Letter from the chair

May 5, 2011


The AAN Ethics Section is growing steadily and includes researchers and practitioners from all subspecialties in neurology as well as experts in law, philosophy, social science, and new technologies. I would like to personally thank the past chair, Dr. Jerome Kurent, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., University of South Carolina, for his outstanding leadership over the past year.

In the upcoming year, the Ethics Section aims to strengthen ties with other AAN sections including Sports Neurology, Global Health, Neurology Education, Pain and Palliative Care, and others. We also hope to join members of other like-minded organizations with a focus on ethics and medicine, bringing attention to neurological patients in new forums.

Each year the section is compelled to choose from multiple competing issues to prioritize. Some topics are controversial. Some are overlooked, and others remain perpetually unresolved. No matter what the topic we consider, it is clear that ethics continues to matter.

In past years, the section has helped debate issues of cognitive enhancement, neurological care provision to illegal immigrants, placebo controls in neurology trials, and the definition of the word "patient." Personally, I hope the year will bring in new members including medical students, residents, and fellows from countries around the world. I look forward to your advice and input!

Farrah Mateen, MD
Department of Neurology
Johns Hopkins Hospital