AFAN Supports Young Neurologists

By Prisca-Rolande Bassolé, Professor Amadou Gallo Diop, and Professor
Mouhamadou Mansour Ndiaye

Young neurologist Prisca-Rolande Bassolé, (center), meets WFN President Raad Shakir (left) and Amadou Gallo Diop, the Africa Initiative Task and Advisory Force for Africa Trustee, at the first AFAN Conference in Tunisia.

The inaugural meeting of the African Academy of Neurology (AFAN) took place in August 2015 in Dakar, Senegal. In a brief presentation, two young African neurologists identified and summarized the expectations of their generation about this African academy1.

Two years later, the first AFAN conference took place March 15-18 in Yasmine- Hammamet, Tunisia. It was co-organized by the Tunisian Society of Neurology and the Pan Arab Union of Neurological Societies, which met at the same time with the help of the International Auspices. Members of the International Auspices are the World Federation of Neurology, the European Academy of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology, the Movement Disorders Society, the International League Against Epilepsy, and the Middle East North African Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis2.

The conference represented a great opportunity to enhance regional and international cooperation with these other societies and organizations and to improve the education of young African neurologists.

Residents and young neurologists with the teachers at the International Course of Neurology on the Peripheral Nerve and Muscular Diseases, presented May 8-9 at Cheikh Anta Diop University.

AFAN is committed to participating in the training and continuing medical education of young neurologists. Two months after this first conference, AFAN organized the International Course of Neurology on Peripheral Nerve and Muscular Diseases with the Pan African Association of Neurological Sciences and the French Society of Neurology. The course took place May 8-9 at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. Seventy residents and young neurologists from 18 countries attended the course. The attendees represented Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Mali, Maroc, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tchad, and Tunisia.

Attendees benefited from the interactive topics that were presented over two days by teachers from France, Ivory Coast, and Senegal.

This is an excellent initiative of AFAN that the younger generation of African neurologists encourages. We hope that other courses like this one will be organized periodically to foster interregional and international cooperation and to improve the training of neurologists. •

References

  1. Bassolé PR, Fogang FY, The African Academy of Neurology: Young African Neurologists’ Message and Point of View; World Neurology, 2016 Jul;31(4):6
  2. Gouider R, Grisold W, AFAN-PAUNS Congress: Two societies achieve a milestone of joint regional meetings; World Neurology, 2017 May-Jun;32(3):12

Prisca-Rolande Bassolé is an African neurologist from Burkina Faso. Amadou Gallo Diop is an Africa Initiative Task and Advisory Force for Africa Trustee. Mouhamadou Mansour Ndiaye is the first president of AFAN and a member of the Neurology Department/FANN Teaching Hospital in Dakar, Senegal. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

From Islamabad to Kyoto: A Dream Come True

By Dr. Qurat Ul Ain
Islamabad, Pakistan

Dr. Quratul Ain (center), Professor Arsalan Ahmad (second from right), and Professor Hideki Mochizuki (third from right) at one of the WCN 2017 events they attended.

The XXIII World Congress of Neurology 2017 took place Sept. 16-21 in Kyoto, Japan. It was organized by the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) and co-hosted by the Japanese Society of Neurology (JSN) and Asian and Oceanian Association of Neurology (AOAN). More than 8,600 delegates attended this conference from 121 countries.

As a medical student and an intern, I have presented papers and posters in local and national neurology conferences in Pakistan over the last three years. When my teacher and mentor, Professor Arsalan Ahmad, asked me to submit our abstract to the WCN in Kyoto, I asked him who would sponsor it. “Apply for a bursary” was his immediate response. I was overjoyed when my abstract was accepted for a poster presentation and I was awarded a travel bursary of $1,000 with free registration. Preparing the poster and traveling to Japan was a long journey from Pakistan, yet an amazing one to write about.

The International Conference Center Kyoto is a striking architectural beauty with breath-taking scenery and lakes surrounded by green mountains. The main hall offers an amazing interior and a huge seating capacity; the smaller halls are equally as beautiful.

The scientific sessions, teaching courses, plenary lectures, and the hall filled with research posters and enthusiastic presenters each day was very interesting. The Japanese cultural flavor and politeness displayed throughout the conference was impressive. Professor Edvard I. Moser, the Norwegian Nobel laureate, presented a lecture during the Presidential Symposium that was both exciting and inspiring. A session on the Zika virus with graphic visuals by Professor Andre Pessoa of Brazil also was interesting.

Despite an unexpected typhoon threat, the Opening Ceremony on Sept. 17, in the presence of the prince and princess of Japan, was superb. The reception dinner featured a dramatic Taiko drum performance. The thundering Taiko beats in the air were mesmerizing. It filled the exhibition hall with immense energy.

I enjoyed my brief visit to Kyoto, a city that is rich in tradition, with its sprawling street markets and ancient temples. During my morning walk on Manjuyacho Street near my hotel, I heard the temple bell at 6 a.m. Following the resonance, I reached an ancient Buddhist temple. It provided a serene aura, and the glimpse of that moment will be remembered. I later learned that the temple bell is also called “bonsho” in Japan. It is used to summon monks for prayer or to demarcate time.

The icing on the cake was a dinner hosted by Congress President Professor Hidehiro Mizusawa. I attended the dinner with Prof. Ahmad. It was a majestic traditional event that included a martial arts performance by children and adults as well as a traditional dance performance by Maikos. I had the rare opportunity to talk to a Maiko and learn more about them. This was followed by a sumptuous nine-course meal. Professor Hideki Mochizuki from Osaka University went out of his way to elaborate on the cultural performances and taught me to eat sushi with chopsticks.

The hospitality of the Japanese nation, the energy of the conference, and enlightening lectures from renowned neurologists throughout the conference provides an experience and memories that I will cherish for a long, long time.

From the Editors

By Steven L. Lewis, MD, Editor,
and Walter Struhal, MD, Co-Editor

Walter Struhal, MD

Steven L. Lewis

We are pleased to present the September/October 2017 issue of World Neurology, subsequent to the remarkably successful World Congress of Neurology XXIII held Sept. 16-21 in Kyoto, Japan. This issue opens with WFN President Professor Raad Shakir’s report from the World Congress. Dr. Wolfgang Grisold and Dr. Lewis also summarize many of the key events from the congress, including some representative photographs from this attendance record-breaking event. To round out the congress reports, this issue also offers an enthusiastic report from one of the many young bursary awardees who participated in the congress.

This issue features also reports and images from World Brain Day 2017 from around the globe, with reports from Moldovia; Myanmar; Nagpur, India; and Pakistan. Dr. Grisold also updates us on the outcome of the recent European Board examination as well the World Health Organization meeting that took place in September in Budapest, which the WFN was privileged to take part in.

Professor John D. England, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neurological Sciences, provides his report of the most recent issue of the journal. This issue’s history article, by Dr. Frank Stahnisch, explores the transition from the Kaiser Wilhelm Society to the Max Planck Society.
Dr. Prisca-Rolande Bassolé and colleagues update us on their thoughts, from the perspective of young African neurologists, two years after the founding of the African Academy of Neurology. Also from Africa, Drs. Philip Adebayo and Funimola Taiwo report on a novel approach to improve neurologic education in Nigeria.

This issue also includes an enthusiastic report from Dr. Vanessa Benjumea-Cuartas from Colombia after her recent Canadian/WFN Department visit at the Montreal Neurologic Institute. You also will find news of the prestigious award recently presented to Dr. Vladimir Hachinksi, past president of the WFN.

We hope you enjoy this issue. We are pleased that so many of you were able to attend the recent World Congress in Kyoto. We look forward to seeing you in 2019 in Dubai.

Regional WHO Meeting Update

By Wolfgang Grisold

The World Federation of Neurology (WFN) was invited to participate in the World Health Organization (WHO) meeting that took place Sept. 11-14 in Budapest.

Regional Director Zsuzsanna Jakab (left) speaks with WFN Professor Wolfgang Grisold, WFN secretary general.

The agenda included a review of the current work of the WHO, presented by the regional director, Zsuzsanna Jakab. Statements came from the Hungarian government (Prime Minister Viktor Orban) and individual European countries. WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained his ideas on the future development of the WHO.

The WFN was invited as a permanent member. Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-state actors participated, including the World Stroke Organization (WSO), represented by Professor Patrik Michel.

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus outlines his vision of the WHO during its regional meeting for Europe.

The WFN was invited to provide a statement, which it chose from agenda item 5b referring to the environment and neurology. This statement was developed by using the work done by a WFN applied research group on neurology and the environment. This research group met in 2016 in Strasbourg and emphasized the importance of the environment and its effect on neurologic diseases. The final version of the report as accepted is posted at who.int/en/. The written statement has been posted at euro.who.int/en/about-us/governance/regional-committee-for-europe/67th-session/statements-from-non-state-actors.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, the patron of WHO European region, speaks at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe.

Also present were the WSO and several other NGOs with overlapping fields in neurology, such as palliative care, occupational therapy, and student representation (IFSMA).

The cooperation of the WFN with the WHO is important and has included several successful projects, such as the Atlas of Neurology, the ICD-11 classification, and future work on non-communicable diseases.

The WFN participating with the WHO in regional meetings is extremely important as it gives neurology a local voice in the important regional aspects of WHO work. 

The XXIII World Congress of Neurology Kyoto: A Successful Congress by all Measures

By Raad Shakir

Raad Shakir, MD

The biennial World Congress of Neurology is the WFN’s window to the world. Holding the congress in various parts of the world ensures its diversity and uniqueness. This was definitely the case in Kyoto.

There is no doubt that the XXIII World Congress was a huge success. The congress was the largest so far, with 8,634 participants from 121 countries. We are all delighted with the excellent organization, scientific content, and education throughout the five days of the congress. The plenary sessions provided a major insight into the scientific basis and the global situation of neurology. Lectures from three Nobel laureates opened doors for all of us and made us think of all of the possible pathways for translational research.

Researchers and clinicians presented many major topics of interest. There were 3,500 abstracts with 10 simultaneous sessions each day.

Each World Congress of Neurology has its own flavor, and this one was no different. The Japanese society and the WFN scientific program committee worked tirelessly to produce varied and interesting scientific and teaching programs. The brain alliance partners and neurology specialty organizations offered sessions that enriched the program. The regional neurological association sessions explored topics of their choice to complement the scientific programs.

(From left) WFN President Raad Shakir, WFN medalists Professor Jun Kimura and Professor Angela Vincent, and WFN President-Elect William Carroll.

During the congress, Professor Jun Kimura, MD (Japan/U.S.), received the WFN medal for service to international neurology. He has worked tirelessly for decades to promote neurology, and in particular neurophysiology, around the world. The medal for scientific achievement in neurology was awarded to Professor Angela Vincent, MBBS (U.K.), for her decades of dedicated work in the field of neuroimmunology. Professor Jagjit Chopra (India) was recognized with a lifetime achievement award for his work to promote and advance neurology in the developing world.

The Council of Delegates was held on Sept. 17. The agenda focused on activities of the WFN during 2016 and 2017. The delegates reviewed the work of the WFN education programs and training centers, with an emphasis on centers branching out from Africa to Latin America. Further expansion to Southeast Asia was discussed. All of these activities are not possible without a solid financial base. The WFN treasurer presented the fiscal report. The WFN is in good financial health and will continue to provide funding for training, education, and research around the world.

The delegates approved the annual report and conducted the election of officers and trustees. The WFN is fortunate to have several able candidates wishing to serve in various positions. There were six candidates — two for each of the three posts.

  • President: Bill Carroll (Australia) and Wolfgang Grisold (Austria)
  • First Vice President: Ryuji Kaji (Japan) and Renato Verdugo (Chile)
  • Elected Trustee: Riadh Gouider (Tunisia) and Man Mohan Mehndirata (India)

WFN President Professor Raad Shakir (left) greets WFN President-Elect Professor William M. Carroll.

Bill Carroll, Ryuji Kaji, and Riadh Gouider were elected. Warmest congratulations to all. I am positive that the WFN is in excellent hands and will continue to move ahead. The officers will start their duties on Jan. 1, 2018. I have to point out that all candidates are highly qualified and dedicated to the WFN’s mission and goals.

The Council of Delegates had another important decision to make. The biennial congresses are held around the world and are chosen four years in advance. The 2021 congress is to be held in Europe. Two years ago, applicants were solicited, and the WFN reviewed six cities wishing to be considered. Two withdrew for various reasons; this left Copenhagen, London, Marseille, and Rome in the running. With the assistance of Kenes, the official WFN Professional Conference Organizer (PCO), each site was visited, and a report was prepared. 

The four candidate cities made formal presentations, and the PCO summed up the opinion on each of the sites. It is obvious that each has its merits and difficulties, which were discussed and debated. The decision is always made by the delegates in a secret ballot. Two rounds of voting were needed to identify a clear winner. It has been decided that the 2021 XXV World Congress of Neurology will be held in Rome. The Italian society will work closely with the WFN to produce a scientific, education, and social program. A timetable was discussed, and work started immediately.

The WFN will now concentrate on the 2019 XXIV World Congress of Neurology in Dubai, and the committees are working hard to produce a balanced and interesting program. The Emirates Neurological Society, represented by Dr. Suhail Arukn (WCN XXIV president), promoted the Dubai congress in Kyoto and made sure that all delegates know about Dubai and the preparations that are underway.

During the Education Committee meeting, the Education Committee chair and the secretary general presented their reports on the exciting progress of our Teaching Centers in Africa and Latin America, and one that will come in Asia. Centers in Cairo, Dakar, Rabat, and soon Cape Town are progressing well. Mexico City also will start as a WFN Teaching Center in 2017.

The WFN leadership made it clear that this is the most cost-effective way to promote neurology in low- and low middle-income countries. The WFN is grateful for national and regional neurological societies that have shared the cost of training. We are indebted to the French and British neurological societies for their contributions. Our partnership with the American and European academies continues to blossom and progress at all levels, including support for regional teaching courses.

The Japanese Society of Neurology (JSN) held the WCN XXIII in collaboration with the regional association. The Asian Oceanian Association of Neurology (AOAN) served as a partner in organizing the congress, and its attendance was noticeably large. It is now clear that the financial support for Asia will flow from the JSN following the huge financial success of the WCN in Kyoto. It is quite noticeable that half of the attendees are younger than 45. This encouraging trend has continued since the Marrakesh World Congress in 2011.

The WFN is moving ahead with all of its activities, which are cemented by the election of officers and trustees who are dedicated and will definitely build on the current situation in years to come.

Mark Your Calendar

2017

Miami Neuro Symposium, Brain Symposium, Neuro Nursing Symposium 2017
Nov. 30-Dec. 2
The Biltmore Hotel
Miami

10th Congress of the Pan-Asian Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis
November 23-25,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

2018

4th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN 2018)
16 June 16-19, 2018
Lisbon Congress Centre

15th International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases (ICNMD 2018)
6 Jul 8-10, 2018
Hilton Vienna