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Mayo Clinic Researcher Receives AAN’s Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research

HONOLULU – The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is awarding the 2011 John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research to Brian G. Weinshenker, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and a Fellow with the AAN. Weinshenker will receive the award during the AAN’s 63rd Annual Meeting in in Honolulu, held April 9 through April 16, 2011. The John Dystel Prize recognizes a significant contribution to research in the understanding, treatment, or prevention of multiple sclerosis (MS). Weinshenker’s research concentrates on variation in types of inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system that target the myelin sheath, and their treatment. He conducted a clinical trial that demonstrated that plasma exchange is an effective treatment for severe attacks of these diseases. He also developed clinical criteria for diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica, an uncommon but severe form of MS-like illness. These criteria were instrumental in the discovery of disease-causing antibodies that target brain water channel proteins that have revolutionized the recognition and understanding of neuromyelitis optica. “Our research has taught doctors how to recognize and treat a group of patients most of whom we did not correctly diagnose a decade ago. Now, we can both effectively treat their acute attacks and prevent future relapses of their illness,” says Weinshenker. “I am humbled to receive this award and pleased that the prize was awarded for clinical research.” Weinshenker will highlight his research at the AAN Awards Plenary Session during the AAN Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 14. The award is presented by the American Academy of Neurology and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and made possible through a special contribution from the John Dystel Multiple Sclerosis Research Fund at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The 63rd Annual Meeting of the AAN is world’s largest gatherings of neurologists, taking place in the Hawaii Convention Center with more than 10,000 attendees.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 22,500 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and epilepsy. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com.


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