Cedars-Sinai Medical Tipsheet for July 2014

Released: 18-Jul-2014 6:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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Newswise — Following is a tipsheet of story ideas from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. To arrange interviews, please contact the individual listed.

3-D Computer Model May Help Refine Target for Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy for Dystonia
Although deep brain stimulation can be an effective therapy for dystonia – a potentially crippling movement disorder – the treatment isn’t always effective, or benefits may not be immediate. Precise placement of DBS electrodes is one of several factors that can affect results, but few studies have attempted to identify the “sweet spot,” where electrode placement yields the best results. Researchers led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai, using a complex set of data from records and imaging scans of patients who have undergone successful DBS implantation, have created 3-D, computerized models that map the brain region involved in dystonia. The models identify an anatomical target for further study and provide information for neurologists and neurosurgeons to consider when planning surgery and making device programming decisions.
CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email sandy@prpacific.com

Cedars-Sinai-Led Investigators Say Some Brain Cells in a Structure Called the Amygdala Appear to Make Judgments Based on a Viewer’s Subjective Opinions Instead of True Emotion Expressed
When evaluating another person’s emotions – happy, sad, angry, afraid – humans take cues from facial expressions. Neurons in a part of the brain called the amygdala “fire” in response to the visual stimulation as information is processed by the retina, the amygdala and a network of interconnected brain structures. Some of these regions respond just to the actual features of the face, whereas others respond to how things appear to the viewer, but it is unknown where in the brain this difference arises. Although the amygdala’s importance in face recognition and emotional assessment is well-known, little is understood about how these processes work, but research led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai and the California Institute of Technology has found that at least some of the brain cells that specialize in recognizing emotions may represent judgments based on the viewer’s preconceptions rather than the true emotion being expressed.
CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email sandy@prpacific.com

Study of Noninvasive Retinal Imaging Device Presented at Alzheimer’s Conference
A noninvasive optical imaging device developed at Cedars-Sinai can provide early detection of changes that later occur in the brain and are a classic sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to preliminary results from investigators conducting a clinical trial in Australia. “In preliminary results in 40 patients, the test could differentiate between Alzheimer’s disease and non-Alzheimer’s disease with 100 percent sensitivity and 80.6 percent specificity, meaning that all people with the disease tested positive and most of the people without the disease tested negative. The optical imaging exam appears to detect changes that occur 15-20 years before clinical diagnosis. It’s a practical exam that could allow testing of new therapies at an earlier stage, increasing our chances of altering the course of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Shaun Frost, a biomedical scientist and the study manager at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency.
CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email sandy@prpacific.com

Cedars-Sinai Ranked Among Best in 2014-15 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Issue
With 12 medical specialties rated among the finest in the nation, Cedars-Sinai has been named to the Honor Roll in the 2014-15 issue of America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Cedars-Sinai is among just 17 out of approximately 5,000 hospitals nationwide to earn the magazine’s Honor Roll designation. To be named to the Honor Roll, a hospital must be rated among the nation’s top 50 programs in at least six specialties.
CONTACT: Sally Stewart, 310-248-6566; Email sally.stewart@cshs.org

Transplanting Gene into Injured Hearts Creates Biological Pacemakers
Cardiologists at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute have developed a minimally invasive gene transplant procedure that changes unspecialized heart cells into “biological pacemaker” cells that keep the heart steadily beating. The laboratory animal research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine, is the result of a dozen years of research with the goal of developing biological treatments for patients with heart rhythm disorders who currently are treated with surgically implanted pacemakers. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 patients receive pacemakers every year.
CONTACT: Sally Stewart, 310-248-6566; Email sally.stewart@cshs.org

Cedars-Sinai Named Center of Excellence by Two Patient Advocacy Groups for Research and Care of Patients with Neuromuscular Disorders
Cedars-Sinai has been named a center of excellence by two major advocacy groups for patients with neuromuscular disorders: Guillain-Barré Syndrome/Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy Foundation International and the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association. Cedars-Sinai is listed as one of 18 GBS/CIDP centers of excellence worldwide. The foundation website says, “Based on levels of expertise, available treatments, facilities and research capabilities, these are the medical centers that we can unequivocally recommend as ‘Centers of Excellence.’”
CONTACT: Sandy Van, 808-526-1708; Email sandy@prpacific.com

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