David M. Holtzman
Professor and Chair of Neurology, Washington University in St. Louis, President, American Neurological Association
The development of novel diagnostic methods and treatments is progressing apace for many of the most common and important neurological disorders, including but not limited to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and migraine headache.
While we still await an approved disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, many promising therapies are now in clinical trials which are being tested as preventions in individuals who have Alzheimer’s pathology but do not yet have cognitive decline.
New evidence suggests that the immune system is involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and new therapies are being developed to target this component of the disease. New blood tests are also emerging that can identify those who can participate in Alzheimer’s disease prevention trials before they even have memory loss.
In Parkinson’s disease, researchers are testing new biological therapies, such as antibodies, as well as small molecules targeting some of the proteins that put one at higher genetic risk for the disease.
Over the past several years, we have seen development of multiple therapies targeting the immune system that can effectively treat the relapsing, remitting form of multiple sclerosis. And new science is emerging to develop ways to treat the chronic progressive stage of the disease with novel approaches.
In the area of migraine, several new treatments targeting what is known as calcitonin gene-related peptide have been approved by the FDA over the last year. These novel treatments are effective and offer a completely new way to treat migraine for those who do not respond well to some of the other medications used to treat this very common condition.
We are living in a time of great progress across the fields of neurology and neuroscience, and as we learn more and more about the brain, there is reason to be optimistic that better therapies for neurological diseases will continue to emerge in the near future.