Annual Meeting Scientific Program Continues to Innovate

February 1, 2012


Dr. Bruce Sigsbee

The Science Committee, chaired by Lisa DeAngelis, MD, FAAN, has assembled a great series of  presentations including abstracts, plenary sessions, and Integrated Neuroscience Sessions. The exciting and diverse nature of the scientific presentation is a reflection of the excitement and rapid evolution of neuroscience.

As a reflection of the diverse nature of neuroscience, there are 60 platform sessions and seven poster sessions representing 24 topic areas. More than 2,300 abstracts will be presented at the meeting.

A relatively new development is the establishment of Integrated Neuroscience Sessions. These sessions provide in–depth subspecialty concentration around a topic, using a combination of presentations such as data blitz sessions, case studies, poster rounds, discussions, and invited lectures. The intent of the sessions is to combine abstract presentations as well as presentations from invited speakers. This year, the Integrated Neuroscience Sessions include movement disorders, aging, peripheral nerve, stem cells, epilepsy, cerebrovascular disease, child neurology, and neurogenetics.

Integrated Neuroscience Sessions are a key component in the Subspecialty in Focus programs as well. Subspecialists will have more chances to delve deep into their areas of expertise with their peers with the addition of two new programs in 2012. Six Subspecialty in Focus programs will highlight advanced educational topics combined with a scientific Integrated Neuroscience program in a specific subspecialty area, allowing a concentrated focus on a topic complemented by two half–day education programs. Some of these sessions have been developed in collaboration with subspecialty organizations.

Translational neuroscience is the focus of the Future of Neuroscience Conference. This forward–looking conference explores the possible treatments that arise out of current neuroscience investigations.

Finally, I personally am particularly pleased with the Presidential Plenary Session for this year. Rose Mary N. Boustany, MD; Robert B. Darnell, MD, PhD; and Ralph Sacco, MD, MS, FAHA, FAAN, are highlighted speakers. The Presidential Lecture will be presented by Mark F. Mehler, MD, FAAN, speaking on epigenetics.

Research is also the highlight of the AAN and AAN Foundation Awards Luncheon, where we recognize some of the leading neuroscientists in our field. The AAN Foundation is celebrating 20 years as one of the foremost supporters of neurologic research. Stop by the Research Area and learn more about the Foundation's work and how you can participate, including Sunday's festive Celebration for Research and the exciting Arts and Auction for Research.

While there are many aspects to the practice of medicine and a career in research that are discouraging at this point, including constraints on federal resources, this is also an extraordinarily exciting time for neurology and neuroscience. These presentations at the Annual Meeting are a reflection of the excitement and insight gained each year by this exciting field. I encourage all of you to consider attending this meeting.

Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN
President, AAN