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International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
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        VOLUME 28, ISSUE 1 • March, 2024.  Full issue »

5th PAS Congress highlights ‘new era’ of technology in the field

The 5th Pan American Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Congress was, for the first time ever, in Latin America in Cartagena, Colombia, on February 9-11, 2024. 

The 5th PAS Congress served to inspire our collective journey through communication and education between clinicians and researchers across various levels of training, and to disseminate updated knowledge about Movement Disorders in the region — with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life of patients and their families. 

The Congress theme was “A new era of technology for Movement Disorders in the Americas,” which served as a springboard for several sessions to review the progress and challenges related to the integration of different technologies into the care and research of patients with movement disorders. 

There were 560 participants representing 29 countries of the Pan American region who traveled to Cartagena to learn and celebrate the Congress with an exciting program composed of 18 scientific sessions, one sponsored symposium, an exhibition hall, 208 accepted abstracts (4 of which were Late-Breaking abstracts), and more than 62 faculty in a well-balanced representation of the different countries in the region. The Congress featured well-attended plenary sessions, hot topics and controversies, video sessions, skills workshops, and Challenging Case Video Rounds, which are always a highlight of Congresses. Forty scholarships and travel grants were awarded ($1,000 USD for each) to aid fellows, soon-to-be fellows, and authors of highly scored abstracts with the cost of travel and attendance to the PAS Congress.

The themes included wearables and sensors to capture and monitor movement, genetic technologies, neuroimaging analyses, and treatment modalities like neuromodulation, focused ultrasound, infusion therapies, pumps and patches to deliver medications, and the increasing role of artificial intelligence in clinical care and research.

In an effort to break down barriers and enhance equity and global access to education within the region, live Spanish translation of all plenary sessions was a novelty this year. Another important first for the 5th PAS Congress was the 3rd Movement Disorders Clinical Practice (MDCP) Conference, which was immediately after the last plenary session, to offer the opportunity to learn from the MDCP editors and other renowned experts about more effectively documenting and reporting clinical observations. 

The PAS Congress also gave particular emphasis to original research data submitted by researchers in the region, who were welcomed to submit an e-poster PDF to be featured in a supplemental virtual booklet. A selection of highly scored abstracts were presented in 4 guided poster tours to give more visibility to the research work and to foster network collaborations within the region.

A very special recognition of the Congress Program Scientific Committee was the bestowing of this year's PAS Leadership Award to Prof. Francisco Cardoso. This award is given each year to an outstanding leader and contributor in the field of Movement Disorders within the MDS-Pan American Section. Prof. Cardoso, Professor of Neurology in the Movement Disorders Unit at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has strongly supported the Society in many roles, chairing many committees and task forces, and serving as MDS Secretary, Chair of the Pan American Section and, most notably, the immediate Past-President of the Society. As Past-President, he continues to lead many important projects for the Society’s mission of providing education and better care for patients with movement disorders. 

We want to express our deepest gratitude to the members of the MDS-PAS that joined us in the CSPC (led by one of us, Cecilia): Gabriel Arango (Colombia), Susan Fox (Canada), Hyder Jinnah (USA), Sara Pirio-Richardson (USA), Emilia Gatto (Argentina), Antonio Strafella (Canada), Jose Luiz Pedroso (Brazil), Laura Silveira-Moriyama (Brazil), Mario Cornejo Olivas (Peru), and Victor Fung (Australia), who developed the program and served as liaisons for the sessions; and also to the speakers and chairs who worked together to ensure an optimal learning experience; and finally to the MDS Secretariat, particularly to Maddy Kolb, Shannon Fraaza, Kate Hausner, Annette Schott, Jenny Quebbeman, and Jennie Socha for their invaluable help and professional dedication. 

We want also to extend our gratitude to supporters, exhibitors and delegates for travelling to Cartagena and helping make the 5th PAS Congress a successful and most memorable learning and networking experience.

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