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Student’s neurosurgical fellowship spurs research

Oct. 10, 2013, 9:34 AM

Travis Ladner, a third-year student at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, has been selected for a 2013 Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) student fellowship award. The award is presented to a medical student every year from a national pool of applicants.

Travis Ladner

Ladner says he is thrilled about the award and plans to use it to design and test an assessment instrument that explores quality of life for children with a serious neurologic problem, called a Chiari malformation, where the base of the brain protrudes through the skull into the top of the spinal column.

“To date, no such instrument exists for these patients. While we know that children with Chiari often have headaches and debilitating pain, there is not much information on the effect of Chiari on psychosocial function. There is also limited information as to which patients will respond best to surgical correction,” Ladner said.

With the Council of State Neurologic Societies (CSNS)/CNS Medical Student Socioeconomic Fellowship, Ladner and his faculty mentors will test the utility of his quality of life instrument in tracking how well patients respond to treatment as well as understanding predictors of a positive therapeutic response.

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