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Fall 2013

Your Dollars at Work Because of you, incredible advancements are happening at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Neuroscience Program

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In This Issue


Brain and Spine Hospital Future home to the experts in brain and spine care and research


A Champion for Myotonic Dystrophy Catherine Hantak gives back to provide hope to other families


Campaign and Gift Announcements How generosity is making an impact


Comprehensive Approach to MS Research is helping patients with MS live normal lives


Advancements in Alzheimer’s Ohio State is making strides in an effort to combat this disease


Good News Stroke Center designation Randy Nelson receives distinguished professor award


A Little Can Mean a Lot Gifts of every size can make a difference


Fall 2013

Thank You and Welcome! Dear Friends, It is my pleasure to introduce the first issue of our new quarterly newsletter. In these publications, we will update you and provide you with highlights of the exciting accomplishments your generous gifts make possible here at Ohio State’s Neuroscience Program. Our goal is to keep you informed of the many ways you’re supporting our mission — to advance patient care, research and education of neurological conditions. For instance, our physicians are using different therapies to eliminate Parkinson’s symptoms and reducing the disability associated with it. We have implanted the first brain pacemaker in the U.S. to improve cognitive functioning in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. And we are transforming stroke care by testing smart phone technology to evaluate the progress of stroke survivors who are learning to walk again. All of our supporters are responsible for these breakthroughs and our many other outstanding successes. In future editions of the newsletter, you’ll hear from patients whose lives have been forever impacted thanks to your generosity. With your continued support, we will improve the quality of life for many people afflicted with neurologic diseases. Sincerely, Ali Rezai, MD Director, The Ohio State University Neuroscience Program Stanley D. and Joan H. Ross Chair in Neuromodulation Director, Center for Neuromodulation

Planning for a Brain and Spine Hospital Your support and growing resources will help us improve lives. Taking another step in creating the future of medicine, The Ohio State University Board of Trustees approved for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to hire consultants to plan for renovations that may include a new Brain and Spine Hospital.

to providing top-tier academic and patient care facilities, and this planning will help us accomplish this through improved patient amenities and additional research and academic space to bring the future of medicine closer to the patient bedside,” says neurosurgeon Dr. Ali Rezai.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ali Rezai, director of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Neuroscience Program, the new Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center Brain and Spine Hospital will be a premier healthcare destination for patients to receive excellent care. Having a hospital dedicated to treating neurological disorders will significantly advance education, research and patient care in our Neuroscience Program. “Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center is committed Consultants are evaluating layouts and resources for the potential to create a new Brain and Spine Hospital at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. Fall 2013 3

A Champion for Myotonic Dystrophy

Like many of our donors, Catherine gives back to provide hope for others. Catherine Hantak, or Kay as she prefers to be known, is committed to finding a cure for myotonic dystrophy, a little-recognized hereditary condition. Most people have heard of muscular dystrophy, one of the diseases that weakens skeletal muscles and begins in childhood. Myotonic dystrophy has many of the same symptoms, but also weakens the most critical muscle — the heart. Kay knows all too well the devastation this disease can cause after losing four people very dear to her. But pity is the last thing Kay wants. “My objective is to make people aware of the disease,” she says, determined to make a difference. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is proud to call someone like Kay Hantak a friend. Kay contributes to both the present and the future of myotonic


Fall 2013

dystrophy research with her annual gifts as well as through her estate. She has the satisfaction of seeing her money go to work immediately as well as peace of mind knowing that her investment will continue to work long into the future. Collaboration and partnership with the Columbus Foundation brought Kay’s wishes to the attention of our development staff who helped Kay to craft her gift. “I’m not a bit unhappy that I did it,” says Kay, “It was just the right time.” Kay visited the laboratories of Subha Raman, MD, and John Kissel, MD, and came away impressed by the extent of the facilities and the approaches being taken to combat this disease. Dr. Raman’s research focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular disease, while Dr. Kissel’s research interests center around pharmacologic and gene-based therapies for

neuromuscular diseases (including myotonic dystrophy). Not only have Dr. Raman and Dr. Kissel “earned” their laboratory at the Biomedical Research Tower, but they are eager to share their research with Kay and to stay in touch. “I am satisfied and pleased with the personnel I’ve come in contact with,” says Kay, noting how excited Dr. Raman was about current research the last time they met. Kay has some advice for people who want to give: you can make Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center the beneficiary of an annuity. It’s an easy way for folks to do a planned gift. Catherine enjoyed a visit to the laboratories of Dr. Kissel and Dr. Raman, where their research is offering hope for myotonic dystrophy patients.

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But for Ohio State Campaign Update

Just like your donations, these gifts are making a difference.

The Ohio State University recently announced 228,297 alumni and friends have donated more than $374 million to Ohio State during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. A large portion of this success comes from our Brain and Spine donors, who have contributed more than $42 million toward neuroscience’s $60 million campaign goal. “It’s exciting to have reached 70 percent of our goal, and with the momentum Brain and Spine is gaining, we are confident that we will quickly achieve even more success.”


Fall 2013

Recent Gifts Creating Lasting Impacts

Stan and Jodi Ross, Brain and Spine Campaign Committee Co-Chairs

Tom and Julie Bonasera have established the Julie Bonasera ALS fund to support critical research that holds promise for sustaining hope in thousands of people afected by ALS. Julie and Tom will generously match all contributions made up to $50,000. If you’d like to make a gift to the Julie Bonasera ALS fund, visit to make a difference today. R&B legend Natalie Cole recently performed at An Unforgettable Evening with Natalie Cole, an event benefitting the Wexner Center for the Arts and Ohio State’s Harding Behavioral Health’s STAR (Stress Trauma and Resilience) Program. The event generated $130,000 to help improve access to clinical services for trauma victims. Natalie Cole, entertainer at the STAR special concert benefit

Giving Back There are always ways you can become even more involved. There is unlimited potential in the field of neuroscience, and with your support, we can improve countless lives through leading-edge research, patient care and innovation. If you’d like to support our effort to improve lives, please contact Kyle Sebastian at 614-685-5965.

Donor Support is Helping MS Patients Live Normal Lives Through a comprehensive approach to multiple sclerosis, Ohio State is offering hope.

Tricia Smith was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) three years ago after she experienced recurring numbness on one side of her body. She was fortunate to be referred to Ohio State’s Multiple Sclerosis Center, where she along with 10 percent of the MS population is receiving the highest caliber of care. The symptoms and disease progression of MS vary widely among patients, but Ohio State offers the entire spectrum of proven treatments and is constantly involved in conducting research and clinical trials to increase understanding of the disease. Since traditional oral medicines are often inadequate in treating MS, Ohio State is one of the only certified centers in the country to now offer a targeted pump drug delivery that isolates treatment to the area of pain, leaving the rest of the body unaffected so medicine is only delivered where needed.

Ohio State physicians are also working to identify a gene marker to help predict the severity of MS, enabling them to determine a targeted treatment plan. Although there is currently no cure for MS, extensive research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is giving many MS patients like Tricia a normal life.

Feeling great, Tricia Smith now makes the seven-hour trip from her home in St. Louis for treatment at Ohio State’s Multiple Sclerosis Center. Fall 2013 7

Advancements in Alzheimer’s Disease Thanks to our loyal supporters, we’re making every effort to combat this devastating disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of degenerative dementia, afflicting about 5.5 million Americans and costing more than $100 billion per year. It is the third costliest disease in terms of healthcare expenditures in the United States. With the aging baby boomer population, it’s projected that 16 million Americans will have the disease by 2050. The need for new treatments is more prevalent than ever. Luckily, thanks to generous support from our donors, Ohio State’s neuroscience team is earning recognition for altering the course of dementia and transforming Alzheimer’s care and research. Recently, Ohio State pioneered the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) to improve cognitive and behavioral functioning. During a five-hour surgery last October at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Kathy Sanford became the first Alzheimer’s patient in the U.S. to have a pacemaker implanted in her brain.


Fall 2013

Kathy is the first of up to 10 patients enrolled in the FDA-approved study.

Kathy’s father, Joe Jester, said, “This study seemed to just give us hope. I guess we were at a place where you just don’t do anything and watch the condition deteriorate ove the years, or try to do something that would give us hope and might stop the progression of the disease.” Researchers at Ohio State believe it is crucial to explore these new options for patients with the ultimate goal of giving them an improved quality of life.

Our experts are spearheading a range of prevention methods and treatment options for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE), is a pen and paper test Ohio State neurologists are using to identify mild thinking and memory impairments at an early stage, allowing treatment to start at a much earlier point.

Specific abnormalities in blood, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and imaging are now being used to identify those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. These and other novel biomarkers are being studied to assist in the early diagnosis and treatment of dementia conditions.

Disease modifying treatments for Alzheimer’s disease including those that aim to prevent the disease-causing proteins from forming are underway for qualified research subjects at Ohio State’s Memory Disorders Research Center.

The deep brain stimulation implant is similar to a cardiac pacemaker device with the exception that the pacemaker wires are implanted in the brain rather than the heart. If early findings researchers are seeing continue to be progressive, it could be very encouraging.

Celebrating Good News

None of these successes would be possible without you. Ohio State has been recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as meeting standards for Comprehensive Stroke Center certification. Only 26 out of more than 900 primary stroke centers in the United States have received this award. Comprehensive Stroke Centers are recognized as industry leaders for their strong integration of patient care and research for the most severe and challenging types of cerebrovascular disease. Thank you for making it possible for us to receive this advanced certification!

Dr. Lockwood and Dr. Ruberg presented Dr. Nelson with his Distinguished Professor Award.


FALL 2013

Congratulations to Randy Nelson, PhD, Professor and Chair of Neuroscience, for his selection as Distinguished University Professor. The Distinguished Professor title is awarded permanently to no more than three exceptional faculty per year and recognizes accomplishments in research, scholarly or creative work, teaching and service. Dr. Nelson holds the Dr. John D. and E. Olive Brumbaugh Chair in Brain Research and Teaching. Thanks to donorfunded chairs such as this, we are able to attract and retain talented faculty like Dr. Nelson.

Will provide

Will provide surgical patients with




to spine center patients during physical therapy sessions. Will supply

flash drives of educational and wellness resources to use when they leave the hospital.

iPad apps, A LITTLE puzzles and CAN MEAN A LOT… crafts

Will support the creation of rejoining the workforce

500 seminars


uplifting music




geared specifically to neurosurgery oncology patients.




to help return stroke patients to their daily lives.


Will support funding for ground-breaking pacemaker and deep brain stimulation research for Alzheimer’s patients.

EVERY GIFT MATTERS – NO MATTER THE SIZE. Visit to make a difference today.

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Office of Medical Center Development and Alumni Affairs 660 Ackerman Road, 6th Floor P.O. Box 183112 Columbus, OH 43218-3112

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Fall 2013 Neuro Donor Newsletter  
Fall 2013 Neuro Donor Newsletter  

Update on how donors to Ohio State's Neuroscience Program are making a difference.