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From the Editor…

Posted in Editor's introduction on 13th Mar 2013

mike-zandi-editor-shotWe are sad in the ACNR offices that both Roger Barker and Alasdair Coles are now taking a back seat in the running of this journal, but happy that we do not have to say good-bye completely! Roger, with our publisher Rachael Hansford, delivered the first issue 12 years ago in March/April 2001, and Alasdair joined as co-editor from the second year, having contributed many neuroanatomy primers in the first.

Both took ACNR forward as a journal of topical and major advances in neuroscience and clinical neurology for neurologists, which has become widely read with a readership of 5000 in the UK, and over 1200 more internationally through the website. Both have distinguished personal achievements in clinical neurology and neuroscience that will be familiar to our readers, and lead their respective research groups: Roger’s in the fields of Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, Alasdair’s in multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology.

ACNR has grown and has been a sustained success in this time in no small part due to the talents of both Roger and Alasdair, as reflected in their own research successes. I would therefore like to thank them both personally and on behalf of all who have worked with them at the journal over the past 12 years, and am grateful that they will both continue to work with the journal. You will be pleased to read that there will be no radical changes, and as ever we are keen for our readers to be involved.

In this issue, Todd Hardy, from Sydney, writes a clear account updating us on Susac’s syndrome, in particular novel imaging data, a discussion of the role of endothelial cell antibodies in the pathogenesis, and a very helpful and comprehensive guide to treatment. We welcome Todd as an associate editor of ACNR in Australia.

Director of Research and Innovation at the charity Parkinson’s UK, Kieran Breen, brings us up to date in the emerging therapeutics of Parkinson’s disease. Dr Breen discusses the uses of genetic studies to identify drug targets and the repurposing of existing drugs to avoid the costs and delays of novel drug development. He reminds us of the difficulties with biomarkers for clinical studies that need to be overcome.

The symptomatic treatment of epilepsy is clouded both by poor efficacy for the many and the substantial adverse effects of anti-epileptic drugs (as pointed out in a review of two new large studies by Mark Manford in the journal reviews section). Laura Mantoan and Dimitri Kullmann, from UCL and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, provide a beautiful account of the background, theory and potential uses of optogenetics in the treatment of epilepsy, including an account of their own work. The technique, which harnesses the function of light sensitive channels transfected into cortex in rat models, promises great power as a mechanism to abort seizures ‘on-demand’ with minimal adverse effects. This is the first article in Mark Manford’s new series of advances in epilepsy, which promises to be highly informative.

In our neurosurgical article, Damiano Barone, Rhodri Jones and Rikin Trivedi, from Liverpool and Cambridge, provide a helpful dissection of all the available evidence for carotid endarterectomy versus carotid angioplasty in carotid stenosis and stroke. This is an excellent overview of this well-studied issue.

For those going to the ABN meeting in May, Edward Newman and Paul Gallagher provide a helpful introduction to the city of Glasgow, including a roundup of alternative sights to the SECC, and a hopefully helpful list of phrases to be aware of.

We have our usual book, journal and conference reviews and previews, and hope you continue to enjoy ACNR. If you have any suggestions for potential topics or authors, please let us know.

Mike Zandi, Editor.