Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttart, New York · Masson Editeur Paris
46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research into Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida
13 March 2003 (online)
The 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research into Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida was held this year at the Maria-Theresia College in the historic town of Leuven, Belgium. Our hosts for this very successful meeting were Drs. Buyse, Lagae and Verpoorten of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Neurology, Gasthuisberg University Hospital, Leuven. The meeting was very well attended by physicians, surgeons and many other professions allied to medicine from all over the world. A pre-congress meeting was held on the morning of 10th July for those research scientists involved in animal hydrocephalus (see report by Dr. Hazel Jones, below) and an afternoon symposium was held on controversies in neurosurgery for hydrocephalus and spina bifida.
Fig. 1 Diepensteyn Castle, Leuven.
On the evening of 10th July 2002 a splendid civic reception was held at the grandiose Leuven Catholic University Hall, which was originally built around 1193 and became University property in 1697. The Mayor of Leuven warmly welcomed the participants and accompanying persons and explained how the University in Leuven now ranks as one of the oldest in Europe.
The Annual Society outing during the following afternoon was to Diepensteyn Castle and the Palm Brewery, where ‘Palm Speciale’ lager flowed freely and a very enthusiastic guided tour of the Palm Horse stables was provided. The Annual Dinner on the 12th July was held at the Faculty Club in Leuven and the delicious Flemish food, preceded by a lively jazz/brass band, was enjoyed by all.
The scientific sessions on the first day were devoted to hydrocephalus and the urological aspects of spina bifida. Dr. Gilian Hunt presented her 35 year follow-up data on the original cohort of 117 babies born with spina bifida in the Cambridge area during the early 1960s and, in the second day's sessions, Dr. Doug Cochrane presented extensive data from Canada, linking the outcome of hydrocephalus treatment to surgical workload and experience.
The Casey Holter Lecture was given by Professor Paul Griffiths from Sheffield on the assessment of the posterior fossa and its contents by magnetic resonance imaging of the fetus. From initially using antenatal MRI scanning as a research tool, Professor Griffiths now feels that there is a definite health service role for MRI scans in the assessment of selected cases of ultrasound-detected fetal cranio-spinal anomalies. It was apparent from the examples described in Professor Griffiths' very informative lecture that the expertise to accurately interpret such MRI scans needs to be acquired carefully and over considerable time.
A newly created prize (The Memorial Prize) for the best poster presentation was won by Dr. Kinasha from Dar es Salaam, who addressed the topic of prevalence of neural tube defects in Tanzania. Dr. Kinsman gave an exciting introductory presentation of next year's meeting in Baltimore, USA, where crabs will clearly feature prominently! Our usual thanks go to Marianne Mündel of Thieme Verlag for all her help with the preparation of the proceedings.
PS: The authors wish to point out that the views expressed in this journal may not always reflect those of the Editors, the Society for Research into Hydrocephalus & Spina Bifida, or the Publishing House.
M. D. Ian Pople
Department of Neurosurgery
Bristol BS16 1LE