Minnesota Spinal Cord & Traumatic Brain Injury Research Symposium kicks off during Super Bowl week

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More than 10,500 Minnesotans are living with paralysis from a spinal cord injury and 100,000 are living with disabilities from brain injury. No matter what the cause – whether it’s from a slip on the ice, a ladder fall or a car crash – these injuries are life-changing for patients and their families.

On Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 1:00-5:00pm the first annual Minnesota Spinal Cord & Traumatic Brain Injury Research Symposium will showcase new and innovative research funded by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education Grant Program. The Grant Program funds research to discover treatment and rehabilitation with the aim of improving function in people with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. The Symposium takes place at the new HealthPartners Neuroscience Center, 295 Phalen Blvd. in St. Paul.

“Without a doubt, the path to hope for these courageous patients is research,” explains neurosurgeon Uzma Samadani, M.D., Ph.D., Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair for TBI Research at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), one of the moderators at the Symposium. “As a researcher, surgeon and clinician, it’s truly an honor to uncover interventions that will make an impact on the way we diagnose and treat these types of injuries.”

The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance and Get Up Stand Up to Cure Paralysis worked with Minnesota legislators in July of 2015 to pass funding legislation for this program. Funding is split 50/50 between research focused on spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. To date 21 research projects have been funded and will be showcased at the symposium along with select patient testimonials. In the next two years the Grant Program will award a total of $6 million for research.

Senator John Hoffman and Representative Tony Albright, who supported the legislation, will open the symposium followed by researchers from the Mayo Clinic, Hennepin County Medical Center, University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. In addition, speakers from Prevent Biometrics and TackleBar football will address current issues surrounding concussions.

Collaborative Minnesota partnerships like the ones featured at the Minnesota Spinal Cord & Traumatic Brain Injury Research Symposium are leading the way toward critical medical discoveries. For more information go to www.mnscitbiresearch.com/

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Emily C. Blomberg named HCMC’s Chief Operating Officer

Blomberg, Emily#216Emily C. Blomberg recently joined Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Blomberg joins HCMC from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston where she was the Vice President of Health System Operations. Prior to her work in Texas she directed business development for the Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin Health in Madison. She earned a Master of Healthcare Administration and Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

“Emily brings a unique, diverse skill set to our organization and we’re delighted to have her on board,” explains HCMC CEO Dr. Jon Pryor. “Her oversight of all Hennepin Healthcare System operations provides leadership that will help align our focus and structure with the future direction of healthcare.”

As COO, Blomberg is responsible for ancillary services at HCMC including Radiology, Pharmacy, and Laboratory, as well as operational and support functions including Information Technology,  Environmental Services, Facilities, Security, Nutrition Services, and the Enterprise Project Management Office.

 

 

HCMC launches clinical trial to treat brain injury using vagus nerve stimulation

“Electroceutical” Treatment Hopes to Stimulate Brain Healing Without Medications

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Dr. Molly Hubbard, lead investigator of the VANISH TBI study examines a 3D hologram of the injured patient’s brain. The image was generated by Dr. Abdullah Bin Zahid in the HCMC Brain Injury Research Laboratory.

A simple slip on the ice while crossing a parking lot in downtown Minneapolis triggered the problem for 47-year-old John Doe (not his real name). By the time emergency medical personnel arrived he knew his own name, but did not remember falling, the date, or even where he was.  “I didn’t even know what had happened until I had been in the hospital for three days,” he said.

Brought into Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), John had classic brain injury, with tiny amounts of blood on the surface of his brain and interspersed into its folds. Radiology studies were consistent with brain trauma, but the injury was not severe enough to require surgery. Several days after the accident he moved into the brain injury rehabilitation unit at HCMC.

“I’m still trying to figure out how to get back to my normal life. It’s … hard to believe that this is my life. A lot of symptoms are starting to get better but they’re still there. I have problems remembering words,” said John, who works as a professional writer.

Luckily for John, HCMC, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, has just launched a new clinical trial to treat brain injury, and he was the second patient to be enrolled.  He remarked, “I really like the idea of being able to help others with brain injury; maybe even help people who have it worse off than me.” Continue reading “HCMC launches clinical trial to treat brain injury using vagus nerve stimulation”

Abbott, Hennepin County Medical Center and University of Minnesota Collaborate to Launch the Nation’s Largest, Single-Center Prospective Study on Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury

Researchers aim to develop a standard approach for evaluating and diagnosing traumatic brain injury, including concussion

  • Study will include various evaluation methods, including analysis of blood-based biomarkers, eye tracking and imaging to help classify severity of head injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, there are an estimated 2.2 million emergency department visits for traumatic brain injuries (TBI).[i] For people with head injuries, quick evaluation and treatment are critical.

That’s why researchers at Hennepin County Medical Center (Minneapolis, Minn.) and the University of Minnesota are launching an innovative, comprehensive study in collaboration with Abbott to better identify the range of brain injuries among patients. Using multiple evaluation tools, including eye tracking, blood-based biomarkers, imaging and cognitive measures, scientists hope to develop a new standard approach to help classify brain injuries, including concussions, and provide the information needed to guide doctors’ treatment decisions.

“We know that there are different types of brain damage that can occur after trauma, whether it’s a mild concussion or a severe injury,” said neurosurgeon Uzma Samadani, M.D., Ph.D., Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair for TBI Research at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), associate professor at the University of Minnesota and one of the lead investigators of the study. “Our goal with this study is to combine multiple assessment techniques to quickly assess the severity of brain injuries and enable clinicians to provide appropriate treatments.” Continue reading “Abbott, Hennepin County Medical Center and University of Minnesota Collaborate to Launch the Nation’s Largest, Single-Center Prospective Study on Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury”

Dr. Michael Belzer given U of M’s 2015 Harold S. Diehl Award

DRBelzer #2Congratulations to Dr. Michael Belzer for being named the 2015 Harold S. Diehl Award recipient from the University of Minnesota Medical School. Established in 1962, this prestigious lifetime award is granted to individuals who have made outstanding professional contributions to the Medical School, the University, and the community.

The award was presented to Dr. Belzer at the Medical School Alumni Awards Banquet on Thursday, September 17 at the University’s McNamara Alumni Center.

Additionally, Dr. Belzer was the recipient of the University of Minnesota Medical School  Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004 and is the only individual to have won both Medical School awards since their initiation.

Since 1990, Dr. Belzer has been Medical Director/Chief Medical Officer of Hennepin County Medical Center.

U of M wrestlers visit 8 y.o. wrestler grappling with burns

Tyler Schultz’ wrestling teammates in South Dakota are pulling for his speedy recovery – but a little extra “muscle” can’t hurt!

On Monday, Jumeetingne 15, four members of the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gopher Wrestling Team stopped by to meet Tyler and offer encouragement as he receives treatment for 3rd degree burns in Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Burn Center.

Sam Brancale, Josh Shupe, Zane Zeman and Nate Thomas brought Tyler a poster signed by the entire team and visited with the young wrestler and his parents. The event was covered by WCCO 4 News sports reporter Dave McCoy and aired Tuesday, June 16.

Tyler and Gopher Group
Sam Brancale, Josh Shupe, Zane Zeman, Tyler Schultz, Nate Thomas
Angie Whitley and Tyler
Angie Whitley and Tyler

“He’s such a strong kid and he’s made remarkable progress,” explains Angie Whitley, RN, one of the many nurses Tyler has won over during his 45-day stay at HCMC. “Having these wrestlers take time out of their busy schedules to stop by and visit Tyler is so very much appreciated – and I think they enjoyed it, too! Encouragement and hope is a vital part of the healing process for patients recovering from burns.”

In a few weeks, Tyler (who wrestles at 50 pounds) heads back to his hometown near Aberdeen, SD soon where he’ll continue therapy on an outpatient basis.

Eden Prairie’s Sam Brancale (junior) wrestles at 125 and 133 lbs. Josh Shupe (senior) from Marshfield, WI, wrestles at 141 lbs. Nate Thomas (sophomore) is from Mantorville, MN and wrestles at 133 lbs. Zane Zeman (junior) is from Avon, Ohio and wrestles at 157 lbs.
(Left to right) Nate Thomas (sophomore) is from Mantorville, MN and wrestles at 133 lbs. Josh Shupe (senior) from Marshfield, WI, wrestles at 141 lbs. Eden Prairie’s Sam Brancale (junior) wrestles at 125 and 133 lbs. Zane Zeman (junior) is from Avon, Ohio and wrestles at 157 lbs.

Firefighter’s Challenge supports HCMC burn patients

Raising money and awareness for burn victims at the Hennepin County Medical Center Burn Center is the goal of the week-long philanthropy, Firefighter’s Challenge, sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Beta Chi chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity. 

The annual philanthropy engages participating sororities in competition throughout the week, which began Monday, April 15. PIKE partners with the Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD), the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and the Hennepin Health Foundation (HHF) to run the events. Continue reading “Firefighter’s Challenge supports HCMC burn patients”