Highlights of the 17th International Congress in Sydney

Contributed by David J. Burn, MD, FRCP
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Chair, Congress Scientific Program Committee

February 2013

David J. BurnI still remember the sheer visceral impact of cresting the rise of the botanical gardens whilst out running in Sydney some years ago and seeing the Harbour Bridge and Opera House for the first time. Amazing! Even I had to admit that the bridge was (possibly) more impressive than the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle! As a place, Sydney has so much to offer and Victor Fung will be outlining some of the social program highlights to underscore this.

Although the travel time for many conference attendees will be longer than for most meetings, we believe that not only the venue, but the program of this, the 17th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders (Sunday June 16th – Thursday June 20th 2013), will make the extra time and effort more than worthwhile.

As usual, the Congress Scientific Program Committee (CSPC) has been able to assemble a stellar Faculty from around the globe, with a healthy mix of old and new speakers (old, as in having spoken at previous meetings, that is!). The special meeting theme plays to a major longstanding strength of our movement disorders colleagues in Australia: Clinicopathological correlations in movement disorders – from bench to bedside. This theme will be showcased in two Plenary Sessions, eight Parallel Sessions one Skills Workshop, one Teaching Course and one Video Session, and promises to be a stimulating and varied meeting highlight.

We have retained, and hopefully refined, popular features from previous Congresses, such as the MDS Video Challenge. On the evening of this event, chosen cases will be presented by the fellow or junior member(s) representing the submitting group. Awards will be given for the most interesting and challenging cases and the experts will compete for the highest number of correct diagnoses that they make. Country pride will add an enjoyable spirit of competition to this event. The goal of this session will be for attendees to learn from a series of unusual, very interesting patients and to see how senior experts approach challenging cases.

The Blue Ribbon Highlights session will review the relevance, novelty and quality of both basic and clinical research presented by delegates throughout the Sydney meeting. This is a tall order for the two Faculty members chosen for the task, but we are confident that Drs. Bezard and Stern will be able to rise to the challenge and cover as many posters as possible in their allocated time. (View last year's Blue Ribbon Highlights here)

The controversies session features two debates: “PDD and DLB are one and the same disorder and should be merged”, and “Active impulse control disorders are an indication for DBS”. These should be lively, entertaining, but also informative.

Given the geographical location of the meeting, we have included a parallel session on regional atypical parkinsonian syndromes (which will feature syndromes reported from Guam, Japan and Guadeloupe), and a video session on movement disorders in Asia-Oceania. Both will add a new dimension to the program, and will encourage audience participation.

The CSPC has strived to devise a program with broad appeal to Clinicians, Basic Scientists, Allied Health Professionals and Trainees and firmly believe there is something for everyone in the Sydney Congress. Those wishing to consolidate their knowledge should leave satisfied, while several of the sessions, together with the late breaking abstracts feature, should enable all to learn about the very latest developments and breakthroughs in our field.

I look forward to seeing you all in Sydney in June!