Neuro Day covers latest treatments in epilepsy, stroke, ADHD and more

By Kristy Bleizeffer Jun 8, 2015

Nearly 50 physicians, nurses, therapists and other caregivers gathered today in our McMurry West Tower conference rooms for Neuro Education Day, a day devoted to teaching the latest treatments and advancements in a host of neurologic diseases.

Ongoing education is essential for healthcare professionals, but this was the first time David Wheeler, M.D. Ph.D., and his colleagues at Wyoming Neurologic Associates grouped so many neurological topics together for a full day of education. Wheeler stepped outside the packed conference rooms to tell us what it’s all about.

Dr. Dixie Woolston, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at Wyoming Nuerologic Associates, presents her lecture on ADHD at Neuro Day Monday at Wyoming Medical Center.

Dr. Dixie Woolston, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at Wyoming Nuerologic Associates, presents her lecture on ADHD at Neuro Day Monday at Wyoming Medical Center.

What is the purpose of Neuro Day?
Obviously there’s a lot of ongoing education for nursing staff at Wyoming Medical Center, and more and more people are getting interested in neurology and neurosurgery because they account for some of our sickest patients who are the hardest to take care of.

We do some education every year, but we came up with the idea to put a lot of neuro education together on one day. We gathered a lot of speakers together, and are trying get some synergy going in the room. As you can see, the turnout has just been tremendous. There are people from several different departments, my entire staff is here today (from Wyoming Neurologic Associates), Elkhorn (Valley Rehabilitation Hospital) is here as well. There may be more.

What will these caregivers learn today?
We’ve already heard lectures this morning on epilepsy and movement disorders, and we’re hearing right now about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. I’ll be talking about Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and we’ll have a couple of lectures on stroke. We’ll finish the day with a lecture on spinal cord injuries.

What is the advantage of grouping these neurological topics together for a full day of education?
We are always trying to think about ways to bring people together around common topics to build each other up and give everybody a sense of belonging to a team that is doing something important. Everyone who works in the medical field values education, so it seemed like this was a really good way to bring people together. Our hope is that not only does this help caregivers take better care of their patients, but that it also improves the sense of belonging for people who work on the neuro floor at Wyoming Medical Center.

In medicine, obviously, professionals have to keep up with the latest and best treatments. How often do best practices change, would you say?  
Neurology in particular is a very rapidly advancing field with lots of new diagnostic techniques, new medications and new treatments available. We also do a lot of technological things. We have pretty amazing tools for measuring brain function and taking amazing pictures of the brain, so helping people to understand those tools and keeping them up to date is really important.

What new technologies or treatments are you excited about?
One that I’m most excited about isn’t really a new technology, but it is a newer application of older technology. It is using our continuous EEG monitoring in the hospital to better understand what is happening in the brains of people who have altered mental status or who are waking up from comas. We are finding out that a lot of these patients are having subtle seizure activity that we weren’t aware of. When we treat that, their outcomes are improved. It’s a new use for an old technology.

With respect to stroke care, we’ve had some tremendous new advancements. This year, we learned that patients who are having an acute stroke caused by a blood clot in the front part of the brain can sometimes be dramatically improved if we go into their brain with a catheter and use a cage to grab the clot and pull it out. There are several new studies published just this year that have radically altered our approach to acute stroke care. It’s made a huge difference and we’re going to definitely tell people about that this afternoon.

What else should people know about this education day?
I just want people to be aware how much interest and enthusiasm there is for these topics. And, to have this many people, most of them are taking their day off to come to the hospital to learn about these topics, is great. All of the people upstairs working on the nuero floor right now really wish they could be downstairs. So we’ll probably have to do another one. We do hope that people get some important new points that they can apply in their daily practice that can help everybody.

Further reading: 

David Wheeler M.D., Ph.D, F.A.A.N.

David B. Wheeler, M.D., Ph.D., is neurologist at Wyoming Neurologic Associates and medical director of Wyoming Medical Center’s Primary Stroke Center. He is board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology. He is a Rhodes Scholar and was the 2010 Wyoming Medical Center Physician of the Year. He serves on the boards for Wyoming Medical Center, Wyoming Dementia Care and the American Heart Association (Southwest Affiliate.) For a referral or an appointment, call Wyoming Neurologic Associates at (855) 39-BRAIN.

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