I’m Brian Dickie, Director of Research at the MND Association. One of my jobs is to co-ordinate the programme for the Symposium.
As regular delegates to the Symposium will know, the meeting is accompanied by several satellite meetings and workshops. This year is no exception – in fact it’s the busiest one yet!
In addition to the regular satellites, such as the Allied Professionals’ Forum, the WFN Research Group and the European ALS/MND Consortium, we have some additional one-off free workshops which I would encourage those interested to attend.
Following on from Symposium Session 6A: New Aspects of the BMAA Hypothesis, Profs Walter Bradley and Paul Cox have organised a follow-up satellite and discussion on Environmental Cyanobacteria, BMAA and ALS, to be held on Thursday 1st Dec at 6pm (Level 3, Ballroom B).
The BMAA story has been around for many years but the more recent identification of sources of BMAA across the world – and not just on Guam – is generating new interest in its potential role as an environmental predisposing factor. In addition, the fact that BMAA can be incorporated into proteins provides an interesting pathogenic hypothesis. If substitution of a single amino acid (for example in SOD1 mutations) can cause MND, then could long-term, low level incorporation of BMAA into the amino acid chain similarly cause protein misfolding and disruption of function/aggregation, especially in neurons which have to last a lifetime. Come along and find out where the BMAA story is heading!
Many healthcare professionals will be interested in Bridget Taylor’s plenary presentation ‘Addressing issues of sexuality in terminal disease’ in Session 2B, on Wednesday 30th Nov. For those wishing to learn more about this tricky subject, Bridget will be holding a follow-up, interactive workshop titled ‘Talking about sexuality: overcoming the barriers when talking to patients’ on Thursday 1st Dec at 8.30 am.
The workshop will explore practitioners’ concerns and fears about broaching the subject with MND patients and their partners, as well as identifying strategies for addressing this sensitive subject in the context of daily professional practice. Please note: this workshop is limited to 50 participants, so booking is essential. To reserve your place, please contact Deanna Packham (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It looks like being a busy time in Sydney – look forward to seeing you there!