Neuroepidemiology Training Program. The objectives of the Neuroepidemiology Training Program are twofold. The first is to provide background in the disciplines of epidemiology and biostatistics to trained neurologists with the objective of training research scientists capable of designing and implementing clinical and epidemiologic studies of neurologic disease. The second goal is to provide neurology background to individuals with a PhD in epidemiology or biostatistics to allow them to pursue independent research in the areas of neurology. In both cases our goal is to develop researchers in the field of neurology who are capable of sustaining a research career. Currently there are three fellows enrolled in the program.
Dr. Syamsunder Prabhakaran completed his neurological residency in 2004 at Cornell University. He started the neuroepidemiology training program last July. In addition to didactic courses, he has been working with his mentor, Dr. Ralph Sacco, to assess acute ischemic stroke treated with IV tPA, and how risk factors for asymptomatic carotid plaque varies by location. He becomes an assistant professor of neurology at Rush Medical Center in July.
Dr. Elizabeth Helzner, PhD, is an epidemiologist who did her dissertation at the University of Pittsburg on hearing function in the elderly. She has been working with the Whitecap data set to evaluate the effects of exercise on progression of Alzheimer's disease and is developing a project to assess hearing loss in the multiracial community of Washington Heights under the supervision of Drs. Richard Mayeux and Allen Hauser. She is participating in several neurology seminars, has taken the course on genetic epidemiology, and will audit the neuroscience course given to the CU medical students.
Dr. Lee Birnbaum completed his neurology residency at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. He has been working on several projects under the supervision of Dr. Ralph Sacco. These include studies of thoracic echo in stroke patients and an assessment of MRA identified atheroma in a prospectively followed cohort. He is also taking the introductory epidemiology and biostatistics courses.
Neuropsychology and Cognition in Aging Training Program. The Neuropsychology and Cognition in Aging Training Program is a two-year training program designed to give the trainee a solid research background in the cognition and neuropsychology of aging. The trainee is exposed to and participates in studies utilizing a broad range of interrelated research approaches, including classic neuropsychological evaluation, experimental cognitive techniques, neuroepidemiology, pharmacological interventions, and cognitive neuroimaging. The primary emphasis is on fostering the skills needed to formulate and carry out research and to report findings in peer-reviewed journals. Primary training comes through the trainee-preceptor relationship. Formal classes and seminars plus opportunities for more informal training are available. Trainees are encouraged to avail themselves of the expertise of the program faculty. While the training of clinicians is not the goal, the program does include some clinical training because this area requires specialized clinical skills, and much good research stems from astute clinical observation.