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Research

UC Irvine's Department of Neurological Surgery has active research activities and research protocols in normal pressure hydrocephalus, neuro-oncology and spinal cord injury.

Some current studies include:

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)

NPH is a difficult-to-diagnose disorder that occurs mainly in older adults and has three main symptoms: difficulty walking, or gait imbalance; urinary incontinence and memory problems.
Cranial scan

One of the most accurate ways to diagnose NPH is to drain small amounts of spinal fluid over the course of three days while the patient performs a series
of tests to examine their gait, cognition and ability to carry out general daily activities.

Patients whose symptoms improve after the spinal drainage have a good
chance for longer term improvement with a permanent brain shunt. Our study aims to determine which factors predict whether a patient improves with a shunt.

Intracranial pressure waveform analysis

This project, conducted in collaboration with the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neurology, involves gathering data on patients being treated for a variety of conditions, including traumatic brain injury, intracerebral hemorrhage, stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Any patient who has a tube placed into the brain to monitor intracranial pressure (ICP) is eligible. Physiological data is recorded then analyzed with a sophisticated computer program. By analyzing the ICP waveform, we are working to develop a model that can predict dangerous ICP elevations before they occur and allow intervention in advance.

Brain tumor studies

Our faculty members also are active in many areas of basic and clinical research on brain tumors. Recent projects include:

  • Studying the effect of neural transcription factor PAX6 in controlling stem-like glioma cells, tumor recurrence and response to radiation and temozolomide-based chemotherapy

  • Systematically studying how PAX6 controls and mediates glioma malignant behavior, including cellular invasion and tumor angiogenesis

  • Studying the therapeutic effect of the protein EFEMP1 in mediating PAX6 and other tumor suppression pathways in gliomas, which are
    brain tumors that originate in the brain or spinal cord

  • Developing mathematical gene expression modeling to improve outcome prediction, identify potential new therapeutic targets and uncover potential biomarkers for disease severity and/or progression in glioma
    patients

For information about other research or collaboration requests, please call 714-456-6966.