American Academy of Neurology sums up scientific highlights from 57th annual meeting

ST. PAUL, Minn. New insights into risk factors for Parkinson's disease and stroke, new understanding of disease mechanisms in multiple sclerosis, and new treatment possibilities for pain, epilepsy, and ALS were among the scientific highlights at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), where results from more than 1,400 scientific studies were presented. Some of the most important findings were presented in a plenary session moderated by John H. Noseworthy, MD, chair of the AAN Science Committee and Scientific Program Subcommittee and chair of the department of neurology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Highlights included:

Parkinson's Disease

Active duty military service increases the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to researchers from California. Men who served in World War II and Vietnam were twice as likely to develop Parkinson's as those who were in the military at the same time but were not deployed overseas. [S27.005] Meanwhile, taking ibuprofen, but not other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), reduced the risk of Parkinson's by about 40 percent in both men and women, adding to the growing list of conditions for which NSAIDs appear to offer protection. [P05.073]

The known genes for Parkinson's disease account for only a small percent of all cases. At the meeting, researchers described the most recent gene discovery, LRRK2, whose function is not yet known, which may be responsible for up to one percent of all Parkinson's cases, and six percent or more of inherited forms. [S17.001]


Donepezil is commonly prescribed for the dementia of Alzheimer's disease. In a large, multi-year study, researchers showed donepezil can also temporarily slow the transition from mild cognitive impairment for a period of up to three years, a pre-Alzheimer's form of dementia, to full Alzheimer's disease. Its effects were especially strong in those patients with a k

Contact: Robin Thompson
American Academy of Neurology

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