Fifth-year medical student Vaishnavi Vaidyanathan spent nearly two months exploring the histories of stroke patients and the effects of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The result was a research poster she recently presented at the 2017 American Academy of Neurology conference in Boston.
Her presentation showed that patients treated with tPA within the first 24 hours of a suffering a stroke have significantly fewer early onset seizures.
Vaidyanathan began her study last September while completing a neurology rotation at Saint Luke’s Hospital. Under the guidance of Saint Luke’s neurologist Harold Morris, M.D., and Angela Hawkins, M.S.N., R.N., stroke program manager, Vaidyanathan reviewed the histories of nearly 1,300 stroke patients.
“They allowed me to write it up and go through process with their guidance,” Vaidyanathan said. “I learned so much from that, literature searching, how to write up an abstract, doing bio-statistics. It was a great learning opportunity.”
The annual neurology conference in Boston drew an international audience of nearly 14,000 physicians and scientists.
“This conference was a great experience,” Vaidyanathan said. “I got to meet people who are celebrities in the neurology field. They’re very well-known. I had the opportunity to listen to talks about the latest research that’s going on in neurology and hear all the great innovations that are happening. It was an awesome experience.”
Vaidyanathan said she already has ideas for future studies that look at the effects of tPA and other intra-arterial interventions on the incidence of post-stroke seizures.
“I hope to do further investigation of these patients and get more results that I can write up and present,” she said.