A grand total of 2385 urologists, gynaecologists, epidemiologists, geriatricians, paediatricians, physicists, nurses, physiotherapists, exhibitors and media from 75 countries descended on Cairo, Egypt in October 2008 for the 38th Annual Meeting of the ICS. Sherif Mourad, 2008 Annual Meeting Chair Many thanks are due to the 2008 meeting Chair Sherif Mourad and his team for their hard work in organising this event, held for the first time in Africa. Every endeavour was made to involve health professionals from the region, including many local nurses (see Nursing Committee report by Mandy Wells, p. 8).
The ICS 2008 meeting received an unprecedented amount of local and regional publicity, varying from newspapers and magazines to extensive radio and television coverage and this will hopefully have a long-term impact on the region and North Africa. A record number of media representatives attended the interactive ICS press conference which due to language problems frequently lapsed into Arabic, with Sherif Mourad kept busy as translator!
A total of 954 abstracts were submitted for the 2008 meeting with 642 accepted, 271 rejected and 41 withdrawn. There were 536 posters (112 poster presentations, 424 nondiscussion posters) on a wide range of topics.
Workshops and educational courses
In true ICS tradition, two days of workshops and educational courses preceded the scientific meeting. The 27 workshops and 12 educational courses were very well attended by no fewer than 1,213 delegates. Workshop 14: Update on the Management of Overactive Bladder Syndrome, chaired by Hashim Hashim, was the best attended workshop this year with 87 delegates, while the free Educational Course 9: Challenges to Continence Promotion in the Middle East, chaired by Diaa Rizk, was the best attended course with 64 delegates.
Scientific programme: State-ofthe-Art lectures
In the first state-of-the-art lecture on Traditional Chinese Medicine and the urinary bladder, Carl Hempen explained that while the West tends to associate traditional Chinese medicine largely with acupuncture, it is in fact herbal medicine that plays the primary role. A key message was that Chinese medicine is complex, demands a completely different cultural approach and requires expert practitioners. In his lecture on Prolapse Surgery - How to Manage Innovations, Donald Ostergard spoke on the limitations of today’s established surgery using tapes that are registered as medical products but do not require randomised controlled trials as is the case with drugs. Many people in the audience appeared to be unaware of this fact. Without evidence-based medicine, mesh procedures for prolapse should be considered experimental. He recommended keeping a critical distance from new procedures, reminding us that smart marketing should not be the reason to select a treatment. "Do not confuse medical marketing with science", was his advice.
In Stem Cells & Urinary Incontinence, James Yoo described regenerative medicine as a revolutionary form of technology in the field of biomedicine which develops biological substitutes to restore normal bodily functions. In its simplest terms, regenerative medicine comprises just three basic elements: cells and scaffolds which are implanted into patients.
In a lecture on Congenital genitourinary anomalies - from childhood to adult, Mario de Gennaro told delegates that a dramatic worldwide increase in the survival rate of infants and children with major genitourinary anomalies has produced a new generation of people with significant problems in adulthood. In particular, those with lower urinary and intestinal tracts and perineal structures, such as exstrophy, posterior urethral valve or anorectal defects, face major challenges as they mature into young adults. These children should be treated in experienced centres to achieve the best possible results and to successfully deal with complications that may appear later.
Review of scientific programme in Neurourology & Urodynamics Please note that a detailed review of the scientific programme in Cairo can be found in Neurourology & Urodynamics, volume 28, issue 1, pages 2-7.
The webcasts include an educational course and a selection of workshop presentations, podium, poster, round table and state-ofthe- art presentations as well as satellite symposia. Webcasts can be accessed via the ICS home page.
At the ICS annual general meeting, following voting online and voting at the AGM, important changes were passed, a new General Secretary was appointed and a much larger board of Trustees replaced the former advisory board. This places the ICS on a firmer and positive footing for the future and, according to ICS Trustee Ajay Singla, "it is now moving in the right direction to achieve our common goals". The society is not only multi-disciplinary, but also has a truly international character.
The social programme was greatly enjoyed and gave delegates a flavour of Egypt’s ancient culture including traditional Egyptian dances. The gala evening, dining under the stars at the foot of the ancient pyramids of Giza, was an unforgettable experience.
Many delegates took advantage of the occasion to visit the famous antiquities from Ancient Egypt. In Cairo itself, the Egyptian Museum - with its spectacular display from Tutankhamun’s burial chamber and the deeply impressive royal mummy room - attracted much attention.
The meeting ended with the 2nd Public Forum organised by the ICS Continence Promotion Committee in conjunction with the Pan Arab Continence Society, a review of which is given elsewhere in this newsletter.
Thanks to ICS office staff
The exceptionally busy ICS booth in Cairo run by the ICS office staff was a focus of attention and many thanks are due to the ICS office staff for all their hard work.
Reviewers: Jane Meijlink, Daniela Marschall-Kehrel, Hashim Hashim, Jerzy Gajewski, Katherine Moore