Dramatic Changes Predicted for Patients, Surgeons
As one of the world’s most-renowned medical facilities celebrates its 50th anniversary, surgeons at Barrow Neurological Institute
are convinced their work is becoming so advanced they could put themselves out of business in the next half century.
Ranked among the Top 10 hospitals in the nation for neurology and neurosurgery, Barrow has attracted royalty, rock stars, business moguls and sports icons from around the world because of its expertise in brain and spinal disorders. Barrow performs the most brain surgeries per year in the United States and is home to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
“Our surgeons will largely put ourselves out of business in the coming years. Our profession will drastically change and that is very good news,” says Dr. Robert Spetzler, Director of Barrow and renowned neurosurgeon. “Rapid advances in minimally invasive surgery and gene and stem cell treatments will mean the traditional role of the brain and spinal surgeon will disappear.”
Doctors at Barrow say the 50th anniversary marks the beginning of the “golden age” of the Institute when Barrow will be at the forefront of finding answers to some of the most –devastating neurological conditions. They predict during the next 50 years:
- Alzheimer’s disease will be cured or effectively treated.
- Parkinson’s disease will be cured.
- Stem cell therapy will revolutionize care of brain and spine disorders.
- Malignant brain tumors will be effectively treated and controlled.
- Degenerative disk disease will be cured.
“Barrow will not only use this milestone as an opportunity to celebrate its past but will also look ahead to its future and take medicine into new frontiers,” says Linda Hunt, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s. “Within the next year, major announcements and events will be highlighted in celebration of Barrow’s 50th anniversary.”
Barrow has launched a website, barrow50.org, which will contain amazing stories from patients and doctors from throughout the last 50 years. One story is added to the site each week.
The Institute was started in September 1962 by a Chicago neurosurgeon, John Green, MD, who recognized the dearth of medical services in the Southwest and even had to bring his own surgical instruments with him from Chicago. Wealthy businessman and philanthropist Charles Barrow was instrumental in its launch with a $500,000 gift after his wife was treated successfully by Barrow physicians.
Since its founding, Barrow at St. Joseph’s has grown into one of the nation’s best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery, employing hundreds of specialists. Barrow has the largest neurosurgery residency program in the U.S., training more neurosurgeons than anywhere in the world. It also is one of the busiest brain tumor treatment centers in nation.
“Barrow has a rich and bold legacy that comes to life every day in patients who come from all over the world for our extraordinary medicine,” says Dr. Spetzler. “In the next 50 years, we will see advances unlike anything we have witnessed before.”