Joel Geerling, MD, PhD

2019 Innovator Award Recipient

TITLE: Assistant Professor, University of Iowa

GOAL: Developing symptom-specific therapies for NPH patients


Project Summary:

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a progressive neurological disease characterized by enlarged cerebral ventricles and up to three stereotypical symptoms: gait disturbance, urinary incontinence, and cognitive impairment. Surgical shunting, which drains excess fluid from the cerebral ventricles, can help, but for many patients, one or more of these symptoms are refractory to shunt therapy. Because the pathophysiology underlying NPH symptoms is unknown, there are no effective treatment options for these patients. In an adult mouse model of chronic, progressive hydrocephalus, we will combine brain imaging and full-brain histology with behavioral assays to localize the pathophysiological basis of specific neurologic deficits. Identifying the neuroanatomic localization and the histologic signature of white matter abnormalities underlying specific alterations in micturition, gait, or cognition is necessary for future, symptom-specific treatments. This work will pave the way to targeting neuronal pathways that underlie specific symptoms in shunt-refractory NPH patients.