Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Department of Neurosurgery has launched an Internet site that provides a virtual support system for patients and their family members anywhere in the world dealing with brain tumors or other conditions of the brain or spinal cord that may require surgical intervention.
There is no charge to access the message center, which will provide links to the latest news and information on neurosurgical disorders while offering patients and their caregivers an opportunity to share their hopes, anxieties and experiences.
"The Internet Message Board is designed to be a meeting place and an educational forum for patients, family members, friends and caregivers, regardless of location. Because it is driven by patient needs and interests, it will offer information and support on a wide range of issues that may not be addressed in other settings," said Keith L. Black, M.D., chairman of the Neurosurgery Department.
Gillian Nelson, M.D., a research coordinator and the message board's moderator, said patients accessing the online site can select from a variety of forums specific to their situations, including adult intracranial conditions, adult spinal conditions, adult pain and movement disorders, pediatric conditions, success stories, and general discussions.
"We cannot provide personal medical advice through the message board, but those who log in may find information on treatment options or clinical trials at Cedars-Sinai or other major neurosurgical centers across the country," said Nelson, who monitors postings for appropriateness of content. Because the Web site is a public forum, visitors are cautioned to use discretion when posting personal information.
Cedars-Sinai's Department of Neurosurgery and the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, which Black also directs, offer advanced services for patients with brain tumors, neurovascular diseases, functional disorders, pain, trauma and other complex conditions. In addition to studying the underlying factors that lead to brain tumors and neurological disorders, Cedars-Sinai scientists are developing innovative approaches to diagnosis and treatment, including gene therapy and dendritic cell immunotherapy.