Cynthia, Kathleen, Sarah, Oksana, Margery, Karen, Irene, and Stacy. These are the given names of the faculty for this issue of Continuum. Not a single member of a neurology "old boys'" club among them. After I had invited Drs Cynthia Comella and Kathleen Shannon to chair the faculty, I expressed surprise when they reported back with an all-female list of contributors. They, in turn, pointed out that the last time Continuum had produced an issue on Movement Disorders (in 1994) the faculty was entirely male. Touché. The statement made me realize how dramatically neurology, and, indeed, all of medicine has changed in its gender composition in the decades since my own medical training. Male neurologists may not all be from Mars nor female neurologists all from Venus, but we are all clearly better off for the substantially improved gender diversity in our profession. In the American Academy of Neurology, this change is highlighted not only by this issue of Continuum, but also by the fact that for the first time the organization has a woman, Dr Sandra Olson, as its president.
This Continuum issue is marked by other firsts as well. In the past, Continuum has generally offered a videotape to accompany an issue once per year. Now, for the first time, we offer a visual supplement in CD-ROM format. This will make viewing more convenient and provides the important ability to rapidly locate a particular segment of interest. This unique resource brings added value to the excellent written text of the journal itself.
Also accompanying this issue is the first offering of Quintessentials®, which comes as part of your Continuum subscription. Quintessentials® is a highly praised unique educational program that was originally developed several years ago by the American Academy of Neurology. Its goal is to provide tools for self-assessment and practice improvement in the context of case-based learning. The Quintessentials® module on Parkinson's disease, developed by Dr Steven Frucht, will complement the Parkinson's disease chapter in the Continuum issue itself and provide still another opportunity for readers to continue their process of lifelong learning in neurology.
The field of movement disorders encompasses some of the most dramatic and fascinating conditions that we encounter as neurologists. Much has been learned since Continuum last reviewed the subject. The discussions of Huntington's disease by Dr Shannon and of cerebellar disorders by Dr Blindauer feature the genetic advances in the understanding of these illnesses. Drs Furtado and Suchowersky review Parkinson's disease, the movement disorder that has been the greatest target of therapeutic intervention with new medications as well as the development and increasing use of novel surgical techniques. Dr Litvan provides a lucid dissection of the varieties of atypical parkinsonism. While these syndromes still stymie efforts at remediation, better recognition and understanding of the disorders should eventually prompt the development of effective treatment. Dystonia, thoroughly discussed by Dr Comella, is a disorder, often still mysterious, whose treatment has been revolutionized by the increasing use of botulinum toxin. In her discussion of tremor, Dr Mark addresses, among other entities, essential tremor, the most prevalent of all movement disorders. Reviews of important developments in our understanding and management of Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome, myoclonus, and drug-induced movement disorders by Drs Comella, Blindauer, and Horn, respectively, complete this comprehensive issue.
We invite you to read and learn more about these fascinating movement disorders. Enjoy the opportunity to supplement your recognition and understanding through the visual medium of the CD-ROM. Then scrutinize your own practice in the management of Parkinson's disease and improve it with the information and feedback provided by Quintessentials®. As always, we invite you to e-mail your comments and suggestions about these innovations, as well as any other aspects of Continuum, to Managing Editor Andrea Weiss at [email protected] or directly to me at [email protected].
Aaron E. Miller, MD