LONDON: Promising scientific research on the impact of climate change on brain health, advancements in epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, the relationship between stroke and dementia, new data on gene therapies and neurogenerative diseases and developments in brain-machine interfaces are just a few of the topics to be discussed by 4,000 of the most elite neurologists and specialists from more than 126 countries attending the 24th World Congress of Neurology, in Dubai, UAE, October 27 – 31, 2019.
The theme of the 2019 World Congress of Neurology (WCN 2019), Accelerating the Pace of Change, emphasizes the global effort to further neurological healthcare, and serves as a springboard to advance the field of neurology around the globe. The World Federation of Neurology is working closely with the World Health Organization to deliver quality neurological care to even the most underserved regions.
WCN 2019 brings together leading scientists, public health experts and policy-makers to turn research into action. This year’s Congress at the Dubai World Trade Centre is co-hosted by the Emirates Neurology Society (EMINS) with the World Federation of Neurology (WFN). Through educational presentations, awards and courses, the Congress will engage key stakeholders on the importance of brain health and access to quality neurological care.
“Our Congress emphasizes the importance of brain health, inspiring researchers and patients alike by showcasing extensive, high-quality scientific research and educating with teaching programs unique to this Congress,” said Professor William Carroll, MB BS, MD, FRACP, FRCP(E), president of the World Federation of Neurology.
The global nature of WCN 2019 is essential to creating a universal pathway for improved access to care around the world; and allows the World Federation of Neurology to promote neurology in different regions.
“Every two years, the Congress is held in a different quadrant of the world to promote improved neurological care and accelerate research advancements around the world,” said Professor Carroll.
New this year, WCN 2019 is hosting two press conferences that will be live-streamed on the World Federation of Neurology’s Facebook page. The first press conference includes some of the world’s leading experts on stroke, to discuss new advancements on the relationship between stroke and dementia. The second press conference highlights the global economic burden of migraine, and how patients and employers can work together to accommodate those living with migraine in the workplace.
“This is an exciting time for the field of neurology as healthcare professionals and researchers have come together in a movement toward global brain health and better access to care,” said Wolfgang Grisold, the World Federation of Neurology’s Secretary-General.
Here are key clinical highlights that will be presented by world-renown scientists and faculty during WCN 2019:
Molecular Precision in Neurology Shortens Diagnostic Odyssey
Large-scale sequencing efforts of vast cohorts of patients with various disorders are generating data at an unprecedented rate, bringing precision neurology closer to the forefront than ever before. Fowzan Alkuraya, MD, professor of human genetics at Alfaisal University and a principal scientist at KFSHRC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will share information on the genotype-phenotype connections made possible by the phenomenon of autozygosity in precision neurology. “Precision neurology eliminates clinician guesswork, empowering patients to receive an accurate diagnosis regardless of location or individual expertise of attending neurologist,” said Alkuraya.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative Focuses on Measuring Circuit Activity
New technologies have revolutionized the ability for scientists to map, monitor and modulate brain activity in mice and other animal models. These advances have the potential to close a major gap in neurology and allow researchers to study the brain activities that underlie patients’ symptoms. To achieve this goal, the NIH BRAIN Initiative is focused on helping researchers study neural circuits under healthy and diseased conditions. “The brain has 85 billion cells firing in patterns and the big challenge is to understand what these patterns mean,” says Walter Koroshetz, MD, Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). “As these new technologies advance, they could present the ability to develop new therapies based on normalizing or compensating for abnormal circuit activity.”
Novel New Strategies in Bionic Extremity Reconstruction
Massive central or peripheral tissue damage, in many cases, poses a major reconstructive challenge with few therapeutic options. Bionic Reconstruction can restore extremity function in the face of severe central and peripheral nerve lesion, and enable patients to interact with mechatronic devices in an intuitive and natural way. “We developed different strategies that combine complex technical systems with sophisticated surgical techniques to create novel neurological landscapes so that patients can interact with complex mechatronic devices in an intuitive and natural way,” says Oskar Aszmann, MD, Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna and presenter at the Congress.
Updates in Imaging to Transform Field of Neurology
The scientific understanding of neuroimaging through research and the use of artificial intelligence, including machine and deep learning, has expanded. With advanced neuroimaging, automated reports and objective parameters will become more commonplace, while simultaneously making it easier for neurologists to explain imaging findings to their patients. “These advancements could transform the field of neurology by promoting our understanding of functional and structural correlates of neurologic disorders,” Christian Enzinger, MD, MBA, Associate Professor at the Medical University of Graz in Austria.
Stroke and Vascular Dementia Press Conference
New advancements in research reveal a relationship between stroke and dementia, in that vascular changes of the brain through hypertension increase the incidence of dementia. With that in mind, research suggests preventative measures to reduce small vessel vascular disease could mitigate the prevalence of people with dementia. During a press conference featuring some of the world’s leading experts in stroke, will discuss how taking preventative stroke measures may be able to reduce the risk of dementia, and how to ensure that knowledge translates to regions throughout the world. The press conference will take place Monday, Oct. 28 at 3:15 pm. Gulf Standard Time.
Global Economic Impact of Migraine Press Conference
In 2019, the World Federation of Neurology partnered with the International Headache Society’s Global Patient Advocacy Coalition (IHS-GPAC) to spread global awareness about migraine. In a joint press conference, representatives from IHS, WFN and patient organizations around the world will discuss how to carry the momentum from World Brain Day into the workplace and beyond. The press conference will take place Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 8:00 am Gulf Standard Time.
The Congress is poised to bring the world’s leaders in science to accelerate the pace of change around the globe. Additional breaking news releases will be distributed during the week. Media are welcome to attend on-site, on Facebook or request interviews at [email protected].