Neurology | St. Louis Public Radio

Neurology

February 13, 2020 Tobias Picker Aryeh Lev Stollman
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Composer Tobias Picker has five operas to his credit, with commissions from the LA Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, among others, and serious acclaim. But his sixth opera, which makes its world premiere at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis this June, will have particular personal resonance. The librettist writing the words to go with Picker’s music is his husband, Dr. Aryeh Lev Stollman.

And while Stollman has written three novels, this is his first time writing an opera libretto. Still, he brings a particular expertise to the show, which is an adaptation of Dr. Oliver Sacks’ nonfiction medical drama “Awakenings.” Like Sacks, Stollman is a physician who studies the nervous system (Stollman is a neuroradiologist, Sacks a neurologist).   

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For years, doctors have used an expensive brain scan to detect symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. 

But researchers at Washington University have found that a simple blood test could be similarly effective, according to a study published this month in the journal Neurology. A blood test to diagnose early symptoms could help make finding a cure easy or cheaper and even guide treatment for the disease in the future, the study’s authors say. 

Drs. Eric Leuthardt (at left) and Albert Kim discussed how they take information about the brain and present it in a live-theater production format on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

When Washington University neurosurgeons Albert Kim and Eric Leuthardt aren’t teaching, researching or performing surgery, they often think of creative ways to get information about the brain and its complexities to the masses, such as co-hosting their “Brain Coffee” podcast.

Another one of their endeavors is putting together a live theater experience showcasing the wonders of the brain. “BrainWorks” dramatizes real-life neurological cases to help explain the science behind brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, brain tumors and strokes. 

The production is a collaboration between the Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Nine Network of Public Media. This year’s performances will be July 19, 20 and 21 at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts on Webster University’s campus. 

Noah Drozda shows off a pair of biosensors that he wore around the clock for a study on motor deficits in children.
Catherine Hoyt | Washington University

Washington University researchers are testing a wearable biosensor that can detect potential motor impairments early, while kids are still young enough to respond to physical therapy.

An estimated 1 in 3,000 babies have a stroke around the time they’re born, but the signs can be so subtle that parents and doctors miss them.