By Daniel Claassen, MD
In February, Vanderbilt hosted a southeast regional HD meeting in Nashville, TN. We enjoyed meeting in person, and over 90 participants attended. The conference focused on case-based discussions that encouraged a dialogue regarding how we care for patients, and how we care for the carers.
I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that accompanied this face-to-face conference. I had been so accustomed to zoom meetings, that I forgot the tremendous encouragement that comes from in-person meetings. Only a couple of weeks later, I found myself in Palm Springs at the CHDI conference. Seeing our colleagues from overseas was another boost of encouragement. During the difficult COVID-19 isolation, our passion for HD had not waned, nor had the enthusiasm for developing new treatments.
It’s in this backdrop that this Spring HD Insights edition arrives. We are fortunate to have several interesting perspectives on HD and clinical research. Dr. Joel Perlmutter shares with us his amazing journey with the FDA, and thoughts on the aduhelm controversy. We are fortunate to hear his insights on this process, and the challenges we face with post-hoc analysis, treatment approvals, and the current state of the FDA. Additionally, Dr. Jeff Long provides us a summary of the HD-ISS staging system, which he presented at the CHDI meeting, and HD symposium. This may offer a new roadmap for HD clinical trials. Finally, Dr. Chris Ross provides a comprehensive perspective on current HD trials, and this is a great article you can share with your patients or at your next HD education day.
Of course, the personal stories of resilience, courage and leadership grab our attention, and the perspectives from Erin Paterson and Jenna Heilman will inspire you. May is HD awareness month. There is a lot happening! HSG elections, more in-person meetings, and all the clinical work that pulls us in many directions. With this edition, I hope you will be encouraged.
Dr. Claassen is Associate Professor of Neurology at Vanderbilt University, and Chief Editor of HD Insights.