Numerous individuals within the University of Maryland School of Medicine, including many members of the Program in Neuroscience, are internationally recognized for their outstanding contributions to clinical medicine and clinical research. Of particular importance, many clinical neuroscientists pursue laboratory investigations that bridge the basic and clinical sciences, offering, on the one hand, cutting edge advances directly relevant to patient care while simultaneously utilizing the most advanced techniques that the basic sciences have to offer.
Prominent clinicians affiliated with the Program in Neuroscience have primary appointments in a variety of clinical departments, including Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, Opthalmology, Pathology and Anesthesiology. Many of these individuals participate in the Neuroscience Research Focus Groups, which are highly effective at bringing together clinical and basic scientists from diverse departments and in facilitating translation of knowledge from preclinical studies into improved treatments for neurologic and psychiatric disorders.Stroke and neurotrauma are particularly well-represented by the University of Maryland Stroke Center, the Maryland Brain Attack Center, the National Study Center for Trauma and Emergency Medical Systems, and the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. Clinical research within these centers covers the entire spectrum of activities from pre-hospital diagnostics and care to acute, in-hospital pharmacological and surgical interventions, to long-term rehabilitation. Active areas of clinical investigation involve determining best treatments for thrombotic stoke, cerebral hemorrhage and carotid stenosis utilizing the most modern treatments, including intra-arterial thrombolyic therapy, carotid stent placement vs. endarterectomy, and non-invasive Gamma Knife treatment for arteriovenous malformations. Complementary preclinical research carried out in the Anesthesiology and Neurosurgery Departments focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating vascular, astroglial and neuronal function in stroke and trauma.
Considerable clinical research is also directed toward the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and multiple sclerosis. These activities are organized within the Alzheimers and Parkinsons Disease Programs, the Maryland Center for Multiple Sclerosis, and the Center for Research on Aging. Clinical activities include ongoing trials for pharmacological treatment of the various disorders, as well as surgical trials implanting deep brain stimulators for management of Parkinsons patients. Preclinical research efforts relevant to understanding these degenerative diseases are the focus of ongoing research efforts in the Pathology, Neurology, Pharmacology and Physiology Departments.
Other outstanding clinical neuroscience programs include those within the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, widely recognized as one of the most highly regarded schizophrenia research centers in the world. Apart from clinical activities aimed at better understanding and treating these conditions, efforts are underway to assess the role of surgically implanted vagal nerve stimulators for treating a variety of clinical disorders. The Maryland Epilepsy Center has contributed much to the development of novel anti-epileptic drugs, to sophisticated mapping of abnormal electrical activity utilizing advanced computational methods, and to surgical procedures for the treatment of patients unresponsive to medical therapies. These clinical efforts are further augmented by availability of human tissues resected during epilepsy surgery that are utilized by researchers in the Pharmacology Department to advance understanding of human neuronal function. The Pain Research Focus area is complimented by the University of Maryland Pain Center, committed to improving the lives of people with chronic pain, utilizing not only conventional medical therapies but also non-traditional methods such as acupuncture. The thousands of patients whose suffering is relieved and whose lives are improved by the efforts of the health care professionals within these departments, centers and programs are a testament to the importance of sustaining research by world leaders, like the University of Maryland, in the field of clinical neuroscience.