5th Asian and Oceanian Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Congress

5th Asian and Oceanian Parkinson and Movement Disorders Congress (AOPMC) -  Manila, Philippines, March 11-13, 2016

- Contributed by Raymond L. Rosales, MD, PhD, MDS-AOS Secretary and AOPMC Scientific Program Committee Chair

Towing the lines of impact from previous AOPMCs in Singapore, India, Taiwan and Thailand, there is no doubt that the Philippines joined this fraternity that aims for hard work and perseverance among the Asian and Oceanian nations.  Thus, from a total of 700 foreign and local attendees, the biennial activity was rated “very good” in majority of the event-related parameters that spanned from the venue (Marriott’s Grand Ballroom), local arrangements, to the Scientific Program.

There were 64 speakers from the Asian and Oceanian region that shared expertise, and another 12 from outside the region that braved the long travel hours and tropical heat. The important roles of session Chairs and Co-Chairs cannot be understated as well. While main industry symposia commenced on March 11th, the main flow scientific program had 3 parallel sessions each on March 12th and 13th. The topics ranged from Parkinson’s disease (PD) and related aspects as non-motor manifestations, motor fluctuations and management issues. Likewise, in the parallel sessions, clinically-oriented hyperkinetic disorders, and therapies that encompassed pharmacology, botulinum injections and functional surgery were tackled. Interesting topics on engagement in clinical trials, PD palliative care and neurorehabilitation, as well as Asian movement disorder perspectives and gaps were also included. The plenary sessions on Basal Ganglia circuitry, genetics in dystonia and the unique ones in Asia definitely gathered an audience.

A total of 248 submitted posters were presented that had a variety of topics that covered PD and related disorders, including basic science and pharmacology.

On March 13th, at the same venue, 250 PD patients and caregivers came for the occasion of the 11th International Symposium of the Asian and Pacific Parkinsonism Association (APPA). Local and foreign faculty speakers were invited to discuss PD expectations, care and treatment. The APPA representatives had the opportunity to meet a day prior, in order to discuss how to fortify the association and future meetings.

5th AOPMC Highlights:

1) The Symposium for Neurologists and Emerging Researchers Grooming for Interaction and Excellence in Science (SYNERGIES) was held on March 10 with Course Directors Carolyn Sue (Australia) and Robin Wu (Taiwan) saw the very productive interactive sessions promoting international collaboration between emerging leaders in clinical and scientific research aspects of movement disorders. The course was uniquely designed to assist in the career building of talented young clinicians and scientist who are beginning their careers in Movement Disorders.

2) The Opening Ceremony on March 11 commenced with marching color guards from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Cadet Corp, bearing flags from the IPMDS, PNA (Philippine Neurological Association) and the MDSP (Movement Disorders Society of the Philippines). The Prayer songs and the Philippine National Anthem were beautifully sung in acapella by the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Glee Club. Minerva Calimag (President, Philippine Medical Association umbrella organization) gave the keynote address. MDS President, Oscar Gershanik, graced the occasion, as he appeared in a Filipino “barong” while delivering his welcome remarks alongside MDS-AOS Chair, Nobutaka Hattori, who also wore the same native formal dress. The Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, Dominic Jamora, and MDS-AOS Chair, officially opened the 5th AOPMC with banging of the traditional gong.

3) The video challenge was held on the evening of March 12, and was hosted by Janis Miyasaki and Victor Fung. The event showed action from younger MDS members, residents and fellows. There were 5 teams of two people with one pair emerging as the winners. This video tournament was made possible by the committee comprised Donna Buhat, Philippines, Han-Lin Chiang, Taiwan, Thien Thien Lim, Malaysia and Zheyu Xu, Singapore.

4) Now a tradition in AOPMC, the 2nd Philip Thompson and Yoshikuni Mizuno Lectureship awards were bestowed accordingly to Lillian Lee  (Topic: 4-decades in XDP) and Eng King Tan (Topic: Linking Lrrk2 with PD). 2. Two Junior Awards were presented at the AOPMC for their significant contribution to the research in the field of Movement Disorders.  Hiroyuki Todo was recognized for his work “Attenuation of antecollis increases the blood concentration level of the levodopa in patients with the Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.” Rohit Verma was recognized for his work “A comparison of depressive symptoms and sleep disturbances in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson plus syndrome.” Both the named lectureship awards personally came to give the awards together with MDS-AOS Chair and AOPMC Scientific Program Committee Chair.

We do thank our gracious sponsors in the Platinum (Ipsen, Lundbeck and Medtronics), Gold (UCB, Novartis, Abbvie), and Guided Poster Tour sponsor (Aguettant), without whose support, the event wouldn’t have been possible.

All said, the 5th AOPMC was made possible through the hard work and leadership of Dominic Jamora and his Local Organizing Committee, including the APPA team, headed by Arlene Ng.

All the rigors and efforts put, no singular person earns the credit and the accolades because truly, it was the concerted efforts of the MDS-AOS leadership and membership, backed by the MDS Secretariat and the dedicated staff behind the lines, Sarah Smith and Stephanie Dernek. Thus, the bar is set high for the 6th AOPMC to be held in 2019, because Korea will host the MDS International Congress in 2018. As we Filipinos say, “Maraming Salamat Po,” as an expression of gratitude to be part of the 5th AOPMC.

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