AAN 2015: What You Can Expect to See, Hear, and Learn

Natalia Rost, MD, shares her thoughts on the upcoming agenda for AAN 2015.

The 2015 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting is upon us, and neurologists from both near and far can look forward to a week packed with game-changing science and innovation.

Kicking off in Washington D.C. on April 18, the eight-day conference is set to bring exciting news and learning opportunities to thousands of neurologists and associated health professionals.

Neurology Advisor spoke with Natalia S. Rost, MD, FAAN, vice-chair of the AAN Science Committee and director of acute stroke service at Massachusetts General Hospital, to get an insider’s take on the meeting’s best offerings.

Neurology Advisor: The AAN Annual Meeting has continued to grow with more neurologists attending the 2014 meeting than ever before. What, if any, changes can this year’s attendees expect to see to the programming and how information is delivered?

Natalia Rost, MD: This year marks yet another wave of innovation in the way the science is delivered at the annual meeting. In addition to the premier scientific sessions such as Integrated Neuroscience Sessions and the multitude of Plenary sessions, novel formats of information delivery continue to grow and include ePosters, iTalks, Emerging Science, and Poster Blitzes. The science at the AAN is abundant, dynamic, and truly cutting-edge. There is a session for everyone, whether their interest is in the latest in basic research, translational applications, or clinical trials.

NA: Are there any sessions or specialty presentations that you’re particularly looking forward to?

Rost: In addition to the abundant platform presentations and poster sessions, which I hope to attend at least in the area of my clinical expertise (stroke and vascular neurology), each day offers an exciting choice for the attendees. For those interested in cutting-edge, integrated science that’s delivered in a variety of presentation formats (expert talks, platform data blitzes, and guided poster rounds), I highly recommend Integrated Neuroscience Sessions, of which there are 12 this year. The Plenary sessions are extraordinary this year, with the talks covering nearly every area of neurology and neuroscience and include the Presidential plenary, Hot Topics, Frontiers in Neuroscience, Controversies in Neurology, Contemporary Clinical Issues, Clinical Trials, and a Year in Review.

NA: What do you want the major takeaway to be for attendees?

Rost: Neurology is an ever-evolving field, and neuroscience is essential for delivering care to the patients with neurological disorders and for delivering cure to these patients in the near future. The AAN is deeply committed to bringing the cutting-edge, premier neurological science to the annual meeting, and on behalf of the Science committee, I hope that the attendees will capitalize on the wealth and breadth of opportunities to enhance their experience at the meeting.

NA: What do you feel are one or two key issues facing neurologists today, and how will those issues be addressed at the meeting?

Rost: Despite the significant advances in neurological science, neurologists are still working hard to understand the biology of complex disorders of the brain and neuromuscular systems and to translate this knowledge into real world treatment. The collaboration between the community of neurologists, neuroscientists, and the community of patients with neurological disorders holds a strong promise of future discoveries and a hope for cure.

NA: Will there be any neurology-related policy and/or legislative issues addressed at the meeting?

Rost: The AAN annual meeting will address such topics as health information technology, meaningful use, PQRS, ICD-10, and the SGR repeal legislation. Some specific sessions related to these topics are:

  • Sunday, 4/19: Providing High Value Neurologic Care – 2:00-4:00pm
  • Sunday, 4/19: Quality In Neurology: Can we Measure and Improve It? – 4:30-5:30pm
  • Monday, 4/20: Conquering ICD-10 – 1:30-3:30pm
  • Monday, 4/20: All You Need to Know About Health Information Technology to Avoid Taking a HIT – 1:00-5:00pm
  • Tuesday, 4/21: Policy and Advocacy Hour with the GRC (12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.)

NA: Are there any upcoming initiatives from the AAN that neurologists should be aware of?

Rost: The following initiatives will be part of the AAN Annual Meeting:

  • The New AAN Axon Registry
  • Semantic Search on All AAN Websites
  • New Spoke Journal Neurology Genetics
  • Mobile Apps for All AAN Publications – Now Including Android Versions
  • AAN Business Meeting on Monday, April 20 at 8:00am
  • FAAN Nominations

NA: With specialties waxing and waning, and technology taking on an increasing role in physician-patient interactions, how do you see the role of neurologists evolving over the next five years?

Rost: Among different subspecialties, neurology has one of the strongest positions at this time and looking into the future. The global burden of neurological disorders is growing, and the need for neurologists — a highly-specialized yet very integrated expert group — is going to expand. Neurologists are at the cutting edge of technological advances, for example, embracing the concept of telemedicine and use of mobile applications in diagnosis and management of neurological diseases. Furthermore, long history of neurologists working at the interface of multiple other subspecialties has put our group at an advantage for being leaders in the world of multidisciplinary care.

Go here for Neurology Advisor’s coverage of AAN 2015