Neurology Update Meeting 2019



The Annual Neurology Update Meeting which took place this year at The Hilton Hotel, Belfast, attracted a large attendance of delegates from hospitals and institutions across Northern Ireland and from Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny, as well as from Edinburgh. For the second year, Dr Raeburn Forbes, IICN Board Member and Consultant Neurologist, County Armagh directed the meeting. The programme delivered updates on Neurogenetics, Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy, Functional disorders, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Encephalitis.    

Programme and Lectures

Professor Patrick Morrison CBE, Belfast HSC Trust, opened the day with a review of using genetics in neurological disorders.  From early observations in the 1980s of Familial Parkinson’s to using exome sequencing in 2019 to identify causes for ataxia, the audience were treated to a wide-ranging over view of the value and difficulties in modern genetic analysis.   Dr Mark McCarron, Consultant Neurologist, Western HSC Trust then gave an overview of Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy which covered pathology, genetics and clinical pearls on using anti-platelet or anti-coagulant drugs in people with CAA.   Dr McCarron used his lecture to promote the trials based in the University of Edinburgh seeking to answer questions on safety of anti-coagulants  - a common dilemma facing practising stroke clinicians.  Delegates were challenged by Professor Norman Delanty, RCSI and Beaumount Hospital on when to start or stop anti-convulsants.  The review of evidence behins stoipping medication was of immense interest to the audience and once more delegates were left with a new perspective from our own international expert.  As an aside, Professor Delanty first proposed hosting a Neurology Update Meeting 18 years ago and his contribution to this educational programme was acknowledged by the director of the meeting.

To view the Meeting programme please click the link to follow Neurology Update Meeting 2019

Professor Sarosh Irani,  Oxford Autoimmune Neurology Group, and Co-director, Oxford Autoimmune Neurology Group, Diagnostic laboratory

            Dr. Mark McCarron, Altnagelvin                 Dr. Raeburn Forbes, Craigavon                              Dr. Stanley Hawkins, Queens University  

Guest Lecture

The Guest Lecturer was introduced by Dr Karen McKnight, and was delivered by one of the emerging stars of clinical neuroscience – Professor Sarosh Irani, Associate Professor in Clinical Neurology at the University of Oxford.  He described the clinical features of the different autoimmune encephalitidies.  His lecture was a treat for the audience, and was packed full of important clinical details and reviewed the current understanding on mechanisms behind this important, treatable group of disorders. 

Dr. Karen McKnight, Craigavon Hospital

                                             Professor Sarosh Irani, Guest Lecturer

Dr. Djamil Vahidassr, Antrim Area Hospital

In the afternoon session, which was chaired by Dr Jamie Campbell, Mr Neil Simms, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Belfast HSC Trust, used data from the regional neurosurgery unit to describe the current epidemiology of aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage in Northern Ireland.  In spite of the declining incidence, he explained that this condition is still a very serious illness, but one for which interventional radiology has made a significant difference to emergency care.  He also discussed the use of stenting and ventricular shunting in selected cases.  Dr Stella Hughes is now one of the leading consultants at the Neuroinflammatory/MS Clinic in the Belfast HSC Trust.  She presented a practical lecture on the management of acute MS Relapses.  She reminded the audience that a relapse is an opportunity to make sure that treatment is optimised, offering an overview of the role of MRI and acute therapies in relapse management. 

Mr. Neil Simms, Royal Victoria Hospital
         Dr. Raeburn Forbes, Prof. Norman Delanty, Dr. Michael Kinney, Dr. Stella Hughes, Dr. Ingrid Hoeritzauer, Dr. Janice Redmond, Prof. Sarosh Irani, Dr. Mark McCarron
Dr. John McKinley, Royal Victoria Hospital

Below left: Dr. Deborah Forbes, Dr. Eoin Finegan and Dr. Stacey Li Hi Shing

                                                                                                                                      Above right:  Ms. Arlene Boyd, Ms. Charlene Clarke, Ms. Shauna Keenan,    Ms                                                                                                                               Katherine McDermott and Ms. Kathryn Regan, Clinical Physiologists at Belfast City                                                                                                                                            Hospital and Altnagelvin Hospital.


Dr. Michael Kinney, Royal Victoria Hospital

Dr. Andrew Lockhart, University Hospital Limerick

In the final session we welcomed back to Belfast Dr Ingrid Hoeritzauer, research fellow at the University of Edinburgh and now working as a clinical neurology registrar.  Dr Hoeritzauer has been working on Functional Neurological Disorders as part of her research thesis and presented an overview of the underlying psychological mechanism and approach to FND.  FND will often present to acute medical and stroke units so her lecture was of relevance to our audience many of whom work in stroke units or emergency settings.  The last lecture was on Status Epilepticus by Dr Michael Kinney – newly appointed consultant neurologist to the Belfast HSC Trust.  Dr Kinney reviewed the need to act early and escalate therapy in people with generalised status epilepticus.  He also mentioned use of newer anticonvulsants in the acute setting and described how best to approach this common neurological emergency. 

Dr. Ingrid Hoeritzauer, Edinburgh University

Dr. John McConville, Ulster Hospital; Dr. Paul Crowley, St. Luke's Hospital Kilkenny; Prof. Peter Kelly, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin

Prof. Norman Delanty, Beaumont Hospital Dublin

Prof Norman Delanty, Beaumont Hospital

Dr. Janice Redmond, St. James Hospital, Dublin and IICN Dean and Dr. Joan Moroney, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin

Prof. Peter Kelly, Mater Hospital, Dublin

Dr. Bernadette Monaghan and Dr. MIchael Doyle, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin

Dr. John McConville, Ulster Hospital.

Over 100 people attended the meeting and it could not have taken place without generous support from our sponsors to whom we wish, once more, to express our sincere thanks.

The date for the 2020 Neurology Update Meeting has not yet been fixed but will be announced on the website in the coming weeks.  We look forward to welcoming you once more.

Thank you to all our delegates for participating in an excellent update meeting and also to staff at the Hilton for their assistance.

- Dr Raeburn Forbes MD(Hons) FRCP Ed FRCP Lond
Consultant Neurologist


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