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Clinical Corner: Men's Health Expertise, Parkinson Findings

Renowned Men's Health Expert Joins Department of Urology

Ajay Nehra, MD, joined Rush this spring as vice chairperson, professor and director of men's health in the Department of Urology. Nehra comes to Rush from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he served as professor of urology.

"Nehra is a highly regarded researcher and clinician who is also a leading proponent of a comprehensive approach to men's health where specialists in urology, cardiology and endocrinology, among others, consult with patients to address health issues that are frequently linked but often not recognized," says Charles McKiel, MD, department chairperson.

With research interests in men's health and erectile dysfunction (ED), male infertility and prostate cancer, Nehra has been the principal investigator for several clinical multicenter studies on the efficacy and safety of a number of investigational treatments for ED. In addition, he is a co-investigator in a National Institutes of Health project on aging.

The president-elect of the International Society of Men's Health, Nehra also serves as the editor of the Journal of Men's Health and is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Urology, the Journal of Andrology and the International Journal of Impotence Research.

Colonic Tissue May Be Used to Predict Parkinson Disease

Colonic tissue obtained during either colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy may be used to predict the development of Parkinson disease, suggest two studies conducted by neurological researchers at Rush.

In these studies, the results of which appeared in the May 15 issue of the journal Movement Disorders, the researchers focused on alpha-synuclein, a protein found in the brain cells of Parkinson patients and considered a pathologic hallmark of the disorder. They found that this protein appeared in nerve cells taken from the intestine walls of research subjects with early-stage Parkinson disease; it did not appear in tissue taken from the intestines of healthy subjects.

With this finding, the scientists became the first to demonstrate alpha-synuclein aggregation in biological tissue obtained before onset of motor symptoms of Parkinson disease.

"Recent clinical and pathological evidence supports the notion that Parkinson disease may begin in the intestinal wall, then spread through the nerves to the brain," says Kathleen M. Shannon, MD, an associate professor of neurology at Rush. "These studies suggest it may one day be possible to use colonic tissue biopsy to predict who will develop motor symptoms of Parkinson disease."

Such tissue, Shannon adds, could be obtained at the time of screening colonoscopy or, alternatively, with a flexible sigmoidoscopy. As a next step, Shannon and her colleagues hope to replicate this finding in other populations


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Rush Physician Newsletter Archive
Rush Physician July/August 2012
Clinical Corner: Men's Health Expertise, Parkinson Findings


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