The 53rd Annual Scientific meeting at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 24 -27th 2009, was hosted by the Belfast organising team headed by Mr. Stephen Brown.


Members of the local organizing committee:

The Belfast organising team was headed by Mr. Stephen Brown and included Tabib Dabir (geneticist), David Marshall and Alan Bailie (Paediatric Urologists), John McCann (Rehabilitation medicine), Emma Kelly (nurse), Nan Hill (Paediatrician) and Marie McGonnell.

Scientific Programme Overview

25 June 2009: The Scientific meeting was opened in the Peter Froggatt Conference centre, Queens University by Dr. Michael McBride, N.I. Department of Health. The morning began with an oral session on Spina Bifida: Incidence, Survival and Cognitive Outcome, followed by a lecture by retiring President Professor Raymond Fitzgerald (Dublin) on ‘Here and there with Hydrocephalus’ in which he related his personal experiences and gave an overview of the history of hydrocephalus treatment. This was followed by papers from delegates on hydrocephalus.

26 June 2009: The scientific sessions began with papers on experimental animal studies followed by a series of papers on Hydrocephalus Shunts. At the same time, there was a parallel break-out session on the Management of Spina Bifida Patients for nurses and therapists organised by Emma Kelley. After lunch, Mr. Neil Buxton (Dept of Neurosurgery, Royal Liverpool Hospital Alder Hey, Liverpool UK) delivered his invited lecture by on ‘Pain Management in Spina Bifida: a Neurosurgical Perspective’ which was followed by a selection of papers on the Long-term Management of Spina Bifida Patients. The day ended with a poster discussion session when poster presenters summarised their posters and answered questions

27 June 2009: The following morning the scientific session started with papers on Urology and Bowel Management in Spina Bifida and included a special lecture by Professor Sivert Lindström (University of Linköping. Sweden) on The Bladder Cooling Test in Spina Bifida and ended with a general discussion on urological and bowel problems.

The presentations in the final session of the meeting covered a variety of topics in Spina Bifida. The meeting ended with closing remarks from Stephen Brown and Roger Bayston and a presentation from William Arnold inviting the delegates to the next meeting in Vancouver in 2010. 
This year for the first time for a number of years, the topics presented were equally spread between hydrocephalus and spina bifida.

The overall standard of presentations was very good. A good time was had by all and the sun actually shone in Northern Ireland.