Hopkins’ Cohen Emphasizes 3 H’s of Patient Care

Great Teacher lecturer Dr. Alan R. Cohen also exhibited a great sense of humor.
Great Teacher lecturer Dr. Alan R. Cohen also exhibited a great sense of humor.

I don’t know about you, but if someone is going to do brain surgery on me, I want a surgeon as skilled at making pot jokes, enlivening the history of neurosurgery with anecdotes from Maimonides, Twain and Da Vinci and schooled in Elvis impersonation as Dr. Alan R. Cohen, professor of neurosurgery and Carson-Spiro professor of pediatric neurosurgery and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In his Grand Rounds/Great Teachers lecture “The Art of Neurosurgery” on Nov. 8 in Lipsett Amphitheater, Cohen proved not only deeply immersed in the history of his field, but also acutely aware of the hunger patients have, especially those with grievous diagnoses, for treatment that embodies what he called the “three H’s—humility, humanity and humor.”

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CULTURE & COGNITION
Education Is Key to Reducing Disparities in Alzheimer’s

Dr. Jennifer Manly
Dr. Jennifer Manly

Everyone typically has a bit of memory decline with age, though it’s unclear what exactly causes some people to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Recent research has shown that certain racial and ethnic groups have a much higher risk of developing this neurodegenerative disease, but in these cases biology might be only part of the puzzle.

Dr. Jennifer Manly is a neuropsychologist who has been studying the racial disparities of Alzheimer’s patients for more than 25 years near Columbia University Medical School. Her focus area is Washington Heights, a diverse neighborhood in northern Manhattan that’s home to many African Americans who were born and raised in the south—a geographic feature that’s integral to her study—and Caribbean Hispanic immigrants.

“It’s an incredible place to do research on aging and ask questions about how culture affects the cognitive aging process,” said Manly at the Oct. 18 lecture, organized by the National Institute on Aging.

As lead investigator on the WHICAP [Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project] study, Manly and her colleagues have evaluated more than 6,500 seniors in their homes, conducting a cognitive test battery and extensive medical and functional interviews, then following up with them every 18-24 months. Based on cohort studies that began in 1992, WHICAP data revealed that African Americans and Caribbean Hispanics have a significantly higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and a more rapid cognitive decline over time than do whites. Other studies have corroborated this finding.

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