The (Neuro)-Logical Next Step

New therapies for neurological disease on the horizon

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A study from Loyola University suggests that neurological disorders like epilepsy and dementia are on the rise, but new therapies could soon be formed with the help of diagnostic tests and stem cell research.

Doctors José Biller and Michael J. Schneck of the Loyola University Health System have seen tremendous growth in the frequency of these diseases, especially stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

Traditionally, the treatment for neurological disorders has been just that: treatment. There is no cure for these diseases, only ways to improve quality of life and control their effects on the brain and body. The authors of the study call this situation "diagnose and adios."

However, new studies, including stem cell research, are paving the way for new therapies to treat neurological illnesses. Researchers are seeing "explosive growth" that coincides with the use of new diagnostic methods.

Drs. Biller and Schneck recommend that neurologists focus their energy on diagnostic tests and clinical skills instead of "over-reliance on testing paradigms" and traditional methods.

Stroke is the third largest cause of death, and almost 800,000 people have a stroke every year. Dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease, affects almost five million people in the United States alone. One million people in the U.S. and 10 million across the globe suffer from Parkinson's disease, while approximately three million Americans suffer from epilepsy and seizures.

Researchers are predicting that the prevalence of many neurological diseases is going to grow as the current population ages, according to an article in the journal Frontiers in Neurology.

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Review Date: 
January 31, 2011
Last Updated:
February 1, 2011