Forensic Neuropathology Elective | NYU Langone Health

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Department of Forensic Medicine–New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner Elective Catalog Forensic Neuropathology Elective

Forensic Neuropathology Elective

Preceptor: Heather Maioli, MD
Course Code: 20-02
Coordinator: Nancy Izquierdo,
Tel: 212-447-2345

Prerequisites: All Clerkships


The Forensic Neuropathology Service provides consultation to the Medical Examiner by examining the central nervous system (CNS) in autopsy cases selected by the Forensic Pathologist. The purpose is to discover, characterize and document any pathologic lesions in the CNS that may be relevant to the cause and manner of death in unexplained circumstances. The Neuropathology staff examines approximately 30 cases per week. Each specimen typically consists of a formalin fixed brain, the dura mater and, in about 5% of cases, the spinal cord. The cases represent all age groups and any CNS abnormality that may be associated with unexplained death may be encountered.

This elective will provide an orientation to neurological conditions seen in forensic cases and an introduction to the activities of a Medical ExaminerÌs Office. Daily activities include examinations of neuropathological specimens and departmental conferences. Occasional opportunities to visit death scenes and to accompany forensic pathologists to court when they testify as expert witnesses at criminal trails are optional. Students also will have an opportunity to observe the operation of medical examiner toxicology and forensic biology operations.

Objectives of the Elective

To acquaint the student with forensic neuropathology and the role of the forensic neuropathologist in the evaluation of sudden, unexpected, suspicious and violent deaths. The student will learn basic neuroanatomy and the pathologic anatomy and physiology of many neurologic injuries and diseases. This will include daily observation of forensic neuropathologic examinations, follow-up of cases with hospital charts and medicolegal investigators and review of toxicologic and histopathologic examinations.

Key Responsibilities of the student while on Elective

  1. Students are expected to observe and assist with the brain examinations in the neuropatholgical examination rooms of the Medical ExaminerÌs Offices (transportation provided).
  2. Attendance is expected at mid-afternoon teaching conferences, daily case follow-up rounds, and a weekly neuropathology conference.
  3. Attendance is optional for death scene investigation and courtroom observations.

Didactic Program

The 60-minute mid-afternoon conferences are presented from September through May and are specifically directed toward students and visiting residents. They encompass a broad range of forensic topics and are presented by medical examiners and other scientific personnel from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Method of Evaluation

Evaluations are based on attendance and participation.

Scheduling Information

Months Offered: Nov-May
Report To: 9:00AM, Lobby of 520 First Ave.
Students Per Period: 2
Duration: Four Weeks