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).


Dept. of Neurology Presents over 20 Papers at 2015 ECTRIMS Meeting

The UB Dept. of Neurology presented over 20 abstracts at the recently completed 2015 ECTRIMS Meeting, held in Barcelona, Spain from October 7-10, 2015.  ECTRIMS is organized by the European Committee on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis and is the main international MS conference held annually.  Key presenters from the neurology department and collaborating UB investigators included Drs. Ralph Benedict, Michael Dwyer, David Hojnacki, Katelyn Kavak, Chana Kolb, Murali Ramanathan, Ferdinand Schweser, Barbara Teter, Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, and Robert Zivadinov.  Numerous students, housestaff and research assistants were also involved with the papers.  Karen Zakalik and Kara Patrick provided essential research coordinator support.  For a full listing of the presentations that included UB investigators, please see the attached:  UB Neurology at ECTRIMS 2015.

Dept. of Neurology Receives Graduate Medical Education Quality Improvement Award

Resident trainees of the Univ. at Buffalo Dept. of Neurology have again received a Graduate Medical Education Quality Improvement Award to fund a study to increase the yield of cytology and flow cytometry on cerebrospinal fluid.  These additional tests on CSF obtained after lumbar puncture are primarily used in detecting malignancies that have spread to the central nervous system.  Funds include travel support so that housestaff can present their findings at national conferences.  Spearheading the project for the residents is Ashish Arora, MBBS, a PGY3 resident.  The faculty adviser is Ping Li, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Neurology and director of the adult epilepsy program.

Ashish Arora, MBBS

Ashish Arora, MBBS

Ping Li, MD, MSc

Ping Li, MD, MSc

Channel 4 Interviews Dr. Melissa Rayhill About Back-to-School Headaches

Melissa Rayhill, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and headache expert who trained through the Harvard Headache Medical Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was recently interviewed by WIVB, Channel 4, on the phenomenon of “back to school” headaches.  Headache complaints often spike in the fall with the return to school.  Dr. Rayhill explained that common causes for headaches in children include skipping meals, dehydration, poor sleep, and changes in routine, in addition to stress associated with starting or returning to the classroom.  Dr. Rayhill also recommended limiting smart phone and electronic screen use 30 minutes before bedtime to improve sleep quality.  Genetics may also play a role.  Finally, migraine headaches often first appear in the adolescent to teenage years, adding to the phenomenon.  For more information, see

Melissa Rayhill, MD

Melissa Rayhill, MD

UBMD Neurology Opens New Northtowns Clinic Site

UBMD Neurology, the clinical wing of the University at Buffalo Dept. of Neurology, has just opened its new suburban clinic site in Williamsville, at 5851 Main Street.  All adult and child neurological clinical services previously provided at the 300 Essjay Rd. site will be available at the new clinic site.  In addition to its more accessible location, the 5851 Main St. site has a greater number of parking spots available directly adjacent to the building’s main entrance.  Patients are now being seen at the site, and further improvements to signage, the parking lot, and landscaping are still underway.  Phone numbers have not changed.  To schedule an appointment, please call 716-932-6080.  Our latest brochure is attached: UBMD Neurology brochure


UB Neurology Stroke Division Recognized with Acute Stroke Top Performer Award

The Stroke Division of the Univ. at Buffalo Department of Neurology played a key role in the recognition of Buffalo General Medical Center as a Top Performer in all areas of acute stroke management.  The New York State Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry Program awarded Buffalo General Medical Center top status in median door to needle time for tPA therapy (<60 minutes), dysphagia screening, hyperlipidemia evaluation and management, and stroke education.  The Stroke Division is directed by Dr. Robert Sawyer, Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Neurology.  His colleagues are Drs. Marilou Ching, Christopher Deline, Ashkan Mowla, and Peyman Shirani, all Assistant Professor of Neurology.

Drs. Ashkan Mowla, Peyman Shirani, Robert Sawyer, and Christopher Deline (left to right)

Drs. Ashkan Mowla, Peyman Shirani, Robert Sawyer, and Christopher Deline (left to right)


Dr. Gil Wolfe Receives Doctor of the Year Award from MGFA

Gil I. Wolfe, MD, Irwin and Rosemary Smith Professor and Chairman of the Dept. of Neurology, is the recipient of the 2015 Doctor of the Year Award from the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA).  Dr. Wolfe has been a member of the MGFA’s Medical Scientific Advisory Board since 2001 and is its immediate past president.  He has organized annual scientific sessions for the MGFA and was co-organizer of the last International Conference on MG and Related Disorders, held in New York City in 2012.  With his colleague, Dr. Nick Silvestri in the Dept. of Neurology, he co-writes a regular column published in the MFGA Foundation Focus newsletter, “What’s Hot off the Press in Neuromuscular Junction Disorders?” to keep the MG community apprised of the latest developments in the field.

Gil I. Wolfe, MD, FAAN

Gil I. Wolfe, MD, FAAN

UB Dept. of Neurology Celebrates Annual Research Day and Graduation Banquet

The UB Dept. of Neurology held its annual Michael E. Cohen, MD, Residents Research Day and Graduation Banquet on June 12, 2015.  All graduating residents presented their research findings, while the PGY-3 level residents presented research plans.  The Research Day was coordinated by Dr. Robert Zivadinov and his Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center staff.  Winners of the Outstanding Resident Presentation Awards for Research Day were Deeya Gaindh, MD and Karanbir Singh, MBBS, both PGY4s, and Haris Kamal, MD, PGY3.  The Research Day program is available here: Research Day 2015 Program

At the Graduation Dinner banquet, Pooja Sofat, MBBS, PGY4 and co-chief resident, received the teaching award from the medical students.  Nour Abdelhamid, MBChB, PGY4 and co-chief resident, received the Edward Fogan Annual Neurology Prize that recognizes excellence in clinical practice and compassionate care.  Graduating residents were Drs. Nour Abdelhamid, Ghasan Ahmad, Deeya Gaindh, Naeem Mahfooz, Muhammad Masud, Karanbir Singh, and Pooja Sofat.  Graduating neurophysiology fellows were Drs. Ahmad Abokhamis, Sunil Naik, and Katie Warren.  Also graduating are neuroimaging fellow Dr. Javier Chapa and neurovascular fellow Luis Arangua.  The incoming neurology chief residents for 2015-16 are Drs. Haris Kamal and Aurangzeb Memon.  Eva Tamoga and Caleb Clark, administrative support staff for the training programs, played key roles in organizing the banquet.

Graduating residents at banquet (l to r): Drs. Muhammad Masud,, Nour Abdelhamid, Karan Singh, Ghasan Ahmad, Pooja Sofat, Deeya Gaindh, and Naeem Mahfooz.

Graduating residents at banquet (l to r): Drs. Muhammad Masud,, Nour Abdelhamid, Karan Singh, Ghasan Ahmad, Pooja Sofat, Deeya Gaindh, and Naeem Mahfooz.

UB Dept of Neurology; Residents Research Day 2015

UB Dept of Neurology;
Residents Research Day 2015




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