Over the last month the symposium programme committee, including myself and Brian, have been busy reading the abstracts submitted for presentation at the International Symposium on ALS/MND. The meeting will be taking place in Orlando in December.
I chose to read my pile 353 abstracts in one go (apart from a further 20 late abstracts). At first glance in seemed like a real chore to concentrate on these detailed, sometimes quite technical, summaries all day. However, I really enjoyed the experience. It was exciting to learn of the lateral ways that scientists are following up on new discoveries; of how clinicians, researchers and healthcare professionals around the world are working together to support people affected by MND and manage their symptoms. Being a closet geek I loved learning about all the new laboratory and imaging techniques that are being used too. Every now and again my mind drifted and I reflected on how the research team and colleagues in the care development team of the Association had contributed to the current work and state of knowledge through our funding and influencing activities.
Tuesday, 1 June was crunch time! After Kelly, Kate and Deanna had chased and compiled the programme committee scores last week, Brian and I headed to off to a meeting with other members of the programme committee. Within approximately five hours of intense discussion, the broad outlines of the programme of talks and the shape of the poster sessions were emerging. As ever, we were optimistic about the number of talks that it will be possible to include.
Over the next week or two an exciting and coherent programme will be compiled. Already I have a mental list of ‘must see’ talks and posters for December.