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3-D Printers Help Doctors Prep for Complex Surgeries 

3-D printing is taking a doctor’s preparation for surgery to new levels. The Boston Globe chronicles how Dr. Joseph Madsen, neurosurgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, used the groundbreaking technology to prepare for one of his patients. 

Violinist who captured hearts recovers after brain surgery

January 8, 2015 - Sophie Fellows, the young Vermont girl who played in a hospital concert just a day before brain surgery, is recovering in Boston and playing her violin again, WCVB-TV reports.

Boston Children’s Hospital testing epileptic seizure-detecting watch

December 17, 2014 - Epilepsy is a tough condition to live with and, despite treatment, many patients often still have seizures.  Boston Children’s Hospital’s Tobi Loddenkemper, MD, was featured on WBZ-TV News talking about  a newly developed “seizure watch.” The watch is designed to sense rapid arm movements and increased sweat production, that a patient undergoing a gran mal seizure might experience.

November 12, 2014 - Proceeds from the 2014 Boston Investment Conference will advance a profound example of translational research that is revolutionizing pediatric clinical care:  personalized neurosurgery.  Using next-generation 3-D printing technology, Boston Children’s researchers are gaining an extraordinary level of insight into complex brain anomalies – empowering surgeons to take better care of the desperately ill patients who turn to Boston Children’s for help.


Doctor turns to 3D printers in a race to save a toddler's mind

September 3, 2014 - The Verge features the 3D printing service from Boston Children's Simulator Program and tells the story of an infant whose brain was replicated by the hospital's 3D printer and practiced on by Joseph Madsen, MD, prior to his operation. Madsen tells the Verge a hemispherectomy is one of the most challenging operations in pediatric epilepsy surgery and says the simulation made a big difference. Peter Weinstock, MD, PhD, director of the Simulator Program, says within a year of its inception his team has printed close to 100 models – 20 percent of which have made their way into operating rooms.

3D Printing Helps Doctors in Brain Surgery on Southington Teenager

The Hartford Courant (subscription required) explains how 3D printing helped save the life of Adam Stedman, a 16-year-old from Southington, CT. Adam had a delicate cranial neurosurgery at Boston Children's Hospital to repair a rare arteriovenous malformation. A 3D model of Adam's brain was used by Boston Children’s neurosurgeon, Edward Smith, MD, in pre-surgery training. Peter Weinstock, MD, PhD, director the Boston Children's Hospital simulator program is quoted in the article.

Surgeons Get 'Dress Rehearsals' with 3D-Printed Body Parts

August 27, 2014 - ABC News features Boston Children's Simulator Program and its 3D printing service which allows doctors to practice performing complex surgeries on one-of-a-kind patients before ever entering the operating room. Peter Weinstock, MD, PhD, tells ABC his team has printed about 100 body parts over the last year and demand is growing. Edward Smith, MD, says a surgery that was supposed to take five or six hours wound up taking 2 hours and 20 minutes after practicing on the replicas that had been printed of a 15-year-old patient with an abnormal cluster of veins above his optical nerve.

Erythropoietin may reduce risk of brain abnormality in preterm infants

August 27, 2014 - Reuters Health via Consultant 360 reports on a new study by Swiss researchers that found early administration of high-dose erythropoietin (EPO) appears to reduce the likelihood of brain MRI abnormalities in preterm infants. Boston Children’s Shenandoah Robinson, MD provides comment on the study results, and concludes, “treatments like EPO or similar agents for preterm infants could have a tremendous impact globally, as prematurity not only increases lifelong medical needs but also in many cases limits economic productivity in adults."

Patient Story: Yousef's Vein of Galen surgery

August 14, 2014 - When a Vein of Galen malformation was discovered in Yousef Alrkhayes' brain, a neurologist in their hometown of Kuwait City said he would be able to operate on Yousef at six months with a 40 percent chance of success—a prospect Yousef’s parents weren’t satisfied with. Because the malformation was so rare, they soon realized, they would need to find help outside of the country. Read more of Yousef's story at Boston Children's here.

Dressed to Detect

July 9, 2014 - Nature reports on wearable biometric devices that monitor seizures and promise improvements in epilepsy treatments and research, in a special supplement on epilepsy. Boston Children’s Tobias Loddenkemper, MD, who is currently running a trial utilizing a prototype of a wearable biometric device, provides expert comment.

New research aims to impact pediatric brain cancer

May 21, 2014 - 1011-TV in Lincoln, NE reports that Nebraskans have helped the Team Jack Foundation (named for Boston Children’s patient Jack Hoffman) raise more than $1 million for pediatric brain cancer research. The Foundation is excited about a research prototype they hope will be a game changer for kids battling pediatric brain cancer. Hoffman’s neurosurgeon, Boston Children’s Liliana Goumnerova, MD says the goal is to get as much of a brain tumor out of a child as possible.

D-R’s Kyle Arieta provides example of strength

April 4, 2014 - ESPN reports Boston Children’s patient and high school football and track and field star Kyle Arieta fell ill suddenly due to a non-malignant brain tumor last year. After suffering hemorrhaging of his pituitary gland, doctors performed emergency surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital. A year later, Arieta is back on the football field playing with his high school team and was recently invited by the New England Patriots to a special day at Gillette Stadium with the team. The story was also reported by The Taunton Gazette.

Visualizing data to help epilepsy patients

March 28, 2014 - A RENCI-led project puts patient and EMR data at clinicians' fingertips in visual formats to improve treatments for epilepsy. Read More

W. Pa. infant home after life-saving brain surgery

January 14, 2014 - A five-week old baby is home in western Pennsylvania after having life-saving surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital to correct a brain defect, according to The Washington Times (via AP).  Boston Children’s Mark Proctor, MD, who conducted the surgery, says the baby has a “long road ahead” but is gratified his parents are able to hold, cuddle and feed him normally.

Boston Children's Hospital Welcomes New Epilepsy Chief

January, 2014 - Boston Children’s Hospital today announced Phillip L. Pearl, MD, has joined the institution’s Department of Neurology as chief of the Division of Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.  Pearl, who succeeds Blaise Bourgeois, MD as chief, also will serve as professor of neurology and William G. Lennox Chair at Harvard Medical School. 

Medical Mysteries: What did the boy’s echo reveal?

June 17, 2013 - Help solve the diagnostic puzzle of 4-month-old Rolensky of Haiti, whose heart seemed to be failing—yet showed no visible cardiac abnormality. As described in The Boston Globe, the decision to place the echo probe on his head rather than his heart led to the right solution.

High-tech imagery helps surgeons combat Epilepsy

April 8, 2013 - The Boston Globe - After nearly seven hours of preparation, Dr. Joseph Madsen turned on the laser at Boston Children’s Hospital that would burn a tiny hole in the brain of 13-year-old Justin Griffin. The laser was on for only a minute, but scored a direct hit on the area Madsen thought was causing Justin’s weekly epileptic seizures. Twice more the surgeon pulsed the laser, and then concluded the operation was a success: The left hippocampus of Justin’s brain had been effectively destroyed and with it the catalyst for the boy’s disruptive seizures. Read more about this new treatment.

Seven-year-old Jack Hoffman, battling brain cancer, has spent a lot of time in Boston

April 8, 2013 - Boston magazine reports Jack Hoffman, the seven-year-old brain cancer patient who gained national attention after making a touchdown during the Nebraska Husker’s spring football game, is a favorite patient of some Boston doctors. Boston Children’s neurosurgeon Liliana Goumnerova, MD, operated on Hoffman after doctors discovered an aggressive brain tumor following a series of excessive seizures. Hoffman frequently returns to Boston for treatment as he battles cancer.

Pencil pulled from tot’s head very, very slowly

January 28, 2013 - This unusual accident—in which a pencil penetrated five inches into 20-month-old’s brain, crossing from one end of the skull to the other—demonstrates the power of advanced brain imaging when combined with a neurosurgeon’s steady hand.

Toddler's Brain, Eye Pierced by Pencil, Survives Freak Accident

January 25, 2013 - ABC News reports on a medical miracle at Boston Children’s Hospital that saved a 19-month-old girl who fell on a pencil. Shenandoah Robinson, MD and Darrin Orbach, MD led the medical team.

Rainfall, brain infection linked in sub-Saharan Africa

January 4, 2013 - The amount of rainfall affects the number of infant infections leading to hydrocephalus in Uganda, according to a team of researchers from Boston Children’s led by neurosurgeon Benjamin Warf, MD, who are the first to demonstrate that these brain infections are linked to climate.

As childhood strokes increase, surgeons aim to reduce risks

December 10, 2012 - National Public Radio tells the story of 13-year-old Maribel Ramos, a girl with moyamoya disease who underwent pial synangiosis, giving her brain a new blood supply.

Lexington neurosurgeon, 54, earns ‘genius grant’

October 1, 2012 - The Boston Globe reports that Boston Children’s Ben Warf, MD, has been named a 2012 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, one of four Boston-area recipients of the “genius grant.” The award comes with a $500,000 stipend, and, for Warf, visibility for hydrocephalus - a global health problem that he said has been “way under the radar.” The New York Times,’s “Culture Desk” blog and Harvard Gazette also report on the award.

Mark Proctor, MD appears in The Boston Globe's Health Answers

March 5, 2012 - Boston Children's pediatric neurosurgeon Mark Proctor, MD answered a reader's question about plagiocephaly in The Boston Globe.  The question and answer also appeared on

A urine test for brain tumors and CVD?

January 19, 2011 - Ed Smith, MD, is seeking “biomarkers” that show up in urine and can be used to tell whether a brain tumor is coming back, without having to bring the child in for imaging. Smith is now extending this research to monitoring moyamoya disease, arteriovenous malformations and more.








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