Dr. Douglas Arnold

Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery

photo of Dr. Douglas Arnold

Full Name: Douglas Arnold MD

Position, Department: Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery

Institution: Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University

Douglas Arnold, MD is a Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, Director of the Magnetic Resonance Studies lab in the Brain Imaging Center at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and President of NeuroRx Research, a CNS imaging CRO dedicated to drug development for MS. He has special expertise in advanced MRI acquisition and analysis techniques, particularly as they relate to understanding the evolution of multiple sclerosis and its response to drug therapy.

Learn more about Dr. Arnold

How did you become interested in MS research?

I became interested in MS research after I first put a person with MS into an MRI scanner and obtained unexpected results. The original idea was to use a non-conventional MR technique, MR spectroscopy, to to detect myelin breakdown products in acute brain lesions. We did not succeed in this, (The concentration was too low.) However, I noticed that the signal originating from axons (nerve fibres) was lower than expected. The was at a time when axons were generally thought to be spared in MS. This serendipitous observation was career changing, starting me on a path of studying MS using a variety of MR techniques to better understand how MS evolves and (somewhat later) how it responds to drug treatment.

What inspires you to continue advancing research in this field?

The ability to contribute in a small way to the tremendous advances the treatment of MS continue to inspire me.

How do you hope to change the lives of people living with MS through your research?

Through basic imaging research as well as analysis of MRI data from clinical trials, including many of the trials that have supported the approval of new therapies for MS, I have had the privilege of contributing and continue to contribute to the continually improving prognosis for people with MS.

What do you enjoy most about your research? What are some of the challenges you face?

Science is driven by the desire to understand. Discoveries always lead to more questions and answering those questions are a source of great pleasure. The major challenge I face is the same one faced by many others in the field, trying to improve the lives of people with MS by improving our understanding of how to treat it better.

How important is the support from the MS Society of Canada in your research?

The support of the MS Society of Canada is crucial. The Society is more willing than other funding agencies to support translational research that will allow us to support decisions with respect to the treatment of individual patients in the clinic.