Neurology News & Views

In recognition of its innovative and collaborative efforts, the Department of Neurology frequently makes headlines for the breadth of research transforming the neuroscience field. Below are some of the articles highlighting the ongoing work of our faculty and residents.

Concussion Risk is Higher in Female Athletes

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2019) — With schools starting back for the year, many young athletes are returning to sports – and with that comes the possibility of injuries, including concussions.

UK Awarded $6 Million from NIH to Study Decision-Making Processes Behind Substance Use Disorders

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2019) — Faculty from the University of Kentucky Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Behavioral Science in the College of Medicine have received two, five-year Research Project Grants (R01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study neurobehavioral processes involved in drug use disorders.

Behind the Blue:  Sanders-Brown Director Dr. Linda Van Eldik Looks to the Future of Alzheimer's Research

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2019) — Alzheimer's disease wreaks emotional havoc on patients, who are robbed of their memories, their dignity, and their lives. It’s financially devastating as well: care for Alzheimer's patients is predicted to top $1 trillion by about the time children born today are having children of their own.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 5, 2019) — Last September, Guy Bradley began having episodes of severe and sudden confusion with night sweats and nausea.
"He'd wake up and not know where he was or what day it was," said his wife, Harriet.

LISTEN:  How innovative treatments are changing the outlook for Parkinson's patients 

April 10, 2019 / In Neurology & Brain Health / By UK HealthCare

More than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson's disease, and about 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with this life-changing condition each year. If you know someone with Parkinson's or another movement disorder, you know how much it can affect their life – from drinking a glass of water to walking around the house.

Dr. Zain Guduru, a neurologist at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, was recently a guest on UK HealthCast to explain what movement disorders are and the many new ways that they can be treated.

Listen below.

When is Alzheimer's Not Alzheimer's Disease?  Reserearchers Charaterize a Different Form of Dementia

In the past, using the terms "Alzheimer’s disease" and "dementia" interchangeably was a generally accepted practice. Now there is rising appreciation that a variety of diseases and disease processes contribute to dementia.

Doctors newly define another type of dementia, sometimes mistaken for Alzheimer's

(CNN) We're really overhauling the concept of what dementia is," said the lead author Dr. Peter Nelson, director of neuropathology at the Univeristy of Kentucky Medical Center.

Does Smoking Cause Dementia?  Maybe Not, Study Says

It's an irrefutable fact that smoking is bad for you. Study after study has proven that smoking increases your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes – even blindness.

Alzheimer's disease wreaks emotional havoc on patients, who are robbed of their memories, their dignity, and their lives.  It’s financially devastating as well: care for Alzheimer's patients is predicted to top $1 trillion by about the time children born today are having children of their own.

Med Student Who Helped Launch Diversity Program is Now a Physican and Faculty Adviser

A meeting in early 2010 sparked Dr. Ima Ebong's passion to advocate for greater minority representation in medical school — a passion that has propelled her to national recognition for her work.

Quest for Answers Brings Teen With Epilepsy to UK HealthCare

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 24, 2019) — Zackary Price sits in the waiting room with his mother, Nina. His demeanor reveals no trace of anxiety, but Nina nonetheless hovers gently as any concerned mother would.

UK Neurologist Pens Editorial About Lack of Minority Represenation in MS Drug Research 

In an editorial published in CNS Spectrums, Dr. Jay Avasarala takes the research community to task for its lack of minority representation in Phase III clinical trials for drugs to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

KARRN Celebrates A Decade of Transforming Lives in Rural Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 10, 2018) — The Kentucky Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network (KARRN) has spent the past decade investing in citizens of rural Kentucky who have experienced a neurological condition such as a spinal cord injury, stroke, or traumatic brain injury. Their collaborative team has transformed countless lives by helping survivors improve quality of life and reintegrate into their communities. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2018) — When you return from break next Monday, you may notice purple lights around campus. In honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregiver’s Month, from Monday, Nov. 26, through Friday, Nov. 30, buildings across the University of Kentucky campus will be lit with purple lights to spread awareness and celebrate the lives of UK caregivers and those in the community diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 

UK Biochemist Recognized for Work in FUS-ALS

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2018) —Researchers at the University of Kentucky have discovered new biological processes by which mutations in the FUS gene cause neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Behind the Blue': Recognizing Dementia Warning Signs During the Holidays

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2018) — The holidays offer the opportunity to reunite with seldom-seen relatives. Family gatherings often bring people together over traditional foods, activities and recollections of the past. If you notice memory changes in your older family members, how do you know whether what you're seeing is just part of getting older or something more serious?

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2018) — The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced that University of Kentucky's Matthew Gentry has received the Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship.

Research Identifies Potential Predictors of Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Dementia in Alzheimers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 7, 2018) — Research at the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has identified two potential ways to predict vascular cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) – the second leading cause of dementia behind Alzheimer's disease.

New Simulation Center Will Help Improve Medical Education

UK HealthCare has opened the doors to a new, state-of-the-art simulation facility. The approximately 7,000 square feet space, located on the second floor of University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, will house technology needed for multidisciplinary training and research to advance patient safety and educate today's students and tomorrow's health care providers.

Fast Action by Stroke Care Network Hospital is Crucial for Doctor Turned Patient

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 29, 2018)  ̶  Dr. Roy Varghese, a board-certified internal medicine physician, is a local celebrity of sorts in Hyden, Kentucky, where he has practiced at Mary Breckinridge ARH Hospital for more than 30 years.

Two Sanders-Brown Studies Show Connection Between Diet, Congnitive Function

We've all experienced a "gut feeling" — when we know deep down inside that something is true. That phenomenon and others, aptly describe what scientists have now demonstrated: that the gut and the brain are more closely connected than we once thought, and in fact the health of one can affect the other.

Research Facility Shows What Kentucky Can Do

A research facility expressly devoted to addressing and eradicating the state’s most significant health disparities was opened Friday morning by the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees and President Eli Capilouto, and many of the Commonwealth’s leading policymakers.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 17, 2018) — Imagine you’re trying to carry on a conversation with a friend: You can clearly envision the sentence in your mind, the carefully constructed thoughts and words are all there. But, as soon as the words reach your lips, they sound wrong. In fact, what you are now verbalizing sounds nothing like the thought in your head at all. For many people who survive a stroke or traumatic brain injury, this is just a snippet in a day in the life of living with aphasia.

Most Americans Believe a Cure for Alzheimer’s Will Come in Their Lifetime

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2018) — A new survey released today finds that most U.S. adults (54 percent) are worried that they may develop Alzheimer’s disease, and a majority believe it is likely a cure will be developed in their lifetime (55 percent).

UK Study Finds Amphetamines Don't Improve Motor Recovery After Stroke

JAMA Neurology (Aug. 28, 2018)  —  Dr. Larry Goldstein, chair of the UK Department of Neurology, advances research another step to better understanding an approach that may eventually lead to a new way of improving recovery. 

UK HealthCare No. 1 in Kentucky; Nationally Ranked in Four Adult Specialties 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2018) — UK HealthCare’s University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital remains the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky and the Bluegrass Region for the third consecutive year, according to the 2018 U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals Rankings released today.

UK College of Medicine - Bowling Green Campus Welcomes Inaugural Class

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2018) — The first class of medical students at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus took their first steps in their medical education by participating in the campus' inaugural White Coat Ceremony.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2018) — It's the diagnosis those 65 and older often fear, but what are the chances you will be unhappy if you develop some cognitive impairment in the years ahead?

KNI Neurologist's Work Featured in Major National News Outlet 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2018) — STAT News, a division of the Boston Globe, has published a story about the work of Dr. Edward Kasarskis and his team, who study a familial form of ALS.

UK HDI Receives Grant to Help Serve Individuals With Paralysis

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2018) — The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) has received a three-year grant totaling $600,000 from the Administration on Community Living. The project, Wellness Edge, is a Paralysis Resource Center State Pilot program grant. It will build connection within local communities to enhance and facilitate access to recreational programs to better serve people with paralysis and their support networks.

Targeting Inflammation May Protect and Retore the Brain after Stroke

June 13, 2018 (Scientific American) - New therapeutic approaches directed at the post-stroke immune response show promise in mice. 

New Clinical Trial Takes Personalized Approach for Rare Type of ALS in Appalachia

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 13, 2018) – ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a neurodegenerative disease of some fame in the United States. Many Americans know the illness, which currently has no cure, as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the beloved baseball player whose career and life were cut short by the condition in the 1930s and 40s. 

A Stroke at Age 27 Inspired Dedication to Cardiovascular Research

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 25, 2018) — When Donna Arnett, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, had a stroke when she was 27 years old people didn't believe her. Though she experienced slurring of speech, facial drooping and numbness in her arm - all telltale signs of a stroke - the people around her thought, because of her age, it must be something else. Four hours later, after she'd driven herself to work, she was sent to the emergency room for treatment. The cause of Arnett's stroke, a genetic condition, inspired her interest in cardiovascular genetics research.

Lexington healthcare facility recognized nationally for the second time for its stroke treatment and care

In Kentucky, the numbers are not good when it comes to stroke victims. In fact, we live in what some say is the stroke belt, and doctors here say we are the buckle of that belt. Fast access to stroke treatment is key to survival, that's why one Lexington health care facility has received a national ranking for its stroke research and patient care.

UK Researchers Study Rapid Blood Test for Concussions

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2018) — When an athlete takes a hard hit or fall, one of the first things that comes to the minds of coaches, athletic trainers, team physicians and spectators is the risk of concussion. Protocols are in place to assess if an athlete has sustained a concussion or if they can be cleared to go back into the game. However, there is some ambiguity between physicians as to what constitutes a concussion.

Two Strokes and Three Surgeries Later, Lexington Teen Set to Graduate High School

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 9, 2018) — "Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis" didn't show up as a question on Destiny Taschner's ACT test.  But if it had, this high schooler would have been able to give its definition.

Study Finds Possibility of New Ways to Treat, Manage Epilepsy Seizures

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2018) - New findings from the University of Kentucky published in the Journal of Neuroscience demonstrate that there may be ways to address blood-brain barrier dysfunction in epilepsy.

Head Injuries and the Path from Pilot Study to Major Grant

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 18, 2018) — Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been a hot topic of late as soldiers return from the battlefield and football players from the gridiron with debilitating injuries.

After son's multiple sclerosis diagnosis, UK doctor advocates for change

When Dr. Hatim Omar‘s 18-year-old son Kareem called to complain about a lack of feeling in his legs, Omar knew it was serious.  “My son is an amazing kid,” Omar said. “He never complains.”

Sanders-Brown Grant Trains New Generation of Dementia Researchers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 2, 2018) —The University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has been awarded a $2 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to train the next generation of dementia researchers. 

Third Neurogastronomy Symposium Explores What We Eat and Why

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 22, 2018) — Humans have a complex relationship with food:  it is sustenance, it is a livelihood, it is an emotional reward, and it can be medicine. As the obesity epidemic illustrates, it can be the opposite of medicine, too. Neurogastronomy encompasses a number of disciplines to address that relationship, including basic science, nutrition, psychology, agriculture, food science and health.

New Options for Parkinson's Patients

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 5, 2018) — Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative neurologic condition that affects more than one million people in the United States and 10 million people worldwide. 

UK Researcher Using NIH Grant to Seek Early Predictors of Alzheimers

Olivier Thibault, a researcher in UK’s Department of Phamacology and Nutritional Science, along with researchers from four other institutions, is using a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a collaborative project using non-invasive treatments on mice to measure early predictors of Alzheimer’s disease in hopes of finding a cure.

UK doctor thinks relief for Parkinson’s may be as close as a patient’s ankle

Watch Bill Crawford walk across the second floor atrium of the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. He seems to glide, a quiet minister wearing a Porter Memorial Baptist Church button-down shirt, visiting hospitalized patients.

Working Outside the Box: How a Markey Lab is Helping Stroke Patients

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2017) — When George Quintero first heard about a new clinical trial that could improve motor function in stroke patients, he knew he had to find a way to bring it to UK HealthCare.

When it Comes to Strokes, Timing is Everything

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2017) -  Sudden onset of blurred vision, slurred speech, numbness or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg can be indications of a stroke. Oftentimes, many wait to seek help, but this can be a fatal mistake: the risks of permanent damage or death increase the longer treatment is delayed.

Sanders-Brown Awarded Grant to Study Alzheimer's Prevention Drug

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2017) — The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five year, $2.88 million grant to a Sanders-Brown Center on Aging researcher to study a drug's potential to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Chandler remains No. 1, nationally ranked in four specialties, U.S. News & World Report 

Chandler Hospital remains No. 1 in Kentucky for the second consecutive year in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals rankings. Additionally, we are nationally ranked in four adult specialties.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease and Down Syndrome

The Balm in Gilead and UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Launch Memory Sunday Weekend

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2017) – Phyllis Wilson was driving home from Fayette Mall by taking the back roads, just as she had done hundreds of times in the past to avoid the heavy Nicholasville Road traffic. Suddenly, her surroundings did not look familiar and she felt lost as her heart raced. She pulled over to the side of the road and tried to calm herself. After a few minutes, she pulled back onto the road and slowly began to drive. Something in her view triggered a memory and she knew she was going in the right direction toward home.

UK HealthCare Hospitals Earn AHA Stroke Gold Plus Designation

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2017) — The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recently honored UK HealthCare's Kentucky Neuroscience Institute (KNI) with the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Award.

Technique to Reduce Memory Loss Post-Surgery

With the conveniences of modern medicine, anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists erase the memory and pain of invasive surgeries by administering medicines that induce relaxation and unconsciousness. Patients awake from a deep sleep with no memory of the surgery, the incision or the physical harm done to their bodies.

Treatment Took His Sense of Taste – But Life is Now Sweeter for Markey Patient

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event for any person - but Markey Cancer Center patient Barry Warner says it was probably one of the best things that's happened to him.

Alzheimer's Association Awards $1 Million Grant to UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging

Linda Van Eldik, director of the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, was awarded a "Part the Cloud" translational research grant from the Alzheimer's Association. This two-year, $997,738 grant will fund early clinical trials for a promising new treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

Spinal Cord Injury Research with the Gensel Lab

Taylor Otto, an undergraduate lab assistant in Gensel’s lab, described UK as being the full package. “We have it all here. It’s a good program to be able to come into, not really knowing what you want to exactly do in the science field, but being able to figure it out at the same time,” said Otto."

UK Goes Purple to Support Alzheimer's Awareness Month

To celebrate the lives of those affected by Alzheimer's disease and to honor their caregivers, a purple light will glow at 13 locations on the University of Kentucky campus beginning Tuesday, Nov. 15.  "Going Purple" will continue through Friday, Nov. 18.

Research Hints at Underlying Cause for Alzheimer's Drug Trial Failures (

A paper recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience by Donna Wilcock, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, reports that a certain form of immunotherapy targeted to Alzheimer's patients may be ineffective when that patient also has VCID.

Symposium Showcases Clinical and Translations Research in the Neurosciences

KNI's inaguaral Clinical Translational Neuroscience Research Symposium featured nearly 100 posters and oral presentations focused on the latest scientific advances in a wide variety of topics related to the neurosciences being conducted by UK research groups.

The International Society of Neurogastronomy 

The International Society of Neurogastronomy (ISN) is a professional organization for culinary professionals, agriculture professionals, and scientists of gastronomy in the context of brain and behavior. The concept of Neurogastronomy casts a wide net over all disciplines that are relevant to what we eat, why we like what we eat, and how we eat. The mission of ISN is to advance Neurogastronomy as a craft, science, and health profession, to enhance quality of human life, and to generate and disseminate knowledge of brain-behavior relationships in the context of gastronomy.

Between Clinic and Kitchen, New Hope for Patients With Taste Loss (National Geographic)

The study of the loss of taste is part of the emerging field called neurogastronomy, which addresses brain and behavior in the context of food. It’s a movement that is prompting scientists and chefs to bridge the gap between kitchen and clinic in unexpected ways. It is being led, in part, by neuropsychologist Dan Han and physiologist Tim McClintock at the University of Kentucky. Han and McClintock launched the inaugural International Society of Neurogastronomy symposium.