Members of the International Society of Neuropathology (ISN) sometimes ask me where do our dues go and what does the ISN actually do with them, so I thought that it would be useful to provide a brief update on some of our recent activities and invite feedback.
The ISN was created to foster collaborations between the national neuropathology societies, promote the exchange of information between neuropathologists and the advancement of neuropathology globally. We are trying to achieve these aims by a variety of means as shown by some recent examples.
Travel awards: We offer a range of awards to allow young neuropathologists from economically disadvantaged countries to attend international educational meetings and visit other departments. In the last 2 years we have approved 13 awards to applicants from a number of countries, including Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, China, Mozambique, Indonesia and India. We hope that these experiences will allow the individuals to expand their neuropathology knowledge and inspire them to develop local neuropathology services for the benefit of their patient populations.
Educational meetings: Led by Dr Francesco Scaravilli, and with additional financial support of the Japanese and British Societies of Neuropathology, the ISN has been developing an out-reach programme, whereby at the invitation of local organisers, a group of international experts visit an area where neuropathology is not well developed and provide a series of lectures to improve local knowledge and understanding of our speciality. These ‘information days’ target a wide audience, including clinicians and basic neuroscientists, and aim to demonstrate what neuropathology can provide for the local clinical service, teaching and research community. Meetings so far have been held in Bulgaria, Turkey, Indonesia and South Africa. (Please see neuropathology training and development page for updates).
Publications: The society journal, Brain Pathology, ably led by Dr Arie Perry and his team for the past 8 years, has been very successful with its emphasis on disease mechanisms, regular reviews, symposia on topical issues and the popular ‘case of the month’ series edited by Dr Ron Hamilton. Chief editorship has just been passed over to Dr Seth Love and we look forward to the continued success of the journal under his guidance. In partnership with Wiley-Blackwell the ISN produces a series of ‘pathology and genetics’ neuropathology books. Drs Francoise Grey and Katy Keohane, have taken over from Dr Roy Weller as book series editors and are continuing to expand and update this excellent series. Thanks to the generous contributions of the individual book editors and all of the chapter contributors, these books provide neuropathologists (and other neuroscientists) with an up-to-date resume of the latest advances in the rapidly evolving understanding of the pathology and genetics of these disorders. Recent editions include: Neurodegeneration: The molecular pathology of dementia and movement disorders (2nd edition) 2011; Muscle disease: Pathology & Genetics (2nd edition) 2013; Peripheral Nerve Disorders: Pathology & Genetics 2014; Developmental Neuropathology (2nd edition) due 2015. A number of these books have been donated by the ISN to centres in economically disadvantaged countries. In addition, through a philanthropic arrangement between the ISN and Wiley-Blackwell, Brain Pathology contributes to the free provision of the journal to over 3,500 institutions in countries that would not otherwise be able to afford it.
International meetings: International Congresses of Neuropathology are held every 4 years and provide a forum for neuroscientists and neuropathologists from across the World to interact and learn together. The most recent meeting (14-18th September 2014) was in the beautiful location of Rio de Janeiro and offered an exciting programme covering a wide range of neuropathology topics including: updates on gliomas, epilepsy-related tumours and paediatric brain tumours with discussion on the future WHO classification; the roles of stem cells in neuroscience; classification of cortical dysplasias; prion-like mechanisms in neurodegeneration; neuropathology of C9ORF72 mutations; microvascular neuropathology; new entities in neuroinflammation; an update on myopathology; chronic traumatic encephalopathy; the neuropathology of autism. The meeting was a great success thanks to the many contributors and the excellent organisation by Drs Leila Chimelli and Gustavo Sevlever.
With financial support from the STOPbraintumors Foundation of the Netherlands, the ISN sponsored a meeting to review the use of genetic testing in the classification and grading of tumours of the nervous system. The meeting, held in Haarlem earlier this year and attended by 27 experts from 10 countries, has produced a clear and practical set of consensus guidelines that will be used to inform the 4th WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system due in 2016.
The ISN would not be able to function without the support and participation of its many active members and affiliated societies. The financial success of our publications, resulting from the donation of much free time by the editors and numerous contributors, and the successful partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, has provided the ISN with a reliable income. In view of this new financial security, the ISN council has agreed to freeze society membership contributions and plans to extend its bursaries/travel award schemes and to make a greater contribution to the success of future international congresses. However, we would welcome ideas from our members on other ways that we can use our income to become more effective in achieving our aims. Any suggestions can be fed back either via your national councillors or directly to me.
David Hilton September 2014
Secretary General of the International Society of Neuropathology
(Article published in Brain Pathology November 2014)