Annual Meeting Chair: Ian Ramsay
Scientific Chair: Laurence Stewart
Despite the global economic recession casting gloom around the world, the 41st annual scientific meeting of the ICS (29 August – 2 September 2011) in Glasgow, Scotland was a bumper year with record attendance for an ICS-only annual meeting. Almost 3,000 people from 70 countries descended on friendly and welcoming Scotland for this multidisciplinary event. Many congratulations are due to Ian Ramsay and his local organising committee for this excellent result. The publicity it generated will help to focus attention on incontinence, raise awareness and remove stigmas in the host country as well as worldwide. A big thank you is also due to Laurence Stewart and the Scientific Committee for their hard work, and likewise to the ICS Office staff who handled thousands of emails and phone calls from abstract authors and organised every aspect of the final programme. The 1,025 abstracts submitted were also an ICS meeting record: 908 of these were accepted and 287 presented in podium session (38), video session (9), and poster sessions (240). This is a very encouraging achievement.
Well-attended workshops and courses
In recent years, the days preceding the start of the meeting have become increasingly busy with extensive programmes organised by the ICS Nursing and Physiotherapy committees, followed by a wide range of educational workshops and courses spanning two days. In Glasgow, a total of 48 workshops and courses were organised, attended by 1,793 delegates. This continues to be a very popular aspect of the annual meeting with a number of workshops fully booked. Two courses and one workshop were webcast and can be viewed online.
The three excellent and very different state-of-the-art lectures were all webcast and can be enjoyed online by everyone at their leisure. Anthony R. Mundy (Urology, London) presented the Eric Glen lecture, speaking on “Surgical Management of Male SUI”, stressing the role of the artificial sphincter as a solution to the problem and noting that tissue-engineered striated sphincter looks like being a possibility in the not too distant future. Other options currently available such as slings or adjustable devices were extensively addressed in the dedicated poster and podium sessions. In the David Rowan lecture on “The ‘New’ Bladder Physiology”, James Gillespie (Human Physiology, Newcastle) focused on new insights into bladder sensation, with an emphasis on the important role of the urothelium, noting also that the overactive bladder is still not fully understood. The Tage Hald lecture by Linda Brubaker (Urogynaecology, Illinois) concerned the controversial issue of “Conflict of Interest for Physicians”. What is the role of the ICS, she asked, in conflict of interest reporting for clinicians? The best way forward for the ICS, she felt, was always to hold the highest ethical standards for dissemination of the research which will move patient care forward.
Abdel-Fattah and colleagues showed in a meta-analysis that single incision mini-slings are associated with inferior patient reported and objective cure rates compared with standard mid-urethral slings in surgical treatment of female stress urinary incontinence. This data was confirmed by many other presentations during the meeting. The award for best basic science abstract was shared this year: Aizawa et al demonstrated that the increased production of endogenous nitric oxide (NO), caused by L-Arginine administration, can inhibit the activation of mechanosensitive afferent nerves induced by bladder contractions, leading to interesting clinical implications regarding the overactive bladder. Sinha et al presented an excellent morphologic description of the external anal sphincter by ultrasound, high resolution and diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging and proposed a novel “purse string” morphology of the external anal sphincter muscle. Hagen et al (best clinical abstract award) presented their multicentre randomised trial indicating that pelvic floor muscular training can be effective in reducing prolapse symptoms and should be recommended as a first-line management for prolapse. All awards are listed elsewhere in this issue. An overview of scientific highlights of the 2011 annual scientific meeting can be found in the January 2012 issue of Neurourology & Urodynamics, while abstracts accepted for the 2011 meeting appeared in Neurourology & Urodynamics, volume 30, issue 6, 2011.
Social events, scottish dancing and exercise classes
A large number of energetic delegates took part in traditional Ceilidh dancing lessons and while others took a more relaxed approach in pelvic floor exercise classes. On the Tuesday evening, delegates poured over the footbridge spanning the famous river Clyde to attend the welcome reception at the Glasgow Science Centre where Scotland’s science, education and technology are presented in unique and inspiring ways. The packed-out, annual ICS dinner was held at The Arches, an atmospheric Victorian underground art venue located beneath Glasgow Central Station with the trains rumbling overhead. Many overseas visitors made the most of the opportunity to visit the many beautiful sights, lochs and landscapes of Scotland. But did anyone catch a glimpse of the famous Loch Ness Monster...?