Neurology in the spotlight

In this latest in our series on the new look Congress 2008, Louise Hunt explains what the neurology programme has to offer.

The neurology strand at Congress 2008 will focus on the way forward for physiotherapy in light of advances in treatment. Eminent speakers in their respective fields will lead the debates. The event is organised by the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology, but strand lead Siobhan MacAuley said other specialist interest groups were involved in order to engage physios in specialisms such as oncology, paediatrics, management and the community. ‘The neurology strand will take the therapist through aspects of normal human movement and how that movement may be altered by pathology,’ Ms MacAuley said. ‘We will also look at recent advances in medicines that change the course of conditions, and the implications that these might have for therapists, and the importance of a solid evidence base to support our practice,’ she added. Delivering the keynote lecture will be Anne Shumway Cook, professor emeritus at the department of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on the physiologic basis for balance and mobility disorders in neurology and geriatric populations, and she will discuss how this work translates into evidence-based clinical strategies. Also speaking on human movement are Dr Margaret Mayston, former director of the Bobath Centre in London and a senior lecturer at University College London, and Dr Paulette Van Vliet, research fellow at the University of Birmingham, who will share research on the temporal condition of reach and grasp in stroke patients and effects of different types of feedback on motor learning after stroke.    The focus then moves to limiting neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis patients and how this impacts on physiotherapy. This topic will be led by Alistair Compston, professor of neurology and head of the department of clinical neurosciences at the University of Cambridge. ‘The change and progress in the last 10 years of the disease-modifying therapies for MS have changed the way for rehab therapists,’ said Ms MacAuley. ‘As disease progression is stemmed, we as therapists will need to ensure the effectiveness of rehabilitation.’ The use of physio in MS rehab will be further explored by researcher Dr Jenny Freeman, from the University of Plymouth. The importance of getting evidence-based research published in quality journals will be covered by professor Domhnall MacAuley, a GP, epidemiologist, and clinical editor of the BMJ. Neurology strand organisers have worked closely with the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Oncology and Palliative Care for part of the programme. Diz Hackman, clinical specialist physio at the Royal Marsden hospital, will present the findings of her study into the patient perspective of rehab following a brain tumor.  Jakko Brouwers, superintendent physio with the specialist rehabilitation physiotherapy team, Cardiff and Vale trust, will tackle the challenging topic of managing resources more effectively, and, in particular, will share his experience of introducing ‘lean thinking’ to his team. Nicola Hancock, immediate past honorary chair of ACPIN and member of the Royal College of Physicians’ intercollegiate stroke working party, will present the National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke 2008 and their key messages for physiotherapy.  
Louise Hunt

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