Dispel the Myths, Regain the Balance
Annual Meeting Chair: Limin Liao
Scientific Chair: Lan Zhu
Some 2,000 delegates made their way to Beijing in October 2012 to attend the first ICS annual meeting ever to be held in China. No fewer than 526 delegates came from China itself. Limin Liao, the host societies, and the ICS can look back on an ICS 2012 meeting in China that was both a scientific and multicultural success. ICS members from around the world received an immensely friendly and warm welcome from their Chinese colleagues in Beijing and we had a unique opportunity to hear about aspects of Chinese medicine and clinical practice that we normally rarely hear about, including acupuncture and Chinese herbs and their combination today with modern medicine.
In his opening speech, Limin Liao emphasized that this meeting would bring new knowledge, technology and the promise of hope for hundreds of millions of Chinese people with incontinence. China has a female urinary incontinence prevalence rate of 31%, he said, while overactive bladder (OAB) overall prevalence is 6%. With China’s population of over 1.3 billion and an aging population, this represents a huge number of people with urinary incontinence. There was remarkable interest in the meeting on the part of the Chinese media with no fewer than 35 Chinese journalists packing the ICS press conference room, taking photos and recording interviews. This alone made the meeting immensely worthwhile as it was clear that this kind of publicity would do much to increase awareness in China. The many excellent educational and scientific sessions covering different aspects of urinary, bowel and pelvic floor disorders included three very different state-of-the-art lectures. Acupuncture expert Professor Ji-Sheng Han from Beijing looked at “Chinese Acupuncture and Translational Medicine”, showing how the ancient practice of acupuncture has been adapted for use in today’s world. When combined with anaesthetics, electroacupuncture can lead to a 20% reduction in the amount of anaesthetic needed and a 50% reduction in post-operative pain, nausea and vomiting. It was particularly interesting to hear how acupuncture is being used in the treatment of drug addicts. Ji-Sheng Han explained that this treatment has been shown to help prevent relapse and reduce levels of anxiety in methadone programmes. Studies have indicated that Transcutaneous Acupoint Nerve Stimulation (TEAS) has a mild but significant effect on both neurogenic OAB and OAB syndrome. However, the speaker noted that a great deal more research is needed into how acupuncture actually works.
The second state-of-the-art lecture concerned “Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP) and its Sexual Implications” and was presented by Professor Kristene Whitmore. She emphasized the need for a multidisciplinary approach since chronic pelvic pain can impact multiple aspects of the patient’s physical and mental health, while CPP may often be accompanied by other syndromes and disorders involving lower urinary, genital, gastro-intestinal and musculoskeletal systems. Delegates received much practical advice from “The Place of Laparoscopy in Prolapse Surgery” lecture, presented by Professor Jan Deprest. Contrary to usual custom, questions and comments were permitted after this state-of-the-art lecture, resulting in a lively discussion of this topic.
A highlight of the week was the “Norman Zinner Memorial Debate – the ICS Standardisation of OAB, DO terminology 10 years on: Are we barking up the wrong tree?”, based on a paper written by the late Norman Zinner in Neurourology & Urodynamics in 2011 in which he stated: “OAB is misleading because it makes it too easy for clinicians to feel they have made a diagnosis when they have not. In so doing, it curtails further thinking and does not promote the scientific pursuit of fact.” Five speakers looked at existing definitions and terminology from different points of view, including the controversial 2002 definition of “urgency” and how this changed over the years. While all speakers expressed different views, it was largely concluded that terminology and definitions for OAB are perhaps not achieving what they were intended to achieve and need re-examining. A clear task here for the ICS Standardisation Steering Committee! Equally popular was the Neurourology Round Table which looked at amazing recent advances in neurourology in the field of basic science, brain imaging, neuromodulation, nerve rerouting and tissue engineering. Experts in the field together created a comprehensive picture of the current situation in neurourology and a glimpse into what the future may bring.
The opening ceremony and social events gave delegates a glimpse of Chinese culture including a traditional mask changing dance, music played on traditional Chinese instruments and a breathtaking demonstration of Kung Fu. The ICS Annual Dinner was held at the famous Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium, a stunning piece of architecture that really does look like a gigantic bird’s nest. On the Thursday morning, sixty-four enthusiastic participants, including meeting chair Limin Liao, rose at dawn to take part in the ICS Olympic Run starting at 6 am. while other delegates snuggled guiltily under the covers for another hour or two!
Meet-the-experts lunches proved very popular again, attracting 150 delegates. Information about the meetings organised by the Nursing and Physiotherapy committees in Beijing and the CPC Public Forum can be found in ICS News January 2013, Volume 9, Issue 1.
Many congratulations are due to all the organisers and the ICS office staff for the immensely hard work that went into this annual scientific meeting in China.
Further information about the scientific sessions can be found in the first issue of Neurourology & Urodynamics in 2013, issue 32.1, under “What was hot at the ICS 2012”.
Webcasts of the state-of-the-art lectures and selected other highlights can be found on ICS-TV: www.youtube.com/ICStelevision