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Stanley H. Appel, MD, Wins John P.

McGovern Compleat Physician Award

By Elizabeth Stump

In January, Stanley H. Appel, MD, the Peggy and Gary Edwards Distinguished Endowed
Chair for the Treatment and Research of ALS and neurology department chairman at The
Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX, received the 2008 John P. McGovern Compleat
Physician Award. Presented by the Houston Academy of Medicine, the national award
recognized his longstanding commitment, compassion, and excellence in medicine.

Dr. Appel is also a professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College, the co-
founder and co-director of the Methodist Neurological Institute, and the Medical Director
of the MDA/ALS Research and Clinical Center at the Methodist Neurological Institute.

Dr. Appel, whose career studying the human brain has spanned more than 40 years, is
internationally known for his expertise on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Since
starting work on ALS in 1981, he has treated over 3,000 ALS patients — more than any
other physician in the U.S. In 1982 he began the Methodist Neurological Institute's
MDA/ALS Research and Clinical Center in Houston, the first U.S. multi-disciplinary
clinic for the care and research of ALS patients, and the paradigm for all other MDA/ALS
clinics. Dr. Appel has served as its first and only director.

In addition to research on ALS, Dr. Appel has studied the mechanisms of neuronal injury
and death in other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson disease and Alzheimer
disease. His devotion to research and compassionate, ethical care is matched by his
legacy as a teacher of over 200 neurologists. He has authored more than 15 books and
over 300 articles on neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases. Among his many
honors, he is the recipient of the Diamond Award (2004) from the MDA and the Gold
Medal Award for Distinguished Achievements in Medicine (1997) from Columbia
University.

In October 2007, Dr. Appel was involved in a study to determine whether patients with
familial ALS have cognitive impairment and its comparison to the cognitive impairment
observed in sporadic ALS. The study concluded that the pattern and prevalence of
cognitive impairment in both types are similar; age correlated with cognitive impairment
in familial ALS, while the site of symptom onset did not correlate with cognitive
impairment. (Neurology 2007;Oct 2;69(14):1411-7.)