by Antonella Macerollo and Tony Marson, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and University of Liverpool
A Regional Teaching Course (RTC) organised by the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) and the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust took place in Liverpool, UK on 24-26 April, 2022.
This was the first ever RTC to be held in western Europe.
Despite the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 the RTC was held as an entirely in-person meeting after two postponements over the last two years.
Unfortunately, because of the invasion in Ukraine, Russian scientists who had registered to participate could not travel to the UK. Moreover, many registered colleagues were not able to travel due to the Covid-19 restrictions in some countries. Still, our RTC had almost 40 participants from different countries.
The course focused on epilepsy, movement disorders and multiple sclerosis. These topics were chosen based on the expertise of the local organisers with the aim of building a different course format compared to previous RTCs. Indeed, each topic was delivered by a national and an international speaker interacting together to provide a complete overview of different aspects of each subfield. In addition, the first two days included interactive workshops in the afternoon.
The first day was dedicated to the utility of imaging techniques for diagnosing and monitoring in neurology.
Prof. Philippe Ryvlin, Professor of Neurology at the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Prof. Simon Keller, Professor of Neuroimaging at the University of Liverpool talked about imaging techniques for diagnosing and monitoring in epilepsy; Prof. Bogdan Draganski, Professor of Neurology at the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Dr. Christian Lambert, Clinical Lecturer in Neuroimaging at University College London, gave a lecture on the application of neuroimaging in movement disorders; and Dr. Paolo Preziosa, Consultant Neurologist at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy and Dr. Samantha Mills, Consultant Neurologist at the Walton Centre of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool, UK, closed the first morning of the course addressing the role of neuroimaging in the diagnosis and management of patients with multiple sclerosis.
Three interactive workshops on challenging cases of epilepsy, movement disorders and multiple sclerosis were held in the afternoon. The participants were divided into three groups and rotated between the workshops, each lasting about 45 minutes. This format created a comfortable environment where all EAN members had the possibility to actively discuss the cases with the speakers thanks to the small group sizes.
At the end of the first day, a dinner with the faculty was offered to all the participants at the Radisson Hotel. This was a relaxing evening during which the delegates had the opportunity to talk to colleagues while enjoying local drinks and food.
The second day was dedicated to the current status and future perspectives of advanced interventions/therapies in the three subfields of neurology. Prof. Reetta Kälviäinen, Chair of Neurology at the University of Eastern Finland, Finland, and Prof. Tony Marson, Chair of Neurology at the University of Liverpool, UK presented the current therapies and future perspectives of interventions in epilepsy syndromes. Prof. Günther Deuschl, Senior Professor at the Department of Neurology of Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Germany and founding President of the EAN, spoke about deep brain stimulation and MR-guided focused ultrasound for Parkinson’s Disease; and Dr. Malcom Steiger, Consultant Neurologist at the Walton Centre of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Liverpool, UK presented the principles of infusion therapies in Parkinson’s Disease.
The second morning ended with the lecture of Dr. Georgina Arrambide, Consultant Neurologist at the Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia (Cemcat), Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus, Spain, and Dr. David Paling, Consultant Neurologist at Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, giving an overview of advanced therapies for patients with multiple sclerosis.
Three workshops were held in the afternoon on clinical service development in:
- Movement Disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
The participants had the great opportunity to discuss priorities, challenges and solutions to develop a dedicated clinical service with the experts in each field.
The last day was dedicated to the necessary skills to develop efficient clinical leaderships and related services. The first lecturers were Prof. Johan Zelano, Professor of Neurology at the Gothenburg University, Sweden, and Dr. Andrew Nicolson, Medical Director of the Walton Centre in Liverpool, UK, who gave a talk on the necessary skills to become a leader and develop an epilepsy service.
Dr. Martijn Beudel, Consultant Neurologist at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, the Netherlands, and Dr. Sundus Alusi, Consultant Neurologist at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, addressed the need to develop leadership skills in a movement disorders centre. The topic applied to a multiple sclerosis centre was discussed by Prof. Per Soelberg-Sorensen, Emeritus Professor of Neurology at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, and Prof. Carolyn Young, Honorary Professor at the University of Liverpool, UK.
The morning session ended with a lecture on the EAN Residents and Research Fellows Section, delivered by Dr. Antonella Macerollo, Consultant Neurologist at the Walton Centre in Liverpool and a co-founder of the RRFS, who gave an overview of the EAN’s research and training opportunities for medical students and young neurologists.
The overall feedback from the participants and the speakers was very positive. In particular, the participants welcomed the fact that this RTC included topics that were addressed through interactive activities.
We are sincerely thankful to the European Academy of Neurology for their support in organising an RTC in the UK for the first time.
We thank participant Dr. Valeria Sajin, Consultant Neurologist at the Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology of Schoen Klinik Neustadt, Neustadt in Holstein, Germany, for her beautiful drawing representing a moment of the course.