Head of Division: Associate Professor R.W. Eastman
A general clinical neurology service is operated at Groote Schuur hospital. This provides a full range of clinical activities, including in-patients, out-patient, consultative, and emergency services. Additionally, there is a clinical neurophysiology laboratory, a dedicated acute stroke unit, and specialised clinics for stroke, myasthenia gravis, HIV neurology, neuro-genetic disorders and epilepsy.
Areas of research include:
Stroke: The division runs a 6-bed acute stroke unit and maintains a database on stroke patients. In collaboration with the Swedish International Development Agency and the Department of Geriatrics, stroke outcomes and rehabilitation are being studied at both tertiary and district healthcare sites. A community-based model of stroke care is being developed. The vasculopathies associated with HIV/AIDS are being studied prospectively. Stroke education courses are given to healthcare workers. Close links and co-operation with a variety of international stroke organisations are maintained.
Myasthenia gravis: A large cohort of patients is being treated and followed at a dedicated clinic. In addition, specialised studies in progress are; clinical studies to assess the cost-effectiveness of therapies; the psychiatric manifestations of thyomoma-associated myasthenia (with Department of Psychiatry); the complement regulation in patients with DAF promoter single nucleotide polymorphisms (with Department of Cell Biology); and a multi-centre randomized study comparing thymectomy with no thymectomy (international study funded by National Institutes of Health, USA)
HIV/AIDS: In addition to a specialised clinic for general HIV/AIDS related neurological disease, a number of specific projects are in progress, including the following:
a longitudinal prevalence study of HIV neuropathy and associated risk factors (with Emory University, USA, and the Division of Endocrinology);
the management of painful HIV neuropathy (with Department of Family Medicine);
a study of mitochondrial DNA haplotype and susceptibility to HIV neuropathy (with Vanderbilt University, USA, and Department of Pharmacology);
a longitudinal study of HIV-associated cognitive impairment (with Department of Psychiatry);
the neurological complications of Clade C HIV disease (with Department of Virology).
Dementia: A longitudinal study of cognitive impairment in the elderly, with emphasis on a wide range of factors including the pro- and anti-inflammatory features of the condition, plus an imaging volumetric study of brain regions (with the Imaging Research Unit).
Neuro-genetics: A clinical and counselling service, with a study into the social effects of predictive testing for Huntington's disease
Multi-media teaching: The use of clinical encounter simulations is being explored.
Drug trials: The division is active in phase 3 drug trials for Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
Research fellows in the division have won the Claude Leon Postdoctoral award, the Levi-Montalcini IBRO award, the CIDRI Postgraduate Scholarship award, and the Canon Collins Trust award.