News for members of the Western Neurosurgical Society

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Autumn 2015


2016 Annual Meeting

For our 62nd meeting, the Western returns to the San Diego area we last visited in 2004. The 2016 Annual Meeting, September 9-12, will be held at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad which is 32 miles North of San Diego International Airport (SAN).  From atop a high ridge on the shore of Batiquitos Lagoon, a beautiful wildlife sanctuary overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Park Hyatt Aviara is a Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond resort.  It boasts all the amenities we have come to expect at our meeting venues and at a daily room rate of $289 (plus $32/day in taxes).  That rate includes in room internet and complimentary valet parking.  Getting to Aviara (7100 Aviara Resort Drive, Carlsbad, CA, 92011) by prescheduled airport shuttle is $66/person round trip ( or  car rentals are of course available at the airport.
In addition to the meeting’s organized afternoon events (details soon), with a rental car you can nip over to Legoland less than 5 miles away, spend the afternoon at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (21 miles), the Birch Aquarium (21miles), the main San Diego Zoo (31 miles) or the Temecula wine country (40 miles).  If you arrive at SAN fairly early and rent a car, an immediate side trip to the USS Midway Museum very near the airport would be a pleasant place to have lunch and tour this immense ship before heading north to the Aviara.
For our Local Night on Saturday September 10th, we have arranged a socko evening at SeaWorld including a private Shamu killer whale show followed by dinner amongst dolphins, sea otters and bat rays with complimentary Manta roller coaster rides--all of which is included in the registration fee.
The online room reservation link at Aviara is:

In January we will be posting more detail about meeting activities and registration.
Aviara’s phone number is 855 924 9288.

Medtronic, the sole Platinum Level exhibitor in Kauai, deserves the Western's thanks for making the meeting a success.

We hope our members will support the companies that support the Western.


The 61st Annual Meeting of the Western Neurosurgical Society was held September 10-13, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Resort in Poipu, Kauai. Gary K. Steinberg presided.
President Steinberg expertly conducted the business of the Society, both at the EC meeting and subsequently at the business meeting. The following issues are of note:
  • Financially, the Society remains on a solid financial footing. After two years of strong stewardship by Secretary/Treasurer Deborah C. Henry, Marc Vanefsky will assume her responsibilities. Good luck Marc!
  • WNS made a lump sum donation to the NREF in the amount of 25K, a generous donation that was warmly acknowledged, and one that is hoped to prompt other regional societies to follow suit.
  • New Members include: corresponding member James Dean and honorary member Andres Lozano. Because of the recent bylaws change requiring a member candidate to present at one meeting and then attend a subsequent meeting to accept membership (if offered after approval at a subsequent annual business meeting).  No new active members were inducted at this meeting but it is anticipated that this will be corrected next year.
  • Ciara Harraher presented a detailed and interesting report about diversity. There is a strong consensus to continue efforts to attract women and minorities to our ranks.
  • Nominations: Charles E. Nussbaum, President Elect, David T. Pitkethly, Vice President and Marc Vanefsky, Secretary/Treasurer. All were elected unanimously.
  • Bylaws: the bylaws committee was asked to revisit the issue of associate membership for neuroscientists and for spouses of deceased members.
Excellent scientific program organized by Martin E. Weinand and his committee, including the Cloward Award presentation “The origin of concepts in neurosurgery- One neurosurgeon’s perspective” by Edward Oldfield and the Ablin Lecture “Frontier Surgery: Lessons for today from Beaumont and St. Martin” by David Piepgras. Resident Basic Science Award Winner was Achal Singh Achrol from Stanford for “Radiogenomic mapping reveals distinct brain regions of tumor formation influencing molecular subtypes of human glioblastoma” and Resident Clinical Science Award Winner Jess Skoch from University of Arizona, Tucson, for “Cortical Gene Expression Associated with Seizure Outcome Following Temporal Lobectomy with Amygdalohippocamectomy”.
Industry support:
15 exhibitors, including Medtronic Spine who provided support at the Platinum Level, made the meeting possible. Thank you! A survey of the exhibitors indicated that they were pleased with their opportunities to interact with our members.
Social events:
Here we come to what, unfortunately, made this meeting memorable. Because of a tropical depression we experienced very unusual weather: It was very hot and humid and at times windy. It rained a few times. So the organizers had to move all the social events indoors. Oh well. This will go in the record books as the only Hawaii meeting where all outdoor events had to be relocated or canceled, including helicopter rides and snorkeling. A tour of the botanical gardens did occur but did require umbrellas. Undaunted, we will be back to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018 at the Fairmont Orchid
It was great to see Libby Wright and Colleen Carter; they were strong participants in all events, scientific and social. We miss Bill and Phil.
Passing of the Gavel:
Linda Liau and First Spouse Marvin Bergsneider will preside over the meeting next year at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California. Hope to see you all there.

-M. Abou-Samra
Communications Committee

Alzheimer's Disease Research
The treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is very limited as most docs know.  Jerry Silverberg, long time WNS member and previous President in 2008, has been pursuing a concept of toxin accumulation due to reduced CSF flow as causing AD for years and has reported many times at WNS meetings about his progress.
His research has reached the stage where he needs to extend his concept of a toxin clearing specialized CSF shunt by taking it to an animal model prepatory to human clinical trials.  He has formed a company named CSFRefresh to accomplish manufacture of the special shunt and animal trials to establish safely and confirm that the shunt performs adequately.
Anyone interested in joining Dr. Silverberg in his quest by providing early seed round funding can contact him at

2015 Annual Meeting Program on Website
For those of you who were unable to attend the annual meeting this year, the program booklet is available on our Website ( as a pdf file you can download.

The program without the membership list is in the clear in the menu item "Meetings" under the Kauai listing.

If you want the complete program with all members listed with addresses and phone numbers and email address, it is located in the "Member Area Login" menu item.  The password to gain access to this menu item is "Western".


September 21, 1931 - September 18, 2015

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of John Jane on September 18, 2015.  Although not a WNS member, Dr. Jane was a recipient of the Cloward Award presented by the Western Neurosurgical Society in 2011 for his innovative dedication to organized neurosurgery and, in particular, the education for neurosurgery residents and practicing neurosurgeons in the United States and around the world.  Having rather successfully fought off pancreatic cancer, he succumbed to a glioblastoma.
Dr. Jane was born in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude in 1951.  He then matriculated to the University of Chicago School of Medicine and received his Doctor of Medicine in 1956. He did his internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital at McGill University in Montreal and returned to begin his neurosurgical residency at the University of Chicago clinics in 1957 working with Dr. Sean Mullan.  Dr. Jane completed his Neurosurgical residency in 1963-1964 at the University of Illinois Research and Educational Hospital and the Illinois Neuropsychiatric Institute. In 1965 Dr. Jane became a Senior Instructor of Neurosurgery at The Case Western Reserve University.  In 1967, Dr. Jane completed and was awarded a PhD from the University of Chicago in Biopsychology.  In 1969, Dr. Jane became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, Virginia.  He held his position as Chairman at the University of Virginia continuously until 2006. He remained the Residency Program Director until 2014.

Dr. Jane was a dedicated academician, researcher, leader in our specialty of Neurosurgery, but most important was his dedication to education, both through his work as Editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery and his continuous participation in formal neurosurgical education, both to residents in training as well as practicing neurosurgeons both in this country and across the world.  As a result of his substantial achievements in all of these aspects of his career he has received widespread recognition and numerous awards, among them being the honored guest for the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (1995); and the Distinguished Service Award of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (2002).  In 2004 he was awarded the American Association of Neurological Surgeons’ highest honor, the Cushing Medal.
Dr. Jane considered the most important accomplishment  of his professional life was the education of young neurosurgeons in training and continuing education of practicing neurosurgeons. While at Case Western Reserve he was involved in the training of Donald Becker, Martin Weiss, and Harold Young.  An example to his dedication to the continued medical education of practicing neurosurgeons, was his active involvement in the Journal of Neurosurgery from 1984, becoming its Editor in 1992, a position he held until 2013.  During his tenure as the Editor he expanded the Journal of Neurosurgery to include the Journal of Neurosurgery:  Spine and the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

Dr. Jane is survived by his wife, Noella Fortier, of Montreal, Quebec, Canada; four grown children, three daughters and one son; six grandsons and two granddaughters. Dr. Jane and his wife, Noella, were known for their hospitality and open door policy at their home and, in particular, members of the UVA Neurosurgery Department where they regularly held departmental parties at their home.  
Dr. John Jane’s accomplished career in neurosurgery, his integrity as an academician, and his sustained dedication to education and mentorship, he has left the state of neurosurgery in better condition than when he started his career, for which we are sincerely grateful. Rest in peace.

--William Ganz
WNS Communications Committee

New Officers for 2016


Charles E. Nussbaum, M.D.

Dr. Nussbaum was born and raised near Chicago, IL. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in 1980 and his MD in 1984 from the University of Rochester. After completing his general surgery internship at Case Western Reserve, he returned to Rochester to complete his neurosurgery residency, graduating in 1990. He married Debbie in 1987, whom he first met at a history meeting during medical school.

In 1994, he became section head of Neurosurgery at Virginia Mason. Since then he has also served on the Professional Liability and Quality Assurance committees, in addition to several other efforts. He is an active member in the Western Neurosurgical Society and has spent 10 years on the executive committee, completed a four year term as Secretary-Treasurer, has served as Chairman of the Membership and CME committees, and has been a member of the Program and Site Selection committees. During his career, Dr. Nussbaum has received multiple “top doctor” awards by Seattle and Seattle Met magazines. He has an active general neurosurgery practice, with patients frequently coming for evaluation from as far away as Fairbanks, Alaska.

Dr. Nussbaum enjoys spending time with his wife, Debbie, and his three children. The Nussbaum twin boys are currently freshmen in college, and their daughter is a graduate student at UC San Diego. Dr. Nussbaum is an avid mountain biker and typically commutes to work via bicycle. Both he and Debbie are also passionate downhill skiers.

There is no doubt that his enthusiasm is matched by his wealth of experience within the Western Neurosurgical Society. We look forward to welcoming him as our next President.

-Ciara Harraher
WNS Communications Committee


Vice President

David T. Pitkethly, MD

We are delighted to introduce our new Vice-President, Dr. David T. Pitkethly.  David was born in New York City on February 29, 1936, and received his pre-medical education at Virginia Military Institute.  He completed medical school at Duke University School of Medicine in 1961, during which he also entered active duty military service in the United States Army.  He continued his military service during his further medical training with Internship at Fitzsimmons General Hospital (Denver, CO),  pre-surgery at Womack Army Hospital (Fort Bragg, NC), and Residency in Neurological Surgery at Walter Reed General Hospital (Washington, DC). 
David describes having three separate careers.  First, he served the United States Army on active duty for 13 years, then reserve duty for 27 years, culminating in his retirement at the rank of retired colonel in 1996.  During his distinguished military career, he served as Chief of Neurosurgery of the US Army in Japan during 1970-71, and at the 50th General Hospital in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm, 1990-1.  In his second career, David practiced neurosurgery in Bellevue and Kirkland, Washington, from 1973-1997.  His current career started as Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University Washington, culminating in his appointment as Professor Emeritus in 2007, a position he still holds today.
In addition to his distinguished military, private practice, and academic medical careers, David has served neurosurgery with his volunteer work in the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery (FIENS).  He and his wife, Mara, have served tours in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.  David has served the Western on multiple committees, most recently the Site Selection Committee which he continues to chair.
David and his wife, Mara, have been married for 26 years.  He has four adult children and four adult grandchildren.  David spends his time enjoying golf, bicycling, swimming, and running.  He ran cross country and track at VMI, and was named an All-American in 1957.  He continued to run and competed in Masters level competitions earning several national age-group championships.  He is most proud of his personal best in the marathon of 2 hours and 40 minutes at the age of 45.  David and Mara recently said, “ . . . life is very good.”.

-Richard Chua
WNS Communications Committee

WNS Members In Print

JNS—July 2015
Neil A. Martin, MD  Assessing early unplanned reoperations in neurosurgery: opportunities for quality improvement
JNS—August  2015
Mitchel S. Berger, MD  Awake craniotomy to maximize glioma resection: methods and technical nuances over a 27-year period
Thomas C. Chen, MD, PhD  Development of the Metronomic Biofeedback Pump for leptomeningeal carcinomatosis: technical note
Michael W. McDermott, MD  Adverse radiation effect after stereotactic radiosurgery for brain metastases: incidence, time course, and risk factors
Bob S. Carter, MD, PhD  Treatment biases in traumatic neurosurgical care: a retrospective study of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 1998 to 2009
JNS—September 2015
Nathan R. Selden, MD, PhD  Five-year institutional bibliometric profiles for 103 US neurosurgical residency programs
Andres M. Lozano, MD, PhD  The academic productivity and impact of the University of Toronto Neurosurgery Program as assessed by manuscripts published and their number of citations
Mitchel S. Berger, MD  Transient aphasias after left hemisphere resective surgery
Neil A. Martin, MD  Encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis for adult intracranial arterial steno-occlusive disease: long-term single-center experience with 107 operations
Gary K. Steinberg, MD, PhD  Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for cardiac arrest during moyamoya cerebral revascularization surgery: case report
William T. Couldwell, MD, PhD  Peritumoral cysts associated with pituitary macroadenoma
JNS—October 2015
Gerald A. Grant, MD, and Michael S. B. Edwards, MD  Evolution of cranioplasty techniques in neurosurgery: historical review, pediatric considerations, and current trends
JNS—November 2015
Keith L. Black, MD  Association between in-hospital adverse events and mortality for patients with brain tumors
Michael W. McDermott, MD  Skull base chondrosarcoma radiosurgery: report of the North American Gamma Knife Consortium
Steven Giannotta, MD  Cerebrospinal fluid reconstitution via a perfusion-based cadaveric model: feasibility study demonstrating surgical simulation of neuroendoscopic procedures
JNS-Peds  August 2015
Hector E. James, MD  The value of head circumference measurements after 36 months of age: a clinical report and review of practice patterns
Iman Feiz-Erfan, MD  Case report of an epidural cervical Onchocerca lupi infection in a 13-year-old boy
JNS-Peds  October  2015
Richard G. Ellenbogen, MD and Jeffrey G. Ojemann, MD  Impact of epilepsy surgery on development of preschool children: identification of a cohort likely to benefit from early intervention
Richard G. Ellenbogen, MD  Ultrasound stylet for non-image-guided ventricular catheterization
JNS-Peds  November  2015
Hector E. James, MD  Letter to the Editor: Carbon dioxide laser and corpus callosotomy
JNS-Spine  August  2015
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD  How the neck affects the back: changes in regional cervical sagittal alignment correlate to HRQOL improvement in adult thoracolumbar deformity patients at 2-year follow-up
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD  Rotational thromboelastometry–guided blood product management in major spine surgery
JNS-Spine  September 2015
Praveen V. Mummaneni, MD  A controlled anterior sequential interbody dilation technique for correction of cervical kyphosis
Praveen V. Mummaneni, MD  Two-level corpectomy versus three-level discectomy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a comparison of perioperative, radiographic, and clinical outcomes
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD   The likelihood of reaching minimum clinically important difference and substantial clinical benefit at 2 years following a 3-column osteotomy: analysis of 140 patients
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD  Comparison of best versus worst clinical outcomes for adult spinal deformity surgery: a retrospective review of a prospectively collected, multicenter database with 2-year follow-up: Presented at the 2015 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
JNS-Spine October 2015
Praveen V. Mummaneni, MD; Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD  Predictive value of 3-month lumbar discectomy outcomes in the NeuroPoint-SD Registry
JNS-Spine November 2015
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD  Assessment of impact of standing long-cassette radiographs on surgical planning for lumbar pathology: an international survey of spine surgeons
Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD  Impact of obesity on complications, infection, and patient-reported outcomes in adult spinal deformity surgery
JNS-Neurosurgical Focus August  2015
J. Patrick Johnson, MD  Introduction:  Intradural spinal tumors
Praveen V. Mummaneni, MD, Philip R. Weinstein, MD  Association of tumor location, extent of resection, and neurofibromatosis status with clinical outcomes for 221 spinal nerve sheath tumors
Praveen V. Mummaneni, MD  Comparison of minimally invasive transspinous and open approaches for thoracolumbar intradural-extramedullary spinal tumors
JNS-Neurosurgical Focus September 2015
Philip R. Weinstein, MD  Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome: current diagnostic criteria and advances in MRI diagnostics
Neurosurgery August 2015
Berger, Mitchel S.  The Effect of Timing of Concurrent Chemoradiation in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma
Neurosurgery October 2015 Suppl 1
Shaffrey, Christopher I.  Degenerative Spinal Deformity
Mummaneni, Praveen  Lumbar Surgery in the Elderly Provides Significant Health Benefit in the US Health Care System: Patient-Reported Outcomes in 4370 Patients From the N2QOD Registry
Mummaneni, Praveen  Appropriate Use of Limited Interventions vs Extensive Surgery in the Elderly Patient With Spinal Disorders
Shaffrey, Christopher I.  Progressive Spinal Kyphosis in the Aging Population
Shaffrey, Christopher I.  Impact of Movement Disorders on Management of Spinal Deformity in the Elderly
Neurosurgery November 2015
Edwards, Michael S.B.  Neural Placode Tissue Derived From Myelomeningocele Repair Serves as a Viable Source of Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells
Lawton, Michael T.  In Reply: Silent Arteriovenous Malformation Hemorrhage and the Recognition of “Unruptured” Arteriovenous Malformation Patients Who Benefit From Surgical Intervention
Surgical Neurology International:Spine  October 2015
J. Patrick Johnson  Economics of image guidance and navigation in spine surgery

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