Researcher’s Study on Brain Injury Honored

Manhasset, NY – Chunyan Li, PhD, assistant investigator at Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research (FIMR), received the prestigious ThinkFirst Injury Prevention Award at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 84th Annual Scientific meeting held April 30 – May 4 in Chicago, IL.

This year, more than 1,500 abstracts were submitted for presentation at the annual AANS meeting. The ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, celebrating its 30th anniversary, established the ThinkFirst Prevention Award to recognize the best presentation on brain and spinal cord injury.

Dr. Li was recognized for her presentation entitled, “Transient Elevation of Brain Temperature Could Serve as a Surrogate Marker of Cortical Spreading Depolarization,” co-authored by Dr. Li and Raj K. Narayan, MD, chair, neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital and LIJ Medical Center, both members of Northwell Health.

“Cortical spreading depolarization (CSD) is a pathophysiological phenomenon that may be the cause of altered brain function after any kind of brain injury,” said Dr. Li. “Currently, CSD is receiving a significant amount of attention as a possible cause of secondary damage after acute brain injuries. Previous studies have shown that CSD can significantly affect cerebral blood flow, brain tissue oxygenation and cerebral metabolism. However, a relationship between CSD and brain temperature has not been previously been recognized. Our study findings show a correlation between the two and it appears that transient brain temperature elevations might serve as useful surrogate markers of CSD. In other words, we may be able to identify CSD by tracking brain temperature without actually having to monitor brain electrical activity. This could allow us to more easily know when something is going wrong with the injured patient.”

This finding was made possible by a new brain monitoring device that Dr. Li and Dr. Narayan have been developing.

About Northwell Health

Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System) is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer. With 21 hospitals and nearly 450 outpatient practices, we serve more than 1.8 million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond. Our 61,000 employees work to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We’re training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our services in more than 100 medical specialties, visit

About The Feinstein Institute

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research arm of Northwell Health, is home to international scientific leaders. We rank in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research institutes. We’re making breakthroughs in many areas, including genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity and immunology, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit

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