Brain imaging techniques such as MRI have topped a neurology journal’s poll of the top 10 key milestones in clinical neuroscience over the past century.
The Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry asked readers to vote for what they considered the most transformative developments over the past 100 years, as a way of commemorating its 100th year of publication
Brain imaging, which includes MRI, came top, with more than two thirds of the votes
The nomination likely reflects the fact that prior to the advent of MRI, neurologists were reliant on a physical examination to make a diagnosis, with many diagnoses only confirmed after death at a post-mortem; now neurologists can draw on a microscopic series of imaging to understand the working brain in life.
“A better understanding of brain structure in turn helped unlock the causes of neurodegenerative disease, particularly multiple sclerosis, where immune therapies can effectively turn off disease,” the journal said in a statement.
Among the other milestones nominated by readers were stroke therapies such as thrombolysis and endovascular recanalisation therapy.
The full list of 10 milestones is:
- Brain Imaging techniques (36.5% of the vote)
- Thrombolysis and endovascular recanalisation therapy for the treatment of stroke (16.5%)
- The effectiveness of L-Dopa for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease tremor (9%)
- The discovery of nerve signalling (8%)
- Immune therapies for Multiple Sclerosis (8%)
- Uncovering disease processes in autoimmune disease, such as encephalitis and the introduction of new treatments to block inflammation, such as rituximab (7%)
- The discovery of genes involved in neurodegenerative disease (neurogenetics) (5%)
- Treatments for mental ill health, such as lithium, antidepressants, antipsychotics (4%)
- Microscopic neurosurgical techniques to join veins and arteries and repair nerves (3.5%)
- Deep brain stimulation (2.5%).
“With discovery, comes further understanding about the triggers for disease, and an appreciation of factors that underlie maintenance of brain and mental health,” says Sydney neurologisat Professor Matthew Kiernan, Editor-in-Chief of the journal .
“And with such progress, further frontiers that previously seemed impossible, will be realised, from the brain-computer interface through to a regenerating brain,” said Professor Kiernan, who is Co-Director of the Brain and Mind Centre and Consultant Neurologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.