The NSTA hosted the 2013 symposium in Atlanta, Georgia on October 19th and 20th and everyone who attended really enjoyed the program.
On Friday the NSTA organized a nice outdoor activity for people flying in early. Twenty-five people signed up for the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Tour. We were a little concerned because it had rained the day before however the weather was perfect on Friday. It was sunny but not hot with a high of 70 degrees. A chartered bus picked us up from the Embassy Suites hotel at 10:00 am and dropped us off at the Botanical Garden. We viewed magnificent sights such as the annual Scarecrows in the Garden which occurs every October with imaginative scarecrows on display throughout the Garden. Every scarecrow had a theme. One of the scarecrows was named Art Thritis. It is safe to say that this scarecrow was made of empty prescription pill bottles, straw and a unique sense of humor. We were very fortunate since this time of year they have living sculptures of Imaginary Worlds exhibit in the Garden. We visited 19 monumental living sculptures that day. The sculptures include a gazing unicorn, a friendly ogre, a pair of gigantic cobras, a group of enchanting rabbits, and a couple of flighty butterflies. The sculptures ranged up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The largest piece was a 25-foot-tall representation of a goddess emerging from the earth, greets visitors in the Cascades Garden. Our group enjoyed walking through the park. We stopped for lunch at the cafe to relax a bit and rehydrate before venturing out again for an hour before the shuttle bus was ready to take us back to the hotel.
On Saturday we have a great line up of guest speakers for this symposium and we cannot thank our Medical Advisor, Dr. Mark Ledoux enough for organizing the program and coordinating with our guest speakers. On Saturday morning Carlos Singer, M.D. from the University of Miami presented on “Spasmodic Torticollis – Phenomenology, Classification and Diagnostic Evaluation”. Joseph Jankovic, M.D. from Baylor discussed and explained the phenomenon behind “Sensory Tricks”. Alan Freeman, MD from The Emory Clinic talked about “Injections of Botulinum Toxin (+/-EMG Guidance) for Treatment of Spasmodic Torticollis.”And Jon T. Willie, M.D., Ph.D. who is from Emory University discussed “Neurosurgical Treatment of Dystonia”. Afterwards we had a questions and answer panel with our morning presenters where the attendees can ask specific questions. The Q & A session lasted over an hour and there were a lot of really interesting questions.
After a wonderful lunch prepared by the Embassy Suites hotel, the symposium continued with Hyder Jinnah, M.D., Ph.D. from Emory University providing updates with the “The Dystonia Coalition”. The Dystonia Coalition held its annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia just days before the NSTA symposium. NSTA’s Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board, Mark S. LeDoux, M.D., Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center spoke on “Genetics of Spasmodic Torticollis”. Brian Berman, M.D., M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) presented on “Neuroimaging in Spasmodic Torticollis” followed by Cecilia Prudente, P.T., M.S. from Emory discussing “Neuropathology of Cervical Dystonia”. Following the presentations another questions and answer panel with the afternoon speakers commenced. Dr. LeDoux served as the moderator for both sessions.
The Dinner on Saturday evening was spectacular. The Embassy S uites served Fresh Garden Green Salad with House Dressings, Southern Style Mustard Potato Salad, Golden Fried Chicken, Grilled Atlantic Salmon with Lemon Burre Blanc, Southern Style Green Beans, Wild Rice Blend, Macaroni and Cheese Traditional Corn Bread with Butter, and Peach Cobbler. While everyone was enjoying dinner and the company of everyone who attended the symposium, Bob Cardone, a pianist-keyboardist from Norcross Georgia entertained our group. It was a nice evening full delicious food, great music, fantastic conversation and some dancing.
On Sunday the symposium continued with NSTA’s Medical Director, Mark S. LeDoux, MD, PhD presenting on “Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine in Spasmodic Torticollis” Marian Evatt, MD from Emory University informed our attendees about a “Comparison of Botulinum Toxins” Lastly, Kapil Sethi, MD from the Medical College of Georgia discussed “Factors Influencing Response to Botulinum Toxins in Spasmodic Torticollis”. The presentations were followed by a Questions and Answers panel consisting of the guest speakers and Ashley Brueggemann, U.S.WouldMed/Solstice Account Manager in Atlanta. Once again everyone took advantage of the Q&A session and there were a lot of really great questions. We ended the symposium with two support group meetings. One meeting was for people who have ST and the other for family members and friends. It was an opportunity for people to talk about various topics in general or personal and get feedback from the group.
We received a lot of positive feedback this year and some really great suggestions for the 2014 symposium. We cannot thank enough the guest speakers for taking time out of their busy schedule to join us and for our sponsors who made this meeting possible. Information on the guest speakers presentation will be in the December 2013 magazine.