Director's Messages

Neurodegenerative diseases progressively damage specific cells and connections in the brain and/or spinal cord, exacting an enormous toll on the health of people living with these diseases, as well as their families and caregivers. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a particularly devastating and complex neurodegenerative disease that affects the neurons that control voluntary muscle movement.
Each new year offers a clean slate, with an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned as we set our eyes on new goals and possibilities. In 2022, we experienced a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and also saw society slowly returning back to “normal” as most restrictions lifted in the United States and across the world. For many who suffer with neurological disorders, challenges associated with the pandemic persist. Yet, I have seen our research community demonstrate resilience each and every day to pursue scientific questions that offer hope to those who lack effective treatments.
November is National Native American Heritage Month (NAHM), a time for us to honor the Native people of this land and their historical legacy and ongoing accomplishments. This month of recognition began at the turn of the century as one day to celebrate the significant contributions that the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States, and it has now evolved and grown well beyond that day.
For the first time in three years, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is holding its annual meeting in person, convening many thousands of neuroscientists in San Diego, California, from November 12-16, 2022. Across the country and throughout world, most COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, and society is trying to get back to “normal,” after three years in which the pandemic has affected every corner of our lives.
How is it acceptable that the fate of your brain depends on where you live? Most hospitals in the United States can provide acute stroke treatments that are life-saving and prevent life-long disability. However, the key to a successful outcome is to immediately recognize stroke symptoms and call 911 so that hospital treatments can be delivered within a few hours. Sadly, many people across the country do not receive these acute stroke treatments.
Every year from September 15th through October 15th, our nation celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), and this year’s theme is "Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” designated by The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM). We embrace this message with our own twist: “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger NINDS!”
Neurodegenerative diseases result in progressive damage to specific cells and connections in the brain and spinal cord, and they exact an incalculable toll on patients, as well as their families and caregivers. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that gradually robs people of their ability to walk, talk, move, swallow, and even to breathe on their own.
September is Pain Awareness Month – an opportunity to reflect on our efforts to help the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain and to acknowledge that pain has cascading impacts on individuals, families, communities, and the nation. At the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), in collaboration with our partners across the National Institutes of Health (NIH), our programs support research at all levels - from basic science to therapy development to clinical research.
Funding the highest quality science is a critically important element in advancing the mission of NINDS. Our Office of Research Quality leads NINDS’s efforts through workshop and meeting presentations, publications, and dissemination of research design and transparent reporting guidance and comprehensive educational tools. In May of this year, we brought together a group of de facto “Rigor Champions” for a two-day workshop to discuss how best to promote the principles of scientific rigor and transparency at research institutions.

Neurological disorders are the leading causes of disability worldwide.