Friday, March 11, 2016

Featured Neuropathologist: Michael D. Norenberg, MD

On March 18, the University of Colorado Department of Pathology will be honored to host Dr. Michael Norenberg at grand rounds. Dr. Norenberg's talk will be entitled "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: Mechanisms and Potential Treatments". I take this occasion to feature Dr. Norenberg on this blog. A professor at the University of Miami, Dr. Norenberg was honored last year by the journal Neurochemical Research, which dedicated its February issue to contributions Dr. Norenberg has made to the fields of neuroscience and neuropathology.

Michael D. Norenberg, MD
 “Mike has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the brain and brain pathology,” said Richard J. Cote, M.D., chair of pathology at UMiami. “He was one of the first to show that astrocytes play crucial roles in brain function, and are not merely scaffold cells, as had been previously thought... His work on hepatic encephalopathy — a serious neurological condition that results from liver failure — has basically defined our understanding of this debilitating and prevalent condition. Mike is also particularly proud of uncovering the cause of central pontine myelinolysis (CPM), a devastating demyelinating disorder, usually occurring in chronically ill individuals, and often with prolonged periods of hospitalizations. He and his colleagues found that CPM is caused by an overly rapid correction of hyponatremia. As such, CPM is currently an extremely rare condition. Mike has received numerous awards for his work, but having an entire journal dedicated to him is a rare and very appropriate honor.”

According to a UMiami press release, Norenberg described himself as “totally surprised, shocked and humbled” by the honor. He said, “Research can be a difficult, grueling and a sometimes thankless task, often colored by disappointments and frustrations, but it is also associated with great joy when useful knowledge is generated, and your achievements are recognized and appreciated by your peers and colleagues.”

Dr. Norenberg graduated with a B.A from Trinity College in 1960, then graduated medical school from the University of Rochester in 19645. He did his post-graduate training at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York.

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