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Neurology meeting to provide updates on range of treatments

By Mindo - 21st Apr 2024


The upcoming INA Annual Meeting is a must-attend event for neurologists practising in Ireland

The 60th Annual Meeting of the Irish Neurological Association (INA) will be held in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel, on 2-3 May 2024.

In her official meeting invitation, INA President Prof Francesca Brett said the gathering will be “fun
and interesting”.

Prof Brett is a Clinical Neuropathologist in Beaumont Hospital and St James’s Hospital, both in Dublin. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Honorary Research Fellow in the RCSI. In 2020 she received an Honorary Fellowship from the RCPI. After completing her MD thesis in Cambridge University, UK, and University of California, San Diego, US, she took up her consultant post in Dublin. She is actively involved in a heavy, diagnostic workload. Prof Brett teaches at an undergraduate level and to postgraduates at the RCPI and the RCSI, in addition to conducting her clinical research. She has over 100 peer-reviewed works.

Prof Brett has served as Regional Specialist Advisor in Neuropathology in the Faculty of Pathologists, RCPI. With her forensic training, she acts as a Forensic Neuropathologist for the Office of the State Pathologist. In this capacity, she sees most complex brain injuries in the forensic setting and defends her findings in both the coroner’s court and the central criminal court. She has also volunteered her expertise as a medical expert witness in the advocacy course at Keble College, Oxford, UK, and in mock trials in the Dublin coroner’s court. She received a graduate award in executive healthcare leadership from the Irish Management Institute in 2019.

First sessions

The individual sessions will be chaired by leading specialists in the area, which is the subject of discussion. They will commence each session with a synopsis on recent developments.

Prof Conor Fearon

The first session, which will provide an update on epilepsy treatment, will be chaired by Prof Daniel Costello, Consultant Neurologist, Cork University Hospital. He is also a senior lecturer in neurology at University College Cork. Prof Costello has a subspecialty interest in epilepsy.

His clinical duties include general neurology, complex epilepsy, and overseeing a rapid access seizure clinic. He also oversees outreach epilepsy clinics in the community for persons with intellectual disability in residential care.

The second session will be on the subject of neuromuscular disease and treatment. It will be chaired by Dr John McConville, Consultant Neurologist, Ulster Hospital, Belfast.

Prof Daniel Costello

His special interest is in muscle disease, particularly in Myasthenia gravis (MG) and congenital myasthenic syndromes. MG can be categorised into autoimmune and congenital myasthenic syndromes. Both syndromes affect components of the neuromuscular junction and are characterised by fatigable weakness of skeletal muscles. Approximately 86 per cent of patients with autoimmune MG initially present with ocular symptoms and, of these, up to 90 per cent may develop generalised MG within three years.

The third session will involve viewing posters on a range of neurological conditions.

In session four, Chair Dr Marwa Elamin, Consultant Neurologist, University Hospital Galway, will provide an update on Alzheimer’s disease. This will be the final session of the first day.

Dr Guido Giunti

Movement disorders

The first session of Friday 3 May is on movement disorders. The Chair of the session will be Prof Conor Fearon, Consultant Neurologist, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin. Prof Fearon is a graduate of engineering and medicine from University College Dublin, Ireland. He earned his PhD in neural engineering from TCD in 2016, concentrating on quantitatively evaluating sensory, motor, and cognitive elements of gait freezing in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Following that, he pursued residency training in Ireland and subsequently fulfilled a clinical Fellowship in movement disorders as the Edmond J Safra Fellow in Movement Disorders at Toronto Western Hospital, Canada. His research is centred on developing technologies for diagnosing, predicting outcomes, and improving care for individuals with PD.

This session will be followed by a poster viewing session.

In her official meeting invitation, INA President Prof Francesca Brett said the gathering will be ‘fun and interesting’

Artificial intelligence

The next session, to be chaired by Dr Hugh Kearney, Consultant Neurologist, St James’s Hospital, Dublin, is on the subject of artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr Guido Giunti, NeuroInsight MSCA Fellow, in the School of Medicine, TCD, will deliver the Noel Callaghan Guest Lecture. The title of the lecture is ‘The neurology patient journey and AI’.

Dr Giunti joined TCD in 2023 as part of the NeuroInsight  research programme as a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow. His research explores how to use participatory design approaches involving people with multiple sclerosis (MS), their family members and healthcare professionals, and trying to develop an integrated path for digital health solutions that support the person with MS.

The lecture will be followed by a mini-symposium on AI for neuroscientists. The two speakers during the symposium will be: Prof Richard Reilly, School of Medicine and Engineering, TCD; and Dr Melanie Lang Orsini, Neuropathologist, Beaumont Hospital, and Children’s Health Ireland.

Prof Reilly’s research focuses on the processing of signals that diagnose the human physiological and cognitive state. These include non-invasive electrophysical biomarkers for cognitive function, patient-oriented neurodiagnostics methods, neural prosthetics, and therapeutic neuromodulation devices. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is a board member of the Health Products Regulatory Authority and Chair of the HPRA’s advisory committee on medical devices. In 2004, he was awarded a US Fulbright Award for research collaboration into multisensory integration with the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, New York. He is a former Silvanus P Thompson International Lecturer for the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He has established two companies based on his research activities. He has authored and co-authored over 500 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and conferences papers.

In addition to her talk on AI, Dr Orsini will be the Chair the final session of the meeting and will deliver a ‘molecular update’. After this session, there will be additional poster presentations, after which the presentation of awards and closing address will take place. This will bring the meeting to a close.

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