American Academy of Neurology sums up scientific highlights from 56th Annual Meeting

St. Paul, Minn. Increased risk for neurological disease from military service, new genes for Parkinson's disease, modifiable risk factors for dementia, and the educational value of medical malpractice cases were among the scientific highlights of the 56th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. Results from more than 1,300 scientific studies were presented to an audience of more than 8,000. Some of the most important findings were presented in a plenary session by John Noseworthy, MD, chair of the AAN Science Committee and professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Highlights included:


Mexican-Americans have significantly higher rates of stroke than non-Hispanic whites, according to research by a group from the University of Texas at Houston. The disparity occurs at all ages, but is greatest among those ages 45 to 49, in whom the risk for stroke is more than twice that of whites. "As the Mexican-American population grows and ages, measures to target this population for stroke prevention are critical," the authors stated. [S09.005]

Transfusion reduces stroke rates in children with sickle cell disease (SCD), based on a long-term study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Rates of stroke were compared for children with SCD before and after the 1998 publication of a treatment protocol recommending early transfusions in this population. Fewer children with SCD are now being admitted to hospital in California with their first stroke perhaps suggesting that earlier treatment may reduce stroke risk, with the figure for 2000 less than one quarter of that seen throughout the 1990s by more than 75 percent. [S04.005]

The thrombin inhibitor ximelagatran is at least as effective as standard warfarin treatment for stroke prevention, and unlike warfarin, can be used in a fixed dose and without coagulation monitoring. In two large double-blind international trials comparing the two,

Contact: Kathy Stone
American Academy of Neurology

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