The First Specialty Specific Data Registry Measures Approved for Neurosurgery
The National Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database (N2QOD) is now an approved Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) in the CMS Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) for the 2015 program year. “Securing QCDR status for N2QOD is a tremendously important accomplishment for our specialty,” said Anthony L. Asher, MD, FAANS, N2QOD director and vice-chair of NeuroPoint Alliance (NPA). “Analyses of data collected through the N2QOD have already helped demonstrate the effectiveness of neurosurgical care and identify important care improvement opportunities. With the added incentive of using our registry to fulfill PQRS requirements, the volume of collected data should grow exponentially, thereby increasing the quality of improvement and research value of the registry,” Dr. Asher added. To read more about N2QOD’s clinical registry focused on spine and neurosurgical outcomes, click here.
Brain Tumor’s Genetic Profile Critical in Treatment, Research Finds
According to two reports published in June in The New England Journal of Medicine — one coordinated by the National Institutes of Health, the other led by Mayo Clinic and the University of California, San Francisco — doctors can more effectively treat many types of brain tumors by first ascertaining their genetic characteristics, rather than studying tissue samples under a microscope. The findings could alter diagnosis and treatment decisions for the 23,000 Americans who develop brain tumors each year, and marks an important advance in the growing trend of precision medicine. “Prognosis is going to be more accurately delineated by these kinds of genetic subtypes, outstripping the value of looking through a microscope,” said David J. Langer, MD, FAANS, chief of neurosurgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, who was not involved in the research. During the studies, the research teams performed multiple genetic analyses on 1,380 tumors, finding that the tumors could be grouped into a few categories, which were determined by looking at a handful of genetic glitches. To read more about these studies, click here.
The Doctors Company Details Rising EHR Claims
The Doctors Company found that EHR-related claims frequency is increasing. Twenty-six such claims closed in the first two quarters of 2014, 28 claims closed in 2013, 22 closed in 2012, 19 closed in 2011, and two closed between 2007 and 2010. These 97 EHR-related claims that closed from January 2007 through June 2014 are the subject of this analysis. To read more about the results of this study and to see the system and user factors involved in the claims, click here.
2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting Online Recordings: Free for Meeting Attendees
If you were a registered medical attendee of the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C., your registration includes free online access to the full compilation of recorded meeting content, such as on-demand access to more than 250 presentations from the meeting. The AANS records presentations from the Plenary Sessions, Scientific Sessions, Section Sessions, International Symposium and the Young Neurosurgeon’s Research Forum. Login with your MyAANS username and password to access the presentations here.
Register Today for the 2015 Summer Coding Course in Chicago
The AANS is getting ready for the summer 2015 Managing Coding course this Aug. 6-8, 2015, at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago. Make sure your practice is ready for a smooth ICD-10 transition in 2015. This course provides hands-on training for you and your staff, and can help optimize your reimbursement. Click here to register today.
Apply Now for the 2016 AANS International Visiting Surgeon Fellowship
The AANS is committed to increasing its involvement in international neurosurgery, with a particular interest in furthering educational opportunities in developing countries. One meaningful offering is the AANS International Visiting Surgeon Fellowship. Applications are now being accepted online for the 2016 International Visiting Surgeon Fellowship until July 27, 2015. Applicants must be neurosurgeons or neurosurgeons-in-training in a developing country as defined by the World Bank. To learn more about the additional details of eligibility and the selection process, click here.
Radioactive "Seeds of Hope" Implanted in Brain Cancer Patients
Surgeons at the University of Kansas Hospital are utilizing a new approach to fighting brain cancer by implanting radioactive “seeds” inside the brains of patients with tumors that have been removed and since grown back. Radioactive seed treatments in the past have required tubes to be loaded and removed later. Patients also had to wear a helmet and stay away from others, which is unnecessary with this treatment. “It’s cesium 131 isotope which radiates only a very small amount of tissue. It keeps the radiation very well confined to that area, doesn’t result in some of the same wound healing problems we have when we’re giving external beam radiation,” said Paul J. Camarata, MD, FAANS, a neurosurgeon from the University of Kansas Hospital. The radioactive seeds are a promising option for cancers that have spread to the brain from other parts of the body, but it should be noted they won't be effective for brain cancers such as gliomas. To read more about this treatment, click here.
How Does Diabetes Harm the Brain?
According to a study recently published in the journal Neurology, when blood-sugar levels start to climb in diabetes patients, a number of body systems are effected — including harm to the brain — ultimately increasing the risk of stroke and dementia. The study detailed how diabetes can cause blood vessels to be less responsive to the ebb and flow of demand in different parts of the brain. Normally, flexible vessels will swell slightly to increase blood flow and oxygen to areas that are more intensely active, such as regions involved in memory or higher reasoning during intellectual tasks. However, unchecked blood sugar can make these vessels less malleable and therefore, less responsive. Researchers from the study will continue to analyze how brain function can be improved by addressing the health of blood vessels, and are exploring alternative ways to administer insulin and blood pressure medications. To read more about this study, click here.
Exercise and the Brain — How it Can Become Your Best Medicine
It has been well established that exercise can help combat chronically high levels of stress. However, research tells us that there are more chemicals at play in the brain than just endorphins, and their effects can go beyond a temporary “feel good” experience. Aside from elevating endorphins, authors from the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain detail how exercise regulates all of the neurotransmitters targeted by antidepressants. Additionally, the atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), produced by the pumping muscles of the heart, travels through the blood stream and intro the brain, where it works to further moderate noise and stress responses — acting as a potent reliever of emotional stress and anxiety. Furthermore, exercise immediately increases levels of dopamine, and if a regular schedule is maintained, brain cells in the motivation center will sprout new dopamine receptors, creating natural motivation to keep exercising. To read more about how exercise can help manage stress and keep your brain healthy, click here.