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World Leaders in Hydrocephalus Treatment to Speak at Children’s of Alabama Inaugural Hydrocephalus Conference

BIRMINGHAM (Sept. 20, 2013) – Children’s of Alabama will bring together the world’s brightest minds among leaders in the field of pediatric hydrocephalus research and treatment as a select group of neurosurgeons gather Friday, Sept. 20 for an International Consensus Conference on Clinical Hydrocephalus in Children.

Jerry Oakes, MD, surgeon-in-chief at Children's and chief of the section of pediatric neurosurgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), is spearheading the conference that is expected to draw a crowd of nearly 100 from across the nation. Topics provide the latest results of clinical research, methods of diagnosis, surgical advancements and other aspects of hydrocephalus treatment typical among the pediatric population.

Speakers include: Marc Del Bigio, MD, PhD, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; James Drake, MD, University of Toronto, Ontario; Mark Hamilton, MD, University of Calgary, Alberta; John Kestle, MD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Paul Leliefield, MD, PhD, University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands; Dave Limbrick, MD, PhD, and Cynthia Ortinau, MD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.; Mark Souwdaine, MD, Weill Medical College of Cornell University; Leslie Sutton, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and Ben Warf, MD, Children’s Hospital of Boston.

Hydrocephalus is a condition in which the primary characteristic is excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain which creates potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain. UAB/Children’s is a hydrocephalus research center that enjoys a national reputation for its work in research, patient care and medical education. The program is headed by Oakes.

The by-invitation-only conference honors the memory of Dr. Cornelis Joachimus van Houweninge Graftdijk who research hydrocephalus in the 1930s. His granddaughters Evelien van Houweninge Graftdijk and Frederika Vetkamp-van Houweninge Graftdijk will attend the conference which is funded through a gift from the estate of the women’s father as part of an effort to extend their grandfather’s work by supporting further study.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children since 1911, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Last year, families made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country for the past four years by US News & World Report. More information is available at