Dr. Tomoko Tanaka, a neurosurgeon practicing at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, conducts basic science research into spinal cord injury and recovery. Her investigation of spinal cord injury concerns predicting postoperative spinal surgery complications. Among her patients with similar injuries and varying recovery, Dr. Tanaka has observed a range of attitudes and motivations towards recovery. Patients with a positive outlook may see improvement, so her approach is to enhance a depressed mental condition to determine if long-term outcomes are improved. She will stimulate the vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve in the body, in an animal model, comparing the results of treated and untreated animals.
Currently, Dr. Tanaka’s team is developing a protocol for a model of spinal cord injury in rats at ACRI. Implementing the model includes histopathology and flow cytometry analyses. Her preliminary work will also aid in identifying the lengths of treatment she will use in future studies.
Dr. Tanaka joined the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery of the UAMS Department of Neurosurgery from the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine. She was the Director of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Program. She earned her medical degree (with honors) and was valedictorian of her class at the Kitasato University School of Medicine. Dr. Tanaka completed residencies in neurosurgery at Kitasato University Hospital and Emory University Hospital and a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
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