Brains and Gains 2013


The feedback from this community outreach event in 2012 was very favorable.  We plan to do it again, updating the community on research and treatment developments in several areas of neurology.  The tentative date is Saturday, Noveember 2, 2013, beginning in the morning, again on UB’s North Campus. Topics will include stroke, memory disorders, multiple sclerosis, neuroimaging, and neuromuscular disorders.

UB’s Pediatric MS Center Shares in National Network Grant

The University at Buffalo’s Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center of Excellence will share in a $2.5 million National Multiple Sclerosis Society grant announced July 1.

“This renewed support advances research on the pediatric MS population that will provide important data to better understand the disease.”  Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD

Read more about it: HERE

Press release: National MS Society Press Release

Pediatric MS Center Research Photo

From left to right:
Dr. Gil Wolfe, MD FAAN, Dr. Joy Parrish, PhD, ABBP-CN, Dr. Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD and, Stephanie Mincer, President Upstate NY chapter NMSS


A New Image of Multiple Sclerosis

UB MED Collaborations

A New Image of Multiple Sclerosis: UB Neurologists reveal key role of thalamus in the disease.

by Ellen Goldbaum

Neurologists at UB and their international collaborators have found that measuring atrophy of the thalamus using routine magnetic resonance imaging can be an important tool in detecting, evaluating, and predicting the course of multiple sclerosis.

Read it here: Dr. Zivadinov page 26

Dr. Robert Zivadinov and Dr. Ralph Benedict present findings about the important role of the Thalamus in MS

Multiple Sclerosis research: The thalamus moves into the spotlight; Atrophy of the thalamus is an important predictor of clinically definite MS, study shows

By: Ellen Goldbaum

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A growing body of research by multiple sclerosis (MS) investigators at the University at Buffalo and international partners is providing powerful new evidence that the brain’s gray matter reflects important changes in the disease that could allow clinicians to diagnose earlier and to better monitor and predict how the disease will progress.

Over the past three years, the UB researchers and their partners around the world, supported by an active fellowship program at UB’s Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC), have published journal papers and given presentations demonstrating that the thalamus region, in particular, is key to a host of issues involving MS.

“The thalamus is providing us with a new window on MS,” says Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, UB professor of neurology, BNAC director and leader of the research team. “In our recent studies, we have used large datasets to investigate the evolution of atrophy of the thalamus and its association with clinical impairment in MS, starting with the earliest stages of the disease. The location of the thalamus in the brain, its unique function and its vulnerability to changes wrought by the disease make the thalamus a critical barometer of the damage that MS causes to the brain.”

Zivadinov and UB professor of neurology Ralph Benedict discuss the new research in a video at (

At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology today, Zivadinov will discuss a study he performed in collaboration with colleagues from Charles University in Prague. The study found that atrophy of the thalamus, determined with MRI, can help identify which patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), a patient’s first episode of MS, are at risk for developing clinically definite MS. Such a tool would be immensely helpful to clinicians, Zivadinov notes.

Sen. Grisanti and UB researchers to advocate state funding for Multiple Sclerosis research

Media Advisory: State Sen. Grisanti and UB researchers advocate state funding for NYS Multiple Sclerosis Registry and Consortium




BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York State Senator Mark Grisanti will join multiple sclerosis researchers at the University at Buffalo and patients to advocate for funding by New York State to maintain and expand the New York State MS Registry and the New York State MS Consortium, directed by Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB professor of neurology.

When: 1 p.m., March 15, 2013

Where: UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Center, 5 floor, above the Gates Vascular Institute, 875 Ellicott Street, Buffalo

Why: MS Awareness Week runs from March 11 to 17. The incidence of MS in Western New York is twice the national average. The disease costs New York State between $1.5 and $2.3 billion each year.  Support for the registry and consortium of 15 MS centers across the state will facilitate NYS research on MS, boost physician knowledge about the disease and improve the quality of life for the 30,000 New York State residents with MS.

Speakers will include:

· State Sen. Mark Grisanti, a member of the MS Legislative Alliance for the New York State Senate, and whose family has been affected by MS

· Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB professor of neurology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and director of the NYS MS Registry

· Murali Ramanathan, PhD, UB professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and MS researcher

· An MS patient

Press arrangements: Ellen Goldbaum of UB University Communications at 645-4605 and 771-9255 onsite.

ANNETTE FUNICELLO RESEARCH FUND Encourages Support for Pediatric MS Research


Annette Joanne Funicello (1942-2013)


The ANNETTE FUNICELLO RESEARCH FUND FOR NEUROLOGICAL DISEASES is calling Mousketeer and Beach Party fans to support multiple sclerosis research by world-renowned MS researcher, Robert Zivadinov of the University at Buffalo.

Your gift will be matched up to $7,500 by the Annette Funicello Research Fund.

Your support will allow Dr. Zivadinov and his team at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center to learn more about Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis.

To make a gift, go to:

For information about MS research at University at Buffalo by Dr. Zivadinov, go to:

For information about the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases, go to:

If you want to distribute flyers for this excellent cause:  Funicello Fund Flyer

MS Study involving stem cells at UB Dept. of Neurology

Buffalo study offers hope to multiple sclerosis patients

Scientists in recent years have found a way to infuse stem cells into the brains of animals to repair damage to the central nervous system, offering some of the most encouraging news yet for multiple sclerosis patients.

Now, a key $12.1 million study soon will be under way in Buffalo and two other upstate medical centers that will for the first time begin to test the procedure in people.

The hope is that the stem cells will generate new myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds nerves like the insulation on a wire. Myelin is damaged in MS, leading to weak or lost signals between nerves. Eventually, the painful disease spreads in a slow, unpredictable path toward paralysis.

by: Henry Davis

Read about it:

The state of New York has committed to fund the project through the stem cell fund.

Dr. Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, co-principal investigator on the study, is Professor of Neurology, State University of New York at Buffalo, and Director of the Baird MS Center at The Jacobs Neurological Institute. She is also the Director of the Pediatric MS Center of the Jacobs Neurological Institute, one of six centers of excellence established by the National MS Society. In addition, she also serves as Executive Director of the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium (NYSMSC).


New 3 Tesla MRI to boost neuroscience research

A new Toshiba Vantage 3 Tesla MRI scanner was hoisted 7 stories high into its new home at the University at Buffalo’s Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) on April 12. The seven-ton machine was trucked from California to Buffalo on a specially designed tractor-trailer. The new MRI is a key piece of research equipment for the center, and will reduce the dependence of research imaging on other campus magnets that are primarily dedicated for clinical studies. One of the first research teams to use the new facility will be the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC), a division of the UB Department of Neurology. Professor of Neurology Dr. Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, who directs the BNAC, serves as the director of magnetic resonance imaging for the CTRC. Ongoing and planned studies include development of MRI biomarkers for diagnosing , and managing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

The new MRI being installed at the Clinical and Translational Research Center Photo credits: Sandra Kicman

The new MRI being installed at the Clinical and Translational Research Center
Photo credits: Sandra Kicman

UB Neurology and Kaleida Health receive Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

UB Neurology and Kaleida Health have added another feather to their cap by being recognized with the  Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification through CMS/DNV. The certification, which is based on the latest guidelines set forth by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association, was awarded for a 3 year term. This recognition is awarded to the best equipped hospitals in a given geographical area that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication, and denotes a standard of excellence and compliance with best practices. This achievement was made possible by the efforts of Dr.Robert Sawyer Jr., MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Clinical Vice Chair for the department, who directs the stroke team. Neurology faculty who comprise the stroke team are Drs. Marilou Ching, Christopher Deline, Ashkan Mowla, and Peyman Shirani. Annemarie Crumlish serves as the stroke research coordinator. The team has plans for a public information campaign to highlight stroke, its complications, and available research studies.


From left to right: Dr. Robert Sawyer Jr., Dr. Marilou Ching, Dr. Christopher Deline, Dr. Ashkan Mowla, Dr. Peyman Shirani, and Annemarie Crumlish.

From left to right: Dr. Robert Sawyer Jr., Dr. Marilou Ching, Dr. Christopher Deline, Dr. Ashkan Mowla, Dr. Peyman Shirani, and Annemarie Crumlish.

UB Neurology Residents Excel on RITE Examination

UB Dept. of Neurology residents have once again demonstrated outstanding performance on the annual Resident In-Service Training Examination (RITE), administered every year nationally to neurology housestaff.  As a group the UB Neurology residents scored in the 93rd percentile nationally.  The breakdown by training year: PGY2 91st percentile, PGY3 88th percentile, and PGY4 96th percentile.  Kudos to Dr. Raj Gupta, the 2013-14 Chief Resident, Dr. Nick Silvestri, Residency Training Program Director and Assistant Professor of Neurology, and Caleb Clark and Eva Tamoga who assist with administration of the residency program.

Dr. Channa Kolb helps develop patient education material for MS drug Dalfampridine

Dr. Channa Kolb, Assistant Professor of Neurology at UB, appears in a new, interactive, patient program for dalfampridine (Ampyra), a novel oral agent for multiple sclerosis. The videos focus on the dosage schedule, benefits and side effects of dalfampridine, as well as the agent’s mechanism of action. Dr. Kolb received her M.D. from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and as a student was awarded the American Academy of Neurology medical student prize for Excellence in Neurology. She trained at Cleveland Clinic in Florida and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston prior to joining the UB faculty in 2012. Her clinical and research focus is multiple sclerosis.


Dr. Channa M. Kolb, MD

Dr. Channa M. Kolb, MD

Dr. Norah Lincoff Travels To Nicaragua To Volunteer In Vision Care Mission

Dr. Norah Lincoff, who directs the neuro-ophthalmology program for UB Neurology, traveled to Camoapa, Nicaragua in February 2014, as part of the Western New York Nicaragua Vision Care Mission Project 2014. This volunteer mission is organized by the Lions Club Buffalo, Lions Club Camoapa and Hopeful Ways, Inc. The group from Western New York consisted of over 30 professionals, local interpreters, and Peace Corps volunteers. Over a 14 day period, they treated about 2600 impoverished patients by conducting eye examinations, providing corrective glasses, giving medical treatment, and performing about 81 ophthalmological surgeries.

Created 30 years ago by Ann Marie Zon, a former resident of Buffalo who now lives in Nicaragua, the mission aims to improve the quality of life for underserved Nicaraguans by helping preserve visual function. The mission conducted a similar project in 2013 in Rivas Nicaragua and plans to return to Camoapa in 2015. The volunteer effort is made possible by generous donations made throughout the year.

Western New York Nicaragua Vision Care Mission volunteers

Western New York Nicaragua Vision Care Mission volunteers

Dr. Norah Lincaff with a patient in Camoapa, Nicaragua

Dr. Norah Lincoff with a patient in Camoapa, Nicaragua

Zivadinov part of study that prompts change in FDA labelling for glatiramer acetate (Copaxone)

On the basis of results from the GALA study group, which included UB Dept. of Neurology faculty member Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD,  the FDA has approved three-times weekly glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) injections for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.  Prior approved dosing required daily injections.  The study, which was conducted across 17 countries and involved more than 1400 patients, showed that the three-times weekly regimen is safe and effective, with the advantage of fewer injections. The GALA study was published in the June 2013 issue of Annals of Neurology.  Dr. Zivadinov directs the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center which performed the MRI analysis for the trial.

For the study abstract, click here:

Robert Zivadinov, MD PhD

Robert Zivadinov, MD PhD

Neuromuscular Faculty Have Article Chosen for Minimonograph

An article that appeared in the journal Muscle & Nerve by Department of Neurology faculty Drs. Nicholas J. Silvestri and Gil I. Wolfe, on asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic elevated creatine kinase (CK) levels, a common presentation in neuromuscular practice, has been chosen by the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) for reprint as a minimonograph. The AANEM has also made the review available for continuing medical education (CME) credits.

For the abstract, click on the link below:

Nicholas J. Silvestri, MD

Nicholas J. Silvestri, MD

Gil I. Wolfe, MD FAAN

Gil I. Wolfe, MD FAAN


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