Summary of 17th International Congress - Sydney, Australia 2013

Contributed by Victor Fung
Chair, Congress Local Organising Committee
Sydney, Australia

Victor FungThe 17th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders was held recently from 16-20 June, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. This was only the second time the Congress has been held in the Asian-Oceanian Section, the first being in Kyoto, Japan in 2006. Fittingly, Professor Yoshikuni Mizuno, the Chair of the Kyoto Congress, gave a speech at the Opening Ceremony outlining the history of the AOS and its contribution to movement disorders and the Society.

The MDS-AOS continues to grow in strength - it now has 1,155 members, comprising 27% of the total membership of our Society. It is represented by 30 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, China, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. The SydnProf. Yoshikuni Mizuno at the 17th International Congress Opening Ceremonyey Congress had 2600 attendees, with 1073 (42%) from the AOS region.

This is the largest proportion of AOS representation thus far at an MDS Congress. This was also reflected in the high proportion of speakers and chairs from the AOS region. On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee, I would like to thank those who attended for the tremendous support and contribution to our meeting. The 2600 delegates from 75 counties presented over 1300 abstracts and attended sessions by 220 faculty members. The meeting could not have taken place without the support of 25 companies.

The theme of the Sydney Congress was Clinicopathological Correlations in Movement Disorders – From Bench to Bedside. The discipline of neurology was founded on discoveries by clinicians who cared for their patients until death, and then examined the pathology of the nervous system in order to learn something that might help their next patient, as well as their fellow neurologist. This method remains current and is of course extended by increasingly sophisticated scientific methods, but the fundamental understanding of disease that the process of clinico-pathological correlation reveals, in both hypokinetic and hyperkinetic movement disorders, was outlined in key lectures by an international faculty, including a number of Australian and AOS neurologists and neuroscientists who have made major contributions in this field.

A special session, Clinico-Pathological Correlations in Movement Disorders, demonstrated this method to the audience through interaction between several senior movement disorder clinicians and their pathological counterparts, with experts in both fields from the AOS, European and Pan-American sections.

The success of the Congress in Sydney highlights the contribution that the AOS brings to MDS. The ability and willingness of AOS members to contribute to the meeting whether as an attendee, contributor of scientific content, faculty or the various committees of MDS were evident and will likely lead to an increased role in our society. AOS members are encouraged to let the MDS know, through the AOS Chair Louis Tan (Singapore) or Secretary Roongroj Bhidayasiri (Thailand) their willingness to volunteer for MDS and AOS activities. For example, providing education to underprivileged countries through MDS Outreach Programs is a major activity that the AOS has undertaken with great success. 

My hope is that the increased membership and activity of the AOS, together with the keen support of the Officers, International Executive Committee and other committees of MDS, will lead to increased collaboration between members of our section and ultimately improved equality of access to care for our patients.

I look forward to the 18th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Stockholm June, 2014 and the 4th Asian and Oceanian Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Congress (AOPMC) in Pattaya, Thailand, November 28-30, 2014, as the next major milestones in this journey.   

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