A public/private partnership between the UNM Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins and other universities, state organizations and the Cody Unser First Step Foundation is creating a unique occasion for patients with rare brain disorders to join physicians and researchers at a symposium focusing on current research and medical care for rare brain disorders.

The Southwest Neuroimmunologic Symposium will be jointly presented by the Cody Unser First Step Foundation and the New Mexico Governor’s Commission on Disability April 26-28 at the Nativo Lodge in Albuquerque. The symposium has been designed to provide a unique forum for discussing medical advances, research and patient care of many neuroimmunologic disorders.

"We are fortunate to have world class researchers and our own faculty speak at this seminal event for patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Transverse Myelitis, and other related rare neuroimmunologic disorders. It is a fantastic opportunity to teach resident physicians, primary care providers and specialty physicians more about the foundations of caring for our patients. Our partnership with the Cody Unser First Step Foundation was instrumental in creating the symposium, said Morrison.

Cody Unser was a sixth grader in the middle of a basketball practice in February 1999 when she began to feel excessively tired, had difficulty catching her breath, developed a pounding headache and her felt legs become heavy, numb and "tingly." Her family took her to an ER for observation and then she was sent home. The next morning she was unable to walk and returned to the hospital, paralyzed below her chest. The mysterious symptoms were finally diagnosed as Transverse Myelitis, a rare but often paralyzing -- and sometimes fatal -- spinal cord inflammation.

The Cody Unser First Step Foundation was created in September 1999 to increase awareness of TM, encourage research and find a cure for paralysis. Cody and her foundation have been featured in numerous national, regional and local media articles including, People magazine, and a segment on CBS 48 Hours. In March of 2001 Cody and her foundation announced the formation of a TM research consortium spearheaded by Johns Hopkins Hospital with the UNM.

Other partners in the conference include Johns Hopkins Project RESTORE; the Trasverse Myelities Association, Reeve Irvine at University of Irvine and the Kennedy Kriger Institute.

Continuing Medical Education Credits are available. For more information on the symposium, go to the UNM School of Medicine Continuing website athttp://hsc.unm.edu/cme/2007web/Southwest%20Neur0/SouthwestNeuro2007Index.shtml.
Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322