by Thomas Berger, EAN Scientific Committee Chair
Dear EAN members, dear friends,
It is my pleasure to give you an update on behalf of the EAN Scientific Committee following a busy year since my appointment as chair. It has been a privilege to be so deeply involved in the scientific activities of the EAN and to work closely with an amazing community of people who are so dedicated to the advancement of neurology.
One of the strongest threads within that community is the EAN’s group of Scientific Panels, which are often referred to as the organisation’s ‘scientific backbone’. The panels have a hand in everything the EAN does from a scientific point of view, including coordinating clinical research, disseminating good practice, assisting in planning the EAN annual congress, supporting the EAN’s educational efforts, and producing guidelines that assist neurologists in daily practice.
All of this work requires a considerable amount of oversight, and this is why each panel is run by its own Management Group, elected by the panel members. Being a part of one of these Management Groups (PDF) is an opportunity to play a direct part in determining the direction of scientific progress within Europe, and I am excited to say that the call for applications to stand for election will be announced in September. All panel members and EAN individual members are eligible to apply to be candidates, with the vote being held among the existing panel members in autumn.
I would like to urge every neurologist with a passion for the scientific future of their special area of interest to consider standing for election to the relevant Management Group and to look out for the call for applications later this month. I can tell you from personal experience that fulfilling a role such as this within the structure of the EAN is a fascinating and extremely rewarding experience. The chance to take on such a unique leadership position should not be missed!
The most satisfying aspect of being involved in the EAN’s organisational structure is surely seeing all the hard work and planning come to fruition when a small idea evolves into a newly launched project. One such example is the 1st EAN Science School, taking place in Salzburg next March. The idea of the Science School is to offer early career neurologists with an interest in translational research a new avenue for learning about basic pathomechanisms of neurological disorders. Application for this very first edition, on ‘Pathophysiology of disorders of the nervous system’, closed last week and we have been delighted with the level of interest. It was a pleasure to be part of the task force in charge of planning this new project and I look forward to seeing it officially transferred to the hands of the Scientific Committee after a successful event and evaluation in spring.
Of our ongoing activities, one of the most significant is the EAN Neuro-covid Registry, which aims to collate epidemiological data on neurological manifestations in patients with COVID-19 infection reported by neurologists in outpatient services, emergency rooms, and hospital departments. We currently have 1,542 patients entered in the database, from 35 centres across 23 countries. So far, 29 patients have been followed for 12 months and 387 have completed the 6-months follow up. This is a decent start, but I would like to strongly encourage EAN members and their institutions to get involved and contribute cases to what will become an invaluable resource for neurologists and clinicians to improve care for Covid-19 patients.
Finally, I would like share a word on a forthcoming collaboration between EAN and the Human Brain Project in December, that I think will interest a lot of EAN members. The EAN-EBRAINS joint workshop on ‘The future of medical data sharing in clinical neurosciences’ will be a three-day virtual event that aims to discuss issues and challenges associated with data sharing in Europe, from ethics to data safety and privacy, including those specific to data federation, such as the development and validation of federated algorithms. The whole workshop is completely free of charge and registration is open until 25 November, so please check out the details and sign up!
I wish you all a healthy and pleasant autumn and I look forward to updating you again.
Chair of the EAN Scientific Committee