Department of Neurosciences

Lääketieteellinen tiedekunta

The Department of Neurosciences at the University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest unit in the field in Finland. The Department houses the disciplines of neurology, neurosurgery and clinical neurophysiology. The Department is responsible for basic education, specialist education, postgraduate and continuing education, and postgraduate research education in clinical medicine, as well as the promotion of scientific research and community relations. The Department is the sole institution in Finland providing Swedish-language teaching in the field.

Clinical teaching with patients is organised in cooperation with the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Helsinki University Central Hospital , as well as the Department of Neurophysiology at HUSLAB laboratory services. Basic research on disorders that fall under the Department’s field of teaching, the clinical examination of patients and the study of service systems are conducted in cooperation with the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, as well as several national and international research communities.

The Department of Neurosciences is responsible for basic education in the disciplines of neurology, neurosurgery and neurophysiology at the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Helsinki. The following subjects have been integrated into the teaching in neurology: neuropathology, neuro-ophthalmology, neuroradiology, neuroinfections, as well as pain management, health requirements related to acquiring a driving license and current care guidelines.

The degree programme in neurology at the Department of Neurosciences is the largest of its kind in Finland. Training units outside the university hospital are located at the neurology departments of the following hospitals: Hyvinkää, Jorvi, Laakso, Lohja and Peijas.

A significant number of academic specialists in neurosciences are working at the Department of Neurology of the Helsinki University Central Hospital. Emergency neurology and cerebrovascular disturbances are at the forefront of departmental services. The entire spectrum of neurological disorders is, however, taken into consideration in the teaching organised by the Department. Instructors working at the units have an important role. Our aims are to tailor the degree programme to meet the needs of individuals, systematically develop material that supports studying and enable participation in international training.

Further information on specialist education can be found on the Faculty of Medicine website.

The Department of Neurology has a long-standing research tradition. Each year, more than a hundred original medical papers completed at the Department are published. Most of the research is conducted by research groups which also accept undergraduate students as members. In addition to researchers, research education is beneficial to physicians conducting clinical work in public or private sectors.

The Department aims to strengthen the foundation of its research in clinical neurology and neurosciences in a wide-ranging manner by bringing socially significant fields of neurology (MS, headache, muscular disorders, memory disorders) shoulder to shoulder with traditionally dominant fields (acute cerebrovascular disturbances) and by improving applied basic research. We are strengthening cooperation in traditional clinical and population research together with, among others, the Molecular Neurology Research Program at the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the BioMag Laboratory, the Neuroscience Center, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, as well as the centres of excellence of the Academy of Finland and the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Cooperation in clinical neurology is being improved with fields such as neuropsychology, neuroradiology and neuropathology. We are promoting cooperation with the disciplines of geriatrics, psychiatry and general practice. We encourage young researchers to look for professional opportunities abroad and the recruitment of international students. Clinical drug trials conducted under the purview of the Department strengthen international scientific cooperation and provide junior physicians with opportunities in participating in research of this kind.

Publications

Today, all basic clinical education in neurology is problem based and organised in small groups. The teaching model is labour intensive, but it has proved to be an effective method in transmitting clinical skills.

We are in the process of developing examination methods, teaching material, as well as an archive of cases and photographic material. Essential background material for teaching can also be found in the digital course library. We are also developing teaching organised in a simulation laboratory. The Department of Neurosciences has experienced senior teaching staff. The Department invests in training its staff and the development of cooperation. Experienced senior physicians at the Department of Neurology of the Helsinki University Central Hospital also participate in basic education.

Specialist education

The degree programme in neurology at the Department of Neurosciences is the largest of its kind in Finland. A significant number of academic specialists in neurosciences are working at the Department of Neurology of the Helsinki University Central Hospital. Emergency neurology and cerebrovascular disturbances are at the forefront of departmental services. The entire spectrum of neurological disorders is, however, taken into consideration in the Department’s teaching. Instructors working at the units and personal supervisors have an important role. Our aim is to tailor the degree programme to meet the needs of individuals, systematically develop material that supports studies and enable participation in international training. The training portal Neuroportti is available to specialising physicians.

Actual teaching is organised in small groups, where the focus is on problem-based teaching. Patient cases are the foundation of teaching, which covers diagnostics and treatment. Teaching subjects in the small groups include brain injuries, spinal surgery, disturbances of CSF circulation, pediatric neurosurgery, operating theatre visits, neuroradiology, intensive care, cerebrovascular diseases, brain tumours, patient examinations and drafting case report presentations. An informal operating theatre service is also part of the course schedule.

Specialist education

The Department of Neurology at the Helsinki University Central Hospital is an international unit known globally for its expertise. Besides treating patients, the Department invests heavily in training and research. In addition to hospital physicians completing the programme, the unit welcomes some 120 visiting international neurosurgeons and physicians specialising in neurosurgery every year. International visitors are trained particularly in cerebrovascular surgery. The Department has earned significant international acclaim in research and treatment related to this field. Training for visiting physicians is organised annually in the form of live microsurgery demonstration courses, in addition to which operating theatre positions (ranging from one week to two years) are available in a fellowship programme led by Professor Mika Niemelä. The international nature of operations also serves the interests of the specialising physicians of the Department, since they benefit from international contacts and the exchange of information, as well as from taking part in organising and implementing courses.

The specialisation programme in neurosurgery lasts six years and includes, in addition to the service period in neurosurgery, periods in surgery, neurology and neurological specialties, as well as a service period in a health care centre (as per the course catalogue).

Physicians specialising in neurosurgery keep a logbook of their surgeries, which is periodically reviewed together with the clinical instructor. Training will be tailored for each specialising physician with the help of information recorded into the log, enabling the surgical skills of specialising physicians to progress towards the knowledge and skills required of neurosurgeons capable of independent work.

The focus is on research activities, and specialising physicians will complete their doctoral dissertation during the specialisation. Research leave will be arranged to enable scientific work.

Basic knowledge of clinical neurophysiology is attained by studying neurophysiology and electrophysiology intensively during the course on physiology. Group teaching in clinical neurophysiology aims to clarify the indications of examinations from the perspective of general practitioners, occupational health physicians and neurologists.

In basic education, the examination indications and findings of patients with pain and patients with seizure symptoms are examined. Understanding examination indications and findings requires mastery of neurological niveau diagnostics.

Specialist education

Specialist education in clinical neurophysiology has two positions for specialising hospital physicians at the Meilahti hospital, in addition to which there are varyingly one to two positions at the Jorvi hospital and the Children’s Hospital. Specialist education is based on a logbook, rotation in various units, as well as the study of examination techniques and the interpretation of findings. Senior physicians in the various units act as trainers.

Often, specialising physicians have prior experience in scientific research from the research groups of research institutions and hospitals. The field of clinical neurophysiology is, in fact, characterised by the development of methods and research. Good contacts with the clinical specialties that utilise services provided by clinical neurophysiology have always been part of specialist education in the field at the University of Helsinki.

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Professors
TE
Timo J
Erkinjuntti
Professor
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Neurosciences
AK
Anne
Koivisto
Professor
Department of Neurosciences
PL
Perttu
Lindsberg
Professor
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Neurology and psychiatry, Neurosciences
SM
Susanna
Melkas
Assistant Professor
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Neurology and psychiatry, Neurosciences

Assistant professor, tenure track, part-time 35%. Senior neurologist at the HUS (Helsinki University Hospital), department of neurology: rehabilitation, traumatic brain injuries, rehabilitation research and assistive technology.

MN
Mika
Niemelä
Professor
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Neurology and psychiatry
PT
Pentti
Tienari
Professor
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Basic medicine, Neurosciences, Neurology and psychiatry

Teachers
KK
Kaarlo Mikko
Kallela
Clinical Instructor
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Neurology and psychiatry
JM
Johan
Marjamaa
Clinical Instructor
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Neurology and psychiatry

Researchers
AT
Anton
Tokariev
Postdoctoral researcher
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Neurosciences
SV
Sampsa
Vanhatalo
Research Director
Department of Neurosciences
Field of science Neurosciences

Doctoral Students
KG
Khashayar
Ghoorzehi
Doctoral Student
Department of Neurosciences
HH
Henri
Hokkanen
Doctoral Student
Department of Neurosciences