By Dr Giuseppe Reale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma – member of ESO YSPR Committee.
Oslo has been repeatedly appointed as one of the most liveable cities in the world; before coming to Oslo, I wondered whether the 5th European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress would have been so too for stroke physicians and researchers. After 4 days of interesting sessions, teaching courses, symposia, my answer is definitely yes.
In the opening presidential symposium, it was acknowledged the increasing burden of cerebrovascular diseases and the need to tackle it. Moreover, it has been remarked the breakthrough importance of the new ICD classification of Cerebrovascular diseases, that are now classified within the Diseases of the nervous system, thanks to the restless work and efforts of many stroke experts among years. The aforementioned results have boosted a new interest towards stroke research. This was tangible during EAN Conference, that provided the attenders with five oral sessions on cerebrovascular diseases, ten ePosters sessions, six ePresentations sessions, several teaching and interactive courses. Moreover, stroke had a primary role in several symposia, including the eminent Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard lecture on translational cerebrovascular research by Prof. Ulrich Dirnagel. This is just to provide some numbers, but the increasing interest towards stroke was clear while talking with colleagues during pauses and mealtimes. I think that a not marginal part of this is attributable to the continuous cooperative efforts made by EAN and European Stroke Organisation (ESO), that should be always encouraged. In fact, cerebrovascular diseases and other neurological disorders should not be considered as separate entities, because they share more than might appear. This was clear attending several “extra-cerebrovascular” session, from basic research concerning neuro-inflammation to the genetic vasculopathies, from clinical neurophysiology of brain networks to management of focal seizures, from mitochondria to endothelium.
Rewording Professors Shakir and Norrving Editorial on Lancet about the new ICD classification of stroke, no one should feel exiled any more. And, in this period of walls, building bridges appears to be the most appropriate message to spread.