Starting a New Chapter

On August 1st, I will begin a new adventure. Having been at NIH for 4½ years and affiliated with NINDS for all that time, I will begin serving as NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, a position from which I will facilitate the performance of research throughout NIH. I see this change as an opportunity to view NIH science from a higher platform and to leverage that view to create new collaborations, synergies, training opportunities, and … well …. science and medicine.

The institutes and centers of NIH are variably constituted, charged, and focused. Some, like NINDS, are focused on particular organ systems and the disorders that affect them. Some, like the National Institute on Aging, are focused on a particular time of life or population. Still others, like the National Cancer Institute, are focused on a particular group of diseases. But real people stay healthy because all of their organ systems work together in interdependent ways throughout the lifecycle and adapt with growth, development, and aging, to changes in their function and environment. And real disorders of real people often involve the whole body or multiple components of it.

From my new position, I will be poised to bring scientists together across the age group, population, disorders, and organ system divides. I hope to enhance the ability of our training programs to prepare our students and fellows for the biomedical science of tomorrow – a biomedical science that takes place in laboratories, clinics, industry, and nonprofit and governmental agencies and that must talk articulately and audibly to policymakers, families, corporations, and educators.

This would be an impossible task were it not for the extraordinary foundation laid by the immediate past NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, Dr. Michael Gottesman, and his dedicated and superbly capable colleagues in the NIH Office of Intramural Research. All of them have already been so very generous in educating and mentoring me and in welcoming me to this new role at NIH. I am excited to serve both NIH and my country in this new way and to share bidirectionally with this extraordinary scientific community in service of greater understanding and improved health for all people. This will be the last issue of The Schor Line. But, in my new position, I will continue to write on science at NIH in The NIH Catalyst.

MIND YOUR RISKS Now to Protect Your Health Throughout Your Life

For those of us who are child neurologists, it is no surprise that early life exposures, habits, experiences, and health status greatly influence and sometimes even predict health in later life. There is no magic switch that delineates childhood from adulthood. Development is forever, and many influencers on later health happen in very early or even prenatal life. That’s why it is so important that, even if they feel fine, children, adolescents, and young adults watch their weight, their blood pressure, their diet, and their level of regular exercise. After all, nobody’s got you like you got you! You say you spend most of your time taking care of your family, your job, and your community? Well then, where would they be without you? For you and especially for them, you have to take care of yourself.

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May is ALS Awareness Month

May is a month of renewal. The landscape turns green again. Flowers add splashes of color to nature’s palate. Critters in hibernation much of the preceding months are seen venturing out and enjoying the newfound warmth.

May is also ALS Awareness Month. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and denotes a relentlessly progressive group of disorders that, sometimes quite rapidly and sometimes more slowly but always unfairly destroys the motor system in the spinal cord and brain that enables the muscles to move. ALS robs healthy people of their ability to walk, lift a cup, speak so they can be heard and understood, and, eventually, eat and breathe.

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Engaging Patients, Families, and Communities around Improving Emergency Medical Care

As an academic discipline and separate specialty, emergency medicine is relatively young: the first residency training program in emergency medicine in the U.S. was founded in 1970. Compare that to internal medicine, for which the first U.S. residency program was founded in 1889! Emergency medicine is an area ripe for research and hungry for definition of best practices and rigorous optimization of outcomes. But like every field of research, it holds unique challenges. Two institutes at the NIH, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), have partnered to help overcome these challenges.

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The NINDS 2021-2026 Strategic Plan: Overarching Principles

The NINDS 2021-2026 Strategic Plan evolved as a collaborative effort involving NINDS staff and stakeholders from the scientific, medical, and patient advocacy, family, and caregiver communities.  Its overarching principles are designed to serve the vision and mission of NINDS, long focused on leveraging its pre-eminence in discovery of the basic science underpinning function and dysfunction of the nervous system to ease the burden of patients and families dealing with neurological disorders.  These principles, discussed in depth in a new article published in Cell, are as follows:

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