Neuroscience Symposium

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Fifth Annual Symposium Presented Current Findings in Neuroscience


by Philip Delio, MD, stroke neurologist, symposium co-chair


The Fifth Annual 2012 Saving the Brain Neuroscience Symposium presented by the Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute at Cottage Health System took place this past October and presented an overview and update on the latest advances across a broad spectrum of neurologic topics.


Featured Presentations

  • Stem Cell Therapy for Stroke by Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD
  • Modulating Memory: Deep Brain Stimulation for Alzheimer's Disease by Francisco Ponce, MD
  • Traumatic Brain Injury by Rocco Armonda, MD
  • Neurocritical Care, Our Future by Michael De Georgia, MD
  • Inside the Black Box: Brain Oxygen Monitoring and Neurologic Disorders by Mary Kay Bader, MSN, RN
  • Intraoperative MRI-The Future Is Here by Michael Chicoine, MD
  • Nanotechnologies in the Future of Biomedical Research and Medical Care by Jamey Marth, PhD
  • Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Management, Trials and Future by Alejandro Rabinstein, MD
  • Update on Stroke Prevention by Neil Schwartz, MD, PhD
  • Transient Ischemic Attacks by Philip Delio, MD
  • Development of a Regional Neurovascular Center by Alois Zauner, MD
  • Neurointerventionalist's Toolbox by Matthew Tenser, MD


Traditionally, the speakers at the Symposium have been some of the top researchers, clinicians and scientists in their respective fields, and this year was no exception. Whether it is the Santa Barbara weather, the promise of a high-level educational program or the opportunity to speak to an engaged group of regional physicians, nurses and neuroscientists, it is rare for any of the invited speakers to decline the invitation. The result is a program of lectures from the best and brightest in the field of neuroscience, with invited speakers from the nation's most comprehensive academic neuroscience centers and academic institutions.


While it is often difficult to choose a "theme" that unites the broad scope of lectures each year, the Fifth Symposium included updates on some of the more relevant topics in neurology and neurosurgery: acute interventional stroke treatment, stem cell therapy for stroke, neurocritical care issues in traumatic brain injury and implantable neurostimulators for the treatment of a dementia amongst others.


Speaking to a broad audience of almost 200 people that includes physicians, nurses and neuroscientists poses a challenge to the invited lecturers. Too much detail or focus on neurologic minutia may lose the interest of all but the most dedicated academicians, while too broad a topic will not engage the practicing neurologists and neurosurgeons who are looking for more that a simple review of neurologic topics. This year's speakers did an outstanding job of presenting material that was engaging to all, and as a testament to the quality of the presentations, most of the speakers themselves attended the rest of the Symposium in its entirety.


The caliber and expertise of this year's speakers resulted in a number of memorable presentations, not the least of which was that of Dr. Gary Steinberg, Chairman of Neurosurgery at Stanford University, and arguably one of the world's foremost experts and pioneers in the use of fetal stem cells for recovery after acute ischemic stroke. His preliminary data showed the migration of primitive stem cells towards damaged stroke tissue in an effort to regenerate and repair damaged neurons. While still restricted to research protocols, the promise of such therapy in real world clinical practice holds tremendous promise for the treatment of what is currently the leading cause of disability in the United States.


With the close of this year's Symposium, there was already talk of topics for next year, how to improve the program and how to attract as many participants as possible. Given the success of the Symposium to date, there is much anticipation for October of 2013. Special thanks go to Alois Zauner, MD, for organizing the Symposium from its origins five years ago, to Thomas Jones, MD, for wisely recognizing the role of the Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute as a conduit for the event and, of course, to Cottage Health System for its continued support of such an important educational program for the Central Coast and our medical region.


For more information about Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute at Cottage Health System, our conferences or to watch video excerpts from previous conferences, please visit our website at


The sixth annual conference is already scheduled for Saturday, October 12, 2013. For information about early bird registration discounts and an advance copy of the agenda that will be finalized mid-April, please e-mail


Charleen Strebel, MHA, RN, Program Coordinator with Ron Werft, president and CEO, Cottage Health System.


Guest speaker Neil Schwartz, MD, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford Medical Center, and Dr. Matthew Tenser, Neurologist and Neurointensivist at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.


Dr. Michael DeGeorgia, Director, Center for Neurocritical Care at Case Medical Center in Cleveland, and Dr. Edward Wroblewski, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Cottage Health System.


Drs. Alois Zauner, Philip Delio and Dr. Thomas Jones, Co-Medical Directors for the Fifth Annual Saving the Brain Symposium. All are members of the steering committee for the Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute at Cottage Health System, where Dr. Jones serves as Medical Director.

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