The 63rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) was held in Honolulu, HI, USA from 6th to 17th April 2011. The AANwas established in 1948 and now has more than 23 000 members and 140 full-time staff. Approximately 10 000 people from 90 countries attended the meeting, data from some 2500 studies were presented and around 3000 posters exhibited. The AAN annual meeting combines educational, business and scientific elements, with data from a number of pivotal trials reported at the event each year. In 2011, some of the highlights of the scientific programme included the oral multiple sclerosis (MS) drugs: fingolimod, laquinimod, alemzumab, cladribine and BG-12. Data from experimental epilepsy drug perampenal were released and migraine specialists heard the latest on botulinum toxin A (onabotulinumtoxinA) and orally inhaled dihydroergotamine (DHE). In Parkinson’s disease (PD), data were presented for IPX066 and CERE-120. Some of the most interesting and relevant science, as selected by the Scientific Committee, were discussed in a series of plenary sessions that ran throughout the conference. It is a selection of these lectures that will be reviewed in this report, as well as interesting studies discussed at a dedicated Clinical Trials session.