September 29, 2018

Dystonia Europe at the 23rd ESSFN Congress in Edinburgh

Last month Dystonia Europe took part as an exhibitor at the 23rdCongress of The European Society for Stereotactic and Functional Surgery, an organization which frontiers the progress of functional and stereotactic neurosurgery of the human nervous system.

About 700 participants, including exhibitors, had come to Edinburgh for this special event which took place at the Royal College of Surgeons, a venue with over 500 years of rich surgical history.

The first Congress of the ESSFN was held in Edinburgh in 1972. This year’s congress was the first one to be jointly organized by neurosurgeons (Ludvic Zrinzo and Marwan Hariz from The National Hospital Queen Square, London) and psychiatrists (Keith Matthews from University of Dundee) therefore many meeting topics included neurosurgical approaches for psychiatric disorders. Pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, such as dystonia, were also major topics with discussions of the latest advances in clinical management, technology and scientific research.

The special session on Movement Disorders and dystonia included Dystonia Experts such as: Dr. Laura Cif from Montpellier who presented “20 years’ experience of DBS for peadiatric dystonia” and Prof Joachim Krauss from Hannover who presented the work on “a registry of real-world outcomes using DBS – deep brain stimulation* for dystonia”.

At the Dystonia Europe booth we informed about our organization, our activities and projects.  In collaboration with Boston Scientific we encouraged participants to get behind the Dystogram to take a photo for #DE25years and the #YestoDBS campaign.
It is very valuable for Dystonia Europe to be able to connect with the medical profession and the industry at these special congresses. It gives DE the opportunity to share our work and experiences which may lead to new partnerships as well as providing us with updates on the latest developments within the field.

Our platinum sponsors Boston Scientific and Medtronic took part with major exhibitions and specific symposiums. Boston Scientific had organized a special activity at their booth “give an autographs – change a life”. At the end of their symposium the two patient organizations EPDA (European Parkinson’s Disease Association) and Dystonia Europe were surprised with a donation of € 5000 each as a result of this activity. We thank BS for thia generous gift and their continued support.

We thank the organizers for offering the exhibition space for free and we look forward to the next congress, which will be held in Marseille in 2020.

* Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure in which two thin, insulated electrodes are inserted into the brain. These electrodes are then connected by a wire under the skin to a battery usually implanted in the chest or in the abdomen. The battery operates similarly to a pacemaker delivering targeted electrical pulses that block the signals that cause the symptoms of dystonia. The battery is implanted below the skin on the chest wall (or sometimes the lower abdominal wall) so is barely visible but an outline of its shape and of the wires connecting it to the brain may be visible.