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Neuro Annual Report 2023: A Year of Patients, Progress

Collaboration, Multidisciplinary Approach Advance Research, Patient Outcomes in Cedars-Sinai’s Neurology and Neurosurgery Departments

The Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai highlighted progress against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, brain cancer and stroke in their 2023 Annual Report, which also details advancements in spine surgery.Keith L. Black, MD

Together, Cedars-Sinai’s Neurology and Neurosurgery departments were ranked #1 in Los Angeles and #7 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals 2022-2023,” and #2 in the nation for the lowest stroke mortality rate by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

“As we reflect on 2022, we are proud to say that teamwork in medicine and science has been a transformative and essential feature in our neurology and neurosurgery efforts and will continue to form the Nancy Sicotte, MDfoundation of our approach moving forward,” wrote Keith L. Black, MD, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, and Nancy Sicotte, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, in the report’s introduction. “Our collaborations are routinely bearing fruit in the form of advancements in disease management and outcomes.”

Along with these advancements, the report included research findings cited in more than 170 publications, participation in 78 neurology and 24 neurosurgery clinical trials, and funding of 20 new research grants in 2022. Additionally, physicians, nurses and other health professionals for the busy departments received nearly 66,000 patient visits.

Progress in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Cedars-Sinai investigators are using the eye as a window into the brain to monitor neurological disorders and diseases such as multiple sclerosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Leading-edge retinal imaging techniques are giving neurologists a detailed view of plaques, inflammation and vascular and structural changes, and these insights have the potential to revolutionize diagnosis and the tracking of disease progression.

In 2022 Cedars-Sinai also unveiled the Bernard and Maxine Platzer Lynn Family Memory and Healthy Aging Program, a full-spectrum aging program including care coordination, a Preventive Health in Aging Program, and a Brain Health Hub.

Progress in Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers and clinicians are working to treat Parkinson’s disease before it becomes debilitating for patients by studying early nonmotor symptoms, such as REM sleep behavior disorder or depression, which can occur before patients experience neurological symptoms.

In further studying the long-established connection between Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 diabetes, Cedars-Sinai investigators also became the first in the world to test the anti-diabetic medication liraglutide as a treatment for patients with Parkinson’s. The results of the Phase II trial suggest a significant improvement in nonmotor symptoms and quality of life.

Investigators in the Center for Neural Science and Medicine at Cedars-Sinai also published findings detailing a potential new way to help prevent motor dysfunction in patients with Parkinson’s disease—by increasing the body’s production of the hormone and neurotransmitter norepinephrine.

Progress in ALS Treatment

In the first clinical trial of its kind, Cedars-Sinai investigators showed that a combined stem cell and gene therapy could be delivered past the blood-brain barrier and could protect motor neurons in the spinal cords of patients with ALS.

Progress in Spine Surgery

Spine surgeons at Cedars-Sinai, working with the medical center’s Department of Computational Biomedicine, are using artificial intelligence to predict everything from post-surgery pain to medication dependency and other key outcomes for surgical patients. In the future, machine-learning algorithms could give patients personalized predictions about their surgery before they decide to move forward.

Progress in Brain Tumors

An experimental vaccine created by Cedars-Sinai investigators showed preliminary evidence of generating an immune response against glioblastoma in some patients, and fluorescent dye from scorpion venom is being tested in a Phase II clinical trial as an agent for “lighting up” invasive tumors for more complete surgical removal.

Progress in Stroke

Cedars-Sinai was one of the first health systems to switch to the clot-busting drug tenecteplase as a safer, more efficient and effective, and less expensive option for acute stroke treatment. The American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy published “A Practice Game Changer,” detailing results of the multicenter quality improvement project.

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital received Primary Stroke Center designation from The Joint Commission and the American Stroke Association, signifying its ability to provide elevated evaluation and emergency care for stroke patients.

Click here to read the complete Annual Report.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: The Untapped Potential of Stem Cells