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2017 - A year in review (part 2 of 2)

Friday, December 29, 2017

For the Duke Department of Neurology, the second year of 2017 was as eventful at the first, starting with a bittersweet farewell for Mark Stacy, MD. Other events ranged from a new book by Jodi Dodds on carotid and vertebral artery dissections, to the debut of a new iPhone app to help patients with multiple sclerosis and advance research on the subject, to Carmen Graffagnino, MD, taking a pie to the face to raise money for stroke research. The year ended with a look the past and the future, with Marvin Rozear, MD, reflecting on his experience in Vietnam in 1970 and new research from Al La Spada, MD, PhD, offering potential to treat neurodegenerative diseases.


  • Faculty and staff of the Duke Neurology Department hold a farewell dinner for Mark Stacy, MD, professor and division chief of the Parkinson’s and Movement disorders division, who is leaving to become Dean of the Brody School of Medicine. Read more.
  • Twenty-five middle school students from the Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology (BOOST) XXL science program tour the Bryan Brain Bank and receive an interactive lesson in stroke from neurocritical care fellow Yasmin O’Keefe, MD. Read more.


  • A new book by Jodi Dodds, MD, examines carotid and vertebral artery dissections, a major cause of strokes and vascular injuries among young adults. Co-written by a survivor of a severe dissection, the book alternates between medical information and real patient stories. Read more.
  • Department Chair Rich O’Brien, MD, PhD, visits the Durham Center for Senior Life to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with about 30 senior residents and visitors. Read more.


  • A new study by Simon Davis, PhD, finds that brain halves increase communication during the aging process to compensate for the negative effects of aging. Read more.
  • Carmelo Graffagnino, MD, and Stroke Coordinator Heather Forrest both receive a pie to the face as part of a fundraiser for the American Stroke Association/American Heart Association, helping to raise nearly $1,000. Read more.


  • The MS Mosaic iPhone app, designed by F. Lee Hartsell, MD, MHS, and Katherine Heller, PhD debuts. By allowing patients with multiple sclerosis to easily and precisely record symptoms, this app will help patients receive better treatment and will guide future research. Read more.
  • In downtown Durham, Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD, discusses how habits change the brain before a live audience at a Periodic Tables event, a recurring series where speakers share interesting relevant science with the general public event at downtown Durham. Read more.


  • At a panel event, Leonard White, PhD, reflects on his four years teaching a free online course in Medical Neuroscience and looks to the future of online education. His course, named as one of the “best free online courses of all time” by Class Central, has already reached more than 200,000 people worldwide. Read more.
  • Carmelo Graffagnino, MD, and members of the Duke Neuro Intensive Care Unit travel to Uganda to help patients recover from the aftermath of neurosurgery as part of an ongoing effort with the Duke Global Neurosurgery and Neuroscience program. Read more.


  • A new study by new faculty members Al La Spada, MD, PhD, and Audrey Dickey, PhD, finds that a pair of drugs already in use to treat some cancers and type 2 diabetes may have potential to treat Huntington's disease. Their research also opens a potential new avenue to treating neurodegenerative diseases. Read more.
  • In Duke Today, neurologist and veteran Marvin Rozear, MD, reflects on his experience as a young doctor in Vietnam in 1970, where he treated U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers, civilians, and prisoners of war in the Army’s 95th Evacuation Hospital. Read his story here.