EAN Meeting to Explore Outcome Measures in Neurology

Pauline Anderson

June 21, 2017

New treatment options in epilepsy, early diagnosis for Parkinson's disease (PD), the effects of sleep disruption, and an appearance by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands are on the program for the upcoming Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) 2017, to take place in Amsterdam on Saturday, June 24, to Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

David B. Vodušek, MD, professor, Division of Neurology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia, who is EAN liaison committee chair , discussed expected highlights of this year's EAN Congress with Medscape Medical News.

For the first time, the meeting will have an "overarching theme", said Dr Vodušek: outcome measures in neurology. Several sessions throughout the Congress, he said, will explore this theme.

During the meeting, international experts will present and discuss important trends in neurologic research and therapy as well as new scientific findings.

An "attractive element" of the EAN Congress is the diversity of contributions, both in the content, which covers all subspecialties, and in the form in which these are presented, said Dr Vodušek.

"Participants can attend focused workshops, teaching courses, special sessions, oral sessions, symposia, et cetera, and they may discuss the latest findings with presenters at the posters sessions. EAN offers a unique opportunity to personalize the congress program."

The meeting will include about 120 parallel sessions, including 18 focused workshops. The 80 or so scientific sessions will cover all areas neurology, including, stroke, epilepsy, headache/pain, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, dementia, neuromuscular disorders, and rare neurologic diseases.

The congress will reflect the "highly productive" nature of European neurology, said Dr Vodušek. As an example, he cited results of a study of neurologic research articles that will be presented by Professor Giorgio Cruccu, head of the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry at Rome's Sapienzia University in Italy.

"European neurology is a highly productive discipline both in terms of quantity and quality — with research trends reflecting healthy growth for some years now. We are happy to report that a growing number of excellent contributions are being presented by non-European neurologists, particularly those from Asia."

Dr Vodušek wanted to draw attention to the opening session on Saturday. "It will be an inspiring session with a renowned speaker illustrating the moving world of neurology and topped with modern-day entertainment."

During this session, there will be welcoming addresses from Günther Deuschl, Kiel, Germany (EAN president) and Bernard M.J. Uitdehaag, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"Quality Cycles: How to Measure Moving Targets" will be the theme of a presentation by Bastiaan Roelof Bloem, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Honorary Membership Awards will be handed out and delegates will be entertained by an artistic performance depicting Amsterdam and its lifestyle.

Named Lectures

On Sunday, the Presidential Plenary will host lectures named after outstanding founders of European neurology. This year, three clinician scientists will be awarded.

Giving key opinion leaders from Europe the opportunity to deliver keynote lectures allows the EAN to highlight major contributions to the field of neurology and clinical neuroscience, explained Dr Vodušek.

"These lectures aim to bring to the stage only the very best and should be seen as the ultimate recognition by our society of the highest level of personal achievement and acting as role models for neurologists in Europe."

These lectures are the following:

  • Moritz Romberg Lecture 2017 : Epilepsy: Where Do We Stand? Where Are We Headed? (Professor Christian E. Elger, Bonn, Germany);

  • Camillo Golgi Lecture 2017: Autoantibodies and the Nervous System: Breadth, Depth and Challenges (Professor Angela Vincent, Oxford, United Kingdom); and

  • Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard Lecture 2017: Why Neurologists Should Be Interested in the Human Brain Project: A Change of Clinical Paradigm (Professor Richard Frackowiak, Lausanne, Switzerland).

In keeping with the theme of "outcome measures in neurology," the meeting will explore such questions as, how effective is a treatment, does it lead to the expected improvement, and how can all this be measured in an objective manner?

"Outcomes measurements are increasingly important in neurology," said Dr Vodušek. "They provide crucial information relevant for evidence-based, rational and effective patient management. This is particularly important in the discussion of cost and value of treatment that is becoming increasing important for health care policies throughout Europe."

The Dutch neurologic community has also contributed significantly to the outcome measure literature, added Dr Vodušek. "So putting this overarching theme forward will also allow our local colleagues a greater visibility."

Meeting delegates will discuss not only the latest developments in the field of outcomes research but also how patients benefit from this research, said Dr Vodušek.

"Outcome measures should reflect the impact of neurological diseases for the patient and the disease progression or response to interventions."

The meeting theme will also be the focus of workshops on neuromuscular diseases on Saturday and on stroke patients on Sunday. On Monday, there will be a plenary on "outcome measures in clinical studies."

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands will attend that plenary symposium. Besides the exciting scientific program, a visit by a member of Dutch royalty will make the meeting "special," said Dr Vodušek.

After that session, Her Majesty will visit the EAN booth and meet with the EAN board, chaired by Dr Deuschl, meet with patients, talk to the Young Residents and the Research Fellow section of the EAN, and exchange views on the future of neurology in the Netherlands with the local organizing committee members.

Highly Topical

Focused workshops during the conference will be "highly topical," said Dr Vodušek. These will include, for example, the management of rare genetic neurologic diseases in the intensive care unit; dementia and memory consolidation; the role of exosomes in mechanisms of multiple sclerosis; challenges in new clinical trials; and new developments in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sleep medicine, and traumatic brain injuries. 

Of course, stroke will be a main focus of the meeting too. "Virtually no other disease has seen such massive strides in treatment in recent years as stroke, so this is a topic also broadly covered in the program," said Dr Vodušek.

Another highlight will be palliative care, he said. "It is precisely patients with incurable neurological diseases who can benefit enormously from early multidisciplinary palliative care, and this will be discussed in diverse sessions, including one with patients' advocates."

During a workshop on end-of-life issues in neurology, experts will present the EAN/ European Association for Palliative Care consensus on neurologic palliative care: preparation before and at the end of life.

The meeting also features several debates. Delegates may weigh in during a discussion on whether a computer can diagnose headache much better than most physicians. Another controversy — whether neurologists can predict progression of Parkinson's disease — will also be featured, again with experts presenting two sides of the issue.

On the final day of the meeting, Tuesday, delegates may want to take in the "Highlights" session. It will compile key information from the entire congress in the following clinical areas:

  • Stroke (Veerle De Herdt, Belgium);

  • Multiple sclerosis (Rogier Q. Hintzen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands);

  • Degenerative disorders, including dementia (Rik Vandenberghe, Leuven, Belgium);

  • Epilepsy/clinical neurophysiology (Michel J.A.M. van Putten, Enschede, the Netherlands);

  • Movement disorders (Henk W. Berendse, Amsterdam, the Netherlands);

  • Neuromuscular diseases (John H.J. Wokke, Utrecht, the Netherlands); and

  • Advanced therapies in spinal muscular atrophy: a new landscape (Eduardo Tizzano, Barcelona, Spain).

The congress is expected to attract more than 6000 participants from Europe and all over the world.

 

Amsterdam is a great choice for this year's Congress, commented Dr Deuschl in a letter appearing on the EAN website.  

Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the world's most important ports during the 17th century, called the Dutch Golden Age. Since then, it has been a leading trading and cultural city, "where art, commerce, creativity and tolerance are guiding principles," Dr Deuschl writes.

Among the local attractions are the historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House, the restored facades of historic buildings representing all periods in its history, and the many markets and shops.

Onsite Medscape Neurology coverage will begin June 24. Follow us on Twitter @MedscapeNeuro; the annual meeting Twitter feed will be using #EAN2017.

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