#AAN16 Live Blog [Updating]

AAN-logoMayo Clinic neurologists, researchers, and a wide spectrum of allied health staff are in Vancouver for the 68th American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting. Follow this blog for live updates from #AAN16 as we attend the conference, mingle with colleagues at booth #1507, and have a little fun. Have a comment or photo to share? Send it to us on Twitter @MayoClinicLabs or Facebook.

As part of our AAN coverage, we have also created an interactive neurology-focused quiz, as well as a page of testing resources for neurologic disorders:


April 21 at 3:54 p.m. PST

Goodbye, Vancouver!

An amazing AAN annual meeting is in the books. We will sign off from this year's live blog with a timelapse of Vancouver Harbour just outside of the Vancouver Convention Center. 


April 21 at 3:14 p.m. PST

AAN16 Takeaways: Christopher Klein, M.D.

For our final AAN16 Takeaways, we chatted with Mayo Clinic Neurologist Christopher Klein, M.D. He spoke with us right after his presentation titled, "Target-Enrichment Sequencing and Copy Number Evaluation in Inherited Polyneuropathy."

April 21 at 11:54 a.m. PST

"Developments in Peripheral Neuropathies" Program

Target-Enrichment Sequencing and Copy Number Evaluation in Inherited Polyneuropathy


Mayo Clinic neurologist Christopher Klein, M.D., gave an oral presentation this morning titled, “Target-Enrichment Sequencing and Copy Number Evaluation in Inherited Polyneuropathy.”

Conclusions from this presentation include:

  1. Incorporating CNV analysis in NGS can improve efficiency of inherited neuropathy mutation discovery.
  2. A simplified genetic diagnostic algorithm using targeted NGS, clinical phenotypes, age at onset, and family history can improve efficiency of diagnosis.
  3. Practice parameters and payer guidelines for inherited peripheral neuropathies need updating.

April 21 at 10:27 a.m. PST

Featured Poster Presentation: Thursday, April 21

8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Poster Presentation. Session: P6.125.
Authors: Jenny Linnoila, M.D., Ph.D.; Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D.; Christopher Klein, M.D.; Andrew McKeon, M.D.


April 19 at 3:18 p.m. PST

AAN16 Takeaways: Sean Pittock, M.D.

This morning, we were able to catch up with Sean Pittock, M.D., between sessions. After moderating one session and attending countless others, he shared some of his key takeaways from AAN 2016.

April 19 at 9:38 a.m. PST

AAN16 Takeaways: Eoin Flanagan, M.B., B.Ch.

We caught up with Mayo Clinic Neurologist Eoin Flanagan, M.B., B.Ch., and he shared some of his key takeaways from AAN 2016.

April 19 at 11:28 a.m. PST

Featured Poster Presentation: Tuesday, April 19

8:30 a.m.–7 p.m.
Poster Presentation. Session: P4.027.
Authors: Christina M. Dheel; Scott Przybelski; Matthew Senjem; Kejal Kantarci, M.D.; David Jones, M.D.; Julie Fields, Ph.D., Mary Machulda, Ph.D.; Clifford Jack, M.D.; Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D.; David Knopman, M.D.; Zbigniew Wszolek, M.D.; Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D.; Bradley Boeve, M.D.

April 18 at 11:30 a.m. PST

Controversies in Neurology Plenary Session

Is Early Aggressive Treatment a More Beneficial Approach Than Escalation of Treatment for Most Patients with MS?

weinshenker-2Mayo Clinic neurologist Brian Weinshenker, M.D., FAAN, participated in this morning's "Controversies in Neurology" plenary session. The program featured experts discussing the most current and controversial issues in neuroscience and was set up as a debate format in which two speakers argue one side of a single topic, followed by a rebuttal. Dr. Weinshenker was making the "con" case for the topic "Is Early Aggressive Treatment a More Beneficial Approach Than Escalation of Treatment for Most Patients with MS?"

April 18 at 9:19 a.m. PST

Featured Poster Presentation: Monday, April 18

8:30 a.m.–7 p.m.
Poster Presentation. Session: P3.003.
Authors: Eoin Flanagan, M.B., B.Ch.; Philippe Cabre; Brian Weinshenker, M.D.; Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D.; Masoud Majed, M.D.; Vanda Lennon, M.D., Ph.D.; Claudia Lucchinetti, M.D.; Andrew McKeon, M.D.; Dean Wingerchuk, M.D.; Jayawant Mandrekar, Ph.D.; Debra J. Jacobson; Jessica Sagen; John E. Schmeling; James Frye; Marcelo Matiello; Nilifur Kale, Angala Borders Robinson, Sean Pittock, M.D.

April 18 at 8:35 a.m. PST

A picture-perfect morning for a run along the seaside pedestrian path in Downtown Vancouver.
A picture-perfect morning for a run along the seaside pedestrian path in Downtown Vancouver. Ready for Monday at #AAN16.

April 17 at 6:28 a.m. PST

Highlighted Oral and Poster Presentations: Sunday, April 17

Our colleagues from the Mayo Clinic Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology will be presenting the following oral and poster presentations today:

8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Poster Presentation. Session: P2.163.
Presenter: Andrew Smith, M.D.

1:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m.
Oral Presentation. Session: S12.003.
Presenters: Masoud Majed, M.D.; James Fryer; Andrew McKeon, M.D.; Vanda Lennon, M.D., Ph.D.; John Schmeling; Jessica Sagen; Sean Pittock, M.D.

April 17 at 6:18 a.m. PST

Alzheimer's Disease: Study Patients with Amyloid and Tau Markers

Patients with both biomarkers show greatest cognitive decline over time

View full article on MedPage Today.

Clinical trials targeting individuals with preclinical stage 2 Alzheimer disease (AD) who have low amyloid-beta and high tau or p-tau, may be able to detect meaningful cognitive decline at a much earlier age than previously thought, analysis of data from the BIOCARD cohort study showed.

Over a period of 11 years, individuals in stage 2 Alzheimer's had lower baseline cognitive scores and a greater decline in the cognitive composite score relative to all other biomarker groups (P<0.001 for the rate of decline for all), Anja Soldan, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues reported online in JAMA Neurology.

The presence of the APOE4 risk allele was not a significant predictor of decline within preclinical stages, they reported.

"Our data suggest that abnormal levels of both amyloid and tau appear to be necessary for observing cognitive decline among cognitively normal individuals," they wrote. "To optimize observing a treatment effect, clinical trials enrolling cognitively normal individuals should selectively recruit participants with abnormal levels of both biomarkers because this group would be expected to show the greatest cognitive decline over time if untreated."

David Knopman, M.D., a clinical neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, said in an interview that he agrees in principle with the study findings, which confirm what four previous studies have already concluded.

"When amyloidosis plus neurodegeneration are both present, this is when further cognitive decline occurs in the AD spectrum," Dr. Knopman told MedPage Today, cautioning that the findings currently "have no bearing on clinical practice."

"The findings here are strictly focused on a very important concept of clinical trial design for asymptomatic individuals who could be at risk for Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Knopman said. "There is no rationale for diagnosing at-risk individuals in the absence of therapy or genuine preventive approaches."

Dr. Knopman, who was not affiliated with the study, acknowledged that he is an advisor to the study authors.

Continue reading full article on MedPage Today.

April 15 at 7:20 a.m. PST

Mayo Clinic Scientist to Receive International Award for Advances in Dementia Research

Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D., a neurogeneticist on Mayo Clinic in Florida, will receive one of the highest honors in neuroscience: the 2016 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s, and Related Diseases.

The $100,000 prize is an internationally recognized tribute for advancing dementia research. It recognizes major contributions to the understanding of the causes, prevention, treatment, and cure for Pick's, Alzheimer's, and related diseases.

Dr. Rademakers’ research laboratory has made several significant discoveries in the molecular genetics of some of the world’s most devastating neurological diseases, includingAlzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as well as Parkinson’s disease-related syndromes.

“The physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic are proud of Dr. Rademakers’ achievements on behalf of our patients and patients everywhere,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., President and CEO of Mayo Clinic.

In 2011, Dr. Rademakers’ laboratory identified that an unusual mutation of the C9orf72 gene is the most common cause of ALS and FTD. This explained the disease in more than 30 percent of ALS patients, and about 25 percent of FTD patients who have other family members with dementia or ALS. Her laboratory has since discovered several genetic factors that help explain why some people with the C9orf72 mutation develop ALS, while others develop FTD.

“Winning the Potamkin Prize is a great honor for me,” says Dr. Rademakers. “I feel fortunate to be in the company of many of my colleagues who have also won this award. It could not have happened without the work of all of the people in my laboratory, and so I hope they see this as recognition of their achievement, as well.”

View the full article.

April 14 at 8:30 a.m. PST

Neurologist Recognized for Groundbreaking MS Research

Claudia Lucchinetti, M.D., will be awarded the 2016 John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research for her outstanding contributions to understanding and treating multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Lucchinetti is one of only a few neurologists in the world with expertise in neuroinflammation, and her research has led to paradigm shifts in our understanding of central nervous system demyelinating diseases over the past two decades.

Dr. Lucchinetti is chair of the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic, and the Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Professor of Neurosciences.

Her research focuses on mechanisms of demyelination—damage to the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. She also focuses on tissue injury among the family of central nervous system inflammatory demyelinating disorders that includes multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Dr. Lucchinetti began to collect and analyze MS lesion brain biopsies 20 years ago and has created the world’s largest tissue bank of MS lesions in her quest to find effective treatments for this unpredictable and often disabling disease.

View the full article.

brentwestra (@brentwestra)


Brent Westra is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. He leads marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing along with new media innovations. Brent has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2011.