Winter 2008

Treating the Untreatable

At UCSF Medical Center, we specialize in treating the untreatable. As a major referral center for neurological disorders, we often see patients, such as those with severe Parkinson's disease, who have exhausted their options elsewhere.

UCSF is home to one of the foremost programs for the surgical treatment of movement disorders. Neurosurgeons Philip Starr, M.D., Ph.D., and Paul Larson, M.D., use techniques such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) to improve the lives of patients who are refractory to other treatments. They work in conjunction with neurologists Jill Ostrem, M.D., and Graham Glass, M.D., who provide expertise in the diagnosis and management of these patients.

I am also pleased to announce we have appointed a new faculty member, Manish Aghi, M.D., Ph.D. As Dr. Aghi describes in this issue, his dual interests in surgically treating and researching malignant brain tumors stem from his desire "to improve the outcomes of an untreatable disease."

Our ability to provide innovative therapies and treat the most difficult cases sets UCSF apart from other medical centers. I am proud to note that U.S. News & World Report recently ranked UCSF as the top neurosurgery and neurology program on the West Coast and among the top four programs in the United States. The collaborations across disciplines and between laboratory scientists and clinicians are what continue to make the neurosciences at UCSF a successful enterprise.

Mitchel S. Berger, M.D.
Kathleen M. Plant Distinguished Professor and Chair
Department of Neurological Surgery

Related Information

News Releases

Nerve Stimulation Relieves Headache
Therapy using a miniature nerve stimulator instead of drugs to treat disabling headache reduced pain by 80 percent to 95 percent, according to a study by UCSF and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.

Brain Tumor Traced to Stem Cells Gone Bad
An aggressive childhood brain tumor known as medulloblastoma originates in brain "stem" cells that turn malignant when acted on by a cancer-causing oncogene, say UCSF and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.