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Dr. Nicholas Schiff receives research award for Innovation in Neuroscience

NEW YORK (Dec. 13, 2007) -- A leading authority on neurological disorders of consciousness, Dr. Nicholas Schiff of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City has received a prestigious Research Award for Innovation in Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience, the world's largest organization of physicians and scientists who study the brain and nervous system.

The award -- for "imaginative, innovative research that will advance novel ideas and have the potential to lead to significant breakthroughs in the understanding of the brain and nervous system and related diseases," -- was presented at the Society's recent annual meeting in San Diego.

Dr. Schiff was the lead author of a breakthrough study in the Aug. 2 journal Nature, reporting that a 38-year-old man who spent more than five years in a minimally conscious state as a result of a severe head injury is now communicating regularly with family members and recovering his ability to move after having his brain stimulated with pulses of electric current. The findings provide the first rigorous evidence that any procedure can initiate and sustain recovery in such a severely disabled person, years after the injury occurred.

Study investigators included NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's Dr. Joseph Fins and physician-scientists at the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute (Edison, N.J.) and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Dr. Schiff is associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College and associate attending neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. He is an inventor at Cornell University of some of the technology used in the study described in Nature and is a paid consultant and advisor to IntElect Medical Inc., to which the technology has been licensed by Cornell University and in which Cornell University has an equity interest. A Conflict Management Plan relating to IntElect and its relationship with Dr. Schiff and Cornell University is in place.

A diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, he received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College (now Weill Cornell Medical College). He completed his residency in neurology at The New York Hospital (now NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell), where he trained with Drs. Fred Plum and Jerome Posner and developed his subspecialty interest in the field of impaired consciousness. He is a co-author of the fourth edition of Dr. Plum and Posner's classic textbook "The Diagnosis of Stupor and Coma." Dr. Schiff is an elected member of the American Neurological Association. His long-range goals are to develop strategies and improved diagnostics to treat of chronic cognitive disabilities resulting from brain injuries.


Contact: Andrew Klein
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

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