Department of Neurology

Key research and treatment areas

  • Key treatment areas

    • Stroke
    • Multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunological disorders
    • Parkinson`s disease and other movement disorders
    • Neuromuscular diseases (neuropathies, myopathies)
    • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
    • Cidp
    • Myasthenia gravis
    • Motor neuron disease
    • Epilepsies
    • Headaches
    • Dementia
    • Pain
  • Key research areas

    • Immune-mediated disease processes
    • Parkinson's disease
    • Neuromuscular diseases
    • Degenerative diseases
    • Post-lesional restoration of cerebral functions
    • physiology and pathophysiology of neural networks

The Department of Neurology is nationally and internationally recognized as a center of excellence in neurology. This medical specialty deals with diseases of the brain, the spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system and the muscles. Neurological disorders include e.g. stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic/cerebral bleeds) , multiple sclerosis, meningitis, movement disorders, myasthenia gravis, neuropathies, disk herniation, epilepsy, headaches and brain tumors. Also diseases associated with dementia like Alzheimer`s disease and those caused by degeneration of the nervous system, such as Parkinson`s disease are diagnosed and treated. With expertise of specialists in the various areas of neurology, availability of all modern diagnostic techniques in house and a close interdisciplinary collaboration with the departments of neurosurgery, diagnostic radiology, cardiology, hemostaseology, internal medicine, orthopedics, neuropathology, pathology, microbiology, virology, laboratory medicine, comprehensive diagnosis and patient care are offered at the highest level. 

The department has a particular interest and expertise in the management of stroke. Acute stroke patients are treated in the designated "stroke unit". This purpose-designed unit provides 24 hours the complete set of diagnostic measures (brain imaging, cardiovascular assessment) and can rapidly initiate acute therapy . Time is of paramount importance since in stroke, like in myocardial infarction, every minute counts. Dissolution of clots in the arteries subserving the brain by means of medication, so-called thrombolysis, for example, can only be effective during the first three hours after the start of the symptoms. If the blood supply to the brain has to be restored by means of an operation, this is carried out in cooperation with the department for vascular surgery as well as interventional radiologic procedures (“coiling”, stents).

In addition new therapeutic strategies for cerebral bleedings are applied. The certified stroke unit complies with all quality control requirement for national and international clinical research trials.

Even if patients with stroke are not immediately admitted to a stroke unit, it is important to identify the causes so as to reduce or eliminate the risk of another stroke and further disability. These diagnostic investigations are carried out and patients advised regarding appropriate treatment and so-called secondary (drug) prophylaxis. We follow such patients in a designated cerebrovascular outpatient service. 

Another major area of both clinical specialization and research is the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles. Special outpatient clinics exist for the care of patients with multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and Neuro-Aids. There is a close cooperation with the department of orthopedics. In the movement disorder outpatient clinic we offer, among other therapies botulinum toxin injections to treat dystonia and spasticity. Intrathecal baclofen therapy delivered by a pump for otherwise treatment resistant spasticity and pain relief is also administered and monitored.

If the diagnostic work-up identifies a surgically accessible condition, immediately the department of neurosurgery is involved and takes care of the patient. This also holds for decompressive surgery (craniotomy) in the event of malignant cerebral infarction. In patients with pharmacoresistant movement disorders including Parkinson's disease, the movement disorder group in the department together with Professor Vesper, Dept. of Neurosurgery has specialised in the implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes. We evaluate patients for suitability and follow them postoperatively monitoring and adapting the brain stimulator and prescribing appropriate medication. 

Patient care 

In diagnostics, all state-of-the-art examination techniques are available. These include all fields of neurosonology (extra- and transcranial, duplex), clinical neurophysiology (eeg, magnetoencephalography, emg, nerve conduction studies, evoked potentials, autonomic function tests ), spinal fluid diagnostics and molecular genetic tests. Moreover, in cooperation with the department of radiology, magnetic resonance imaging (including functional mri) and spectroscopy are used in the evaluation of acute strokes and other diseases. In cooperation with the Jülich research centre it is possible to carry out positron emission tomography (PET) examinations for diagnosis and to study brain tumour biology, neuroreceptors, and brain function. In the evaluation of patients with neuromuscular diseases nerve and muscle biopsies are performed and analyzed in collaboration with the department of neuropathology. Specific immunological tests are available for the evaluation of neuroimmunological disorders. If all other diagnostic measures fail to yield a conclusive result, brain biopsy is performed by the neurosurgeons and the biopsies examined by the department of neuropathology in patients with e.g. unclear white matter diseases.

Close collaboration exists with nearby departments of neurorehabilitation, thus ensuring comprehensive care of the patient, and an uninterrupted chain from admission to the emergency room to ambulatory rehabilitation and long-term follow-up.

Appointments for outpatient visits or admission to to the wards can be arranged by contacting <neurologie@med.uni-duesseldorf.de> or <hans-peter.hartung@uni-duesseldorf.de>, by phone: +49-211-811-7880 or fax: +49-211-811-8469 

Research and teaching 

The mission of the department is to explore functions of the nervous system in both health and disease in order to elucidate the cause of neurological disorders, their pathomechanisms and to develop and evaluate innovative and more efficaceous treatments. This also involves participation in international multicenter trials (in multiple sclerosis, immune neuropathies, myasthenia gravis, stroke, Parkinson`s disease, Neuro-AIDS etc) with members of the department frequently being involved in steering committees and advisory boards. The department is a member of the European network of MS centers and of the national competence networks for stroke and Parkinson`s disease. Thereby, patients benefit from the latest therapeutic advances.

Corresponding to the key treatment areas, the department has research projects on stroke prevention, the restoration of function in the event of stroke using functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques, on deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease, on the physiology and pathophysiology of neural networks using meg, the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, HIV encephalopathy, and neurodegenerative diseases. In basic research, there are projects on post-lesional restoration of brain function, stroke pathogenesis, and regeneration of injured nerve fibres (neuroregeneration , brain repair and reconstructive neurology). The research activities are supported by grants from the university, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft [German research association], graduate schools of the DFG, European Union, the Federal Ministry for Research (BMBF), the VW Foundation and the Hertie Foundation.

Major efforts are invested in modern undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate teaching. 

Curriculum vitae Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Peter Hartung 

 Undergraduate education at the medical schools of the Universities of Duesseldorf, Glasgow, Oxford, Boston (Harvard), Baltimore (Johns Hopkins), London (Institute of Neurology, Queen Square).
1980-1982:Fellow in Immunology and Microbiology, University of Mainz; MD thesis magna cum laude
1982-1986:Residency in Neurology, Board Examination
1986-1989:Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurology, University of Duesseldorf
1990-1996:Professor of Neurology, Vice Chairman, Dept. of Neurology, University of Wuerzburg; Head, Clinical Research Group for Multiple Sclerosis
1996-2000:Professor and Chairman, Dept. of Neurology, University of Graz, Austria
2000:He was offfered the Chair of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Glasgow, UK and Chair of Neurology, University of Duesseldorf.
 Professor Hartung is member of a large number of international and national societies, serving on executive boards (e.g. President ECTRIMS; European Neurological Society; European Charcot Foundation; Guillain Barre Syndrome Foundation International; International Society for Neuroimmunology; International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies; German and NRW MS Societies:WHO Advisory Board on MS), on the editorial board of a number of international journals. He has authored or co-authored more than 600 articles in peer reviewd journals, written more than 100 book chapters and edited 8 books on neurology, neuroimmunology, peripheral nerve diseases and multiple sclerosis. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicans, a corresponding Member of the American Neurological Association, a Clinical Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and of the American Heart Association (Stroke Council). He is a Foreign Member of the Association of British Neurologists and an Honorary Member of the All-Russian Neurological Society. His major clinical and research interests beyond general neurology are in the field of multiple sclerosis, clinical and experimental neuroimmunology, peripheral neuropathies incl Guillain-Barre Syndrome and CIDP, myopathies.He has received several prizes in recognition of his scientific work.
 Since 2001 Professor Hans-Peter Hartung holds the Chair of Neurology at Heinrich-Heine University Duesseldorf and is chairman of the Department of Neurology.