A team from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) traveled to Zambia to study cerebral malaria, HIV, and stroke.
The array of research, teaching, and clinical activities that the NINDS team explored during their visit culminated in a partnership first formed in 1994 by Gretchen Verbeck, M.D., a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). is emitting. Verbeck’s research in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily Zambia, aims to identify risk factors and effective treatments for common neurological problems in resource-limited tropical environments. He also sees patients in Zambia and spends 5-6 months a year working as a director of the epilepsy care team in Chikankata in Zambia’s rural Southern Province, and a neurologist at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Zambia’s capital. I am the principal of the laboratory. , Lusaka.
In collaboration with the Zambia Ministry of Health, UTH, University of Zambia, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, and other institutions, these efforts provide extensive and complementary neurological research, training, and care programs. has grown to include Based in Zambia. The Office of Neurology Research, founded by Birbeck on UTH’s main campus, has served as the hub for many of these efforts, and has received more than $15 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations and foundations over the past 29 years. have been offered.
Research teams in the United States and Zambia are studying neurological problems resulting from aging caused by cerebral malaria, nutritional deficiencies and HIV. These diseases, which are prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, have wide-ranging impacts on cognition, behavior, quality of life, and economic outcomes. These studies aim to understand the mechanisms of these diseases and improve care through evidence-based interventions and clinical trials.
An ongoing example of this research is the HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment (HANDZ) study in Zambia. This is an ongoing longitudinal study following his 5-year cohort of 600 her HIV positive and negative Zambian children aged 8 to 18 years. Data from the HANDZ study form the basis of a recent publication co-authored by URMC pediatric neurologist David Bearden, MD, showing that even HIV-positive children whose HIV disease is well-controlled deteriorate on neurological assessments. indicated that it is likely. pointed out to be inherent in targeted interventions through improved nutrition and avoidance of neurotoxic antiretroviral therapy.
Several URMC faculty members hold part-time positions at the University of Zambia, UTH, and the Zambia College of Medical and Surgical Medicine, conducting undergraduate, postgraduate, postgraduate, and fellowship-level trainee training programs for Africa and the United States and I am involved in teaching.
- Michael J. Potchen, MD, URMC Professor of Imaging Science, founded Zambia’s first radiology postgraduate training program.
- Birbeck is a leader in the development of neurological training programs for non-physicians, who are often the only clinicians who can provide patient care in rural Africa, and is a Global Health Advocate for the development and evaluation of such programs. I have served as an advisor to the institution.
- URMC Neurologist Michelle Kvalsund, DO, MS, is developing Zambia’s first neuromuscular program for fellowship-level training.
- Bearden Mentor Ph.D. is a Zambian student and junior faculty member and recognized Rochester student for doing research abroad.
A NINDS delegation, including Dr. Clinton Wright, Director of NINDS’ Clinical Research Division, and Richard T. Benson, M.D., Director of NINDS’ Global Health and Health Disparities Service, met with the United States and the Zambian team , learned about their research and toured UTH facilities. The delegation met with academic and government leaders, including Elliott Kahumkatche, Dean of the University of Zambia School of Medicine, and Charles Mutemba, Senior Medical Superintendent of UTH, at the home of rural-focused research and clinical programs. I also visited the Chikankata Mission Hospital in Mazabuka. population.
The visit is part of broader NINDS efforts to support global research partnerships aimed at better understanding the burden of neurological disease and identifying opportunities for improved diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive strategies. am. NINDS is also interested in building sustainable capacity in target countries to conduct research and training in neurological disorders and stroke in resource-poor settings.