January 25, 1994
Media Contact:Gary Stephenson
Phone: (410) 955-5384

Sumio Uematsu, M.D., 59, associate professor of neurological surgery at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a neurosurgeon at the Johns Hopkins hospital died in his sleep Tuesday morning (January 25) at his home in Lutherville, Md.

Uematsu was best known as an epilepsy surgeon. He was involved in pioneering activities to map the function of the human brain in the course of the surgical treatment of epilepsy. He also was noted for his surgical skills in relieving spinal problems in dwarfs. Because of these advances, he was recently proposed for promotion to professor of neurological surgery at Hopkins.

"John Hopkins School of Medicine has lost an eminent member of its faculty and an enormously skilled surgeon," said Dean Michael E. Johns, M.D. 'Dr. Uematsu's contributions to medical science and his devotion to his patients Will be remembered."

James A. Block, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Hopkins hospital described Uematsu as "a true gentleman who will be missed by the hospital especially by the Neurometric Laboratory, where he worked so hard to move it forward."

During his 23-year career at Hopkins, Uematsu designed a highly sensitive computerized skin temperature test for mapping numbness or changes in sensation caused by nerve injury in the body's limbs. Before, verification of such nerve Maury depended on the patient's subjective description of the problem, and a pin-prick sensation test. The new method was based on the principle that nerve damage is accompanied by changes in blood flow to the skin area served by the nerve.

Active in the American Academy of Thermology, Uematsu served as its president from 1987 to 1989. He also had been an officer in the World Federation of Neurology and the International College of Thermology.

Uematsu was founder and director of the Neurometric laboratory at Hopkins, with a joint associate professorship appointment in radiology. He came to Hopkins in 1970 as an instructor, was made an assistant professor in 1972 and in 1981 was promoted to associate professor.

'He founded a laboratory of neurometrics unique at the time for us' technological ways to measure function of the nervous system, including ultrasound, temperature change, and electrical conductivity," noted Donlin M. Long, M.D., neurosurgeon in chief at Hopkins.

Widely known for his neurological skills, Uematsu delivered research papers or speeches at numerous medical gatherings in foreign cities, as well as before audiences in the United States. In 1989, he was a visiting professor at the Kurume University School of Medicine and the Nippon Medical School in Japan.

Author or coauthor of 169 articles or books, he had been editor in chief of Thermology, a publication of the American Academy of Thermology. Uematsu also was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Thermology. He was board- certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the American Association of Electromyography and Electrodiaposis and the American Academy of Thermology.

Uematsu also was a consultant to the Loch Raven Veterans Administration hospital in Baltimore, The Francis Scott Key Medical Center, Good Samaritan hospital; the Kennedy Krieger Institute; and the Kathryn and Allan Greenberg Center for Skeletal Dysplasia since its inception at Johns Hopkins.

Born in Yamanashi, Japan, Uematsu received his medical degree at Juntendo University in Tokyo in 1959 and served an internship and residency in Tokyo. He came to the United States in 1962 to complete a rotating internship at Illinois Masonic hospital in Chicago. A residency in general surgery at Masonic hospital followed before he moved to Baltimore for a residency in neurosurgery at Hopkins, in 1964. He became chief resident in neurosurgery in 1969.

Uematsu, who was fond of Oriental gardening, maintained close ties to his cultural heritage in frequent visits to Japan and in studies of Japanese history, art and culture.

He is survived by his wife, Janet; two sons, John and Ken; a daughter, Mika; a grandson, Tyler. Also surviving are five brothers and one sister, all in Japan. Funeral services will be held Saturday at the Hartsler-Guthermuth Funeral Home in Elkhardt, Ind. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Uematsu Skeletal Dysplasia Fund or the Uematsu Memorial Research Fund at Hopkins hospital.

-- JHMI --
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