deformity Study Group and the AO Scoli-Risk Study. Ames has published articles in more than 400 peer-reviewed publications.

Jul 01, 2021
Episode 2: Safety in spine surgery: Dr. Michael Vitale
2192

In Episode 2 we have a conversation with Dr. Michael Vitale about optimizing safety in spine surgery. Dr. Michael Vitale is Ana Lucia Professor of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery, Vice-Chair, Quality and Strategy, Orthopedic Surgery, Columbia University Medical center, Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 

He is Chief, Pediatric Spine and Scoliosis Service, New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Dr. Michael G. Vitale specializes in the non-operative and operative treatment of complex pediatric scoliosis and other spinal disorders. 

Dr. Vitale completed Masters of Public Health at Columbia University Joseph Mailman School of Public Health and Doctor of Medicine from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. He completed a residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and a fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles at the University of Southern California.

In addition to starting the safety in spine surgery project, Dr. Vitale has had many roles in quality improvement including leading the research arm of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America's Committee on Quality, Safety, and Value, Medical Director of New York Presbyterian's Initiative to Make Care Better, Chief Quality Officer of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center. 

Jun 15, 2021
Episode 1: Spinal cord injury-Conversation with Dr. Michael Fehlings
1828

We speak with leading neurosurgeon and spinal cord injury neuroscientist Dr. Michael Fehlings. Dr Fehlings is Professor of Neurosurgery, Vice-Chair Research, Department of Surgery, Co-Director, Spine Program, McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine, University of Toronto. He is also the Gerry and Tootsie Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration, Senior Scientist, Krembil Brain Institute and Scientist, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Canada. Dr. Fehlings discusses the international Surgical Timing in Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study (STASCIS) seminal study on the optimal timing of surgical decompression for spinal cord injury, improving SCI care, the latest research in spinal cord injury, and how to optimize spinal cord injury care. He also provides updates and perspectives on many current and exciting research approaches in spinal cord injury including stem cells, hypothermia, and neuromodulation. As Principal Investigator, he presents an update on the RISCIS clinical trial of Riluzole, one of the most promising pharmacotherapies for acute spinal cord injury.

May 28, 2021