On behalf of the International Child Neurology Association, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 14th International Child Neurology Congress being held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from May 1-5th, 2016. Our congress theme is 'Bridging Worlds' with the aim of providing an appreciation of Childhood Neurological Disorders from a Global Perspective with strong representation from all six major geographic regions.
The scientific program will feature internationally recognized experts who will provide the latest advances in different subspecialties of child neurology combined with a strong educational program through breakfast courses, meet the expert sessions and master classes. We also hope to facilitate open dialogue between clinicians and neuroscientists from resource-limited and resource- enriched regions in order to lay the groundwork for future collaborative research networks. These networks would link clinicians involved in the careful phenotyping of unique clinical populations afflicted with specific neurological diseases with researchers in state-of-the-art research laboratories directed toward characterizing the genotypes and creating in vitro and in vivo disease models, in order to increase understanding of the underlying pathophysiological disease mechanisms, for the development of specific interventional therapies. These new therapies could then be translated back to the clinical populations and be rigorously tested through prospective randomized double-blind controlled clinical trials to evaluate the true efficacy of the new therapies. This would benefit the affected children and their families, their caregivers and the investigators, thus moving the field forward. This will also set the stage for the launching of our research portals on www.ICNApedia.org for the linking of clinical and basic science investigators.
Several exciting new ICNA initiatives will be launched at the ICNC2016 as follows:
- There will be a presentation of the results of the first funded Global Burden of Disease Seed Grants. These competitive seed grant opportunities, which have been offered through ICNApedia.org to neurology residents, fellows and junior staff, aim to capture pilot data on the global burden of neurological morbidity, quality of life, and mortality specific to major neurological diseases in resource-limited regions (e.g. CNS Tb, HIV, malaria, CP). These pilot proposals consist of 2-3 month international fellowships linked to established investigators at target sites which have high prevalence for a given disease (e.g. current sites include South Africa, Botswana, India) where study ethics approval is in place along with robust epidemiological study design. This pilot data will then form the basis for future large scale epidemiologic studies by the senior investigator with the ultimate goal of generating recommendations for targeted cost-effective, site-specific improvements in health care policies, in conjunction with the local health care services and infrastructure (Health Policy Level).
- A symposium will be dedicated to a review of the integral components of solid clinical research methodology and rigorous study design along with the application of appropriate statistical methodology. There will also be a review of the CONSORT guidelines for writing clinical research papers and information will be provided on existing courses and sites offering training in these methodologies.
- The ICNC2016 will also mark the launching and first meeting of the Council of the Future Leaders of ICNA who will be comprised of outstanding, regionally nominated senior child neurology residents, fellows and junior faculty who will meet in Amsterdam to establish their mandate, goals for the future clinical, research and educational programs of ICNA, metrics for success in achieving these goals and perceived obstacles. They will also form the first editorial board for the Resident and Fellow section of our new electronic journal JICNA.
Please join us for a scientifically stimulating ICNC2016 program in an atmosphere of warm collegiality set in the elegant city of Amsterdam which embodies Old World Charm amongst seas of vibrant multicoloured tulips and myriads of historic canals and bridges in the home of the magnificent works of Van Gogh and Rembrandt.