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Department of Neurology

Subspecialties


 Headache/Pain Medicine

Marius Birlea, MD
Marius Birlea, MD
Division Chief
 
Headache is the most frequent symptom for which patients are referred to a neurologist and migraine is the most common type of headache found and treated in the outpatient clinics. Each year, in the US, 12-15% of the population suffers attacks of migraine and more than 3 million individuals have headache more often than not; overall the condition is under diagnosed and under treated. In only a small minority of cases can a specific cause of head pain be found, diagnosed as secondary headache. We bring together our expertise and the state-of-the art diagnostic resources in our hospital, including excellent Neuroradiology experts, visual, vestibular or cardiovascular tests, clinical laboratories, lumbar punctures as needed, in order to identify and treat the underlying conditions specifically.
 
A certified Headache Medicine specialist and two nurse practitioners work full time, together with qualified nurses and supporting staff, to assure consultations and long term management of patients in the Headache clinic. Our part time faculty members with headache expertise are board certified specialists in Headache Medicine, Pain Medicine and Epilepsy, respectively. Consultations for headache and/or face pain are also offered by our colleagues in the Consultative Neurology division. Our Headache program is accredited by the United Council for Neurological Subspecialties (UCNS) for fellowship to train future Headache Medicine specialists. We collaborate with Neurosurgery and other services for the development of a comprehensive Concussion program. We also work together with the Headache clinic at the Children’s Colorado hospital for the transition of adolescents with headache to specialized adult care. The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a top academic medical center. The Department of Neurology collaborates closely with the American Headache Society for maintaining high quality and standard of care.
 
 
 
To schedule a patient appointment in the Headache/Pain Medicine clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.
 
For Headache Medicine Fellowship information, please click here.
 
11

 Movement Disorders

Maureen A. Leehey, MD
Maureen A. Leehey, MD
Division Chief

The University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center (MDC) provides state of the art interdisciplinary clinical care and community outreach to patients and families in the Rocky Mountain Region, pursues research to treat and prevent movement disorders and educates the next generation of clinicians and researchers in this field. The University of Colorado has a distinguished history of excellence including the first and largest trial of cell transplantation for Parkinson’s disease, development of the most widely used specialized speech therapy for Parkinson’s disease, ground-breaking work in the description of Fragile-X Tremor Ataxia Syndrome, development of the first palliative care clinic in the United States focused on movement disorders and one of the largest deep brain stimulation surgery centers in the country.
 
More than 5,000 movement disorders patients are served by the University of Colorado Hospital MDC clinics annually - by far the Rocky Mountain Region’s largest referral center for these conditions. In addition to outpatient visits, our practitioners also provide specialized services such as Deep Brain Stimulation surgery (DBS), botuliunum toxin injections (Botox), physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, neuropsychological testing and psychiatric services.

University of Colorado Movement Disorders investigators are conducting 30-50 research studies at any time, funded by the National Institutes of Health and other governmental agencies, Michael J. Fox Foundation and other private foundations and industry. These studies include: basic research, translational and clinical trials; multi-center and investigator initiated trials; and collaborations across our department, medical school, campus, and local, national, and international institutions. Our faculty engages students and graduates of all levels in these research projects.
 
As well as educating students in research, our faculty teaches health care students and professionals locally, nationally and internationally. The MDC sponsors a monthly campus multidisciplinary lecture series and co-sponsors a quarterly video rounds and an annual CME event for local physicians and neurologists. MDC members have an educational conference every other week, which includes journal club, lectures and video rounds. Further, the MDC actively participates in and educates community lay movement disorders groups.

Movement Disorders Center faculty:

Jessica P. Barr PA-C

Brian D. Berman, MD, MS

Michelle Fullard, MD, MSCE

Trevor H. Hawkins, MD

Samantha K. Holden, MD

Drew S. Kern, MD, MS

Benzi M. Kluger, MD, MS

Maureen A. Leehey, MD

Lauren C. Seeberger, MD

 

To schedule a patient appointment in the Movement Disorders Center clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.
 
For Fellowship information, please click here.

 

4

 Neuro-Behavior/Memory Disorders

The Behavioral Neurology Section, established in 1991 to represent the study of brain-behavior relationships, is directed by Dr. Filley while Dr. Anderson serves as Associate Director. Clinical expertise is broad, and includes the dementias, focal neurobehavioral syndromes, traumatic brain injury, neuropsychiatric disorders, neurobehavioral aspects of movement disorders, and higher visual dysfunction. Research is conducted by all section members, extensive educational opportunities are regularly available, and a fellowship is offered for interested residents. Our combined academic efforts recently led to publication of a comprehensive textbook: Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
The major project of the section now underway is the expansion of our national presence in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Dr. Woodcock joined the faculty in 2012 and is directing the clinical component of this program, in close collaboration with Huntington Potter, PhD, whose innovative investigations of the neurobiological links between AD and Down Syndrome will be the foundation of research. The goal is to build upon existing strengths in clinical care for AD and other dementias by developing unique research expertise that will enable application for an AD center funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Behavioral Neurology Faculty:

Al Anderson, MD

Brianne M. Bettcher, PhD, ABBP-CN

Kelly Darrow, NP

Christopher M. Filley, MD

Samantha K. Holden, MD

Benzi M. Kluger, MD, MS

Brice V. McConnell, MD, PhD

Victoria S. Pelak, MD

Peter S. Pressman, MD

Hal S. Wortzel, MD

 

To schedule a patient appointment in the Memory Disorders Clinic at the UCHealth Stapleton Medical Center, call 720-848-2080.

For Fellowship information, please click here.

5

 Neuro-Immunology/MS

 




 Tim L. Vollmer, MD
              John R. Corboy, MD      Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Division Chiefs and Co-Directors,
                           Rocky Mountain MS Center                            
 
The Neuroimmunology group of the Department of Neurology at the University of Colorado is comprised of seven physicians, four physician assistants, three RNs and a host of associate staff. The physicians include two relatively unique subspecialties, a pediatric MS specialist and a neuroimmunologically trained hospitalist, both among a select few in the country. We provide clinical care at four sites in Denver and the surrounding region, with the bulk of patients seen at the University of Colorado Hospital. This year we will complete over 8,000 patient visits for multiple sclerosis and other immunological conditions affecting the central nervous system. We provide state-of-the-art care, and partner with dedicated experts in numerous related fields including neuro-ophthalmology, neuro-radiology, neuro-urology, physical therapy, neuro-otology, neurosurgery, neuropsychology and many others. Through an affiliation with a longstanding patient advocacy organization, the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, we offer local, regional, national and international education for patients, their families, and their providers (through professional education).
 
In addition, we have a robust basic and translational science program dedicated to a greater understanding of MS and related conditions, with several labs within the department of Neurology and related departments. We run the Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank, providing CNS tissues to international researchers for over 30 years. Our clinical research program is one of the largest in the U.S., with over 40 active clinical research projects focused on both clinical trials as well a greater understanding of these conditions.
 

Neuroimmunology faculty:

Enrique Alvarez, MD, PhD

John R. Corboy, MD

Robert H. Gross, MD

Constance McMenamin, FNP-C

Kavita V. Nair, PhD

Amanda L. Piquet, MD

Teri L. Schreiner, MD, MPH

Timothy L. Vollmer, MD

Anastacia Wall, PA

 

To schedule a patient appointment in the Multiple Sclerosis clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.

For Fellowship information, please click here.

6

 Neuro-Infectious Diseases Group

J. David Beckham, MD
J. David Beckham, MD
Division Chief
 
The Neuro-Infectious Diseases Group​ in the Department of Neurology is a novel, cross-disciplinary group of physicians with expertise in neurology and infectious diseases. Our new group consists of several core faculty with diverse interests and expertise in infections of the nervous system. We provide care at four sites in Denver and offer expert consultative care for patients throughout the US. We provide cutting-edge care and expert advice in the field of neurological infections by partnering with dedicated experts in numerous related fields including NeuroImmunology, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Neuroradiology, and Neurosurgery. We have developed a novel clinical training program in the field of neurological infections and provide essential training in this emerging subspecialty.

Together, the Neuro-Infectious Diseases Group at the Department of Neurology boasts one of the most robust research programs in the world. Our group is extensively involved in bench scientific studies, translational research, and clinical research studies aimed at determining new treatments for these devastating infections. Integration of our clinical expertise with ongoing research is vital to improving future diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for infections in the nervous system.
 
To schedule a patient appointment in the Neuro-Infectious Diseases Group​ clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.
 
For Fellowship information, please click here.
12

 Neuro-Muscular

Steven P. Ringel, MD
Matthew P. Wicklund, MD
Division Chief

The neuromuscular clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) continues to serve as a regional referral center for the six-state area, with 500 new patients and 1500 follow-up visits annually. The clinic and neuromuscular program are directed by Matthew Wicklund, MD, and includes Dianna Quan, MD, director of the Electrodiagnostic laboratory, Vera Fridman, MD, Stacy Dixon, MD, PhDLaura A. Foster, MD​Debra O’Reilly, PA and a neuromuscular fellow. The clinic has a close working relationship with the neuromuscular clinic at Children’s Hospital of Colorado (CHCO) so that children with chronic neuromuscular conditions can seamlessly transition to adult care.

We interpret 275 muscle/nerve biopsies annually and refer 250 patients/year for electrodiagnostic (EMG/NCVs) studies. Our multidisciplinary ALS clinic includes physical, occupational and speech therapy, a dietician, a social worker, and durable medical equipment vendors. The clinic is sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and an MDA patient representative participates. All patients are discussed in a weekly staff meeting.

The neuromuscular program and research center have been in existence for more than 50 years and has made major educational and research contributions in a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic areas. We founded the Western ALS (WALS) Study group and continue to participate in multi-university trials with this consortium as well as with the NEALS consortium.

Dr. Quan is director of the neuromuscular fellowship program, and Dr. Wicklund is the director of the muscle pathology fellowship programs. Our neuromuscular fellowship program is ACGME approved and includes rotations at University of Colorado Health and Children’s Hospital of Colorado. The muscle pathology fellowship program is UCNS accredited. Fellows are required to complete a performance improvement project and are given the opportunity to participate in clinical research. Over the years, some have conducted independent research in a second year of fellowship and are now academic physicians at other universities. Our pediatric and adult neuromuscular faculty physicians attend a monthly neuromuscular research conference and are integrated into all of the educational programs of the Department of Neurology.
 

Neuromuscular faculty:

Stacy E. Dixon, MD, PhD

Vera Fridman, MD

Laura A. Foster, MD​

Debra O'Reilly, PA

Dianna Quan, MD

Matthew P. Wicklund, MD

 
To schedule a patient appointment in the Neuromuscular clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.

 
For Fellowship information, please click here.
 
​​​​ ​​​7

 Neuro-Oncology

 

Douglas E. Ney, MD Denise M. Damek, MD
              Douglas E. Ney, MD      Denise M. Damek, MD
                                                 
 
The Neuro-Oncology program at the University of Colorado is the regional tertiary referral base for the Rocky Mountain Region, serving a six state region of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. The University of Colorado Cancer Center is an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and a National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Member Institution. We offer the latest advances in care for adult patients with tumors of the brain, spinal cord, or meninges, genetic disorders that cause tumors within the nervous system such as neurofibromatosis, as well as neurologic complications of systemic cancer and its treatments.
 
Medical Neuro-Oncology works closely with a multi-disciplinary team including neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, neuropathologists, and neuroradiologists to create a comprehensive treatment plan unique to each individual patient taking into account the patient’s and family’s needs while providing state-of-the-art care and access to new developments and appropriate clinical  trials. Neuro-Oncology patients are additionally supported by the availability of dietician, social work, physical medicine, and neuropsychological services.
A major mission of our Neuro-Oncology Program is to contribute to advances in treatment of brain tumors through clinical trials. We offer our patients access to a range of clinical trials for various types and stages of brain and spinal cord cancers. We have participated in clinical trials of the following types of treatments:


• Radiation in unusual doses or schedules
• Radiation-enhancing or sensitization drugs
• Experimental chemotherapy drugs
• Chemotherapy drugs known to be effective against other tumors, but experimental for brain tumors
• Immunotherapy treatment using a vaccine directed against tumors
• Targeted therapies designed to attack specific molecular abnormalities in the tumor
• Angiogenesis inhibitors
• Electrical field based therapy, an anti-mitotic therapeutic device that exploits the mechanical properties of dividing cells

The Neuro-Oncology program actively participates in the education of medical students, residents, and fellows with both didactic lectures and outpatient clinical rotations. We anticipate designation as an United Council for Neurological Subspecialties (UCNS) certified Neuro-Oncology Fellowship program in 2013.
 
Recent Publications:
• Rusthoven KE, Olsen C, Franklin W, Kleinschmidt-Demasters BK, Kavanagh BD, Gaspar LE, Lillehei K,   Waziri A, Damek DM, Chen C.  Favorable Prognosis in Patients with High-Grade Glioma with Radiation Necrosis:  The University of Colorado Reoperation Series.  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys.  81(1):211-217, 2011.
• Fields EC, Damek D, Gaspar LE, Liu AK, Kavanagh BD, Waziri A, Lillehei K, Chen C. Phase I Dose Escalation Trial of Vandetanib With Fractionated Radiosurgery in Patients With Recurrent Malignant Gliomas. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 82(1):51-57, 2012.
• Khalil A, Serracino H, Damek DM, Ney D, Lillehei KO, Kleinschmidt-DeMasters BK. Genetic characterization of gliomas arising in patients with multiple sclerosis. J Neurooncol. 2012;109(2):261-72 [Epub 2012/05/02].
• Reddy K, Damek D, Gaspar LE, Ney D, Waziri A, Lillehei K, Stuhr K, Kavanaugh BD, Chen C. Phase II trial of hypofractionated IMRT with Temozolomide for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012;84(3):655-60 [Epub 2012/04/10].
• Schmidt Y, Kleinschmidt-DeMasters BK, Aisner DL, Lillehei KO, Damek DM.  Anaplastic PXA in adults: case series with clinicopathologic and molecular features.  J Neurooncol. 2013; 111(1):59-69. [Epub 2012/10/25].
• Reddy K, Gaspar LE, Kavanagh BD, Waziri A, Damek DM, Ney D, Lillehei KO, Chen C.  Prospective evaluation of health-related quality of life in patients with glioblastoma multiforme treated on a phase II trial of hypofractionated IMRT with temozolomide.  J Neurooncol.  2013; 114(1):111-6. [Epub 2013/6/2]

Neuro-Oncology faculty:

Denise M. Damek, MD

Douglas E. Ney, MD 

To schedule a patient appointment in the Neuro-Oncology clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.
For Fellowship information, please click here.
8

 Neuro-Ophthalmology

 

Victoria S. Pelak, MD Jeffrey L. Bennett, MD
                                                 
 
The Division of Neuro-Ophthalmology is focused on the advancement and delivery of care to patients with vision problems due to disorders of the nervous system. In the clinic, Drs. Victoria Pelak and Jeffrey Bennett deliver highly specialized subspecialty care to patients with optic nerve disorders, visual field loss, double vision, higher-order visual dysfunction, orbital diseases, and unexplained vision loss. In addition to individual care, clinical research in optic neuritis, neuromyelitis optica, and visual-cognitive function is performed through participation in multicenter and investigator-initiated clinical trials. Outside of the clinic, the division of neuro-ophthalmology has active translational research and educational programs. Dr. Bennett conducts research on the pathophysiology of neuromyelitis optica and multiple sclerosis, and Dr. Pelak investigates cortical visual processing, with a particular focus on the effects of aging and dementia on visual motion processing. Dr. Pelak directed the Neurology Residency program from 2007-2013, and both Dr. Bennett and Dr. Pelak are actively involved in training residents and medical students. Neuro-ophthalmology education is offered during numerous resident education seminars in the neurology and ophthalmology departments, grand rounds, and elective and required outpatient clinic rotations.
 
Recent publications:
Tradtrantip, L., Zhang, H., Saadoun, S., Phuan, P.W., Lam, C., Papadopoulos, M.C., Bennett, J.L., Verkman, A.S.: Anti-Aquaporin-4 Monoclonal Antibody Blocker Therapy for Neuromyelitis Optica. Ann Neurol. 71(3):314-322, 2012.
Levin, M. H., Bennett, J. L., and Verkman, A. S. Optic neuritis in neuromyelitis optica. Prog Retin Eye Res, 36:159-171, 2013.
Mathias M., Nagel M.A., Khmeleva N., Boyer P.J., Choe A., Durairaj V.D., Bennett J.L., Mandava N., and Gilden D. VZV multifocal vasculopathy with ischemic optic neuropathy, acute retinal necrosis and temporal artery infection in the absence of zoster rash. J Neurol Sci, 325:180-182, 2013. 24.      
Jin M, Pelak VS, Cordes D. Aberrant default mode network in subjects with amnestic mild cognitive impairment using resting-state functional MRI. Magn Reson Imaging; 30:48-61, 2012.
Jin M, Pelak VS, Curran T, Nandy RR, Cordes D. A preliminary study of functional abnormalities in aMCI subjects during different episodic memory tasks. Magn Reson Imaging; 30:459-470, 2012.
Nanji AA, Klein KS, Pelak VS, Repka MX. Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy in a child with optic disk drusen. J AAPOS; 16(2):207-209, 2012.
 
Neuro-Ophthalmology faculty:

 
To schedule a patient appointment in the Neuro-Ophthalmology clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.
 
 
9

 Neuro-Palliative Care

Division Chief
 
 
 
Neuro-Palliative Care faculty:

To schedule a patient appointment in the Neuro-Palliative Care clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.

 

13

 Neuro-Vascular/Stroke

 Epilepsy

Epilepsy can affect anyone at any age and from any background.  At the University of Colorado, one of our core missions is to effectively treat patients who have epilepsy, while simultaneously striving to research and develop the best possible treatments and procedures in the battle against the disease.  That is why The Department of Neurology’s epilepsy program has been rated a Level 4 center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC), the highest designation. In addition to being passionate about teaching future health care professionals, and as leaders in the care of epilepsy patients, our board certified epilepsy program aims to help patients and their families make informed decisions about the best therapies available, including surgical options.  The team of epileptologists, researchers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other providers are specifically trained in treating epilepsy and can provide comprehensive clinical care and diagnostic testing for patients. 

 

Every patient who visits the epilepsy program at the University of Colorado, receives a comprehensive evaluation, diagnostic testing and treatment to make it possible to live an active life.  As Colorado’s only academic medical center, we take a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and have developed specific clinics to meet our patient’s needs. 

 

These specialty clinics and services include:

 

·         Outpatient clinical care

·         Advanced epilepsy therapy clinic

·         Seizure and epilepsy support group

·         Outpatient electroencephalogram (EEG)

·         Quantitative EEG

·         Long-term video-EEG monitoring in the electrodiagnostic monitoring unit (EMU)

·         Tests include:

 

o    MRI    

o    Functional MRI

o    PET

o    SPECT

o    MEG

o    Wada

o    Visual fields

o    Neuropsychological testing

 

·         Epilepsy brain surgery including laser surgery

·         Implantation and management of vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), deep brain stimulator (DBS) and responsive neurostimulation (RNS)

·         Ketogenic/ modified Atkins diet clinic

·         Tuberous sclerosis clinic

·         Clinical trials

·         Neurofeedback

·         Functional Neurolgy clinic

·         Pregnancy clinic

 

In addition to treating patients with epilepsy, the University of Colorado offers a Non-Epileptic Seizures (NES) clinic and program.  NES is a common illness that can be diagnosed in the the electrodiagnostic monitoring unit (EMU).  Patients with NES have events that can range from “zoning out” to violent uncontrollable body movements similar to epileptic seizures.  Many patients are misdiagnosed as having epilepsy when their NES events are from a different underlying cause. This clinic is one of a handful in the nation and 1 of 2 in the western United States. 

 

 

 

Epilepsy Medicine faculty:

Dr. Christine Baca, MD, MSHS

Dr. Mesha-Gay Brown, MD, MSCS

Dr. Sam F. Destefano, MD

Dr. Cornelia N. Drees, MD

Dr. Lauren C. Frey, MD, BCN, FAES

Dr. Pearce J. Korb, MD MHPE

Dr. Danielle McDermott, MD, MS, FAES

Dr. Archana Shrestha, MD

Dr. Mark Spitz, MD

Dr. Laura Strom, MD, FAES

 

Epilepsy Medicine Instructors:

Taylor Bashore, NP

Rajee Krause, NP

Scott Pearson, PA-C

Nicole Ralston, PA-C

Stacey Wilson, PA-C, MMS

 

 

 

 

To schedule a patient appointment in the Epilepsy Medicine clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, call 720-848-2080.

 

For Epilepsy Medicine Fellowship information, please click here.

 

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Neurology Subspecialties