Newswise — Leading neurosurgeon Ramin Rak, M.D., F.A.AN.S., F.A.C.S., Co-Surgical Director of the Long Island Brain Tumor Center at Neurological Surgery, P.C. (NSPC) and Director of the Brain Tumor Program at NS-LIJ Huntington Hospital, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT). SBMT is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary and translational neuroscience medical associations with a network of nearly 200,000 scientists, engineers, physicians and surgeons worldwide. Dr. Rak will represent the New York area on the board of this prestigious international organization. He was also appointed to chair the Science Committee for the 15th annual World Brain Mapping and Therapeutics Congress, which will take place in New York in 2018. The SBMT board consists of the world’s leading neuroscientists, engineers, radiologists, neurologists and neurosurgeons involved in researching and applying paradigm-shifting technologies in the area of brain mapping and therapeutics in order to better prevent, diagnose and treat serious neurological disorders. SBMT is the leading global advocate for the brain mapping field and a strong supporter of President Obama’s new “BRAIN” brain mapping initiative. The Society also led formation of the NanoBioElectronic Consortium of leading international scientists, with the purpose of integrating nanotechnology, devices, imaging, pharmaceuticals and cellular/stem cell therapeutics.
“This is a new era in neurosurgery and neuroscience, and the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics is at the forefront of these advances,” says Dr. Rak. “A clear example of their forward-looking approach is their recent pioneering publication, <i>The Textbook of Nanoneuroscience and Nanoneurosurgery. It is a thrill to be part of this effort and an honor to join so many of the world’s leaders in brain mapping on the SBMT Board of Directors.”
The Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics is a non-profit scientific society organized for the purpose of encouraging basic and clinical scientists who are interested in the areas of brain mapping, engineering, stem cells, nanotechnology, imaging and medical devices to improve the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients afflicted with neurological disorders. The Society achieves its mission through multi-disciplinary collaborations with government agencies, patient advocacy groups, educational institutes and industry as well as philanthropic organizations.
“Nomination to the SBMT Board of Directors is based on criteria that include stellar academic accomplishments, exemplary and visionary leadership skills, unique personal characteristics and attributes, and the ability to work closely with a diverse group of scientists in order to achieve the Society’s mission,” says Dr. Babak Kateb, Founding Chairman of the Board and Scientific Director of SBMT; President of the Brain Mapping Foundation; Director of the National Center for NanoBioElectronics; Visiting Scientist at NASA/JPL; Senior Editor of PLoSOne-NeuroMapping and Therapeutics Journal; Editor of The Textbook of NanoNeuroscience and NanoNeurosurgery; and Researcher, Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute of the Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles). “Unlike other boards, the SBMT board is an eclectic selection of pioneers in the field and individuals with a unique vision for the future of the field of neuroscience and biomedical sciences in general. I am confident that Dr. Rak’s visionary leadership and abilities will help us introduce new diagnostics and treatments by bringing scientists across disciplines together in our world congress in New York. ”
Dr. Rak is one of the New York region’s leading experts in intraoperative brain mapping in brain tumor surgeries – the use of sophisticated imaging technologies to plan and guide surgery, in order to get the best understanding of each patient’s brain structure and function. He uses brain mapping to guide awake craniotomies – operations in which the patient is awakened during surgery and asked to perform certain tasks in order to avoid touching brain areas that control critical functions (eloquent areas of the brain).
In these procedures, Dr. Rak maps the patient’s brain using functional MRI (fMRI) scans before the surgery to begin identifying functional areas that are affected by the tumor. fMRI scans are done at the same time as neuropsychological tests to see how and where the patient’s brain reacts when the patient completes certain tasks. The fMRI scans are combined with standard MRI and other medical images and programmed into a sophisticated computerized neuronavigation system. This creates a complete picture of brain anatomy and function, and their relationship to tumor structure. These images are used to help guide the surgery.
“The more we do these surgeries, the more we find out that every person’s brain is wired differently and our ability to treat many of these diseases is hindered by a lack of viable technologies and treatments. This is why we need to think outside of the box, so that we can introduce new diagnostics and treatments for our patients, and this is why SBMT’s mission is so critical for our field and our patients,” says Dr. Rak, who recently returned from an advanced educational trip to France, where he worked closely for a week with Dr. Hugues Duffau. Dr. Duffau is considered one of the pioneers of brain mapping.
Dr. Rak is already in the process of setting up a series of meetings between SBMT leadership and leaders of the New York health care and scientific communities in order to jumpstart building of the NanoBioElectronic Consortium in the New York area.
Dr. Rak expects to be involved in a number of research projects through his SBMT board membership. He has scheduled a visit to California, where he will learn more about an advanced ultraviolet camera developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and tested by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center scientists Drs. Keith L. Black, Babak Kateb, Shouleh Nikzad (NASA/JPL) and other colleagues at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and NASA/JPL. The current pilot study seeks to determine if the camera can provide visual detail that will help surgeons distinguish areas of healthy brain from deadly tumors called gliomas, which have irregular borders as they spread into normal tissue. Dr. Rak hopes to be involved in further studies with the camera and other new nanoneurosurgery and nanobioelectronic technologies, in order to help deliver the best care to his patients in the New York area.
“The SBMT, its members and networks are expected to play a key role in the President’s BRAIN Initiative,” says Dr. Kateb. “We are delighted to have a leader like Dr. Rak on our board, and look forward to working with him to break new ground in the field of neuroscience.”
About Dr. Ramin Rak - Dr. Rak is a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in brain and spine surgery. He has expertise in treating brain tumors, cerebrovascular and skull base diseases. Dr. Rak is an expert in minimally invasive micro-neurosurgical techniques, which he uses to perform most of his brain and spinal surgeries, and in stereotactic radiosurgery. He has extensive experience in performing awake craniotomies and has established awake craniotomy programs at Long Island hospitals.
Dr. Rak has conducted basic neuroscience and clinical research on a variety of brain and spine conditions for more than 20 years. His research has looked at reperfusion injuries after treatment of stroke, micro-neurosurgical techniques and outcomes of difficult skull base and cerebrovascular diseases, and the use of adult olfactory ensheathing glial cells and Schwann cells in spinal cord injuries, both of which may hold the promise of repairing damaged nerve fibers. He has published several dozen articles and book chapters in neurosurgical journals and book atlases, and regularly presents at professional meetings.
Dr. Rak is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
About Neurological Surgery, P.C. - Neurological Surgery, P.C. is one of the New York City area’s premier neurosurgical groups, offering patients the most advanced treatments of brain and spine disorders. These include minimally invasive procedures such as stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife®, CyberKnife® and Novalis Tx®), aneurysm coiling, neuro-endoscopy, spinal stimulators, carotid stents, interventional pain management, microdiscectomy, kyphoplasty, and other types of minimally invasive spine surgery. The practice’s physicians represent a range of surgical and nonsurgical specialties, combining compassionate care with highly specialized training. They are leaders in the region’s medical community, with appointments as chiefs of neurosurgery in some of Long Island’s best hospitals. NSPC offers 10 convenient locations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as in Queens and Manhattan. For more information, call 1-800-775-7784 or visit www.NSPC.com.