Authors: Diana de Sousa and Antje Schmidt

Since its inception in 2011, the European Stroke Science Workshop has become a cornerstone of ESO’s academic activities and a true “must go” for researchers in the field. This year, ESO convened again > 120 stroke experts to the Eibsee near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany to discuss hot topics in clinical, translational and basic stroke research.

The workshop, chaired by Martin Dichgans (Munich, Germany), Stephanie Debette (Bordeaux, France) and Daniel Strbian (Helsinki, Finland) was opened with an evening lecture by Craig Anderson (Sydney, Australia) addressing “efficiency of clinical trial endpoints in stroke”.

The subsequent scientific programme included the following 7 sessions, which all started with a keynote lecture that provided and overview of the topic and set the scene for four focussed talks:

  • Session I: Acute stroke treatment and endovascular therapy, keynote lecture by Carlos Molina (Barcelona, Spain): Acute stroke treatment and endovascular therapy. The motto of this session was “Treat fast, treat smart”.
  • Session II: Small vessel disease, keynote lecture by Costantino Iadecola (New York, USA): Current mechanistic concepts.
    Despite all the considerable increase in the understanding of small vessel disease, the role of hypertension is always one of the main messages.
  • Session III: Opportunities for stroke research in the omics area, keynote lecture by Nilesh Samani (Leicester, UK): Clinical applications of genetics to cardiovascular disease.
    The role of genetics for identification of disease mechanisms, causality of biomarkers and risk prediction were some of the topics covered in this wonderful journey through the genetics of cardiovascular disease.
  • Session IV: Vascular cognitive impairment, keynote lecture by Edo Richard (Amsterdam, Netherlands): Multidomain interventions for dementia prevention. In this interesting lecture the need to invest in better intermediate outcome measures for clinical trials in this field was particularly emphasized.
  • Session V: Intracerebral and subarachnoid haemorrhage, keynote lecture by Thorsten Steiner (Frankfurt, Germany): Blood pressure in acute ICH: Do we need additional trials after INTERACT2 and ATACH-II?
    At the end of a fruitful discussion the need for a new trial using a fast acting agent, given within 3 hours in a selected group of patients was mostly accepted.
  • Session VI: Summarizing the evidence and alternative treatment concepts, keynote lecture by Krassen Nedeltchev (Aarau, Switzerland): PFO closure – time to close the discussion?
    Indeed this presentation has opened the room for a participated discussion on this most current topic.
  • Session VII: Neural Circuits, Recovery, and Rehabilitation, keynote lecture by Christian Grefkes (Cologne, Germany): Non-invasive brain stimulation after stroke: Hope or hype.
    In this session the most recent advances in the field were reviewed, bringing without doubt hope for the future of recovery and rehabilitation.
  • In a focussed talk, George Ntaios (Larissa, Greece) announced the upcoming updated ESO guidelines as a highlight to be expected for 2018. Beyond, he raised awareness for the ESO guideline app as a useful tool for us to stay in line with the current recommendations.

Furthermore, our current president Valeria Caso (Perugia, Italy) introduced Keith Muir (Glasgow, UK) as future ESSW chair and she passed on the objective of further promoting active participation of women. – Thank you Valeria, we really appreciate your commitment with gender equality in stroke science!

In a Friday evening-special lecture, Thomas Fraps (Munich, Germany) provided an incredibly fascinating, funny and entertaining (semi-scientific) talk on “The art and psychology of illusion – why our brains fall for deceptions”. Compared to all other speakers, he achieved a highly significant increase in roaring laughter among the audience.

Altogether, the 4th European Stroke Science Workshop was an absolutely successful event with brilliant talks in a pleasant environment at the Eibsee.

The complete scientific programme can be accessed via the following link.