A wide range of acquired and genetic insults cause ataxia, a disabling and frequently fatal neurological disorder. The 5th Ataxia Investigators'Meeting, "AIM 2014: Advancing Toward Therapeutics," will assemble an international roster of investigators to address the multi-disciplinary nature of ataxia, to define better the pathogenic basis of ataxia, and to explore routes to therapy for what is largely an untreatable disease. The conference will focus on the most recent scientific advances and emerging translational approaches toward therapy, with the following five objectives: 1) Enhance the open exchange of information related to ataxia research;2) Stimulate collaborative research between investigators worldwide;3) Improve our understanding of human ataxic disorders;4) Provide junior investigators with an opportunity to present their work, interact with more established scientists in the field, and have an opportunity to interact with patients and support groups so that they can see the clinical impact and importance of their work.
AIM 2 014 will represent a critical mechanism to facilitate collaboration and discussion on ataxia research and therapeutic approaches, which is of particularly great importance now that the field is entering the phase of meaningful, multi-center clinical trials both in the United States and Europe. The location of the AIM 2014 meeting, dovetailing with the annual meeting of the largest ataxia foundation in the country occurring at the same hotel, will maximize the impact of this meeting for scientists and patients alike.
AIM 2014 will focus on the most recent advances in ataxia research and therapeutic approaches for ataxic disorders. Ataxia, which is broadly defined as the loss of motor control, can affect all aspects of human movement gait, dexterity, speech, swallowing, and eye movements, and afflicts approximately 1 in every 2,000 individuals worldwide. Emerging genetic understanding of ataxias has recently led investigators to envision common pathogenic mechanisms and possible shared therapeutic approaches. These new concepts in disease targets and therapeutic strategy demand increased communication and collaboration among scientists and clinicians so that therapies can be developed, which is a primary goal of AIM 2014. This meeting will also provide a forum for recruiting new investigators to this field of research, which is a critically important element toward achieving rapid translational success.