Similarities in Brain Pathology Between Neurodegenerative Diseases: Imad Najm, MD

SAP Partner | <b>Cleveland Clinic</b>

The director of Cleveland Clinic’s Epilepsy Center discussed the currently known overlap between neurological diseases and the need to identify causative biomarkers. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"Later on, after the onset of the disease, we see some similarities, which are probably the result of the neurodegeneration rather than the causes for these disorders. These include problems with speech, problems with gait and unsteadiness, and probably motor movements, in general.”

The newly announced Cleveland Clinic Brain Study will aim to answer a question which clinicians have pondered for many years—why do some people develop neurological diseases? This multiyear study will look to pinpoint biomarkers of brain diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and epilepsy, before clinical symptoms present themselves. Led by Andre Machado, MD, PhD, and Imad Najm, MD, it represents the largest clinical study ever for brain disease, including up to 200,000 neurologically healthy individuals for a 20-year period.

Using advanced computing tools researchers will collect data points from the study volunteers. Collectively, the hope is that these data points will form a trend line to capture the genetic risk factors, and invisible molecular, structural, neurophysiological, and cognitive/memory changes in the brain over time. Researching the root causes of brain diseases is not new. Throughout time, investigators have uncovered more about the epidemiology of these diseases but have made little headway in terms of why they form.

In an interview with NeurologyLive®, Najm, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Epilepsy Center, provided commentary on the previously known associations between neurological brain diseases. He discussed the similarities observed in the silent period and whether changes are attributable to the process of neurodegeneration or the disease itself. Furthermore, he detailed the lasting effects if the study is successful, including ways it may shape research and preventative tactics.