2014 AANS Annual Report - page 7

Couldwell related Google’s innovation to the story of the
cardiothoracic field — how its inability to accept and
implement new technologies has caused it to become
nearly obsolete. “Cardiac surgery did not embrace
the radical new technology of endovascular surgery,”
Couldwell stated, explaining how it resulted in the
cardiovascular disease specialty’s growing much larger
and becoming more competitive, in comparison to
cardiothoracic surgery programs, which are dwindling.
To conclude his presidential address, Couldwell stated, “The rapid technological advances that impact
much of our core neurosurgery will enable those with less experience and training in their own residencies
to master what we have in less time. These advances will make the precise work in which we pride
ourselves more accessible to other specialties.”
Concussion and Sports-injury Prevention Highlighted in Plenary Session
The 2014 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting offered four different plenary sessions, one of which, held on
Sunday, April 6, was specifically geared toward advanced practice providers. Among the various topics
covered, which included management of incidental image findings, spinal radiosurgery, advanced strategies
for neurosurgical practices, applications of 3D technology in neurosurgery, and brain-mapping and awake-
mapping techniques, one session that stood out was the concussion and sports-injury-oriented program led
by Gail L. Rosseau, MD, FAANS; Joseph C. Maroon, MD, FAANS (L); and Julian E. Bailes Jr. MD, FAANS.
Topics discussed by the expert faculty included concussion-prevention strategies, resources and advocacy
measures, and novel directions and research for future concussion education. Rosseau began the
discussion by noting how recent articles in lay literature have been saturated with sports-related head-injury
information, with the best statistics indicating that there are anywhere between 1.5 and 4 million traumatic
brain injuries in the United States per year, and they are a contributing factor in deaths in nearly one-third
of injury-related deaths. Although these numbers are specific to a young demographic, Rosseau noted that
they have the most to lose from their injuries at such an early stage of life. Furthermore, nearly 20 percent
have a prolonged recovery (defined as longer than 21 days), indicating that there are between 320,000 and
760,000 people in the United States per year who suffer from persistent symptoms of concussion.
Football, in particular, has become the “poster child” for sports-related concussion prevention and
advocacy. In high school football — which recently has been in the limelight with regard to concussion
prevention — 10 percent of the team will suffer from a concussion per year. “As I say to high school
coaches when we run programs at Northwestern [University],” added Rosseau, “How many athletes do you
have? If it’s 200, you are going to have 20 concussions this year. It’s not a matter of if — it’s when. You want
to be able to prevent, recognize and properly treat them.”
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