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Release: May 3, 2000

UI Health Care specialist to lead online chat on spinal cord tumors

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Timothy Ryken, M.D., University of Iowa assistant professor of surgery and a neurosurgeon with University of Iowa Health Care, will lead an hour-long, online question-and-answer discussion on spinal cord tumors with a nationwide audience from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4.

The online chat will be hosted by and can be accessed by entering through the home page under "Upcoming Events."

Approximately 10,000 Americans develop spinal cord tumors each year. Although spinal cord tumors affect people of all ages, they are most common in young and middle-aged adults. Spinal cord tumors are abnormal growths of tissue found inside the bony spinal column. In most parts of the body, benign tumors are not particularly harmful. This is not necessarily true in the spinal cord, which is one of the primary components of the central nervous system. Any abnormal growth can place pressure on sensitive tissues and impair function. Also, any tumor located near sensitive spinal cord nerves can seriously threaten health.

Ryken received his medical degree at the UI College of Medicine. He completed his residency at the UI Hospitals and Clinics and a fellowship at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He joined the UI faculty in 1998.

Ryken is a member of the Cambridge Society, the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. His clinical interests are neurosurgery, glioblastomas, and brain tumors.

A calendar of other upcoming chats by UI Health Care professionals and dialogue from past chats can be accessed by logging on to and clicking on the logo at the bottom of the page.

UI Health Care's partnership with is part of an increasing trend in health care toward enhancing consumer services through the Internet. According to recent statistics compiled by Cyber Dialogue, a New York firm that tracks Internet commerce, there are approximately 22 million World Wide Web users seeking health information over the Internet. Cyber Dialogue projects that number to increase to 33 million over the next year.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.