Archive for the 'News Articles' Category

20
Apr
16

Should I Get a Second Opinion?

“What should I look for in a Neurosurgeon or Interventional Radiologist?” This is a common question many patients have as they are gaining more knowledge, and it is an answer people need to decide for themselves.  As you seek out medical advice for your care, always remember it is every patient’s right to feel comfortable with his or her decision.

For some patients that may mean only one opinion, but others benefit from a diversity of opinions or providers.  It is important for patients and caregivers to truly understand their options, and it is the responsibility of health care providers to be honest and forthcoming of medical options. Never hesitate to seek out a second or even third opinion; the more providers who look at your case, the more information you will have to determine the best decision.

Should you trust an online review when seeking out another physician? Always consider the source. Patients need to interpret online reviews in a balanced and thoughtful way.  Misunderstanding a doctor review can be a serious detriment.

The best decision is made from the patient who is well-informed.  Here are some questions that may be beneficial for you to ask when speaking to a physician about your case:

  • What is your experience with aneurysms/AVMs?
  • Where was your training and education?
  • How many aneurysm/AVM procedures do you perform in a year?
  • May I have a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV)?
  • What is your complication rate?  What is the national average?
  • What hospital(s) are you affiliated with?
  • How long will I ave to wait for an appointment after I call?
  • If I call with a question, what is the turnaround time for a response?
  • Who covers for you while you are away?

By obtaining a second opinion, you help ensure that you have been diagnosed appropriately and that you will receive the most appropriate and optimal treatment plan. This can provide you with significant reassurance, peace of mind and confidence that you are making the best choice for your health.

Remember to always check with your health insurer on their policy for second and third opinions.

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10
Jan
16

JOE NIEKRO FOUNDATION AWARDS OVER $240,000 TOWARD BRAIN ANEURYSM, AVM AND HEMORRHAGIC STROKE RESEARCH FUNDING

Nationally recognized non-profit, The Joe Niekro Foundation™ has announced the 2015 Joe Niekro Research Grant recipients. A total of $240,000 has been awarded by the foundation, which is committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms, AVMs and hemorrhagic strokes. “We are honored to be able to collaborate with these amazing recipients and provide them with the critical funding needed to help support the advancements of neurological research,” states JNF Founder, Natalie Niekro.

Barrow Neurological Institute, has received a $160,000 grant for the study Deconstructing the vascular tangle-A molecular biopsy of cerebral arteriovenous malformations, by Joseph Zabramski, MD and Yashar Kalani, MD. This groundbreaking study will aim to understand the pathogenesis of AVM formation and identify signaling pathways involved in vascular development and AVM formation. This is the second grant Barrow has received from The Joe Niekro Foundation™ for this study and provides the funds to cover expenses for the entire 2016 year. “On behalf of all of us at the Barrow, we want to thank you for your appreciation and continued support of this project,” states Dr. Kalani. “We are incredibly grateful to the Joe Niekro Foundation™ for their continued support and ongoing efforts to help make this collaboration a successful one,” claims Joseph Zabramski, MD.

University of Texas has been awarded a $20,224 grant for the project, Application of Machine Learning Techniques to Improve Outcomes after Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, by Huimahn Alex Choi, MD MS and Jude Savarraj, PhD. The goal of this project is the realization of a machine learning model that will reliably predict the occurrence of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage at least 24 hours before onset, allowing enough time for a meaningful clinical intervention.

A continued partner and collaborator of The Joe Niekro Research Grant, SNIS Foundation was the recipient of a $40,000 grant. This annual grant enables investigators to conduct pilot projects related to brain aneurysms, AVMs or stroke. It is the intention of the grant that the seed data from these projects will indicate feasibility and appropriateness of the research prior to applying for further funding; therefore, emphasis will be placed on research deemed to have the most potential for future funding. “JNF is a wonderful supporter of the SNIS Foundation and we are honored to steward JNF’s resources in innovating and improving care,” says SNIS board member and UCSF Interventional Neuroradiologist, Steven Hetts, MD.

Other 2015 grant recipients included:
Crouse Hospital – Syracuse, NY
St. Joseph’s Hospital – Phoenix, AZ
Child Legacy International – Boerne, TX
Houston Methodist Hospital – Houston, TX

Since inception, the Joe Niekro Foundation has awarded over $1,00,000 in research funding and has built a patient advocacy network that expands across the globe. The foundation provides education on the causes, risk factors and treatments of these conditions, while funding the advancement of neurological research.

Click here to view the list of previously funded projects.

For more information about funding opportunities including program guidelines and contacts, visit http://www.joeniekrofoundation.com/research-grants/grant-guidelines.

 

01
Sep
14

Don’t be a Chicken!!!

In support of BrDon't be a Chickenain Aneurysm Awareness Month (September), The Joe Niekro Foundation (JNF) encourages you to “Don’t be a Chicken.”

Brave survivors of brain aneurysms/AVMs and hemorrhagic strokes will represent The Joe Niekro Foundation during a month of mini-challenges to bring awareness to the importance of early detection and “Getting Scanned.” Don’t be a Chicken is designed to increase awareness of these devastating conditions by asking survivors, caregivers, friends and families to share their stories in attempt to educate the public on the warning signs and risk factors of a brain aneurysm and what to do if you experience “the worst headache of your life.” Courageous survivors and family members from across the country have come together to educate others on the importance of early detection and will be sharing their stories on the RUChickenJNF You Tube Channel, as well as across the foundation’s social media networks.

Plan to see quite a bit of the campaign’s mascot, “Chuck the Chicken” as the JNF will encourage individuals to make Chuck their Facebook profile picture. Signs of Chuck the Chicken have been created for survivors and supporters to download from the foundation’s website and Facebook page, take their picture with and then upload to social media. Throughout the month, Chuck will introduce new elements of the campaign and new challenges for the followers to participate in.

The Joe Niekro Foundation was founded by Natalie Niekro, daughter of the late knuckleball pitcher Joe Niekro, who lost his life to a brain aneurysm in October 2006. The foundation is committed to supporting patients and aiding in the research, treatment and awareness of Brain Aneurysms, AVMs and Hemorrhagic Strokes. The goal of the JNF is to raise awareness about the risk factors, causes and treatments of these conditions, while helping support the advancement of neurological research.  They provide public education and advocacy, support for patients and families, and develop awareness programs and educational materials for hospitals, clinics and other institutions nationwide.

It is estimated that 6 million people in the US have a brain aneurysm (1 in 50 people). Every eight minutes an aneurysm ruptures; killing 50% of those victims within minutes. Of the remaining half, 50% will suffer a delayed death and those remaining will usually suffer severe brain deficits.

One in every 200-500 people has a brain AVM; a dangerous, complex tangle of abnormal arteries and veins. Often the AVM ruptures and bleeds, causing severe brain deficits and sometimes death. The peak age for AVM hemorrhage is the late teens (age 15-20), but an AVM can rupture at any age.

Hemorrhagic strokes make up about 15% of all strokes, resulting in nearly one quarter of all deaths caused by or related to strokes. Approximately 10-15% of people who have this type of stroke will die before reaching the hospital.

“It’s important that we bring awareness to these silent killers and educate the public on the warning signs and risk factors associated with them. Far too many innocent lives are taken each year as a result of one of these conditions and we are here to help educate others before its too late,” says JNF Founder, Natalie Niekro.

Don’t be a Chicken kicks off September 1st . Follow the results at #RUchicken and #JNF or visit www.joeniekrofoundation.org.

For more information on The Joe Niekro Foundation, contact Natalie Niekro – nniekro@joeniekrofoundation.org.

 

27
Aug
14

Minnesota Twins to Host Brain Aneurysm Awareness Day

In honor of Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month, The Minnesota Twins will pay tribute to one of baseball’s most renowned pitchers and former Minnesota Twins Knuckleballer, Joe Niekro by hosting Brain Aneurysm Awareness Day on September 4th. Niekro spent 22 years in the major leagues, notching 221 wins and still holds the record, with his brother Phil, of the most successful brother combination in major league history, with 539 wins. On October 27, 2006, Joe passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm. Today, his legacy lives on through the Joe Niekro Foundation, committed to supporting patients and aiding in the research, treatment and awareness of Brain Aneurysms, AVMs and Hemorrhagic Strokes. The foundation strives to raise awareness about the risk factors, causes and treatments of these conditions, while helping support the advancement of neurological research.  JNF provides public education and advocacy, support for patients and families, and develops awareness programs and educational materials for hospitals, clinics and other institutions nationwide. Attending the day will be, Founder of The Joe Niekro Foundation, Joe’s daughter, Natalie, representatives from Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Stryker Neurovascular, along with several brain aneurysm/AVM/stroke survivors and family members. The group will be recognized during a special on-field ceremony before the game and will enjoy the game immediately following. An informational booth with literature on these conditions and the foundation will be set up on the main concourse during the game for anyone interested in stopping by.

If you would like to help or find out more about the foundation, visit www.joeniekrofoundation.org.

Natalie Niekro – Founder – The Joe Niekro Foundation – 602-318-1013 nniekro@joeniekrofoundation.org

23
Aug
14

Dr. Demetrius Lopes Joins JNF Advisory Board

The Joe Niekro Foundation is pleased to welcome Dr. Demetrius Lopes to our Medical Advisory Board.

Demetrius LopesDemetrius Klee Lopes, MD is the Section Chief of Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is highly skilled in endovascular surgery, microsurgery and radiosurgery of brain and spinal vascular problems. This unique set of skills allows Dr Lopes to personally provide all available vascular treatments to his patients. Dr Lopes’ practice focuses on caring for patients with complex aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVM), dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVF) carotid and vertebral-basilar blockage and stroke.  He also serves as Surgical Director of the Rush Comprehensive Stroke Center, Director of the Rush Center for Neuroendovascular Surgery, Director of Endovascular Neurosurgery Fellowship Education and Surgical Director of the Rush University Interventional Services.

Dr. Lopes began his medical education at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil (1987), followed by a General Surgery (PGY-1) internship at University of Illinois at Chicago and Cook County Hospital (1993) and Neurology (PGY-2) at the Indiana University (1994). He completed training in Neurosurgery and Fellowship in Neuroendovascular Surgery at State University of New York at Buffalo (1995-2001). In 2001, he was invited to head the cerebrovascular program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Lopes is an active author, lecturer and researcher. He has written many articles and chapters on various aspects of cerebrovascular surgery. His current research interests are in minimally invasive repair of blood vessels (aneurysms), intravascular imaging, flow diversion, arteriovenous malformation and stroke therapies. Dr Lopes’ is the principal investigator to trials for flow diverters such as Pipeline, Surpass, Fred and Web. As well as, stents like Lvis jr and Liberty. Dr. Lopes is unsurpassed in the Chicago-area in terms of expertise, experience, multidisciplinary collaboration and access to the latest diagnostic and stroke-prevention technologies. Dr Lopes is founding member of the World Live Neurovascular Conference (WLNC).

Welcome to the JNF Family Dr. Lopes – we are excited to have you!

 

21
Aug
14

JNF Welcomes Two New Advisory Members

The Joe Niekro Foundation is excited to announce our newest Medical Advisory Board Members, Dr. Peter Rasmussen of Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Aman Patel of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Aman Patel, MDDr. Patel, MD is a neurosurgical attending at Massachusetts General Hospital with clinical interests in cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery with a focus on the treatment of cerebral aneurysms, vascular malformations and stroke. Prior to Mass General, Dr. Patel was Full Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Director Cerebrovascular/ Endovascular Neurosurgery, Co-Director Stroke Program and Vice-Chairman Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.  He started the program 13 years ago after completing post-graduate training in neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology with a focus on the care of patients with cerebrovascular disease across the specialties of neurosurgery, radiology and neurology. This collaborative approach has led to the growth of the program to becoming one of the busiest centers in New York City.

An expert in the vasculature of the brain and spine, Dr. Patel offers both endovascular and open microsurgical options to patients. He specializes in the minimally invasive treatment of brain and spinal disorders using endovascular techniques that are creating new treatment options for a broad range of conditions, replacing long and difficult traditional surgeries with low-risk interventions. When indicated, he also performs open surgery for cerebrovascular disease and general neurosurgery.

Dr. Patel is involved in multiple multi-center studies, NIH and industry sponsored, that investigate treatments related to ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, new devices and new techniques.  He is focused on cerebrovascular treatments with a goal of developing a world-class program at Mass General that advances the clinical, academic, research and education work that began at Mount Sinai, with a goal of adding additional basic and clinical research.

RasmussenPeter Rasmussen, MD is Director of the Cerebrovascular Center at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Medical Director of Distance Health. Dr. Rasmussen’s clinical interests are in hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, primarily focusing on cerebral aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations and occlusive intracranial atherosclerotic disease. He maintains a busy practice offering patients either open microsurgery or endovascular, minimally invasive treatment options. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison, Wisconsin, completed his residency in neurosurgery at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, completed fellowship training in interventional neuroradiology/endovascular neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, as well as a fellowship in microsurgical treatment of cerebrovascular disease also at the Cleveland Clinic. He joined the faculty at the Cleveland Clinic in 2000. He has authored numerous scientific papers and book chapters. Currently he is an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery and American Journal of Neuroradiology. During his career, Dr. Rasmussen has maintained an active interest in applied or translational research acting as the Co-Director of the Endovascular Neurosurgery Research Laboratory. He is an active member of many professional organizations including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, and the Joint Sections on Neurotrauma, Critical Care and Cerebrovascular Surgery.
Dr. Rasmussen is the President of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS), is a past Vice Chair of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Cerebrovascular Section, and has been appointed as a fellow to both the American Heart Association (FAHA) and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (FAANS).

We are thrilled to have these two amazing surgeons join our family!  Thank you for your commitment to The Joe Niekro Foundation!

16
Aug
14

JNF Welcomes Two New Patient Advocates

Please join us in welcoming our two newest Patient Advocates, Tammy Curmano and Linda Legner-Romano.  We are excited to have you on board and thank you for your continued commitment to The Joe Niekro Foundation and our mission.

TamTammymy is a 5-year brain aneurysm survivor and extremely passionate about patient support and advocacy.  Tammy states, “I know that we make a difference in the lives of so many that feel alone.  The most important thing is having a positive, inspirational place to come for answers.  The team is here for us all, to help us through our challenges and celebrate all of our milestones!  I wish I would have known this group when I needed it the most, but now I am a part of the most compassionate and supportive team, and am extremely grateful.”  Tammy – we are so thankful for you!

On June 25, 2013, Linda Legner-Romano underwent the Pipeline procedure to treat her four brain Lindaaneuryms and today is focused on providing support to other brain aneurysm/AVM survivors and families.  A very important goal for Linda is to work together with other survivors of brain aneuryms and avms and their family members to provide the support she understands first hand is so critical. Linda will be facilitating our new Chicago Support Group at Rush University Medical Center which begins this coming Thursday, August 21st.  “We as a group of survivors can unite to support one another. Together we can understand the uniqueness of our situation and wrap our arms around each other in comfort to know we are not alone,” states Linda.

Tammy and Linda – Welcome to the JNF Family!

 




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