New research by Lake Charles neurosurgeon, Dr. Erich Wolf, was published this month in the medical journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface.  Highlighted by the editor as one of the featured articles in the issue, an illustration from the research appears on the front cover of the journal.

In the article titled “Dynamic Detection of Spinal Cord Position During Postural Changes Using Near-Infrared Reflectometry“, Dr. Wolf was the first to describe the dynamic motion of the human spinal cord relative to the bones of the spine during body movement. While it was known that the spinal cord shifts position as it floats in cerebrospinal fluid, it was not until technology invented by Dr. Wolf was able to actually record spinal cord position changes in real-time.  The measurement technique uses beams of infrared light, which are able to pass through body tissue but are reflected by the spinal cord.  Dr. Wolf has been awarded multiple United States and International patents pertaining to the technique.

The ability to measure spinal cord position is anticipated to significantly improve pain treatment technology known as Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS).  SCS works by applying electrical pulses to the spinal cord from an implanted electrode to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain.  Presently, changes in body position cause unwanted sensations if the spinal cord gets too near the electrode or insufficient pain relief if the spinal cord is too far away.  By measuring spinal cord position, a spinal cord stimulator is able to automatically adjust the intensity of the electrical pulses to maintain a consistent, comfortable level of pain relief.

Dr. Wolf received an MD degree from the Tulane University School of Medicine and a PhD degree from Tulane University Department of Biomedical Engineering.  He completed neurosurgical residency at the University of Tennessee at Memphis and has fellowship training in complex spinal surgery from Semmes-Murphey Clinic.  Dr. Wolf is board-certified in neurosurgery and specializes in minimally invasive spinal surgery.  Dr. Wolf holds over a dozen patents spanning from medical devices to electronics.

For additional information please contact Dee Harless, NP, at the Center for Neurosurgical and Spinal Disorders via telephone (337) 478-9653.