Applied Research Group in Neurological Infections Launches

By Kiran Thakur, MD, and Sarosh Katrak, MD, DM, FRCP(E)

Neurological infections continue to ravage populations in developing and developed countries. In many regions, central nervous system (CNS) opportunistic infections due to AIDS and tropical diseases remain a major contributor to morbidity and mortality.

In resource-rich settings, where new immunomodulatory medications are being frequently used, CNS infections are being increasingly recognized. There are a growing number of emerging and re-emerging neurotropic infectious diseases, and proper diagnosis and management often require neurologic expertise that may not be available in certain global regions.

Despite significant scientific advances in the field, the burden of undiagnosed neurological infections remains unacceptably high. Major research gaps exist in our understanding of the pathogenesis and cost-effective diagnostics, as well as the CNS penetration and optimal treatment schedules of many neurological infections.

As co-chairs of the newly established applied research group in neurological infections, we are excited to enhance the education, training and research in neurological infections to the global neurology community. The World Federation of Neurology is well positioned to make a major impact in this field through its representation of more than 100 countries, many of which have neurologists with expertise in neurological infections.

We hope to engage experts in neurological infections in collaborative research and educational projects and those interested in improving their knowledge of neurological infectious diseases. We encourage those interested in participating to become members and participate in the educational and research endeavors of our group.

Research Goals

  • Surveillance of emerging and re-emerging neurological infections
  • Continued vigilance in understanding the burden of CNS opportunistic infection risk in patients on immunomodulatory therapies
  • Surveillance of undiagnosed infectious diseases in the global community
  • Enhanced pathogen discovery testing globally, with increased access to advanced testing in resource-limited settings
  • Drug-development trials, including studies on CNS penetration of medications for neurological infections and setting drug-dosing and treatment protocols specific for CNS infections

Training and Educational Goals

  • Develop and enhance educational sessions on neurological infections at the World Congress of Neurology meetings
  • Training sessions in neuroinfectious diseases for general practitioners and neurologists
  • Develop training modules on neurological infections with a focus on acute meningitis/encephalitis, chronic meningitis, opportunistic infections in immunosuppressed patients, viral encephalitis and tropical neurology
Kiran Thakur, MD, is an assistant professor in the department of neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, and Sarosh Katrak, MD, DM, FRCP(E), is director of the department of neurology at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, in Mumbai, India.