Mont Saint Michel 2007

Sept 26-30th 2007

The 2007 Scientific meeting of the Anglo French Medical Society and the Association Médicale Franco Britannique was held in the Hotel Mercure, Saint Michel, Normandy, France, between 26th and 29th September 2007.

The scientific programme was, as usual, wide ranging: we were treated to a discourse from Mike Kelly into how modern post graduate examinations are established with the aim of “building houses” rather than “collecting stamps”; Nicola Strickland reminded us all how to interpret a chest radiograph in a structured professional manner. A wide ranging discussion occurred after Bruno Magnin’s talk on “La cardiologie vue par un gériatre” when the full range of primary and secondary treatments available to treat cardiac dysfunction in the elderly were discussed, in particular, the need for appropriate anti thrombotic agents. Richard Taylor brought a higher level of culture to complete the first part of the morning with a discourse on the depiction of polydactyly in many paintings and sculptures through the ages. After the café pause, Jean-Louis Large discussed the modern treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee with hyaluronic acid injections. This author was extremely surprised at the relatively inexpensive cost of radiology and magnetic resonance imaging in France! Colin Mumford presented an extremely interesting case of polio presenting in the late 20th century secondary to live attenuated polio vaccine. Annie Guezennac completed the session with her study on the diabetic population of the Ile de la Réunion.

Friday 28th September 2007 gave us an insight into gynaecological issues in France with Pascale Mace discussing the screening of cervical cancer in France with Anne Claire Guyard discussing another “French paradox”: contraception is used widely in France but the number of abortions remains stubbornly constant. John Bevan presented his talk on ‘le syndrome des anticorps antiphospholipids (Syndrome de Hughes). Professor Michel Claudon gave us an update on the use of ultrasound including a discussion on the usefulness of 4D images of foetuses as well as the use of small air bubbles which can improve the quality of the ultrasound images. The James Tudor prize was a closely fought contest between Omar Mirza and Carl Reynolds (see separate article for details of their presentations) and we congratulate Carl Reynolds on winning the prize which is to attend the Plymouth meeting in 2008 with a partner, all expenses paid. The AGM of each branch of the AFMS/AMFB was held; the minutes are printed separately. Of particular note is the enthusiasm with which life membership was conferred onto Mark Cottrill, our founder member, who now intends to take a back seat.

On the 29th September, Patricia Hanna and Michel Dubuisson presented discussions on both the British (mainly English) and the French health service systems, which generated a lot of debate. Carol Barton presented an interesting vignette on polcythaemia presenting with a discoloured foot and we finished off the session with a highly entertaining discussion of English and French words for Mad, Drunk, and Dead!

As usual, a convivial atmosphere existed throughout the conference and the Gala Dinner was a particular success with live musical entertainment and excellent food. Roger Celestin, our first president, gave a glowing tribute to our founder member and now retired hon. Sec. Mark Cottrill; he has kindly written an article for this newsletter. Andrew Hassan, our current president, presented Mark with a digital SLR camera as a token of our appreciation for his commitment to the AFMS over its 24 years.

The Social Programme was, as usual, varied and very informative and interesting. Trips educated attendees on the cultivation of oysters and the ancient manuscripts written by the Benedictine monks of Mont St. Michel. An Abbey visit was of course de rigueur and absolutely fascinating. The walk across the bay for the young, not so young and brave was well attended with some, including the author taking an easier option of a horse-drawn carriage ride. The AFMS would like to thank the President of the AFMB Michel Dubuisson along with all the local contributors in France for a fantastic meeting.