Modern neurology in Estonia is often connected to the Department of Neurology of the University of Tartu. Research has mainly focused on stroke, neurodegenerative disorders, movement disorders, epilepsy, neuroinfections, neurosurgery, neurooncology, and neurotraumatology.
The epidemiology of stroke has been thoroughly studied, resulting in guidelines for the management of stroke, followed by audits with the aim to standardise treatment strategies and improve patient outcomes. Led by the Stroke Group of the Estonian Society of Neurologists and Neurosurgeons (in Estonian), innovative treatments have been implemented, and clinical network for thrombolysis therapy of stroke has been created. More recently, research in cerebrovascular diseases has been focused on stroke in the young.
The research group on movement disorders led by Pille Taba has been a pioneer in research on toxic parkinsonism caused by methcathinone abuse. Its work relies on clinical and animal studies conducted in collaboration with research groups from London, Uppsala, Turku, and Helsinki. There are active new projects that study neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Epilepsy and neurophysiology
Research into epilepsy and neurophysiology has been led by Sulev Haldre, head of the Estonian League Against Epilepsy. Other neurologic groups operate in specific areas, including autoimmunological disorders and pediatric neurology. Societies such as the Estonian Headache Society and the Estonian Society of Neurophysiologists conduct educational activities and research in more specific subfields of neurology.
In neurosurgery, research activities of Toomas Asser’s group are focused on neurooncology, neurotraumatology, vascular neurosurgery and the management of Parkinson’s disease. In collaboration with the Departments of Oncology and Department of Radiology, its work encompasses glioblastomas, candidate markers of radioresistance, and outcome of radiotherapy and supplemental treatments. Estonia is closely involved in the activities of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies.