AAN.com Science Editor

Vision Statement

August 10, 2009

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by José G. Merino, MD, MPhil, AAN.com Science Editor

These are exciting times to be a neurologist. Research discoveries in the past two decades have changed the way we practice neurology. Advances in molecular biology and genomics allow us to classify neurologic disease based on etiology rather than semiology. Thanks to advances in imaging technology, we can see the brain, spinal cord, and nerves at a level of detail previously available only in post-mortem studies. Findings from epidemiological studies have shown us that some neurologic illnesses can be prevented. New therapies allow us to alter the course of, and sometimes even reverse, previously incurable diseases. At the same time, scientific advances have raised new ethical and practical questions.

The purpose of the Science area of AAN.com is to help neurologists understand the new scientific basis of their discipline so they can better serve their patients and discern the societal implications of developments in their field. I would like to see AAN.com become the portal of choice for neurologists.

The goals of the website are to inform AAN members about research advances in neurology and to foster an interest in research careers among neurologists and trainees. The website will highlight recent research discoveries, emphasizing their clinical implications. We will post interviews with authors of key papers that have been published in Neurology®, reviews from researchers describing the current state of their field, and commentaries from neurologists about the science underlying current public policy debates. We will continue to cover scientific activities at the Annual Meeting, and explore ways to harness the power of the web to promote greater communication between presenters and attendees. To foster an interest in research careers, we will profile the work and career path of different neurologic researchers.

The website will also have a section devoted to research funding, including details about AAN fellowships and awards, as well as details about opportunities funded by the NIH, other agencies, and subspecialist societies. It will also include information for neurologists in private practice who are interested in participating in office-based clinical studies, and for patients who want to learn more about the importance of participating in research.

Author Disclosure

Dr. Merino performed a one-time consultation with staff from Bell, Falla and Associates.