By Emanuele Spina, Neurologist at the University Naples Federico II and Flavio Giordano, Neuroradiologist at the Cardarelli Hospital

The 9th ESO ESMINT ESNR Stroke Winter School was held, in Bern, Switzerland once again from 19 – 22 April 2022.

Finally, after a long wait and great suspense due to the pandemic and the winds of war, we reached Switzerland for this fantastic Stroke Winter (or, more precisely, Spring) School in Bern!

Many of us coming from warm places confessed that one of the reasons for wanting to be there was the presence of snow in this wonderful little medieval city in the heart of Switzerland. Surprisingly, this lively place was waiting for us in its spring colours!

The theoretical part of the course was held in the “sitem-insel” building, part of the Inselspital campus, where we attended practical simulations on-site. Try to imagine all the things you would like to know about stroke, all the hidden secrets, and every tip that could help you to diagnose and treat patients in the best way possible: you will find the answers at the Stroke School in Bern.

The faculty, coming from all over the world, from Canada to Vietnam, chaired by neurologists and neuroradiologists (super-prof Gralla) put its wealth of knowledge at our disposal, going beyond the simple guidelines and indications and revealing to us the direction in which stroke research is heading.

Every morning we enjoyed lectures covering all areas of interest related to stroke: from epidemiology (women and stroke and how to organise your stroke network) to treatment (indications for IVT and EVT; treatment of intracranial stenosis and paediatric strokes) and secondary prevention (from anticoagulation to anti-aggregation). During the afternoon we were divided into small groups of neurologists and neuroradiologists. In these groups we simulated a real-life stroke pathway, from admission to choice of treatment (for neurologists), or mechanical thrombectomy on an animal model (for neuroradiologists)! A couple of hours were dedicated to students’ presentations of a challenging case in which they had been involved. The students were able to discuss their case with the other participants and two faculty members: one neurologist and one interventional radiologist. In short, nothing was left to chance or inadequately addressed. The added value of this course was the friendly atmosphere that allowed us to feel absolutely free to ask the faculty any question that was on our minds, without any kind of embarrassment.

All this happened in a very evocative setting, in which we were surrounded by beautiful mountains and even a small park with a family of bears. Each course day concluded with a social dinner, which on the last night turned into a party with a taste of Bern’s nightlife; the goal to encourage bonds between young stroke researchers from all over the world (from Honduras to Armenia) was largely satisfied!

We created a link of friendship with many colleagues, and being in Bern as a pair (neurologist and neuroradiologist) was a winning choice. The aim was to build a real “team” as in the ideal model for management of patients with acute stroke.

As well as the scientific features of the course, the organisation was perfect: hotel locations, travel passes, and social dinners were all great, making this experience unforgettable. It was a pleasure to attend the ESO Stroke Winter School in Bern: we suggest all readers apply for the next one as fast as they can!