Friday, October 28, 2011

Dr. Doug Anthony becomes Chief-of-Pathology at Brown-affiliated hospitals

Excerpts from a message from Timothy J. Babineau, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Douglas C. Anthony, MD, PhD, as chief of pathology at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital, effective February 1, 2012. A neuropathologist, Dr. Anthony will lead the clinical, educational and research pathology programs for Lifespan, as well as help to bridge pathology and the neurosciences through the Norman Prince Neuroscience Institute.


Douglas C. Anthony, MD, PhD
Dr. Anthony comes to Rhode Island Hospital from the University of Missouri, where he is the chair of the department of pathology and anatomical sciences and professor of neurology.  At the University of Missouri Health Care he serves as chief of pathology and medical director of pathology clinical laboratories. He also serves as a pathologist at the Harry S. Truman Veterans Administration Medical Center, Women and Children’s Hospital, and the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, and as a neuropathologist for the Office of the Medical Examiner in Boone, Callaway and Greene counties in Missouri.  Previously, he was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and served as a neuropathologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and as a neuropathologist consultant to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

He has won numerous awards, including the Dr. Edison H. and Sallie Y. Miyawaki Teaching Award in Neurosciences at Harvard Medical School; the Excellence in Education Award in pre-clinical sciences at the University of Missouri; and the Order of Socrates award at the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri.

Dr. Anthony’s appointment further demonstrates our commitment to becoming a leader in the neurosciences, and we are confident that he will be a tremendous asset to our clinical team.  Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Dr. Anthony.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NIH Loan Repayment Program a godsend for young neuropathologists interested in research

Today I feature a guest post from the illustrious Dr. Mike Lawlor.

Hi Everyone,

I'd just like to tell everyone about a program that the NIH offers, which may be of great interest to Neuropathology Fellows, Research Fellows, and Junior Faculty.  It's called the NIH Loan Repayment Program (LRP), and it's designed to encourage people with an interest in research to remain in the academic research environment.  From what I've heard, the NIH created this program so that people with lots of student loans (mostly medical doctors) with an interest in research would not give up their research careers due to their loan debt.
I just got an email from the LRP people, and they now have a webinar available to help people apply.  The link for the webinar is: http://bit.ly/nihlrptutorial 

Michael W. Lawlor, MD, PhD
The award offers up to $35,000 per year for up to two years, and you're able to apply for renewals whenever it runs out.  This counts as income, but the NIH also pays the federal income tax on this grant for you.  I ended up owing about $2000 in state tax every year for having the award, but that doesn't seem like much as you watch your student loans disappear.

Here's what you'll need:

1) The grant application, which can be found this site.  The forms aren't too labor-intensive, and you need to propose a 2-year research program and be able to guarantee a 50% effort commitment to the research.

2) A bunch of info on your student loans, most/all of which can be found on your monthly statements.  Your student loan burden needs to exceed a certain amount before you qualify, and the amount you need is dependent on your income.  Given the non-stellar income of most neuropath fellows and research fellows, it's actually pretty easy to qualify on financial grounds.  You may continue to apply for renewals as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

3) Someone to vouch for you.  Your research adviser will need to reply to an email that confirms that you are devoting 50% effort to your research every quarter.  After that confirmation is made, and you confirm that the prior payment made it to the right account, they apply a payment to your educational loans.

Anyway, I've been in this program for the past 2 years, had it renewed for another year, and am in the process of writing another renewal.  It really is a fantastic program with excellent support.  The next deadline is November 15th, so there's definitely time for you guys to put something together.  Once you submit the application, you'll hear nothing for about 6 months, and then they'll ask you for some updated student loan information if you've made it through their scientific review process.  The application cycle is once per year.

I hope that this helps some of you, and good luck!

Thanks for this helpful information, Mike!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Treatable Neurological Disorders Misdiagnosed as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

A case of primary CNS angiitis thought to be sCJD
Dr. Mark Cohen and a team of workers at Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio have published an important article in the Annals of Neurology entitled Treatable Neurological Disorders Misdiagnosed as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (Ann Neurol 2011;70:437–444). Why is this article important? Well, because mistaking a survivable, treatable disorder for a fatal, non-treatable disorder is not optimal. Cohen's team reviewed the pathologic diagnoses of 1,106 patients who were referred for potential prion disease to the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (NPDPSC) at Case Western Reserve University from 2006 to 2009. About one-third of the cases did not have prion disease, with Alzheimer disease and vascular disease being the most common conditions accounting for dementia. Further, about one-quarter of the non-prion cases had treatable diseases, including immune-mediated disorders, neoplastic disorders such as lymphoma, as well as infectious and metabolic disorders. The immune-mediated disorders included primary angiitis of the CNS, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, limbic encephalitis, neurosarcoidosis, paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, and one case of Wegener granulomatosis. Of note, more than half of patients with a treatable dementia had a positive CSF 14-3-3 protein test, highlighting the danger of relying too heavily on this test in making a diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). It turns out that the most specific test for distinguishing CJD from other diseases was magnetic resonance imaging. Drs. David Perry and Michael Geschwind, in a review of this study in the September 2011 issue of Nature Reviews Neurology, (Perry, D. C. & Geschwind, M. D. Nat. Rev. Neurol. 2011:7, 479–480) write: "The fact that many of the non-prion diagnoses in the present study were potentially treatable RPDs [rapidly progressive dementias] should prompt thorough diagnostic testing in patients who are suspected of having sCJD, in order to rule out mimics. The use of CSF testing, contrast-enhanced MRI, and autoimmune antibody screening is supported by this study."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Attractive Neuropathology Postdoc Position in Neurodegenerative Disease Now Available at UCSF

Lea T. Grinberg, MD, PhD.
I recently received an email from Lea T. Grinberg, MD, PhD, a neuropathologist originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil now working at UCSF. She is recruiting a postdoc to work with her. Dr. Grinberg specializes in aging and neurodegenerative diseases and was recently awarded an R01 grant to study early stages of AD and FTLD-TDP in postmortem human tissue. She has access to a large brain bank associated with the Brazilian Aging Brain Study Group as well as the UCSF Memory and Aging Center brain bank. The postdoc will learn state-of-the-art methods for studying human post mortem brains, such as stereology, immunohistochemistry and fluorescence, computer assisted 3D reconstruction, and whole brain processing. She writes of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center: "We are a team of 150 individuals and the division promotes weekly grand rounds, journal clubs, lab meetings and regular CPC sessions. I believe it is an excellent opportunity for a young neuropathologist aiming to have a career in neurodegenerative disease."

I would say so! Here's the official job listing:

Post Doctoral Position in Neurodegenerative Diseases

NIH-supported post-doctoral position is immediately available for a qualified and highly motivated researcher to study early stages of neurodegenerative disease in human postmortem tissue
The fellow will pursue a series of related experiments regarding brain areas involved in very early clinical stages of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. The successful candidate will have access to very difficult to get tissue belonging to cognitively normal elderly who already showed neurodegenerative changes in the brain. In addition, the fellow will be trained in state-of-the-art neuropathological/neuroanatomical processing and sophisticated graphic and reconstruction software. The fellow will have the opportunity of further participate in ongoing experimental studies.
Preferred Qualifications
Strong interest in neurodegenerative disease
Training in quantitative neuropathology or neuropathology is a plus.

This project is part of a close collaboration with other groups; therefore, candidates must have the ability to work in an international team, show organizational skills, and be driven by an interest in a multidisciplinary research setting

Applicants should possess a recent (within last three years) MD or PhD degree in the neuropathology/neuroanatomy/ neurosiciences with strong experience in stereology.

Applicants should send a CV and 3 letters of recommendation to Dr. Grinberg lea.grinberg@ucsf.edu