Dr. Mark N. Hadley, Charles A. and Patsy Collat endowed professor of neurosurgery, hadleyMNhas recently been awarded a Department of Defense Military Medical Research and Development grant to study acute spinal cord treatment strategies. The grant will initiate June 2015.

The title of the grant is “A Multi-Center, Randomized, Controlled Trial of Cerebrospinal Fluid Drainage in Acute Spinal Cord Injury”. Dr. Hadley is a Co-Investigator of a multi-center study. The study will be conducted at three sites in the United States.

The purpose of the grant is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of cerebrospinal fluid drainage and to provide preliminary clinical efficacy evaluation of combination of cerebrospinal fluid drainage and elevation of mean arterial pressure in patients with acute spinal cord injury.







The Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Children’s of Alabama is sponsoring and coordinating an invitational meeting of Pediatric Neurosurgeons and researchers in Myelomeningocele on September 10-13, 2014. The meeting will incorporate a process of critical review of the literature with the ultimate goal of developing evidence based guidelines for a child with a Myelomeningocele. The meeting is being spear headed by Dr. Jeffrey Blount and Dr. Jerry Oakes, professors of Neurosurgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

There will be an opening reception on Wednesday, September 10 followed by sessions on Thursday, September 11 and Friday, September 12. Sessions will include critical discussions and review of papers on Myelomeningocele surrounding a variety of topics (including acute/chronic management of hydrocephalus, in-utero surgery of MMC, management of the C2M and management of the tethered spinal cord). A concluding session on will be held Saturday, September 13 to summarize and lay the ground work for the next stage of the guidelines development process.

All UAB Department of Neurosurgery faculty and residents are invited.

Inquiries can be made to Pediatric Neurosurgery at Children’s of Alabama by calling 205-638-9653.




UAB is the first medical center in the Southeast to implant a new type of electrical stimulator to control seizures in patients with epilepsy.

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On June 18, neurosurgeons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham implanted a new type of electrical stimulator to control seizures in patients with difficult-to-control epilepsy.

It marked the first time in the Southeast the RNS system by NeuroPace had been implanted since the device gained FDA approval in November 2013. The first patient was a 24-year-old woman from central Alabama.

RNS stands for responsive neurostimulation.

“It is designed to record patient’s specific brain activity and recognize patterns that are associated with seizures,” said Kristen Riley, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery. “The RNS system then delivers stimulation in order to help modulate and control the seizures.”

The system consists of electrodes attached by leads to a generator which can communicate with a computer. The generator is curved so that it can be placed within a patient’s skull. It is a little bigger than a flash drive.

“We drill a trough for the device so that it is flush within the skull,” said Riley. “There is not a raised area; it’s basically hidden within the skull.”

The electrodes are placed near the location in the brain where a patient’s seizures are triggered. Jerzy Szaflarski, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurology and director of the UAB Epilepsy Center, says the RNS system can be customized for each individual patient so that it learns which patterns of brain activity lead to seizures in that patient. He says data from research studies dating back several years indicate that many patients will respond to the stimulation and have significant reduction in their seizures.

“This is not a treatment that will cure epilepsy,” he said. “This is a treatment that will help control seizures in a very specific group of patients who are not otherwise candidates for surgery. I don’t expect too many patients to become seizure-free; but if we can decrease their seizures by even half, we can make huge improvements in their lives.”

The RNS system is for patients with severe seizures who do not respond to medications and are not candidates for surgery because the location of their seizure onset is at a sensitive part of the brain. It is also only for patients whose seizure onset can be traced to just one or two locations in the brain.

“We’re very excited to offer this therapy to our patients who are not candidates for more traditional therapies for epilepsy,” said Szaflarski. “We see multiple patients like that every year, and the RNS system could make a huge difference in the lives of those patients. There is already data to show that the quality of life of those patients has improved significantly with RNS.”

For more information on the RNS system, contact the UAB Epilepsy Center or make an appointment via the Kirklin Clinic at 205-801-8986.

The Department of Neurosurgery residents recently attended the Advances in Brain Tumor Management Conference jointly sponsored by the Columbia University Department of Neurosurgery and the American Association of Surgeons. The Conference was held June 6, 2014 in New York.

Dr. Mark Hadley, UAB neurosurgeon, was one of the presenters at the conference. He spoke on “Perfusion Pressure Management in the Peri-operative Treatment of Spinal Cord Pathology”.

The learning objectives of the conference were:

  1. Recognize CNS malignancies and other neurological diseases.

  2. Understand diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors and other neurological diseases.

  3. Discuss a multidisciplinary approach to treating brain tumors and other neurological diseases.




Children’s of Alabama was host to the inaugural “Cutting Edge Concussion Summit- Maintaining the Competitive Edge” on Friday, June 13, at 8 a.m. in its Bradley Lecture Center. The Summit attracted approximately 200 attendees.

The day-long conference was open to the public and hosted by UAB Sports Medicine at Children’s in conjunction with the Wise Up! Initiative. The conference featured presentations geared to coaches, athletic trainers and parents. Sessions included Critical Changes in Concussion Culture, Epidemiology of Sports and Recreation-Related TBI, and a panel discussion on Prolonged Recovery from Concussion among others.

“The evolution of concussion legislation and best practice is ongoing,” said Drew Ferguson, director of UAB Sports Medicine at Children’s of Alabama. “It’s imperative to understand how young athletes are affected by concussion symptoms in both the short term and the long term. The more parents, athletic trainers and coaches know about concussions, the safer our young athletes will be.”

Speakers included former college and NFL players including John Parker Wilson, Chris Redman and Tyler Watts as well as representatives from the CDC, renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Jim Johnston and Alabama High School Athletic Association Director, Steve Savarese. Topics that were addressed included Return-to-Play and Return-to –Think legislature as well as helmet standards, diagnosis and management of concussions and establishing a multi-disciplinary concussion program. Joel Stitzel and Alex Powers from Wake Forest University presented their groundbreaking research on impact biomechanics of youth football.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past four years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Children’s recently moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at

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