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Summer 2008

Innovating in Response to Patient Need

The exciting launch of the migraine program at UCSF, outlined last fall by Chair Stephen Hauser, M.D., marks just one of many new subspecialty services we are establishing in the UCSF Department of Neurology. The pediatric component of the epilepsy program at UCSF, under the direction of Joseph Sullivan, M.D., is a prominent recent example. The Pediatric Epilepsy Center addresses a large, untapped need among children with refractory epilepsy in Northern California and surrounding states. A number of these patients will benefit from our neurosurgical expertise in the treatment and cure of refractory epilepsy.

We have also initiated a hospitalist program under the direction of Andy Josephson, M.D. The program will train neurologists on the full spectrum of care needed by inpatients with diseases of the nervous system. One early benefit of this new program has been the consistency of attending physicians' involvement in the process of interfacility patient transfers. With this change in logistics, a highly experienced attending neurologist now addresses all the challenges involved in facilitating inpatient transfers in our complex medical environment.

On the research front, the neuroimmunology-multiple sclerosis group at UCSF recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that demonstrated a markedly improved therapeutic response among patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis to the infusion of rituximab. We are proud of the leadership role sustained by the UCSF MS group in this multi-center study. Its impact on the future care of multiple sclerosis patients is likely to be substantial.

And in clinical education, the UCSF neurology residency program has pioneered the development of flexible models of training. Implemented one year ago, the flexible residency includes options for residents to develop expertise as clinician-teachers, in clinical or laboratory research, or in global health.

We look forward to sharing the benefits of this progress in clinical care, education and research with both our physician colleagues and our patients.

John W. Engstrom, M.D.
Clinical Chief of Service
Department of Neurology

Related Information

News Releases

Key Factor in Brain Offers Insight into 'Smooth Brain' Disease
UCSF researchers identified a critical gene that enables stem cells to divide correctly in the developing brain. The finding may shed light on lissencephaly, the rare pediatric disorder also known as "smooth brain" disease.

Experimental Drug Shows Promise for Treating MS
A study led by Stephen L. Hauser, M.D., chair, UCSF Department of Neurology, found that rituximab, currently used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis, may be effective in treating the most common form of multiple sclerosis.