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Resident Spotlight: Aaron Loochtan, DO

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

For this week’s Resident Spotlight, third-year resident Aaron Loochtan, DO. Loochtan talks to us about his responsibilities within the Department, a recent paper he co-wrote on myasthenia gravis, and spending time with his wife, dogs, and vinyl collection outside of work.

How did you get interested in neurology?
I became interested in neurosciences as an undergraduate as my research and minor were in neuroscience. In medical school this remained my favorite topic, and I decided on neurology as a career after my clerkships.

What are your responsibilities within the Department? What does a typical day for you look like?
My responsibilities are typical for a PGYIII. My main rotations this year are learning the subspecialties of neurology specifically, EEG, EMG and many of the outpatient aspects of neurology (movement disorders, headache, cognitive, neuro-oncology, neuroimmunology, etc.). When I am not participating in clinical activities I am working on a few research projects within the department. Additionally, I spend time working on various PowerPoint presentations that come up through the year as part of our curriculum. I am currently preparing a combination ED-Neurology talk on the administration of tPA in the acute stroke setting.

What do you plan on doing after you complete your residency?
I am still undecided but have narrowed it down. I am thinking of a vascular neurology fellowship or clinical neurophysiology with the option of becoming a neuro-hospitalist after fellowship.

You and Lisa Hobson-Webb, MD wrote a short article about myasthenia gravis and its associations with  Ipilimumab in a recent issue of Muscle and Nerve. Can you tell me more about this work? What implications does this association have for future treatment and diagnosis?

This was a case report detailing the possible association between Ipilimumab and development of myasthenia gravis as a potential side effect of this chemotherapeutic agent. It highlights the importance of considering side effects of medications when trying to determine the etiology of any neurological condition.

What elements of the residency program you found most memorable or useful so far?
I would say the exposure to multiple clinical situations at Duke. We get patients from all over the state, country and world looking for expertise in neurological disorders. I feel privileged to work with leaders in the field who can provide excellent care to those in need.

What’s one passion or hobby that you have outside of the Department?
I collect / listen to vinyl records. Thanks to a gift from my in-laws I now have over 100 albums. Also, much of my spare time is consumed by my two dogs: Bell and Georgia.

Loochtan and dogs