Neuromuscular Disorders

Research HighlightsVisit the Neuromuscular Disorders Patient page

The primary objective of the Neuromuscular Division of the Department of Neurology is simple: patient care. Serving patients at the Vanderbilt Clinic, Veteran’s Administration Medical Center and the Monroe Carrell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the faculty specializes in disorders of the nerve and muscle. Specifically, the Neuromuscular Division diagnoses, treats, and studies disorders including muscular dystrophies, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), peripheral neuropathy, myasthenia gravis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), spinal muscular atrophies, genetic neuropathies (such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease), glycogen storage diseases, periodic paralysis, amyloid neuropathy and others. 

The Neuromuscular Division oversees specialty clinics in muscular dystrophy and ALS, certified as Centers of Excellence by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  These clinics are leaders in the Mid-South, providing patients with access to essential services including specialty-trained physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, nutritionists, and other experts, as well as equipment and opportunities to enroll in research studies and drug trials. 

VUMC is also a Guillain-Barré Syndrome/CIDP Center of Excellence, and a pediatric Center of Excellence for spinal muscular atrophy. Faculty members in this division also collaborate closely with other departments such as genetics, cardiology, and primary care. Dr. Peltier is also a member of the Vanderbilt Amyloid Multidisciplinary program.

Research HighlightsResearch Highlights

The Neuromuscular Division boasts a long history of leading and participating in clinical studies related to the field. These studies focus on improvement and overall treatment of neuromuscular disorders as well as improving quality of life. Areas of research include Duchenne muscular dystrophy, ALS, spinal muscular atrophy, pediatric neuromuscular disorders, myasthenia gravis, CIDP, diabetic neuropathy, and amyloid neuropathy.

Dr. Peltier also has an ongoing collaboration with the Vanderbilt Autonomic Disorders Center investigating peripheral autonomic function in disorders such as postural tachycardia syndrome, autoimmune autonomic neuropathy, and pure autonomic failure. 

Highlights of current areas of research include: 

  • Small fiber neuropathy
  • Amyloidosis
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • The interaction between the metabolic syndrome and the autonomic and peripheral nervous system
  • ALS
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • CIDP

For more details about current research, visit the Neuromuscular Disorders Research page.

Education & TrainingEducation & Training

The Department of Neurology accepts one full-time clinical neurophysiology fellow each year in this ACGME-approved program. Trainees may participate in examinations and testing of patients. Current areas of research opportunities for trainees include electrophysiology, peripheral neuropathy, and motor neuron disease. 

The Department of Neurology accepts two full-time clinical neurophysiology fellows each year in this ACGME-approved program. For more information and application details, visit the Neuromuscular Fellowship page.

Recent and Notable PublicationsRecent and Notable Publications

Donofrio PD. Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  Continuum ( Minneap Minn) 2017;23(5): 1295-1309.

Donofrio PD. Govindarajan R. AANEM Survey of Training In Electrodiagnostic Medicine in US Residency Programs. Muscle Nerve.  In Press.

Pineda SS, Lee H, Ulloa-Navas MJ, Linville RM, Garcia FJ, Galani K, Engelberg-Cook E, Castanedes MC, Fitzwalter BE, Pregent LJ, Gardashli ME, DeTure M, Vera-Garcia DV, Hucke ATS, Oskarsson BE, Murray ME, Dickson DW, Heiman M, Belzil VV, Kellis M. Single-cell dissection of the human motor and prefrontal cortices in ALS and FTLD. Cell. 2024 Apr 11;187(8):1971-1989.