Fall, Winter, and Spring Sessions. Four- or Eight-Week Session and as Arranged
Debra Ehrlich, MD
Students will work alongside NIH faculty and fellows in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Neurology Consult Service. Inpatient responsibilities include mastering the history of complex clinical cases; conducting a thorough neurological exam; and providing recommendations for diagnostic tests, imaging, and possible therapeutics. Students will have a unique opportunity to read the primary literature on these patients and quickly develop expertise on patients who have rare diseases or who are receiving novel therapeutics. The Consult Service also has a weekly outpatient clinic and hosts weekly Grand Rounds; students are encouraged to give case presentations on the patients they are following and engage in discussions about patient care.
Optional Research Opportunities
Students interested in research can network with physician-scientists at all NIH institutes and centers via one-on-one meetings arranged at the student's request. With the permission of the principal investigator, students may also join laboratory meetings, journal clubs, and specialty clinics, and attend protocol review meetings to understand how clinical research is conducted at the NIH. Courses in clinical research are available for students who are interested in the basics of clinical research and bioethics.
Students may also attend weekly Clinical Neuroscience Grand Rounds, as well as subspecialty rounds on topics such as electrophysiology, neuroimmunology, human motor control, neurosurgery, epilepsy, neuroinfectious disease, and undiagnosed clinical cases. Students are encouraged to attend subspecialty clinics in the following areas: neurogenetics, pediatrics, primary lateral sclerosis/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, EMG, movement disorders, neuroimmunology/multiple sclerosis, neurosurgery, traumatic brain injury, and epilepsy. The NIH also features seminars from leaders in all fields of medicine, and students are highly encouraged to attend events that fit their interests.
Students can also choose a rotation within a research branch with a subspecialty focus. Major clinical interests of the research branches include the following:
- Epilepsy: medical and surgical management of epilepsy including studies of experimental antiepileptic drugs
- Movement Disorders: neurophysiological studies of normal movement and movement disorders, genetic diagnosis of familial and rare movement disorders, and treatments including deep brain stimulation and botulinum toxin
- Autonomic Disorders: patient-oriented investigation into disorders of central catecholamine systems
- Neurogenetics: adult and pediatric neurodegenerative diseases of the brain and neuromuscular system
- Neuroimmunology and Neurovirology: study of immunologic mechanisms, clinical correlates, and treatment of multiple sclerosis and neurovirologic disorders
Selection of Applicants
This elective is designed primarily for students who have completed a basic neurology clerkship. It will not replace such a clerkship in the medical school curriculum. The elective affords an opportunity to gain an understanding of the techniques of clinical research, as well as experience in the evaluation and treatment of patients with neurologic disease. Students choosing this elective should identify an area of interest among those listed above. Clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is highly specialized so that students should not expect to see a wide range of neurologic diseases.