Cardiff 2018

Cardiff Conference – 2018

Our conference in Cardiff in late September was a great success with a comprehensive scientific programme and a highly enjoyable social programme culminating in our gala dinner atCardiff’s prestigious City Hall.

Our scientific programme began with Graeme MACKENZIE who gave a most interesting but rather disturbing, introduction to recent advances in the understanding of CJD and variant CJD. Graeme presented the history of CJD research and understanding, including Kuru, from the first descriptions in 1921, then the story ofthe Mad Cow episode in the 90‘s. It appeared possible, untilrecently, to differentiate sporadic from variant CJD on M RI, but there are now very rare cases of vCJD which seem to show rather similar MRI appearances to sporadic, and these may be in patients with less common variations in the prion proteins (methionine and valine in one particular site). It may lead to a second wave of cases, but probably quite small.
Marion SOICHOT gave a very interesting review of the importance of local/personal factors in illegal drug use. Marion is a biologist in Paris and is involved in the rapid assessment of samples from patients in her local area. These may be in the Urgences, checking of treated addicts, or even at clubs and raves. In addition, potential drug mules passing through Orly can be screened.
Michael KELLY gave another of his excellent reviews of the improvements in the care of patients with low GI tumours. In his professional lifetime, the 5 year survival rate has gone from 25% to 58%, largely due to improvements of treatment, but also rapidity and standardisation of care, particularly with the introduction of multi-disciplinary teams.
Izhar KHAN gave a fascinating historical review of the gradual acceptance and understanding of the 2-way link between renal disease and hypertension. Bright described nephrotic and nephritic disease with the hard and full pulse. Gull showed possible resistance to blood flow through the kidney. Dr F H H Akbar Mohamed, grandson of an immigrant from Patna and an Irish woman, the first part-Indian consultant in Guys, published on variation of blood pressure in Bright’s disease and then on high bloodpressure without proteinuria, effectively essential hypertension, in the 1880s.

Corinne MATUSSIERE presented on the comparison of emergency care UK and France. Corinne spent a week with John Altrip and discovered that the patients, the problems and the treatment facilities, are very comparable but was surprised by the differences in recovery of victims. Specialist nurses with advanced training were a new experience. Workload in both countries has increased dramatically in recent years, even more so in the UK, as the availability of GP services has diminished.

We are always delighted to have a presentation from Laurent GUYOT who talked about facial reconstruction. He demonstrated clearly the major problems involved in facial reconstructive surgery with the complication of hard and soft tissues, including the existence of the teeth creating a unique link from the outside to the facial bones. He showed us complex graft surgery for major central facial trauma or tumour, for example fibular flap (lambeau) reconstruction of mandible, pectoral graft to mouth.

The student presentations were as ever astonishingly professional. A very close competition for the James Tudor prize between: Roxanne PRUVOST, Alyss ROBINSON, Julian LELANDAIS, Bénédicte SJOLFLOT and Caitlin SHEEHY,
( Combined ) Olga ZELGADO and Freya MILLER, saw Alyss just pip the others to first place. The AFMS would like to thank the students for the quality of their presentations and the work they put in for our conference.

Col. Kevin DAVIES, who works on behalf of the Halo Trust, presented on “Getting mines out of the ground, for good.” Col Davies clearly showed, by multiple examples from theIvory Coast, Nagorno-Karabakh, the Ho Chi Minh trail and Kosovo, that the Trust has this firmly in mind. Removal of mines involves educating and employing local people to solve the local problems. This involves training in the actual removal and destruction of munitions but also the critical education required in safety and medical care for staff and local people, who have been damaged by these weapons, often decades after conflict ceases. Laos is a good example, where clearance of American antipersonnel mines continues 50 years after they were dropped in huge numbers. This was a remarkable lecture showing the dedication of volunteers to this most hazardous effort on behalf of others.

The James Tudor Invited Lecturer this year was Rhys DAVIES who talked about bilingualism from a very personal perspective. This was clearly an interesting topic for our societies. He went on to tell us about various forms of aphasia associated with subtly different forms of brain damage. Some patients were able to understand but not express, others unable to comprehend but with retention of memory, and yet others with lack of insight and inappropriate behaviour. With new imaging it is becoming possible to show why the different patterns exist. Treatment is not as yet so advanced, sadly. The lecture was a tour de force and received with great enthusiasm by the rapt audience.

Roger CELESTIN gave an erudite talk on Images of tuberculosis examining the links between art and consumption. So many artists, musicians, authors and poets illustrated the effects of the disease and died from it; too many to list here. The pictures were poignant as were the poems.

Meg PARKES gave a fascinating insight to the traumas suffered by POWs in the 2nd World War. The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has discovered and hunted down unknown journals and art work made in secret and at great peril during captivity during the Second Word War. The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has discovered and hunted down unknown journals and art work made in secret and at great peril, during this captivity under the Japanese. Many showed ingenious medical devices constructed by expert tradesman conscripted into the army, who used scrap metal and bamboo to make, for example, stills for clean water for medical use, blood transfusion equipment, ileostomy devices etc. Others used some of the polished rice ration to grow yeast to treat beriberi. Surgical instruments could be made from spoons. There were 130k Empire POWs in the Far East. 25% of the UK ones died of slave labour, brutality and tropical disease.

Remi BOURY is a law student, and reminded us of our responsibilities as information handlers and controllers in his presentation about Medicine, the law and the internet. Europe has adopted data protection rules based on Caldicott, under EHCR (in French CEDH). We were all aware of GDPR which came into force this year and this was a very useful refresher for us all.

Patrick HAYES is an artist and educator who teaches medical students about wider topics, using role play and literature. One area of interest is history and he talked about the massacre of the tiny village of Oradour sur Glane in 1944. He gave a very detailed and moving account of the events when an SS regiment massacred an entire village just a few days after the Normandy landings. The regiment was composed largely of soldiers conscripted from occupied Alsace-Lorraine region.

THE AGMs for both societies brought the conference to an end . If you would like a copy of the minutes, please contact Tony Ridge.

Social Programme

On the Wednesday evening, all delegates were welcomed to the hotel with a drinks reception and fine wines, complimented by a wonderful harp rendition by local musician Ben Creighton Griffiths and then an introductory talk on Cardiff by the French Consul for Wales, Marie Broussard Navarro. This set us up nicely for a walking tour the following morning and a visit to Cardiff Museum and it fine collections of art, especially French Impressionism. Thursday afternoon saw all the delegates visit St Fagans, a wonderful living museum of Wales.

On Friday morning delegates enjoyed a boat trip to Cardiff Bay. A visit to Cardiff Castle and its amazing interior after lunch, was a prequel to a wonderful evening at the City Hall for our gala dinner. We were welcomed by the Llantrisant Male Voice Choir and enjoyed further harp renditions from Ben. A truly magnificent evening.

For those who stayed Saturday, a trip to Tredegar House in Newport was followed by a farewell dinner at the hotel.