2009 Update: Science on AAN.com

February 2, 2009


By John W. Henson, MD, FAAN, AAN.com Science Editor

The Science pages of AAN.com allow neurologists to follow basic, translational, and clinical scientific developments. The site includes daily breaking news stories of neurologic interest on the home page of AAN.com as well as short editorials on the latest neurologic research, information regarding AAN scientific awards and training grants, and news and resources related to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). It also provides information related to the AAN Science Committee and its role in planning the scientific aspects of the AAN Annual Meeting. This is accomplished by a team of editorial board members and AAN staff.

Recent Changes to the Science Area

NINDS Disorders Index/Information and Resources

In October 2008, the AAN website launched a collaboration with NINDS. Through a dynamic RSS feed (an Internet tool that automatically updates web pages with information from other sources) pages within the AAN.com Science area are updated with current news, information, and press releases from the NINDS website. Components of the “NINDS Information and Resources” page are as follows:

  • Disorders Index. This tool, taken directly from NINDS web material, offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization and contact information for more than 250 identified neurological disorders. An extensive alphabetical list allows the user to select a disorder for which more information can be gathered.
  • NINDS Newsstand. This area lists the most current NINDS news.
  • NINDS Clinical Research Collaboration. The NINDS Clinical Research Collaboration (CRC) is designed to help people join research studies in order to offer their patients new and better treatments. Physicians can participate in research in their own offices, and are here provided with the latest updates and results from research studies. The NINDS CRC also helps patients quickly find research studies for which they may be eligible.
  • Clinical Research (Trials). This area includes information on clinical trials being conducted around the country. This is an extension of the “ClinicalTrials.gov” page that was added to the Science area at the end of 2007.
  • Research Mission and Funding from NINDS. Includes the mission of NINDS and ways in which the NINDS fosters the training of clinical and basic investigators and conducts its own research in topical areas such as Neural Prosthesis, Stem Cells, and Translational Research.
  • Additional Information. Directs the user to additional resources on the NINDS website, such as application deadlines, funded grants, and the National Advisory Council.

Science Editorials and Reviews

Members of the Science Web Editorial Board review a feed from Reuters' science news every week and update the home page of AAN.com with the most current science news and reviews. Recently, the editorial board implemented a plan to review the contents of the upcoming issue of Neurology® a week prior to its release and solicit information to create articles and interviews. If a particular article warrants additional information to be placed on the Science pages, the editors can report on an interview with the author of the article. A question-and-answer outline has been created for consistency with these interviews.

Annual Meeting Website

Plans to promote the Annual Meeting on AAN.com are currently underway. Each day's events will be highlighted on the website's home page, and we will also include important education courses and scientific sessions. In addition, we will present daily newsstand stories for a few weeks leading up to the Annual Meeting, which will highlight important new events of the 2009 Annual Meeting. The itinerary portion of the home page will also be reworked to make it more user-friendly.

The rapid growth of scientific knowledge in the field of neurology is both tremendously exciting and thoroughly challenging. Investigation of the human body's last great frontier has never before been so well prepared with powerful new tools and gifted intellects, nor has the potential for dissemination of the new information via the internet been so promising. It is of utmost importance, therefore, for the premier neurologic society to provide online access to new information in a well synthesized and timely manner. This is the mission of the Science section of AAN.com.