By Dr. Giuseppe Reale, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome

Mick Jagger used to sing “You can’t always get what you want” and, this year too, ESO Conference went virtual because of the pandemic. In the last two years, we have found a new way of keeping close to each other, shortening distances, facing everyday problems with resilience and creativity, because adaptation is in our nature.

As we did, brain readapts and reassembles too and its reorganisation is well investigated in the AS19 BRAIN REORGANISATION AND RECOVERY section of E-posters on ESOC 2021 platform (very user-friendly, as usual). Here you can find interesting results about brain network rearrangement after stroke and about physiological mechanisms that are possible future targets for stroke rehabilitation (read “Somatotopy of the interhemispheric interactions reflected in physiological mirror activity: preliminary results” by Nazarova et al.

Talking about rehabilitation, you might want to explore the AS04 CLINICAL TRIAL RESULTS – REHABILITATION & RECOVERY section. If you already know that dysphagia is the main culprit of stroke-related pneumonia, you might want to read about possible technology-based assessment and treatment of swallowing impairment, such as “Swallow safety, timings and clearance: do multiple measures detect treatment effects? Analysis from the swallowing treatment of electrical pharyngeal stimulation (STEPS) trial” by Benfield et al and “Randomised controlled feasibility trial of swallow strength and skill training with surface electromyographic biofeedback in acute stroke patients with dysphagia” by Everton et al. In the same section, interesting findings of the pilot trial “Technology-supported sitting balance therapy versus usual care in the chronic stage after stroke: a pilot randomized controlled trial” by Thijs et al provide new insights into sitting balance therapy.

Although the future seems quite pale in these hard times, remember that new technologies, informatics and artificial intelligence are getting stronger and stronger and can provide new diagnostic and prognostic tools. You might want to discover with Cognard et al how “Electrical impedance spectroscopy can be used to differentiate clot analogs of different composition” or you might want to read “A personalised recurrence stroke predictor based on artificial intelligence” by Colangelo et al in the AS35 – TECHNOLOGY INNOVATIONS: VIRTUAL REALITY, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND MORE. Artificial intelligence is investigated in the pre-hospital setting too by Lallana et al in the “Evaluation of the use of artificial intelligence as a pre-hospital tool for acute stroke diagnosis” poster.

After this brisk, virtual walk among more than 700 original contributions, we can definitely say that the ESO aim to tackle the burden of stroke, although challenged, fiercely goes on. We all hope to see each other – live – in Lyon, next year. Because, after all, Jagger continued “if you try sometime you find, you get what you need.”