The 31th Annual J. Garber Galbraith Scientific Session & Lecture was held at the Bradley Lecture Center at Children's Harbor on Friday, October 3, 2014. The lecture was was well attended and featured scientific presentations from thirteen speakers throughout the day, culminating in the J. Garber Galbraith lecture "Evidence-based Assessment of Well-Established Interventions: The Parachute and the Epidural Hematoma" presented by Stephen J. Haines, MD.

Dr. Stephen Haines is the Lyle A. French Chair and Head of the Department of Neurosurgery. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Vermont and trained in Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh. He received the Van Wagenen Fellowship of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons to study clinical trials at Oxford University in 1981. Prior to his appointment at Minnesota he was Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery and a founding Co-Director of the Neuroscience Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has been board certified in Neurological Surgery since 1984.

Dr. Haines' primary clinical interests lie in surgery of the skull base, cranial nerves and posterior fossa, pediatric neurosurgery and brain tumors. He has extensive experience in the surgery of acoustic neuroma, trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm, craniofacial disorders, complex hydrocephalus, pediatric and adult myelodysplasia.

Dr. Haines' primary research interest focuses on the application of advanced clinical research techniques to neurosurgery and the development of resources for the evidence-based practice of neurosurgery. He is a past member of the Editorial Board of the Cochrane Stroke Group and has led his departments' involvement in numerous clinical trials. He has published and lectured extensively on these subjects.

The scientific session was followed by a dinner and award ceremeony held at The Summit Club where the awards were presented for the top three resident presentations as voted on by a independent team of judges. This years award winners were:

J. Garber Galbraith Award for Research - Christoph J. Griessenauer, MD
Griffith Harsh III Award for Research - Joseph H. Miller, MD
Richard Morawetz Award for Research - Paul M. Foreman, MD

The J. Garber Galbraith Scientific Session and Lecture is held annually by the Department of Neurosurgery. The 32nd Annual Session will be held November 6, 2015. For more information, call 205-934-2918.
It has been 30 days since neurologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham turned on the neurostimulator implanted in Sarah Conner’s brain to control her seizures.

In that short time, she can already say, “I’m doing pretty good.”

UAB neurosurgeon Kristen Riley, M.D., implanted the RNS system, developed by NeuroPace, into Conner’s brain.

Read the update on Sarah at

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.