Thursday, April 8, 2010

U.S. Neurologists Face Off Against Canadians in Annual "Neurobowl"

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MAYWOOD, Il. -- In a competition modeled after TV quiz shows, a team of neurologists from the United States will face Canadian neurologists in the annual "Neurobowl®" on April 11.

Neurobowl is one of the highlights of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, an international association of more than 22,000 neurologists. The 2010 meeting will be held April 10 -17 in Toronto. In the first round, Team USA will face Team Canada. The winning team will face last year's champs, known as the All-Stars, in the final round. The All-Stars have won Neurobowl eight times. "But Team USA and Team Canada both are formidable competitors, and we are aging, so you never know what may happen," said All-Star Dr. José Biller, chairman of the Department of Neurology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill.

Like a quiz show, Neurobowl awards points for answering questions quickly and accurately, and subtracts points for wrong answers. The tougher the question, the higher the point value. Panelists are asked to diagnose perplexing neurological conditions, based on symptoms, video clips, X-ays, etc. Every so often, the host will toss out a pop culture question with a medical angle. For example: On the old TV doctor show, who played the title role of Dr. Ben Casey? (Answer: Vince Edwards.) AANnews®, the neurology academy's newsletter, says Neurobowl competitors are among "the best and brightest in neurology." In addition to Biller, the 2010 All-Stars include Dr. Nancy Newman of Emory University, Dr. Marc Patterson of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. James Russell of the Lahey Clinic near Boston and team captain Dr. Anthony Lang of the University of Toronto. Each All-Star has a different strength. Lang is strong in movement disorders, Newman in neuro-ophthalmology, Patterson in pediatric neurology, Russell in neuromuscular disease and Biller in stroke.

Even for neurologists, some of the questions can be brain teasers. Here are a few typical questions from recent years: A man has abdominal pain and loses skin on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet. What is the diagnosis? (Answer: arsenic neuropathy.) A 17-year-old girl falls from a horse and develops a headache. (Cerebrospinal fluid hypotension syndrome.) A patient with lung cancer suffers progressive weakness and numbness in the legs. (Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis.) And there's the occasional oddball question -- like the one about the dog with the neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis. "You need to have a good sense of humor and remain collegial," Biller said. "It's entertainment."

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.