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Fifteen Years of Excellence
A Reflection of How Far Neurology Has Come

This issue of Neurology Today marks 15 years since the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) launched its newspaper to help members keep up with the ever increasing flow of new information. Lewis P. (Bud) Rowland MD, an internationally known and highly respected academic neurologist, was the first editor-in-chief. I served as associate editor until 2010 when I succeeded Dr Rowland.

Since then, I have relied heavily on three talented associate editors — Robert Holloway, MD; Orly Avitzur, MD; and Kenneth Tyler, MD — as well as a host of board members who cover a broad range of neurology practice and expertise. Much of the success of Neurology Today, however, belongs to Fay Jarosh Ellis, an extraordinarily talented editor at Wolters Kluwer. Fay's keen oversight of editorial content and timely production has made my job immensely easier.

Many changes have been implemented since we published our first four issues in 2001. Neurology Today now produces 24 issues annually, and electronic versions are available on the web as well as on tablets and smart phones. Podcasts and video interviews highlight important as well as controversial topics, ranging from basic research to more practical clinical studies. And in the last year we started disseminating the Neurology Today Conference Reporters, a series of enewsletters designed to provide time-sensitive reports and analysis from major neurology conferences in different specialty areas.

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DR. STEVEN P. RINGEL: “In reviewing the first issue of Neurology Today, I found it remarkable how much has changed over the 15 years since we covered specific neurological presentations and articles.”

We've made these changes in response to what our readers tell us they want: timely news and analysis they can access in different formats and times.

There are many other features that add to the rich mix of information in Neurology Today. Our Policy Watch department provides expert analysis of legislative and regulatory developments that affect neurologists. Our Legal-Ease department provides expert discussion of medical-legal issues, and Viewpoints offers an Op-Ed forum for communicating perspectives and opinions on contemporary events or issues that affect neurologists. We like to recognize notable accomplishments of colleagues, and our Bookshelf features book and movie reviews of neurological interest.

In reviewing the first issue of Neurology Today, I found it remarkable how much has changed over the 15 years since we covered specific neurological presentations and articles. In 2001, the Human Genome Project was the ‘game-changer,’ an Alzheimer's vaccine was just moving into clinical trials, prion disease surveillance was deemed ‘challenging,’ and infused interferon beta 1A on multiple sclerosis (MS) disability progression was the focus of multiple reports.

This past year, we reported on CRISPR-CaS9 gene editing as the ‘game-changer,’ on outreach to large genotyping organizations such as 23&Me that enabled analysis and novel insights about prion disease penetrance in the general population, on oral MS drugs and other new targeted approaches and forms of MS therapies.

To commemorate our 15th year, we'll be looking back at many of the stories we first brought you in 2001. In a series of articles we call “Fifteen Years in Perspective: Then and Now,” we'll ask our experts to weigh in on and update the news we first reported in 2001. In this issue, for example, our first story in that series on page XX includes interviews with the early innovators in immunotherapies for Alzheimer's — they discuss what happened with that first vaccine, where the field is now, and where they see the potential for the greatest breakthroughs in Alzheimer's therapeutics in the next 15 years.

In future issues, look for these and other “Then and Now” stories on what we knew then and now know about endarterectomy, the therapeutic time-window for tissue plasminogen activator and other stroke therapies, changes in our understanding of the role of neuronal and glial cells in neurodegenerative disease, as well as the the advent of electronic health records, personalized medicine, and other practice management shifts in the way we practice neurology.

When I started medical school five decades ago, we didn't have imaging technology, genetic information was rudimentary, and bioengineering was not possible. All that, and much more, has changed so that I can only imagine what changes in the practice of neurology we will see in the decades to follow. One thing is certain — you will learn about these discoveries by reading Neurology Today.

Dr. Ringel, editor-in-chief of Neurology Today, is professor and vice chair of neurology at the University of Colorado-Denver in Aurora.