The Department of Neurology at Emory University is a leader in research, which can take several different forms, and information about ongoing studies can be found through links on this page.
Patients who obtain their neurologic care at Emory are encouraged to allow Emory researchers to study their clinical information obtained through routine medical care so that new patterns associated with neurologic disease can be discovered. It is this research mission of Emory University that distinguishes medical care at Emory from care from other institutions, and which allows Emory to continue to offer state of the art and cutting edge diagnosis and treatments across multiple neurological diseases. By allowing researchers to review routine clinical care information, new disease patterns are often first identified. As with all research, findings are reported across many patients with similar conditions and individuals are never personally identified.
Many neurology patients also volunteer to participate in Clinical Trials. Unlike the participation described above where patterns of disease are studied based upon results from clinical care, Clinical Trials are formal research experiments in which new treatment or therapies are studied. In most cases, the treatment or drug that a study subject receives is randomly determined, and neither the patient nor the Emory researcher is aware of the specific treatment until the study is completed (double blind study). There are different types of Clinical Trials, but all share the common goal of finding new and improved ways to better treat neurologic disease with fewer side effects
Clinical research studies are in some ways similar to Clinical Trials, but they are not designed to test whether one treatment option or drug is better than a different treatment. Clinical research studies tend to study patients on multiple occasions to examine how disease patterns change over time. Other clinical research studies are designed to investigate relationships between disease conditions such as disease duration. Other markers of disease burden such as with new brain imaging techniques of MRI and PET. Still others might be designed to study side effect risks for clinical treatments that are being performed (e.g., surgery).
The final area of research focuses on uncovering mechanisms of neurologic disease in laboratory animals. This level of research is critical to improve understanding of how neurologic disease develops and progresses, which then provides the foundation to translate these findings to improved treatment in clinical population.
We thank all of our patients who participate in research in the Department of Neurology. It only is through the willingness of patients to participate in research that our understanding of disease has continued to advance. This has permitted the development new treatment approaches that optimize disease management by providing the best clinical options for treatment, while understanding treatment risks that are always associated with medical care. Continued research participation provides the greatest opportunity to insure that future patients will benefit from new and improved approaches that minimize disease burden, both for patients and their families.