On January 12th, 2010 when a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, Ernest Barthelemy was half way through his second of medical school at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The earthquake that devastated Haiti hit Ernest in every way, from the personal casualties within his family to its spiritual implications for his cultural identity to an eventual redefinition of his professional medical career.
Virtual-reality simulation, designed to improve outcomes and reduce complications in patients undergoing brain surgery, is being pioneered at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as an innovative training tool for neurosurgery residents and as a program to help experienced surgeons advance their skill-sets.
A joint research project between the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine is evaluating the use of meditation to decrease pain after spine surgery. This particular meditation technique has been shown in clinical trials to reduce patient’s need for pain medication for those with chronic pain, and has been shown to reduce people’s perception of the severity of a painful stimulus. Arthur L. Jenkins, MD, associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, and Patricia Bloom, MD, associate professor in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, devised a research trial to see if teaching this technique to patients could reduce the amount of pain medicine needed to manage their pain after spine surgery.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and most aggressive brain tumor, known to be a highly invasive and rapidly spreading disease. Even with aggressive treatment such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, they are almost always incurable.
The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program is pioneering the use of electrical tumor treating fields to be used with conventional therapy. The device, manufactured by Novocure, is called NovoTTF and it is FDA approved for recurrent GBM. It consists of a head cap that produces changes in electrical fields, which is worn continuously.
One year ago, New York City Police Officer Eder Loor was responding to a 911 call in East Harlem when the 26-year-old man that he and his patrol partner had just apprehended plunged a three-inch knife into Officer Loor’s temple. The blade, which entered just behind his left eye, went to the base of his skull. Incredibly, Officer Loor was able to pull the knife out of his head and keep pressure on the wound until paramedics arrived and brought him to The Mount Sinai Hospital.
As a first-year neurosurgery resident at Mount Sinai, I am continuously reminded of the seamless integration of innovative surgical technology and its ability to positively affect the outcomes of our patients. In fact, when I was a medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, I remember being fascinated by the “high-tech” feel of a neurosurgical operating room. Everything, from the microscope, to the cranial and spinal navigation systems seemed like something straight out of a science fiction movie. I realized that neurosurgery was a rapidly evolving field that was fueled by cutting-edge technology. It is one the reasons why I ultimately decided to join the ranks of the neurosurgeons I always idealized as a medical student. With this in mind, I am excited for the opportunity to describe my experiences with the launch our neurosurgery department’s NeuroTouch Simulation Project.
To provide a bit of background, in 2009, the National Research Council of Canada introduced the NeuroTouch, a one-of-a-kind physics-based virtual simulator for cranial micro-neurosurgery training. The development of similar virtual reality simulation devices within the past decade has enabled residents to practice basic surgical procedures in a risk-free environment. These devices have progressively increased in sophistication, playing an increasingly important role in the education and training of new surgeons. In September 2012, The Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center became the first in the United States to purchase the NeuroTouch Simulator.
My name is Loren Ridinger and I was diagnosed with and underwent brain surgery for a brain aneurysm, all within a couple months. I am so grateful to Mount Sinai and Dr. Aman Patel for saving my life; over 30,000 people die each year from ruptured aneurysms and I could have been one of them if it wasn’t for this hospital and its amazing doctors.
Don’t settle for less than the best when it comes to your health. You have to be your biggest advocate – there is nothing more important! Be persistent! I had learned to live with vertigo for years because every doctor I went to said there was “nothing wrong” with me. Remember that they are practitioners, not perfect, and only you know what’s happening to your body. After demanding an MRI and then an MRA (similar to an MRI except it focuses on your arteries) and learning that I had an 8.5 mm aneurysm of my internal carotid artery behind my left eye, I went from doctor to doctor and different hospitals trying to figure out what came next.