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Format: 04/20/2014
Format: 04/20/2014


Allegheny General Hospital Launches Neurosciences Institute

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

PITTSBURGH (September 30, 2009) – A longstanding leader in the fields of neurosurgery and neurology, Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) will open a new Neuroscience Institute this week that promises to further advance its already formidable capabilities in the treatment of patients with the complete spectrum of neurological disorders.

In conjunction with the opening of the Neuroscience Institute, AGH also announced the recruitment of Boyle Cheng, PhD, to direct the Institute’s Neurosurgery, Spine and Biomechanics Laboratory.

Dr. Cheng is a nationally-recognized neuroscientist who joins West Penn Allegheny Health System from the University of Pittsburgh where he served as faculty assistant professor for the Departments of Neurological Surgery and Biomedical Engineering and co-director of the Welch Neurosurgical Research Laboratory.

The Neuroscience Institute will house outpatient treatment facilities for patients with back and neck problems, cranial nerve disorders, dementia, dizziness and vertigo, epilepsy, headache, movement disorders, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular diseases, pain, stroke, and brain aneurysms, hemorrhage, tumors and traumatic injuries.

The creation of the Institute will expand AGH’s dedicated outpatient neuroscience treatment rooms from six to 20. Media are invited to tour the new facility from 2 to 6:30 p.m. when it opens October 1. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The Neuroscience Institute is located on the second floor of the Hospital’s South Tower, adjacent to the Department of Neurology. The proximity of the two departments is one of many factors that will enhance patient care.

“Our plan is to have more collaborative clinics in the space,” said Maureen Scanlon, Director, Department of Neurosurgery. “We’re looking for ways to work with other specialists, so that when a patient comes in, their visit is not just a typical appointment, but a very efficient and organized team discussion among all relevant clinicians and physicians.”

In addition to more treatment rooms, the new outpatient facility features private patient education areas equipped with a large flat screen television, new furniture, remodeled waiting area and fresh décor featuring the works of local artists.

“With the help of the Hospital’s auxiliary, we’ve been able to make our unit a more comfortable and patient friendly environment,” said Jack Wilberger, MD, Chairman of AGH’s Department of Neurosurgery. “Many of our patients have very serious diseases or surgical problems and we want to enhance their experience as much as possible.”

The Neuroscience Institute provides an optimal environment for outpatient neurological care, complementing Allegheny General’s 23-bed Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit and 37-bed inpatient Neuroscience Unit.

The new Institute’s focus on basic and clinical research will help strengthen AGH’s role in the study of new devices and surgical techniques that could improve care, Dr. Wilberger said.

“Any neuroscience program that wants to be in the forefront of our field has to be supplemented by basic science research,” Dr. Wilberger said. “That’s where everything starts.”

Dr. Cheng’s grant-funded research has evaluated new anterior cervical disc replacement techniques, investigated facet motion preservation technologies, and involved dynamic and physical modeling based on specimen specific imaging and kinematic studies.

At Allegheny General, Dr. Cheng will lead efforts to discover improvements in spine surgery and care, including the evaluation of devices that would allow for dynamic stabilization of the spine.

“We have an aging population in Allegheny County and a growing number of patients who require attention to the spine,” Dr. Cheng said. “We’ll be using the new lab to look at the way medical devices function, examine their durability and help investigate new technologies that will ultimately be able to be applied clinically.”

The Neuroscience Program at AGH integrates world-renowned experts in the subspecialties of neurology, neurotology, neuroradiology, neuro-critical care, and neurosurgery to offer world class care for patients with the most complex neurological disorders. Recognized as both a Neurosciences Center of Excellence and a Spine Center of Excellence, the program serves as a national and international referral center for treatment of all types of neurological conditions.


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