Explore This Lab

Overview

The Global Neurology Research Group is dedicated to finding practical and cost-effective solutions to meet the neurological needs of individuals in developing countries.

Neurological disorders such as epilepsy, stroke, dementia and traumatic brain injuries are more common in low- and middle-income countries, where 86% of the world's population is concentrated.

These neurological disorders can be disabling both physically and mentally, and there is a high human and economic cost associated with them. Many of these diseases come with a stigma attached since they are often misunderstood.

Highlights
Foksouna Sakadi

Dr. Sakadi awarded Angela Vincent Young Investigator Award

Team member and Chadian Neurologist, Dr. Foksouna Sakadi, was awarded the Angela Vincent Young Investigator Award at the World Federation of Neurology’s annual conference in Dubai. He reported work conducted with the Global Neurology Group in the Republic of Guinea from 2017 through 2018.


Sue Fasoli

Sue Fasoli, Occupational Therapist and Associate Professor at HMS, helps build capacity for the Fugl Meyer Motor Scale training with Notburga, Physical Therapist, and Kigocha Okeng'o, Neurologist, Muhimbili National Hospital.

Congratulation to Andrew Siyoon Ham for the Neuroscience Is Rewarding Internship Program of the American Academy of Neurology

Andrew Siyoon Ham, intern with the Global Neurology Research Group, was recently selected as one of 10 awardees of the American Academy of Neurology’s Neuroscience Is Rewarding internship program. The program will fund Andrew’s continued research and clinical exposure with the Global Neurology Research Group. Learn more.


Thank you for supporting Dr. Mateen in the McCourt Fun Run for Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica

As many of you know, my clinical practice is dedicated to the care of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO). It has been a great pleasure to take care of so many amazing people as a neurologist and researcher. Much of my time has been dedicated to academic research, aiming to improve the situation for people living with these complex diseases.

Each year, I take part in a charitable fun run with the hope of raising awareness and funding for neurological research. This year, as in years past, the run has been critical to the success of my team at Mass General Hospital to work on research when we are not in clinic. Even though there has been a lot of progress, there is still a lot more to be done. Some of our work to date has included research into non-medication options for fatigue, blood based biomarkers, and disparities in care.

Thank you to everyone who contributed this year. Together, we were able to raise nearly $1,700 for MS and NMO research!


MAMBO Project Presented at NIH

MAMBO Project Presented at the NIH

Congratulations to Dr. Kigocha Okeng’o, who presented the MAMBO project to an audience of NIH-funded researchers at the National Library of Medicine in June, 2019!


Bhutan Epilepsy Video


Congratulations to Graduates!

The GNRG is proud to offer congratulations to our collaborators, Dr. Pria Anand, Dr. Robbie Regenhardt, Dr. Jenny Williams, and Dr. Whitney Fitts, on their recent graduations!

Dr. Anand, Dr. Regenhardt, and Dr. Williams all graduated this month from fellowship programs in the department of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Fitts graduated from Harvard Medical School with honors and is heading to the University of Pennsylvania to complete a residency in pediatric neurology. We wish them all success in their future careers.


Profile of Smartphone EEG Epilepsy Project (French language)


The Global Neurology Research Group presents at AAN 2019: The American Academy of Neurology's annual conference

Members of the Global Neurology Research Group traveled to Philadelphia in early May to present the results of the Group's research at the 2019 American Academy of Neurology conference.

Dr. Pria Anand presented the results of her study on traditional healing among people with epilepsy in the Republic of Guinea and gave a platform presentation on NMDA encephalitis and potential implications in reproductive health.

Brittany Gazdag presented the results of the Group’s global survey of neuromyelitis optica testing and treatment and Dr. Jennifer Williams the results of the Group’s most recent completed study on the smartphone EEG technology among a cohort of pediatric epilepsy patients in Guinea.



Rare Disease Day 2019: Neuromyelitis Optica

For Rare Disease Day we are highlighting neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and Farrah Mateen, PhD, the Mass General neurologist dedicated NMO research.

Meet the Team

Principal Investigator

 Farrah Mateen

Farrah Mateen, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology,
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA


Research Staff

Assatou Kenda Bah, MD
Aissatou Kenda Bah, MD
Project Manager,
Ignace Deen Teaching Hospital
Conakry, Republic of Guinea
Abdoul Hamani
Abdoul Bashir Djibo Hamani, MD
Project Manager
Ignace Deen Teaching Hospital
Conakry, Republic of Guinea
Sief Ismail

Seif Ismail, MBBS
Research Coordinator
Muhimibili National Hospital
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Lhab Tshering

Lhab Tshering, BSc
Research Coordinator
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital Thimphu, Bhutan


Andre Vogel

Andre Vogel, BA
Clinical Research Coordinator 
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA, USA



Graduate Students

Gladia Hotan

Gladia Hotan, PhD candidate
Neuroscience
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA, USA


Mike Shaekermann

Mike Schaekermann, PhD candidate
Computer Science
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON, Canada



Medical Students

Ashley Kyalwazi

Ashley Kyalwazi
MD Candidate, Harvard Medical School


Interns

Jenna Brownrout

Jenna Brownrout, AB
Harvard Extension School, Post-Baccalaureate Program, 2020


Andrew Ham

Andrew Siyoon Ham
Harvard College, Class of 2022
A.B. candidate in Neuroscience
Secondary in Global Health and Health Policy


Dylan Rice

Dylan Rice
Harvard College, Class of 2020
A.B. candidate in Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology
Secondary in Global Health and Health Policy


EEG Technicians

 
Joe Cohen, BSc

Joe Cohen, BSc
Chief EEG Technician 
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA, USA



Residents/Fellows

Neishay Ayub, MD

Neishay Ayub, MD
Epilepsy Fellow
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA


Jeffrey Gluckstein

Jeffrey Gluckstein, MD
Neurology Resident
Partners HealthCare/Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, USA


Katie Holroyd, MD

Katie Holroyd, MD
Neurology Resident
Partners HealthCare/Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, USA


 
Michael Stanley

Michael P.H. Stanley, MD
Neurology Resident 
Partners HealthCare/Harvard Medical School 
Boston, MA, USA


Leah Wibecan

Leah Wibecan, MD, MPH
Pediatric Neurology Resident, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA



Collaborators

 
Fode Abass Cisse

Fode Abass Cisse
Associate Professor, Neurology,
Ignace Deen Teaching Hospital
Conakry, Republic of Guinea


Foksouna Sakadi

Foksouna Sakadi (Chad)
Neurology Resident 
Ignance Deen Teaching Hospital
Conakry, Republic of Guinea



Alumni

Mahmoud AbdelRazek, MD
Neurology Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, US

Pria Anand, MD
Advanced General and Autoimmune Neurology Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Kate Brizzi, MD
Advanced General Neurology Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Veronica Bruno, MD
MPH student, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

Sarah Clark, BSc
Project Manager, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, US

Maggie Cochran, BSc
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Sonam Deki, BComm
Research Coordinator, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Thimphu, Bhutan

Megan Diamond, SM
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Whitney Fitts, BA
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Sara Grundy, BA
Project Manager, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Melissa Houghton
Summer Intern, Duke University, Undergraduate Student

Aline Herlopian, MD
Clinical Neurophysiology/Epilepsy Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Geetha Iyer, MBBS, SCM, PhD candidate
T. H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

Minnie Jang, AB Candidate
Harvard College, Cambridge, MA, USA

Diederik Koelman, BSc
Master's Student, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Alice Lam, MD
Epilepsy Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Tullia Leib
Co-op Student, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA

Natalie Cornay Manalo, MD
Advanced General and Autoimmune Neurology Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Jo Mantia
EEG Technician, Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, Canada

Erica McKenzie, BSc
Medical Student, Queen's University, Ontario, Canada

Bryan Patenaude, MA
PhD Candidate, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

Robert Regenhardt, MD, PhD
Stroke Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Altaf Saadi, MD
Neurology Resident, Brigham and Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Lance Shaull, BA
Associate Coordinator, Massachusetts General Hospital, Division of Global Health and Human Rights

Tali Sorets
High School Student, Buckingham, Brown & Nichols, Cambridge, MA, USA

Michael P.H. Stanley, BA
Medical Student, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

Nana Rahamatou Tassiou
Neurology Resident, Ignace Deen Teaching Hospital, Conakry, Republic of Guinea

Stanley Wanjala, MA
Sagam Community Hospital, Sagam, Kenya

Jennifer Williams, MD, MRCPI
Epilepsy Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Emma Wolper, BA
Research Assistant, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Brian Wong, MD
Pediatric Neurology Fellow, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Janice Wong, MD
Neurology Resident, Brigham and Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Rodrigo Zepeda, MD
Epilepsy Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Jason Zhao
High School Student, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA, USA

Research Projects

Active Projects

MAMBO: Treating Post-Stroke Disability in Tanzania with Fluoxetine

Fluoxetine has shown promise as a pharmacological treatment for motor recovery after stroke, but its use for such indications has not been tested in the low-income countries that bear the greatest burden of stroke disability and mortality.

In the MAMBO (Kiswahili for “Hello”) clinical trial, we will test the safety and tolerability of fluoxetine for post-stroke motor recovery in Tanzania. We will also investigate post-stroke dementia in Tanzanian patients. Funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Electronic Pill Bottle Monitoring to Promote Medication Adherence in MS

Keeping track of whether you’ve taken your medications can be difficult, but in diseases like MS taking a medication regularly can have a great impact. We are undertaking a study to determine if electronic pill bottles can help patients with MS remember to take their medications. We are currently recruiting adult MS patients of any age who take MS pills to be a part of this study.

Participation in this study will last 90 days and will require 2 study visits to MGH. Please contact Andre Vogel (avogel@partners.org) if you are interested in participating.


Past Projects

Smartphone EEG in Bhutan and Guinea

The group is conducting a clinical study to test the feasibility of using a smartphone-based electroencephalograph (EEG) system to diagnose patients with epilepsy in Bhutan, a small, land-locked country between China and India, and Guinea, a country on the Atlantic coast of Africa bordered by Mali and Sierra Leone. Funded by the Charles Hood Foundation, the Harvard University Asia Center and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Resources for the Smartphone EEG project:


Light Therapy for Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis

Fatigue is the most commonly reported symptom among people living with MS, and more than a quarter report fatigue as their most disabling symptom. We are conducting a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to determine whether light therapy can be used as a treatment for MS-related fatigue

Resources for the multiple sclerosis light therapy study:


A Global Atlas of NMO Diagnosis and Treatment Practices

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a demyelinating disease of the optica nerve and spinal cord. Despite recent advances in the treatment and diagnosis of NMO, little is known about the global availability of diagnostic tests and medications for the disease. We surveyed physicians from over 120 different countries on the availability, affordability, and accessibility of a variety of clinical options to diagnose and treat neuromyelitis optica (NMO).

This study was sponsored by ZoomRX and the Sumaira Foundation.


Platelet Signatures in Multiple Sclerosis

Platelet Signatures in Multiple Sclerosis When faced with clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurodegenerative condition, patients and physicians can be uncertain of how to proceed. There are multiple diseases that mimic the symptoms of MS; some of them require special treatment and care.

A blood test for MS could allow physicians to more confidently direct the care of their patients; unfortunately, no such blood test currently exists. But there is evidence that platelet RNA signatures may change in MS patients. We are analyzing the blood of MS patients, healthy patients, and patients with MS-mimicking diseases to determine whether there is a platelet-based RNA signature that can help confirm diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Education Resources

The Global Neurology Research Group at Massachusetts General Hospital, which Dr. Mateen (PI) lead, has a list of free educational resources for patients and investigators including survey instruments and links to publications. The survey instruments will also be included as appendices in any published papers.

2018 Epilepsy Survey

This is the clinical and demographic survey form we have developed for the continuation of the epilepsy study in Bhutan and Guinea. The survey is designed to collect important data for those with epilepsy in resource-limited settings including questions about seizure frequency, diagnosis, treatment, social networks, depression, and sleep quality. Please feel free to download the survey and modify for use in other countries as needed.

Women's Health and Epilepsy Survey: Bhutan Epilepsy Project

Download a PDF version of the women's health and epilepsy survey.

My Thinking Cap is a coloring book about epilepsy, a brain disorder that affects people of any age. It is a fun and easy way to help kids and their families begin to understand more about epilepsy. This book can be especially useful for children in countries where epilepsy remains misunderstood. Stigma towards people with epilepsy persists everywhere.

Download by Language

Arabic

Chichewa

English

French

Haitian Creole

Italian

Portuguese

Russian

Spanish

Tagalog

Publications

See complete list of publications on PubMed.

Rengenhardt RW, Biseko MR, Shayo AF, Mbando TN, Grundy SJ, Xu A, Saadi A, Wibecan L, Kharal GA, Parker R, Klein JP, Mateen FJ, Okeng'o K. Opportunities for intervention: stroke treatments, disability and mortality in urban Tanzania International Journal of Quality Health Care. 2018 August 28

Jang M, Sakadi F, Tassiou NR, Abass CF, Grundy SJ, Woga A, Kenda BA, Lamine CM, Talibe BA, Qui H, Cohen JM, Carone M, Mateen FJ. Impact of Poorly Controlled Epilepsy in the Republic of GuineaSeizure. 2018 October

Saadi A, Okeng'o K, Biseko MR, Shayo AF, Mmbando TN, Grundy SJ, Xu A, Parker RA, Wibecan L, Iyer G, Onesmo PM, Kapina BN, Regenhardt RW, Mateen FJ. Post-stroke social networks, depressive symptoms, and disability in Tanzania: A prospective study.Int J Stroke. 2018 Jan 1:1747493018772788.

AbdelRazek MA, Gutierrez J, Mampre D, Cervantes-Arslanian A, Ormseth C, Haussen D, Thakur KT, Lyons JL, Smith BR, O'Connor O, Willey JZ, Mateen FJ. Intravenous Thrombolysis for Stroke and Presumed Stroke in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Adults. Stroke. 2018; 49:228-231

Funding Partners

The Global Neurology Research Group would like to thank our funding partners for helping to make our research possible.

  • National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • NIH Fogarty International Center
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • American Brain Foundation
  • The Sumaira Foundation for NMO
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Harvard University Center for AIDS Research
  • Grand Challenges Canada
  • Charles H. Hood Foundation
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation