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Who is Dr. Joel Perlmutter? A look at the renegade doctor who resigned from an FDA panel over an Alzheimer’s drug

June 14, 2021

It’s not every day that a renowned, highly respected doctor resigns from an FDA expert panel. 

But that is what happened in June, 2021.

Joel-Perlmutter-280x386Dr. Joel Perlmutter, a professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the FDA’s expert panel for nervous system therapies, resigned over the approval of aducanumab. 

On June 7, the FDA approved aducanumab, the first drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The FDA approved aducanumab through an accelerated approval process, even though the drug’s efficacy has been disputed.  Aducanumab has been controversial and sparked debate in the medical and scientific communities.  According to this article from CNN, an FDA advisory committee in 2020 said there was not enough evidence to support the use of the drug.

Who is Dr. Joel Perlmutter?

Nearly everything you need to know about Dr. Perlmutter’s scientific background can be found on ResoluteAI’s Foundation.


Dr. Perlmutter is a prolific researcher and writer. Here is a look at his 10 most recent publications, including eight so far this year.

  1. Functional Connectivity of Vermis Correlates with Future Gait Impairments in Parkinson’s Disease (June 11, 2021)
  2. Genome-wide survival study identifies a novel synaptic locus and polygenic score for cognitive progression in Parkinson’s disease (May 8, 2021)
  3. The Dystonia Coalition: A Multicenter Network for Clinical and Translational Studies (April 27, 2021)
  4. Principal Component Analysis of Striatal and Extrastriatal D2 Dopamine Receptor Positron Emission Tomography in Manganese Exposed Workers (April 22, 2021)
  5. Spatially constrained kinetic modeling with dual reference tissues improves 18F-flortaucipir PET in studies of Alzheimer disease (February 19, 2021)
  6. Quality of life in isolated dystonia: non-motor manifestations matter (February 11, 2021)
  7. Fully automated 3D segmentation of dopamine transporter SPECT images using an estimation-based approach (January 17, 2021)
  8. Head tremor and pain in cervical dystonia (January 9, 2021)
  9. Parkinson’s Disease: What’s the FUS? (December 29, 2020)
  10. Dopamine D1 + D3 receptor density may correlate with parkinson disease clinical features (December 22, 2020)


Clinical trials

Dr. Perlmutter has also been involved in three clinical trials, all sponsored by Washington University and involving either dystonia or Parkinson’s disease.

This Sankey diagram shows the breakdown of those trials by year and what they focused on:

Perlmutter clinical trials by tag and start date


Dr. Perlmutter has been awarded over 15 grants. Below are the five most recent (by award start date):

  1. Low Back Pain in Parkinson Disease
  2. Clinical Core
  3. Neuroinflammatory Biomarkers for Nigrostriatal Injury
  4. Neuroimaging of PDE10A
  5. Investigations of Dementia in Parkinson’s Disease



On the patent side, his work has been cited in over 15 patents, most involving vagus nerve or vagus nerve stimulation. The heatmap below shows these citations.

Perlmutter cited patents heatmapResearch across all of these databases was conducted quickly and efficiently using ResoluteAI’s Foundation. To talk to a real person about how Foundation can help your company or organization, please email us at info@resolute.ai.

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Lesley Pink

Lesley Pink, our senior digital editor/writer, has written across a range of industries including artificial intelligence, actuarial science, government, law, and financial journalism. She's a fan of the serial comma and mint chocolate chip ice cream. And no, pink is not her favorite color. You can reach Lesley at lesley@resolute.ai.