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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

The Society of British Neurological Surgeons (SBNS) Autumn Meeting 2018

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September 2018 saw the Society of British Neurological Surgeons (SBNS) joining forces with the Association of British Neurologists (ABN) to provide an inspiring conference that embodied the current atmosphere of increasing collaboration between the varied fields of medicine, for the benefit of all.

The elder statesmen of neurosurgery (for in those days, it was all men) remembered a time when neurosurgeons rarely even spoke to the neurologists working in their own hospital! Yet now, weekly multidisciplinary meetings are well established throughout the NHS and decisions about the best way to treat each patient are made jointly between neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuro-oncologists and other health professionals involved in their care.

There has been an explosion in surgical technology and the conference was well supported by a wide range of companies displaying everything from intra-operative MRI (live scans during neurosurgery) to new materials that can be used to replace sections of skull that may need to be removed to allow access to the brain.

The delicate balance between technology and surgical skill was explored by the President Elect of SBNS, Mr Neil Kitchen, in his Sir Victor Horsley Lecture entitled “The art and craft of neurosurgery.” As well as an overview of the history of neurosurgery, he and other speakers explored the important role of the “surgeon scientist”, driving forward innovation not just in neurosurgical techniques but also in drug development and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to inform decisions and guide research.

Also presented at conference were ideas that could hold great promise for the management of seizures as well as improving current treatment protocols, and ultimately of course finding a cure for brain tumours. Neurosurgeons have a key role to play in the establishment of both clinical trials and basic research projects, which require close collaboration between clinicians and scientists.

As always collaboration is key and this conference was a worthy example of this collegiate spirit

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