Clinical Research in the Department of Neurology
The Department of Neurology at LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital is one of the LAU Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine’s most active communities of researchers. The diverse interests of these clinical investigators - many of whom are local or regional experts in their fields - include cutting-edge disciplines like neurostimulation and neuroimmunology, as well as conditions like dementia, vascular disease, peripheral neuropathy, and headaches.
In addition to carrying out many principal-investigator-initiated studies, neurology researchers have engaged in multidisciplinary projects with specialists from other departments and divisions. Moreover our neurologists are participating in two international multicentric Phase-III studies with an excellent recruitment rate, and they have laid the groundwork for additional multi-center studies with leading institutions in the U.S., France, and Australia. The dedicated researchers in the Department of Neurology have succeeded in supporting their projects by securing substantial funding through grants.
Areas of Current Active Research
Cortical Excitability and Neuromodulation
Neurology researchers are exploring the promising field of cortical excitability, and its modulation through transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for non-pharmacologic treatment of neurologic conditions with limited treatment options. This work has led to a recent publication on cortical excitability in patients with multiple sclerosis and gait disturbance. Investigators are further studying the application of tDCS to episodic migraines, headaches from overuse of medications, essential tremor, spasticity, and certain types of pain.
Diabetic Neuropathy and Small-fiber Dysfunction
This ambitious study, which addresses the challenging issue of diabetic neuropathy, is well underway. Researchers aim to enhance early diagnosis of “small-fiber dysfunction”, a condition not detected by conventional nerve-conduction studies. Their investigation is based in part on a new technique developed by the school of medicine team, which takes into account the length-dependent character of the disease. Thus far more than 400 patients have been recruited for a pilot study to evaluate this new approach; the investigators plan to expand the cohort to 2000 subjects and augment their evaluation with additional testing methods. Our researchers hope to characterize diabetic neuropathy in its earliest stages, stratify risk factors for complications, and ultimately enable intervention before disability occurs.
Projects in Development
Cardiovascular Health and Cognitive Function // Mobile Application for Tracking Changes in M.S.
Through intramural LAU research clusters, investigators in the Department of Neurology have embarked on intriguing projects with specialists in the fields of pharmacy, bioinformatics, biomedical and computer engineering, neurosciences, endocrinology, vascular diseases, and hypertension. One of these collaborative projects will probe the effects of cardiovascular health on cognitive function. In a second project, researchers plan to develop a mobile application to monitor cognitive and motor changes in patients with multiple sclerosis. This powerful program is being devised to track patterns of motion, focus, and attention; to correlate these data with additional demographic and clinical parameters; and in the future to enhance the understanding and management of disease progression.
Research Partners and Collaborators
Extended Research Team in Neurology
- Naji Riachi, MD, Department of Neurology
- Rechdi Ahdab, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology
- Georges Khazen, PhD, School of Arts & Sciences/Bioinformatics
- Halim Tannous, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow
- Samar Ayache, MD, PhD, Neurology and Neurosciences at Henri Mondor University, Paris
- Wissam Yamak, MD, Department of Neurology
Collaborators through LAU Research Clusters
- Sola Aoun Bahous, MD, PhD, Pharmacology and Nephrology
- Christy Costanian, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow
- Jocelyne Fares, MD, Division of Endocrinology
- Wissam Faour, PhD, Pharmacology Discipline
School of Medicine Residents in Neurology
- Karim Makhoul, MD, PGY IV
- Joumana Freiha, MD, PGY IV
- Romy Zgheib, MD, PGY III
- Ali Sreij, MD, PGY II
- Odei Al Ayyas, MD, PGY II
- Mohamad Mehdi, MD, PGY II