In 1938, the Philippine Society of Psychiatry and Neurology was organized. It was very active and prolifiic as manifested in its journal, The Philippine Journal of Psychiatry and Neurology. The neurologists who were members of the society and who had just arrived from training abroad did not feel comfortable in the said society because psychiatry was the main thrust and most of the members were almost wholly from the National Mental Hospital.

In 1967, Dr. Gilberto Gamez, Dr. Tim Jimenez, Dr. Victor Reyes, Dr. Roger Baisas, Dr. Braulio Idea, Dr. Marina Mendoza, and Dr. Martesio Perez convened the Neuroscience Society. Dr. Gamez was elected as chairman of the society. The ensuing discussions were so exhausting that no other meeting was called.

In 1973,when Dr. Lourdes Ladrido Ignacio was the president of Philippine Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, the Philippine Board of Psychiatry and Neurology was organized with Dr. Jaime Zaguirre as its first chairman, Dr. Cesarea Godoco Agular as vice chairman of Psychiatry, and Dr. Gilberto

Gamez as vice chairman of Neurology. Dr. Reynaldo Rivera was inducted fellow of the Philippine Society of Psychiatry and Neurology. Even as this developed, there was already a move among neurologists to form a separate society.

At about this time, Dr.Alfredo Bengzon succeeded in getting together a handful of neurologists. After a series of meetings at the Medical City (at that time called the ABM Sison Hospital), this group of neurologists formed the Philippine Association of Neurology, Inc. (PAN) which eventually evolved into the Philippine Neurology Association. Dr. Gilberto Gamez was elected president, in absentia, Dr. Alfredo Bengson was elected vice president, and Dr. Lilian Lee was elected secretary-treasurer. The other founding members were Dr. Robert Ang of Chinese General Hospital, Drs. Caridad Cruz and Reynaldo Rivera of Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital, Dr.Joven Cuanang of UERM Medical Center, Drs. Eduardo Jurilla, Dr. Artemio Ordinario, and Dr. Paulino Tenchavez of UST, and Drs. Braulio Idea, Marina Mendoza and Martesio Perez of the UP-PGH.

In 1974, the Philippine Medical Association accepted the PNA as one of its component affiliate specialty societies. when this occured, Dr. Lourdes Ladrido Ignacio, then president of the old Philippine Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, together with other colleagues, decided to form the Philippine Psychiatry Association,so that the old mother society became extinct, as well as the board which was organized in 1973.

Among the listed objectives of the PAN were:

  1. Maintain high standards of practice
  2. Establish, standardize, advance, evaluate and accredit residency traing programs.
  3. Establish a Specialty Board of Neurology
  4. Encourage and foster research
  5. Contribute to the updating of teaching of neurology
  6. Represent the Philippines in the international community of neurological associations

All these objectives, the Philippine Neurological Association (PNA), the present form of the PAN, has already accomplished and is presently committed to support.

The first chairman of the PNA specialty board was Dr. Artemio Ordinario. Currently the board is chaired by Dr. FE Enrile-BAcsal. The PNA specialty board conducts written examinations every year. The written examinations covers the basics neurosciences, the clinical subspecialties in neurology, basic psychiatry, and the ancillary examinations in neurology such as clinical neurophysiology, radiology and brain imaging. Those who pass the written examinations are then given an oral practical examination where they examine the patient in front of a three panel appointed by the board.

The candidate is graded according to his ability to obtain a good history, a through physical examination and neurologic examination and his ability localize the lesion and give an extensive differential diagnosis, his plan of working up the patient to confirm the diagnosis and his ability to enterpret the different ancillary examinations. Based on the above he asked to formulate a plan of treatment.

In January 1978, the PNA specialty board conducted the first written examination for certification. This was followed by the oral examination in June 1978 of Dr. Jose Navarro. He became the first fellow certified by the PNA specialty board and was inducted in 1978. Drs. Cora Rivera, Gloria Lopez, Ed Jurilla and Jesus Poblete were inducted in 1974 under the grandfather's clause. To date, there have been more than 180 neurologists certified by the board.

The six training institutions that have accredited residency training program in neurology are: 1) University of Sto.Tomas, 2) University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, 3) University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, 4) Makati Medical Center, 5) Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and the 6) St. Lukes Institute of Neurosciences. The training programs of these institutions are continously reviewed and recertified.

In 1992, the pediatric neurology specialty board was created with Dr. Lillian Lee as its first chair. Th board administers examinations to accredited institution including Philippine Children's Medical Center. UP-PGH Medical Medical Center Pedriatics Department, and UST Pedriatic Neurology section. The following year, 1993, Child Neurology Society, Philippines was organized with Dr. Lillian Lee as its first president.

In order to coordinate research, advocacy, public information, service, and training in the different subspecialties, the following councils were created:

  1. CNS Infection Council
  2. Dementia Council
  3. Epilepsy Council
  4. Headache Council
  5. Movement Disorder Council
  6. Neuromuscular Council
  7. Neurosonology Group of the PNA
  8. Neurotoxicology Council
  9. Stroke Council

Research acitvity is conducted in the different PNA-accredited institutions and even in other institutions where the PNA fellows are active such as in Chiong Hua General Hospital and Cebu Doctors Hospital, hospitals in Cebu.

Research initiated by the different PNA councils and coordinated by the research committees are ongoing. Research on the epidemiology of neurological diseases has recently been conducted by Dr. Jose Navarro in Morong, Rizal. Aside fromthis particular study, several papers have been written on stroke, neuromuscular disease, tropical infectious diseases, immunosuppresive treatment of autoimmune diseases, and tumors.

These papers have been presented in the annual scientific meetings of the PNA, in its own Philippine Journal of Neurology, the Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, Acta Medica Filipina, in journals of a few of the accredited institutions. Some have been published in international publications and in proceedings of international congresses. It is also encouraging to note that the number and quality of papers has been increasing and improving over the years. Whereas the beginning, case reports and case series were abundant, recently therehave been more prospective studies.

The top 5 of the clinical disease entities frequently studied were cerebrovascular disease, infectious disease, neuromascular diseases, epilepsy and demyelinating disease.

For the past 10 years, there hasbeen an increasing trend in the numberof studies dealing with cerebrovascular disease while there is a steady decline in the number of the studies concerning infectious diseases. Other disease entities such as neuromascular diseases, epilepsy and demyelinating disease are also studied regularly.

The PNA Outreach Program was started in 1982 by Dr. Lilian Lee. Its was patterned after the Pediatric Society regional systems network where residents and practitioners are taught in modular form the basics of periatic practice

In cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry, the PNA has been conducting outreach programs in the all parts of the Philippines to provide up to date information and even basic information and skills to the general practitioners.

A group of neurologists go to different places every 3 to 4 months and discuss common neurological problems as well as conduct wet clinics. In addition, the different PNA-accredited institutions also conduct their own yearly or biannual outreach programs. Linkages have also been initiated with the Department of Health particulary with respect to stroke and epilepsy

In order to encourage interest in different disorders, provide public education, and encourage advocacy for patients afflicted with this disorders, several societies which are either professional or lay in membership, have been created, namely: Myasthenia Gravis Society, Stroke Society, Movement Disorders Society, Philippine League Againts Epilepsy, ALS Societ, Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Locally, the PNA has already organized and hosted 24 annual scientific convention since 1978. In the international scene the PNA hosted AOCN congress twice: the 5th AOCN congress in 1979 which was chaired by Dr. Gilberto Gamez and 10th AOCN congress chaired by Dr. Amado San Luis. The Asean Neurological Association (ASNA) was organized in 1994 at Fort Ilocandia on the occasion of the 16th PNA convention. The first biennial convention of ASNA was held in Manila in 1995 chaired by Dr. Simeon Marasigan. The 5th biennal ASNA convention was held in Cebu City in 2003 and was chaired by Dr. Carlos Chua.