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Risk Project Solely Focused on Ependymoma

Investigating Risk Factors of Ependymomas

Molecular epidemiologist Michael Scheurer, Ph.D., at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, is studying the genetic profiles of ependymoma patients to unravel the causes of the rare disease and the potential for targeted therapies.  
“If we can identify factors that predispose people to ependymoma, we could ultimately intervene to prevent the tumor from developing,” says Dr. Scheurer.
Dr. Scheurer is leading a Risk Project with Terri Armstrong, Ph.D., Senior Investigator of the Patient Outcomes Program for the CERN Foundation, to investigate risk factors associated with ependymoma.
The Risk Project is an extension of Dr. Armstrong’s Ependymoma Outcomes Project, an online survey for adult and pediatric ependymoma patients and the parents of pediatric patients to learn what life is like for people with ependymoma before, during and after treatment.
While the Ependymoma Outcomes Project analyzes the patient’s experience with ependymoma, the Risk Project aims to answer why ependymoma developed in the first place, explains Dr. Scheurer.

Life is a Roller Coaster

By Gitika (Prashant's wife)
CERN Inspiration Story
Prashant has a history of lower back pain due to a fall 25 years back. Off and on we were consulting an orthopedic doctor for this who advised medicine and physical therapy. The doctor also mentioned unless Prashant does regular exercises and maintains correct posture (he has a sedentary job), his upper back is liable to become weak too. That was 4-5 years ago. He underwent regular MRI scans on his lower back to monitor any degenerative changes.
Last year, in May 2016, he suffered a heat stroke (which later our neurosurgeon referred to as a symptom of tumor). The tumor was pressing the nerves inside the cord and was given immediate medical attention by our local doctor, who advised an MRI of the brain. The results were normal. Thereafter, Prashant also experienced a burning sensation and itching on left side of his right forefinger near the nail area. It was intermittent, not persistent. We assumed it was a skin infection and applied ointment. Then he started experiencing numbness in his middle finger on the same hand. Four months passed by, there was no relief and Prashant started to experience weakness in both forearms. Upon consultation with the same doctor, he was misdiagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. Further medication and physical therapy was advised. His symptoms became increasingly worse and that’s when I pestered Prashant to visit a neurologist.

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