Affections and Imagination in a Pandemic

Summer 2020

S. Thomas Carmichael, MD

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of the imagination.” –  John Keats

The summer edition of the UCLA Neurology Chair’s Report comes within the continuing surgelets of COVID-19. The pandemic ebbs and flows in each region and across the country, and once again in parts of the world that seemed to be past it. In our healthcare systems, we respond to the demands of immediate care for infected patients, and to the changes that a risk of infection places on the delivery of all health care. This pandemic puts stress on healthcare providers and all of us as citizens, variably isolated from friends and family, vital social networks and personal support.

UCLA Neurology faculty and staff have responded to the pandemic with the provision of excellent health care, oftentimes under great duress, while also intensely researching the virus that underlies this disease. This virus, SARS-CoV-2, causes neurological symptoms in part through interaction with blood vessels and induces illness in certain patient populations. This issue of the Chair’s Report features two groups of faculty with new studies of COVID-19. Dr. Jason Hinman’s team developed a new model of human brain blood vessels and is using this in studies of SARS-CoV-2 infection. A group led by Dr. Tim Chang and Dr. Dan Geschwind is identifying risk factors for serious infection with COVID-19 and how genes may influence disease severity. These are newly developed and creative approaches to understand this disease. In a special Faculty Feature, Dr. Sue Perlman tells us about her work in genetic diseases of the nervous system. Dr. Perlman shares her deep dedication to people who have these genetic disease of the brain, and her drive to help them.

In chaotic times, we are braced by the certainty of our dedication to our patients and our creativity in research to lessen their suffering. Like John Keats, we find in the work of these faculty and in the Department a depth of affection and imagination.

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