As our readers undoubtedly know, CONTINUUM has been developed as a tool for lifelong learning by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Yet, in many respects the international community of neurologists looks to the AAN for leadership. Evidence for this is the fact that 38% of the attendees at the 2007 AAN Annual Meeting were from outside the United States and Canada. We are pleased to count many international neurologists among the readership of CONTINUUM. In a program initiated by CONTINUUM founder Dr Theodore Munsat, the AAN is also proud to provide issues to many of our colleagues in underdeveloped nations and has recently established a dedicated web portal to facilitate delivery of this vital information to areas often lacking ready access to up-to-date neurologic information. This issue of CONTINUUM on Neurogenetics highlights this international commitment of the AAN by having reached across the Atlantic to enlist the talents of Dr Christine Klein of Lübeck, Germany, to chair an outstanding faculty. In her own introduction that follows, Dr Klein highlights the respective chapters.
Neurogenetics is not a subject that most neurologists grasp easily. For many of us, it was barely a part of our neurologic education in medical school or residency. Its unique lexicon in and of itself poses problems for us nongeneticists. Nonetheless, one need only read the cover of any current neurologic journal to realize the immense importance of this aspect of neurology, which is advancing at breakneck speed. In this issue, Dr Klein and her colleagues appropriately highlight the importance of genetics in understanding complex neurologic disease. We have, indeed, advanced well beyond Mendel's peas!
As you read on, your efforts will be rewarded by an increasing understanding of this rapidly evolving and critically important aspect of neurology. We are indebted to Dr Klein and her very knowledgeable colleagues for their guidance.
Supplementing the chapters on the genetics of neurologic disease, Dr Tyler Reimschisel provides a further ethical perspective on issues related to genetic testing. In the practice section, Dr Peter Bergethon glances into the very near future at genomic analysis while providing his thoughts on the nature of continuing medical education.
Not only to test the knowledge you have gained from the chapters, but more importantly to solidify your educational gains, don't forget to tackle the patient management problem thoughtfully crafted by Dr Anthony Lang and the multiple-choice questions, drafted by Drs Joanne Lynn and Eduardo Benarroch. The latter feature numerous brief clinical vignettes that offer the opportunity for you to apply the clinical principles contained within this challenging, but vital, issue of CONTINUUM.
-Aaron E. Miller, MD