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Medical Advisory Board
|Dysautonomia International is grateful for the wisdom and guidance provided by our volunteer Medical Advisory Board. These highly accomplished researchers and clinicians keep us updated on the latest developments in autonomic research, diagnostic guidelines and treatment recommendations. They also serve an essential role in helping us decide what medical and scientific research we should seek to fund.
|Julian M. Stewart, MD, PhD|
Professor of Pediatrics, Physiology and Medicine
Director of the Center for Hypotension
New York Medical College
By training, Dr. Stewart is a pediatric cardiologist (Cornell University Medical Center) and integrative physiologist (University of Chicago). He has been studying and treating the cardiovascular and neurovascular pathophysiology of orthostatic intolerance for more than 13 years under the auspices of grants from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Stewart's focus is on acute and chronic orthostatic intolerance (OI) in the young, ranging in age from 14 to 29 years. Acute OI is known as postural Vasovagal Syncope, while chronic OI is known as Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). We have identified POTS as being the most common form of OI seen in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or CFIDS). Dr. Stewart and his colleagues at the Center for Hypotension have published widely in the field and have recently discovered connections between ventilation, angiotensin-II, nitric oxide, oxidative stress, cognition, cerebral blood flow, baroreflex function, peripheral modulation of sympathetic activity, and impaired splanchnic vasoconstriction and venoconstriction in these patients. Most recently they have found direct connections between autonomic dysfunction, OI and neurocognition in POTS patients, suggesting a connection between reduced neurocognitive performance and dysfunction of the neurovascular unit.
|Svetlana Blitshteyn, MD|
Clinical Assistant Professor
University at Buffalo School of
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Dr. Blitshteyn is a board-certified neurologist who completed her neurology training at Mayo Clinic. She specializes in dysautonomia and is the director and founder of a private practice where she sees patients with POTS, Neurocardiogenic Syncope, and other forms of autonomic disorders.
Dr. Blitshteyn has been awarded numerous awards and honors, including the American Academy of Neurology Student Prize, a Research Award from the Florida Society of Neurology, a Marquis Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare, and a US Human Health Award from the American Headache Society, among others.
Dr. Blitshteyn has been the principle research investigator on several nationally-acclaimed research studies, both at Mayo Clinic and the University at Buffalo, involving women's health. Most recently, she was the principle investigator of a study on pregnancy in women with POTS. The study was presented at the American Academy of Neurology and the American Autonomic Society meetings, and was published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine. She also published in other scientific journals on the topic of POTS after vaccination, headache, and other neurologic disorders. Dr. Blitshteyn is the medical editor and a contributing author for the book "POTS - Together We Stand; Riding the Waves of Dysautonomia." She is also featured in the documentary "Changes: Living with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome".
|Thomas Ahern, MD|
Specialist in Cardiovascular Disease
and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology
San Diego, CA
Dr. Ahern is a graduate of Lehigh University and Hahnemann University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Internal Medicine in 1984. He completed two fellowships at Hahnemann University Hospital in 1990 and 1991. His first fellowship was in Cardiology and his second fellowship was in Electrophysiology. Dr. Ahern specializes in the treatment of heart disease with an emphasis in caring for patients with abnormal heart rhythms, congestive heart failure, the management of implantable cardiac device technologies that are available now as permanent pacemakers, implanted defibrillators, and the newest devices that pace the two lower chambers of the heart for patients with congestive heart failure.
Dr. Ahern’s fascination with dysautonomia began in the 1990’s when he met a patient with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome who had already had two failed heart ablations. In 2009, he began to see an influx of patients with Dysautonomia. By 2012, Dr. Ahern’s office was seeing hundreds of patients with varying degrees of Dysautonomia. He is particularly interested in pursuing research regarding a potential genetic predisposition towards Dysautonomia. In his practice, he sees several parent-child and sibling similarities in the presentation of Dysautonomia.
|Hasan Abdallah, MD|
Director, Children’s Heart Institute
Dr. Abdallah is a board certified pediatrician and pediatric cardiologist. His foremost goal in his private practice is to simplify pediatric cardiology science so that families can understand, in simple straight forward language, what is wrong with their child’s health.
Dr. Abdallah is the Director and Founder of The Children’s Heart Institute which includes a specialized clinic, The Syncope and Autonomic Nervous System Clinic. This clinic provides comprehensive evaluation and management of patients with symptoms of autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Dr. Abdallah is highly regarded by his patients and their parents for his clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating POTS and other forms of dysautonomia and for his calm, reassuring demeanor.
Dr. Abdallah completed his residency at the University of Florida in Gainesville and his pediatric cardiology training in Philadelphia. He also has completed a fellowship in Acute Pediatrics. He is board certified by both the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Pediatric Cardiology.
|Satish R. Raj, MD, MSCI, FACC|
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology
Dr. Raj grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Medicine (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) in 1993. He then completed residency training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Queen’s University before moving on to a clinical and research fellowship in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at the University of Calgary.
In 2002, Dr. Raj moved to Nashville, Tennessee as a Research Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, he also successfully completed a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Investigation, graduating in 2004.
He is Board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, and Autonomic Disorders. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and an Attending Physician at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, working primarily with the Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center.
His primary research interests relate to understanding the cause and finding more effective treatments for the Postural Tachycardia Syndrome and Neurally Mediated Syncope, as well as disorders of autonomic nervous system failure.
|Thomas C. Chelimsky, MD|
Chairman and Professor of the Department of Neurology
Medical College of Wisconsin
Dr. Chelimsky is Chair and Professor of the Department Of Neurology for the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Chelimsky was previously Professor of Neurology, Anesthesiology, and Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland where he served as Director of the Division of Autonomic Disorders at University Hospitals of Cleveland. A graduate of Harvard University (undergraduate) and Washington University (medicine), Dr. Chelimsky completed residencies in internal medicine and neurology, as well as a fellowship in autonomic research, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Chelimsky joined the faculty at Case Western in 1990 and rose to the rank of Professor in 2007. He has also directed the University Hospitals of Cleveland Pain Center.
An accomplished researcher, Dr. Chelimsky has published 41 original articles, contributed to 23 books or chapters, and made 36 invited scientific and clinical presentations to regional and national colleagues. A National Institutes of Health-funded investigator with two active awards, he has received public and foundation support for nearly 20 years. His work has focused on the interface between autonomic dysfunction and chronic pain, and his current research focuses on a broad epidemiologic approach to assess genetic links across several autonomic/pain disorders, including migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and interstitial cystitis. He also works closely with his wife, Dr. Gisela Chelimsky, a pediatric gastroenterologist, on pediatric functional disorders. Dr. Chelimsky is a highly experienced teacher and mentor of medical students, fellows and junior faculty members as well as an accomplished physician. He was listed as one of the Best Doctors in America™ yearly since 2001. He has served as the chair of both Autonomic and Pain Sections of the American Academy of Neurology where he directs the primary course on Autonomic Disorders for neurologists.