A Letter from the Director
Commitment to research and investment in advanced technologies that enhance our ability to diagnose, treat, and manage neurological diseases and disorders in children have always been a priority for Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and is now a priority for the nation.
The “BRAIN” (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative announced on April 2 by President Obama issues a challenge to researchers to “uncover the mysteries of the human brain.”
This edition of our quarterly newsletter features the innovative, cutting-edge research already underway at Barrow at Phoenix Children’s. We will highlight the state-of-the-art technology available to our patients that sets us apart as a leader in pediatric neurosciences and reinforces our commitment to providing comprehensive, high-quality, patient- and family-centered care.
In February, we announced a joint research initiative with the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University(SBHSE). Together with the SBHSE and the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering Dean’s Office, we are funding two projects that promote interdisciplinary collaborations between ASU biomedical engineers and clinical faculty at Barrow at Phoenix Children’s.
Research to seek to better image and ultimately cure malignant pediatric brain tumors by Ratan Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, a pediatric neurosurgeon and clinician scientist from Barrow at Phoenix Children’s with Vikram Kodibagkar, PhD (ASU) and more precise diagnoses of acute traumatic brain injury by Jonathan Lifshitz, PhD, director of translational neurotrauma research with Sarah Stabenfeldt, PhD (ASU) will be the focus of these collaborations. We look forward to sharing the results of these cutting-edge research projects with you in future editions.
Utilizing advanced technological devices and instruments allows us to offer cutting-edge, state-of-the-art treatment options to our patients. Phoenix Children’s Division Chief of Radiology Richard Towbin, MD, and the Neuroradiology Department, with funding from the Leadership Circle, recently purchased Cinema Vision, a video and audio system that offers an alternative to sedation or in most cases, full general anesthesia for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The technology is ideal for children who suffer from claustrophobia, developmental delays, and other behavioral issues which, in the past, have made medical imaging very challenging.
Dr. Bhardwaj, who in addition to his work in pediatric brain tumors, is leading our Neuromodulation and Functional Section, building upon our strong partnerships with leading community partners such as Translational Genomics (TGen) and other medical facilities like Barrow Neurological Institute at St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Centerto offer Visualase to our children with brain tumors and intractable seizures. The minimally invasive laser ablation device can be used to treat dysplastic lesions, hypothalamic hamartomas, as well as small tumors in children. This new laser technology has the potential to change the future of neurosurgery and we are helping to blaze the trail into the next generation of neurosurgical innovation.
The use of technology has enriched the lives of our patients by yielding more precise diagnoses that can generate individualized treatment plans to optimize patient outcomes. Patient monitoring units such the Sybil B. Harrington Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where the Neurocritical Care Team brings advanced neuromonitoring to children with strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and seizures, as well as the Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (PEMU) and the Sleep Study Lab allow physicians to gather a multitude of information, using evidence-based protocols, in a patient- and family-centered environment. Each monitoring unit reinforces collaborative relationships between subspecialties that enhance our ability to provide the best possible care to our patients.
The research, innovation, and investment in advanced technologies at Barrow at Phoenix Children’s enriches our ability to fulfill our mission to improve the health and quality of life for children with neurological disorders. The outlook for continued success and evolution in pediatric neuroscience research and technology is optimistic.
It is my privilege to provide you with insight into the amazing care, science and knowledge underway here and I hope you find our newsletters helpful and informative. Please feel free to contact me or the staff if you have any suggestions about improving our newsletter, other topics of interest, or improving our care of children and service to you.