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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence


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Whitaker Memorial Lecturer - Dr. Dennis Bourdette

Dennis Bourdette 

The VA MS Centers of Excellence John Whitaker Memorial Lecture Series came about to honor John Whitaker.

Dr. John N. Whitaker, a neurologist, is well known for his lifelong study of multiple sclerosis. He pioneered the identification of myelin basic protein production in urine, pursued other immunological avenues, participated in major, and contributed to 260 publications. At the time of his death in August 2001, he was a member of 14 editorial boards and associate editor of four additional publications. He was also a professor and the chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Health Services Foundation. He is considered a great leader, clinician, teacher, and investigator in the understanding and treatment of the disease multiple sclerosis.

This prestigious series brings in other MS experts to continue to honor his legacy in the MS Community. In September 2011, Dr. Dennis Bourdette was the Whitaker Memorial Lecturer at the Paralyzed Veterans of America Summit 2011 and Expo Conference held in Orlando, Florida. The title of his presentation was MS: Thirty Years of Progress (click for video).

Dr. Bourdette currently serves as the chairman of the Department of Neurology and Director of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Roy and Eulalia Swank Family Research Professor and Chairman and the Co-director of the VA MS Centers of Excellence West. He is nationally recognized as a prestigious MS researcher and health care provider.

As stated by the OHSU Foundation, Dr. Bourdette and his colleagues at the MS Center of Oregon have been researching a new therapy for MS that would protect nerve fibers from degeneration. For patients suffering from this debilitating disease, such a therapy would be tremendously beneficial, perhaps delaying or preventing the onset of the paralysis, memory loss, dizziness, fatigue, pain and imbalance associated with MS. He is confident that the years ahead will lead to breakthroughs in all areas of brain science. "Over the coming decade, we're going to see tremendous advances in our ability to treat and prevent a variety of neurological diseases," he said. "I have more hope than ever for MS patients."

Date Posted: November 2011