discoveries magazine

The Most Important Object on My Desk

Miniature die-cast Tour de France cyclists

Marcel Maya, MD, co-chair of the Department of Imaging, aims to improve diagnosis and treatment of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, an uncommon condition caused by a tear in the lining of the spinal cord, or by direct communication between the spinal fluid space and veins. In a study published in JAMA Neurology, Dr. Maya and colleagues found that minimally invasive MRI technologies are just as accurate in detecting CSF leak as the standard test, a CT scan.

The Objects

These miniature die-cast Tour de France cyclists are a souvenir from a winter trip to Paris that Dr. Maya and his wife took nearly 20 years ago.

Why They’re Important

Dr. Maya is a cycling afficionado who used to take long weekend rides through the scenic hills of Benedict Canyon. He’s since hung up his bike helmet for a tennis racket, but the little riders remain on his desk as a moving memento, a symbol of freedom and a reminder to embrace the thrill of adventure.

“It’s a nice reminder to go outside and be hopeful, to be active and challenge myself,” Dr. Maya says.