European Section

Welcome from the Chair

Olivier Rascol, MD, PhD
Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Toulouse University Hospital, Toulouse, France
MDS-European Section

April 2014

Olivier Rascol

Since the last issue of Moving Along, the MDS-European Section held a strategic retreat in Toulouse, France which allowed the MDS-ES Executive Committee and Officers to discuss and implement strategies to develop movement disorders education initiatives in Europe, formalize a new partnership with the future European Academy of Neurology and reinforce relationships with patients’ organizations, national movement disorder societies, national research networks and sponsors within Europe. We were honored that Dr. Matthew Stern, President of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, could join and participate in the debates.

In response to this strategic retreat, it is a pleasure as the Chair of the Section to announce that the MDS-ES is organizing a record number of educational activities in 2014, thanks to the efforts of the MDS-ES Education Committee chaired by Prof. Angelo Antonini. Such educational activities are continuing and expanding the successful portfolio implemented within the last few years by Prof. Joaquim Ferreira and his previous MDS-ES Education Committee. As an example, the MDS-ES held seven courses in six European countries in 2013.

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These include:

  • Evidence-based Medicine: An Update on Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease; Innsbruck, Austria; January 18, 2013; Course Directors: Prof. Klaus Seppi and Dr. Susan Fox; 28 attendees
  • Second Annual MDS-ES Winter School for Young Neurologists; Tartu, Estonia; March 1-3, 2013; Course Directors: Prof. Pille Taba, Prof. Marie Vidailhet and Prof. Joaquim Ferreira; 48 participants
  • MDS Allied Health Professional Summer School: Physiotherapy for people with Parkinson’s disease; Nijmegen, Netherlands; July 4-6, 2013; Course Directors: Prof. Bastiaan Bloem, Ms. Samyra Keus; 48 participants
  • MDS-ES Sixth Annual Summer School for Young Neurologists, London, UK; July 26-28, 2013; Course Directors: Prof. Kailash Bhatia, Prof. Werner Poewe and Prof. Niall Quinn; 46 participants
  • Uncommon Causes of Movement Disorders; Rome, Italy; October 11-12, 2013; Course Director: Prof. Angelo Antonini; 108 participants
  • Conduct and Interpretation of Clinical Trials in Movement Disorders; Toulouse, France;  October 29-31, 2013; Course Directors: Prof. Joaquim Ferreira and Prof. Olivier Rascol; 29 participants
  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Movement Disorders; London, UK November 28-29, 2013; Course Director: Dr. Patricia Limousin; 75 participants

In an effort to further improve the overall quality and value of such courses, it has been agreed that the MDS-ES Education Committee will plan courses farther in advance and encourage course series proposals.  There are 10 courses being planned for 2014 and 11 courses in the planning process for 2015 and beyond. The 2014 courses as proposed include: 

  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Movement Disorders; Milan, Italy; May 29-30, 2014; Course Directors: Prof. Alberto Albanese, Dr. Angelo Franzini and Dr. Francesc Valldeoriola
  • MDS Training for Industry Professionals; Stockholm, Sweden; June 7, 2014; Course Directors: Dr. Charles Adler and Prof. Joaquim Ferreira
  • Summer School for Young Neurologists; Barcelona, Spain;  July 18-20, 2014; Course Directors: Prof. Eduardo Tolosa Co-directors: Prof. Nir Giladi, Prof. Vladimir Kostić and Dr. Maria Josefa Martí
  • Movement Disorders and Sleep; Barcelona, Spain; July 2014; Course Director: Dr. Alex Iranzo
  • Allied Health Professionals Summer School; Lisbon, Portugal; June 26-28, 2014; Course Directors: Prof. Bastiaan Bloem, Prof. Joaquim Ferreira and Ms. Samyra Keus
  • Botulinum Toxin in Neurological Practice; Ljubjana, Slovenia; September 5, 2014; Course Director: Prof. Zvezdan Pirtosek Co-director: Prof. Carlo Colosimo
  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Movement Disorders; Budapest, Hungary; September 11-12, 2014; Course Directors: Dr. Norbert Kovács, Dr. Gertrúd Tamás and Prof. Jens Volkmann
  • Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease and Other Parkinsonian Syndromes in Clinical Practice; Athens, Greece; October 3-4, 2014; Course Directors: Dr. Maria Stamelou and Dr. Georgia Xiromerisiou
  • 50 Years of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy; Munich, Germany; October 9-10, 2014; Course Directors: Prof. Guenther Hoglinger and Prof. Carlo Colosimo
  • Movement Disorders and Sleep; Milan, Italy; October 2014; Course Director: Prof. Luigi Ferini-Strambi
  • Teaching Course on Diagnosis and Treatment of Cognitive Dysfunction in Movement Disorders; Newcastle upon Tyne, UK;  November 6-7, 2014; Course Directors: Prof. David Burn, Dr. Roger Barker, Prof. Murat Emre and Prof. Angelo Antonini

We are proud to emphasize the success of the MDS-ES Winter and Summer Schools which are among the most emblematic educational initiatives of our Section. MDS-ES received 150 applications to attend the 2014 MDS-ES Winter Course organized this February in Belgrade, Serbia, with the help of Prof. Vladimir Kostić and his team. The future 2014 and 2015 Summer and Winter Schools are planned in Barcelona, Prague, Lisbon, Tel Aviv and Aarhus. We are expecting many attendees at these courses.

The MDS-ES continues our commitment to supporting education to individuals living in areas with limited access to resources. For example, Developing World Education Programs supported by the MDS-ES are being organized in Bulgaria, Moldova, Morocco, Russia and Ukraine this year. We’re also holding Winter School this year in Belgrade, Serbia at which 20 bursaries were awarded to students from underserved areas of our region. We plan to offer bursaries at our future Summer and Winter Schools as well. Lastly, the MDS-ES is supporting four fellowships for individuals from Armenia, Cameroon, Egypt and Tunisia this year. The MDS-ES will continue to look for opportunities to support education throughout our region, and we look forward to expanding the reach of our programs. 

Apart from these educational activities, another important issue that has occupied the Executive Committee of the European Section during the last few months refers to the future relationship between the MDS-ES and the European Academy of Neurology (EAN). For the past 10 years, the MDS-ES has been partnering successfully with the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS) to manage and organize initiatives related to movement disorders, including teaching courses and related sessions at the EFNS Annual Congresses, fellowship programs and scientific issues.

As many of you are aware, the EFNS and the European Neurological Society (ENS) have worked successfully to merge. EFNS and ENS will be holding a Joint Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, May 31-June 3, 2014. On the occasion of this congress, the EAN will be officially created as a new organization bringing together and replacing EFNS and ENS. The first Congress of the EAN will take place a year later, in 2015, in Berlin. It is therefore time to anticipate how the MDS-ES and EAN will collaborate in the future.

I am pleased to announce that following very positive discussions between the MDS-ES and the EFNS/ENS Transition Task Force, the MDS-ES Executive Committee unanimously recommended that we should maintain the model of the existing partnership with EFNS up to the 2015 EAN inaugural Congress in Berlin. Dr. Stern, as the President of MDS, approved this position and co-signed with me the extension of our contract. Preparations of the 2015 EAN scientific program are therefore underway. Further negotiations referring to 2016 and beyond are scheduled as soon as the EAN Board is officially elected later this year at the congress in Istanbul. The MDS-ES will continue these negotiations with the same spirit and with the hope that we’ll renew this fruitful collaboration on the model of the previous one.   

Also in response to the discussion at the strategic retreat, it was decided that MDS-ES should encourage connections between existing research networks focused on Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders at the national level. We anticipate an increase in EU-based funding opportunities for coordinated research activities, and the European Section would then like to facilitate national networks to meet together.  Prof. Huw Morris and I are in the process of identifying such networks in the different European countries, and we welcome their contributions. MDS-ES is also planning to organize a one hour meeting with these networks this June during the MDS International Congress in Stockholm, and we expect that colleagues involved in or representing such networks will take advantage of this initiative to share experience and discuss potential common objectives. 

Other exciting and important issues are also being considered within the Section. Ways to reinforce our partnership with patient associations are under discussion, on the occasion, for example, of World Parkinson’s Day. Further collaborations with the MDS Task Force on Africa, chaired by our colleague Prof. Richard Walker, are encouraged in order to increase the opportunities of young neurologists from underserved countries profiting from the MDS-ES educational initiatives. We also hope for greater interactions with the Pan-American and Asian and Oceanian MDS Sections in order to share experiences and eventually replicate successful initiatives initiated in each Section. 

In closing, 2014 should be a special year for the MDS-ES. Our educational program is expending and remains, as from its very beginning, a successful and attractive model, thanks to the commitment, efficacy and enthusiasm of the MDS-ES Education Committee and the support of the MDS Secretariat. The year 2014 will also be key regarding our future collaboration with the European Academy of Neurology. Finally, as you all know, this June, Europe will host the International Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorders Congress in Stockholm. I am sure that many members of the MDS-ES will attend it to enjoy an exciting scientific program, and I expect  that such a program will encourage many European colleagues to attend and become new MDS-ES members.

Look forward to seeing you all there.


Olivier Rascol
Chair, MDS European Section