Schiff's congressional testimony available for online viewing

Testimony by Steven Schiff, director of the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering and Brush Chair Professor of Engineering, before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, is now available for online viewing.

Schiff's testimony, which occurred on Aug. 2, can be accessed at

Hydrocephalus — water on the brain — is one of the most common treatable neurological conditions in childhood. Recently, Schiff and other researchers have shown that the majority of childhood hydrocephalus in East Africa, and perhaps much of the developing world, occurs after infections. According to Schiff, the broad implication is that most of the world's hydrocephalus is preventable.

Recent analysis of the magnitude of the economic burden of postinfectious hydrocephalus on sub-Saharan African societies, where more than 100,000 cases arise each year, detailed the enormous impact.

The hearings highlighted novel surgical techniques that have shown to be effective alternatives to the implantation of fluid shunts in children with hydrocephalus in developing countries. Also highlighted were ongoing efforts to identify the microbes responsible for causing these infections, the routes of infection during the neonatal period and the emerging recognition from satellite climate measurements that rainfall has an important role in influencing the infection incidence.

Schiff, who holds appointments in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Engineering Science and Mechanics, and Physics, was joined by Benjamin Warf, director of the Neonatal and Congenital Anomalies Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital Boston, and Jim Cohick, senior vice president of specialty programs, CURE International.

Last Updated August 09, 2011