Preparing for the symposium ‘down under’

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We organise the International Symposium on ALS/MND every year, and this year, the symposium will be going ‘down under’ to Sydney Australia on 30 November – 2 December 2011.

We opened our online abstract submission system back in February –this is a place where researchers from around the world can compose and submit their work to us for consideration for this years’ three-day première medical conference on MND aimed for health and social care professionals, clinicians and researchers. However, just four days before the deadline of 2 May 2011, we had little over 60 abstracts submitted. Panic began to strike and nightmares loomed of a symposium with little work being presented.

For us, this meant the weekend preceding the deadline was one filled with nail-biting anticipation, not just to see the Royal Wedding, but to see how many abstracts we’d receive by the deadline. In a movie-like style, researchers seem to have us perched on the edge of our seats waiting to see if we’ll have plenty of abstracts by the time the countdown clock hits zero. Fortunately, we were delighted, and somewhat relieved, to see that we’d received a total of 317 abstracts! We all heaved a sigh of relief after this flood of activity in submitting abstracts.

These 317 abstracts add up to about 125,000 words and were submitted from 22 countries from around the world –the biggest contributor being Australia.

Each abstract will now be read and reviewed by the symposium Programme Committee who will decide which will be given 15 minutes of fame at the platform, which will have the opportunity to talk to their peers about their research in a poster presentation, and which will be rejected.

With so many abstracts, ranging from clinical topics like respiratory management to scientific topics like developing new models of MND, we hope that this year’s going to offer a feast of new findings to move us one step closer to a world free of MND.