AAN Congress Highlights
Advancing Neurology Practice: Adapting to Today’s World

COVID-19 has impacted neurology practices across the globe, driving neurologists to quickly adapt to new and unique challenges. In this virtual industry therapeutic update, discover 1) the key immunological considerations for vaccinating patients with neuroimmune disorders and 2) explore the learnings from the past year regarding neurology telemedicine.

1) Immunological Implications of COVID-19 Vaccinations in Neurology Patients

What should neurologists know about the immune response to vaccines? Discover how mRNA and adenoviral vector COVID-19 vaccines work, key considerations surrounding neurology patient’s immune response to vaccines and what is involved in the generation of long-term immunity.

With the approval and distribution of mRNA and adenoviral vector vaccines for COVID-19, it is important to understand how these types of vaccines work and the implications of vaccinating people with MS. In the first section of the presentation, neurologist Barry Singer poses a series of questions to immunologist Amy Lovett-Racke on what neurologists should know about the immune response to vaccines. Together, they uncover the key considerations to take into account for vaccinating patients with MS.

2:19 min

MS patients and severe COVID-19

Review what is known so far about risk factors for severe COVID-19 in MS patients as it relates to age, disability, disease-modifying therapies and more.

1:54 min

Traditional vaccines versus new vaccines

Learn the difference between traditional inactivated virus vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, and mRNA and DNA vaccines being used for COVID-19.

2:19 min

Immune response to vaccines

Explore how antigen-presenting cells, T cells and B cells work together to formulate a comprehensive immune response to vaccination against SARS-CoV-2.

1:34 min

SARS-CoV-2 variants

What is the vaccination strategy if the virus continues to mutate? Learn why the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants may cause concern and how the vaccination strategy can be adapted to address this.

1:59 min

Antibodies and vaccine efficacy

What immune markers indicate protection by COVID-19 vaccination? Learn about antibody responses upon primary and secondary exposure to antigen, and how these responses correlate with vaccine efficacy.

1:30 min

T cell responses to vaccination

How do T cells respond to vaccination? Explore the evidence that T cells respond effectively to COVID-19 vaccines and delve deeper into their roles in generating a comprehensive immune response.

1:51 min

Generating long-term immunity

What provides long-term immunity? Discover how long-term memory is generated and the interdependency of B and T cells in this process.

2:43 min

Age and vaccine efficacy

How does age affect vaccine efficacy? Learn about immunosenescence and vaccine strategies used to compensate for a decreased immune response to immunisation.

2:59 min

Vaccines and neurologic disease

Explore what is known about the rare incidence of neurological complications, such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome and transverse myelitis, in response to infection and/or vaccination.

2:55 min

Vaccination considerations for MS patients

Dr Singer summarises the key points for neurologists to consider when talking to their patients about COVID-19 vaccines.

2) Neurology Telemedicine: Lessons Learned & Future Directions

As neurologists have rapidly adjusted to treating patients virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the learnings to continue to move telemedicine forward? Discover the benefits and obstacles of teleneurology and explore what remote care may look like in the future.

In this second part of the presentation, Dr Barry Singer and Dr Carlo Tornatore review their experiences practising neurology telemedicine. Together, they explore the advantages and challenges of virtual neurology visits and identify the opportunities to optimise remote patient care for effective use post-COVID-19.

2:04 min

Benefits of telemedicine

What has been learned from using a teleneurology platform over the past year? Dr Singer and Dr Tornatore discuss their own experiences with the increased use of telemedicine and the advantages it offers patients, caregivers, and neurologists.

1:37 min

Challenges of telemedicine

Dr Singer and Dr Tornatore describe the challenges neurologists face during virtual visits and how they have adapted to these difficulties.

2:12 min

Tools for remote neurological evaluation

Are there new tools to help neurologists adapt to remote care? Explore the patient-reported outcomes and numerous other tools currently available and/or being validated to assess patients remotely.

1:45 min

Future of teleneurology

Dr Singer and Dr Tornatore discuss the primary obstacles to overcome for effective telemedicine post-pandemic.

Meet the Experts

Dr Barry Singer Dr Barry Singer is Director and Founder of The MS Center for Innovations in Care at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis. He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr Singer has been an investigator in over 35 MS clinical trials focused on new therapeutics. In 2016, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. His award-winning MS patient education website www.mslivingwell.org started in 2007 and has been a valuable resource in greater than 190 countries.

Dr Amy Lovett-RackeDr Amy Lovett-Racke is a Professor in the Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity and a member of the Infectious Diseases Institute at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She is also a Section Editor for the Journal of Immunology and serves as a committee member for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Pathways to Cure MS. She has published extensively on the role of T cells, and their interactions with other cells of the immune and central nervous systems, in the onset and progression of multiple sclerosis.

Dr Carlo TornatoreDr Carlo Tornatore serves as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center. He is also Regional Chief of Neurology for MedStar Health, Chairman and Neurologist-in-Chief at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, and Executive Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Patient Centered Specialty Practice MedStar Georgetown. Prof. Tornatore has published extensively in the areas of clinical and translational neuroimmunology and neurovirology and is actively involved in over 15 multiple sclerosis clinical trials.

Date of preparation: May 2021.