Research Into Brain Repair Brings Hope to Those with Hydrocephalus

Stephen A. Back, M.D., Ph.D., will share his research as the Scientific Keynote Speaker at the Hydrocephalus Association’s 13th National Conference on Hydrocephalus, July 9-11, 2014.

Bethesda, MD | June 12, 2014
The Hydrocephalus Association is honored to announce Dr. Stephen A. Back, M.D., Ph.D., as the scientific keynote speaker at the 13th National Conference on Hydrocephalus. Dr. Back is a lead investigator and professor of pediatrics and neurology in the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. He will address his important work on the development of strategies to promote regeneration and repair of injury to the developing and adult brain.

“Dr. Back is a true national and international expert on mechanisms of damage to the brain of premature infants who suffer from periventricular leukomalacia and hydrocephalus. His research is leading us rapidly towards cures that will dramatically improve the lives of these children,” stated Dr. Nathan Selden, Mario and Edie Campagna Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Oregon Health & Science University and Conference Medical Co-chair.

Hydrocephalus is a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain. There are over 1 million Americans living with hydrocephalus in the U.S., yet it remains a little known condition. While 1 in every 500 infants is born with hydrocephalus, anyone at any age can acquire hydrocephalus from a brain hemorrhage, infection, tumors, trauma, or, for unknown reasons, as part of the aging process. The only treatment requires brain surgery. The prevalent treatment is the implantation of a shunt, a medical device developed over 50 years ago that has a high failure rate, relegating patients to a lifetime of brain surgery.

For many of the conference participants, Dr. Back’s research into the promotion of brain regeneration and repair after injury is of particular interest as a portion of the conference attendees acquired hydrocephalus after birth, possibly due to a brain hemorrhage in prematurity or from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) suffered later in life. One well known case of acquired hydrocephalus due to a TBI is former United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who developed hydrocephalus after the 2011 shooting incident at an outdoor District meeting with her constituents. It is also estimated that two-thirds of soldiers who have suffered moderate to severe TBI from a combat-related injury will develop hydrocephalus.

The biennial National Conference on Hydrocephalus provides tools and personal connections to address the medical, educational and social challenges of living with hydrocephalus. Participants spend three days mixing with leading medical professionals, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, nurses, educational consultants, and an array of other specialists. The 2014 conference will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland, 1000 NE Multnomah Street, Portland, OR 97232. The conference will begin mid-afternoon on Wednesday, July 9, and conclude by 10:00 pm on Friday, July 11, 2014. To learn more about the conference and to register, please visit or contact the Hydrocephalus Association at (888) 598-3789.

About the Hydrocephalus Association
The Hydrocephalus Association (HA) is a charitable organization dedicated to eliminating the challenges of hydrocephalus by stimulating research and supporting people who are affected by this condition. Incorporated as a non-profit in 1986, HA is now the nation’s largest and most widely respected organization dedicated solely to serving those affected by hydrocephalus. HA has been instrumental in creating a community of individuals, families and health care professionals addressing the complexities of hydrocephalus in all age groups.

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