Neurosonology in Egypt
By Prof. Foad Abd-Allah
The Cairo University Neurosonology Unit (CUNU) is a distinguishable, highly specialized center for sonographic assessment of the nervous system. The unit was founded in 2006, and, since then, it has become a hub for large volume sonology service provision, education and research activities. Team members in the unit are highly trained and practice the state-of-the-art of neurosonology.
The unit was established following the post-doctoral scientific visiting fellowships of Dr. Foad Abd-Allah, founder of the unit, first with Prof. David Russell at Rikshospitalet, the National Teaching Hospital in Oslo, Norway, and then with Prof. Manfrad Kaps at Gissen University, Germany, during the 2004-2005 academic year. Thereafter, the department procured a color duplex ultrasound machine. Coupled with the interest of senior doctors in the department and the enthusiasm of young neurologists, training in neurosonology was started. Currently, the unit possesses four pieces of equipment, with well-trained operators working within two lab facilities. Most of the members of CUNU are certified by the Intersociety Commission for Certification in Neurosonology, the Neurosonology Research Group of the World Federation of Neurology (NSRG) and European Society of Neurosonology and Cerebral Hemodynamic.
CUNU provides high-quality, high- impact services in a timely fashion for patients with neurological disorders. More than 1,200 cases are examined every year by its team. The mainstay of the service is the neurovascular assessment of stroke patients to tackle steno-occlusive disease of cerebral vasculature. Additionally, follow up of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage for vasospasm as well as cerebral circulatory arrest in brain death is another important task. Recently, nerve muscle neurosonology was introduced. The diagnostic possibilities of neuro-ultrasound have not yet been exhausted. Anyone interested in neurosonology is offered a comprehensive initiation into this fascinating diagnostic tool.
The neurosonology team members created a training program, titled “The Neurosonology Professional Diploma.” The course is designed in five comprehensive modules to be presented annually from October to June, and provides candidates with basic theory and practical skills in commonly applied neurosonology techniques. The NSRG of the World Federation of Neurology reviewed the program and certified it as an outstanding high standard teaching program. Many candidates already expressed their interest in it. Full details of the program can be found at http://www.medicine.cu.edu.eg/cunu/index.html.
The Neurosonology Annual Workshop was launched in 2008, in collaboration with Prof. Manfred Kaps from Giessen, Germany, and since then it has become a landmark event in the annual neurology conference in Egypt. Every year, a new topic is presented in this conference with more than 100 attendees; some of whom have received training in the CUNU lab and eventually have gone on to establish their own laboratories in their respective departments.
CUNU supports candidates for their master’s and PhD theses. Since 2006, team members have performed more than 20 projects for both master’s and doctoral degrees. In addition, many post-doctoral research projects have been completed and even published in peer reviewed journals. The main research interest of our group is the role of ultrasound in cerebrovascular and neurocritical care.
Last month, the WFN Educational Board visited the department of Neurology at Cairo University for accreditation as a training center for English-speaking countries in Africa. The visiting board was impressed by the department as a whole, and many positive comments were received with special attention to the neurosonology unit, recognizing it as “exceptional.”
Abd-Allah is professor of neurology and stroke medicine and head of the neurosonology unit at Cairo-University, Egypt. He is also an executive member of the Neurosonology Research Group of WFN and the WSO board of directors for Middle East and North Africa.