Dr. Harry M. Zimmerman and Dr. Nicholas and Viola Spinelli Professor of Neurology; Division Chief, Neurological Infections & Global Neurology; Co-director, Center for Neuroepidemiology and Clinical Neurological Research
The brain is a direct target for certain infections, and may also be indirectly affected by systemic bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections and their treatment. Certain pathogens, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, West Nile Virus, Borrelia burgdorferi (resulting in Lyme disease), and other viral brain infections occur in otherwise healthy persons in the United States. Other infections, such as fungal infections or rarer parasites tend to most commonly affect people with reduced immune systems from cancer, chemotherapy, immunosuppressive therapy, or transplantation. Some infections which affect the nervous system are less commonly found in the US, but are common in tropical areas or in resource-limited settings. Finally, certain neurologic conditions may not be primarily infectious, but may disproportionally affect persons in certain regions of the globe where neurologic expertise and treatment options have historically been limited.
Our division provides care for patients with infections directly or indirectly involving the nervous system, and performs research in the causes and management of these disorders both in the US and in global settings. Our overall aim is to improve the care of persons affected by infections with consequence to the nervous system. Additionally, we aim to provide an environment for training in the diagnosis and management of these disorders, and to expand the knowledge of and improve management for the global burden of neurologic disease, including both infectious and non-infectious disorders. Our faculty has particular expertise in the assessment and management of central nervous system and peripheral nervous system complications of HIV/AIDS, with a goal to optimize the overall cognitive and neurological health of persons with HIV. We currently have research projects active in the US, Europe, Africa, and Asia, host a monthly HIV research conference, and train residents and fellows in clinical aspects of neurologic infectious disease. Furthermore, we provide care for outpatients at the Nathan Smith Clinic and provide patient care and expert consultation to the Neurology Service, HIV Program and Infectious Disease Division at Yale New Haven Hospital.