Expertscape interviews Dr. Nils Erik Gilhus of the University of Bergen about Myasthenia Gravis and what we can expect going forward.
What do you consider to be the most significant advancement in Myasthenia Gravis research, and what has that impact been?
Dr. GilhusTreatment of myasthenia gravis (MG) has improved dramatically during the last few decades, and also in recent years. Most patients do well with only minimal or rather moderate impairment. There is no increased mortality due to muscular weakness, and most patients can take an active part in family and society life with only modest modifications because of their disease.
Make a prediction for us. What do you think will be the next big discovery in the study and treatment of MG and what will that mean for those afflicted?
Dr. GilhusWe'll see therapy that is specific to the immunological attack against well-defined antigens at the neuromuscular junction. And we'll be able to determine the environmental factors that cause MG, or at least environmental factors that predispose for the disease.
Do you have any specific advice for those now entering healthcare, and particularly those interested in this area of research and care?
Dr. GilhusYou should take an active part in all aspects of what is ongoing in your department or your workplace. Look to combine clinical work with research projects or systematic quality improvement. Finally, be curious, have fun, and work hard.
What are you working on now, and what to you hope to discover?
Dr. GilhusIn the Nordic countries we have health and disease registries that cover the whole population and generally are of high quality. We try to combine information from several registries, and also include clinical and biomarker data. Such information should help in treating MG patients optimally, and also are promising to elucidate causative factors.
Here's a chance to brag about your institution. What do you like about working at the University of Bergen?
Dr. GilhusWorking in the intersection between the university and the university hospital is a privilege. Both institutions and all employees should recognize that this connection offers unique opportunities for clinically relevant and novel research results, but an active will to cooperate is necessary. So far, this cooperation is going well at Bergen.
Is there a particular organization that you'd like to talk about, one that is making a particularly important contribution to MG awareness, research or care?
Dr. GilhusThe >a href="http://www.hjerneradet.no/">Norwegian Brain Council has been important for stimulating and promoting research during its 10 years' existence. The Council includes members from patient organizations, professional organizations, and leading research groups, and has become a strong political tool to influence society and political decision makers. Neurology, neurological research and brain health are doing well in Norway. Many individuals and organizations contribute, but the Norwegian Brain Council has been a major factor and could be an effective model for other countries.
Thank you, Dr. Gilhus.
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