Health appoints Denmark’s first clinical professor of autonomic nervous system disorders

Astrid Juhl Terkelsen is a new clinical professor of disorders of the autonomic nervous system at the Department of Clinical Medicine. From 1 January 2024, her research areas will include neuritis and early detection of Parkinson's disease. The clinical professorship is the first of its kind in Denmark.

Astrid Juhl Terkelsen is Denmark's first clinical professor of autonomic nervous system disorders. Photo: Lorentsen Fotografi

Astrid Juhl Terkelsen is a medical specialist in neurology, and she has been researching autonomic nervous system disorders and small fibre neuropathy for more than 20 years. She recently proposed a new clinical model for early detection of protein misfolding disorders such as Parkinson's disease. This is a promising development, as early detection means early treatment. The model is based on the premise that the earliest signs of the disease include damage to the small sensory and autonomic nerve fibres.

"Over the next five years, I will follow 100 patients with neuritis with no known cause. According to the model, a subgroup of these patients will develop Parkinson's disease. We’ll show that there is neurotoxic precipitation of α-synuclein in the nervous system of patients with neuritis and an autonomic nervous system disorder. In the long term, this research will increase early treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease and other illnesses," explains Astrid Juhl Terkelsen. The project is being funded for the next five years by a DKK 10 million grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

"Research produces knowledge, and I hope this professorship will help spotlighting my area of neurology, both nationally and internationally for the benefit of the patients," says Astrid Juhl Terkelsen, who is also a teacher and co-examiner on medical degree programmes, a PhD supervisor and a contributor to textbooks, international journals and national clinical guidelines.


Clinical Professor, Consultant and DMSc Astrid Juhl Terkelsen
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Neurology
Mobile phone: (+45) 29 61 85 48

The article has been updated 11 January 2024