Regional Teaching Courses  
  Odessa, Ukraine 2013
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Opening ceremony

About this Regional Teaching Course

RTC Odessa 2013 report

First of all I would like to thank the EFNS Head Office, Lisa Müller and Julia Mayer, the EFNS TC committee, especially Professor Detlef Kömpf, and all our invited speakers for their mutual support in organising the Regional Teaching Course in Odessa. A lot of letters, programme proposals, discussions and advice have been exchanged during the preparation. I am always amazed by the EFNS’ generous financial support to sponsor these events, and all participants could visit such courses for free.

This was the fourth RTC in Odessa, and again we had 10 of the best European lectors as speakers invited. They talked about Neurorehabilitation, cognitive and gait disorders, stroke, neuropathy, eye movement disorders, etc. A course with such a high level of scientific and practical knowledge does not often happen in the Ukraine and called big interest and desire to visit our city. Since the time when our program was ready and been placed on the EFNS website we had a lot of applications from all parts of the Ukraine and our neighboring countries: Moldova, Russia, Belorussia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. More than 300 doctors participated in Odessa RTC.
Each participant received a bag with information about the EFNS, its’ future events and all the material of the course including a CD with English versions of all the presentations. On behalf of the EFNS Head office and the local organising committee Professors Detlef Kömpf, Valentine Krusune, Anatoly Son and Liliia Zviagina addressed the welcoming words to all participants with focus on the importance of such RTCs, providing knowledge of European standards and giving learning opportunities to young doctors.

As Professors Kömpf said:” We are all living in different countries but we are speaking on one common language – the language of Neurology.” He underlined the importance of learning English, the language of all international scientific events, to be able understand each other.

The first day was dedicated to field of Neurorehabilitation.
Professor Klaus Jahn (Germany) described gait problems which neurologists often meet in their practice and are associated with immobility and falls. He opened pathogenic aspects of such disorders, which are the “basic requirement for reasoned therapy” and showed different methods used in the diagnostic assessment of gait disturbances. The different treatment approaches including physiotherapy, medications, behavioral therapy, and, even surgery had been proposed. Methods of training had been demonstrated during his workshop.

Professor Jörg Wissel (Germany) spoke about the management of spasticity; during his workshop he showed the practical aspects of using botulinum toxin according to sonography guidance. Invited patients were observed by Professor Wissel together with the participants. The doctors could try out the procedure under Professor Wissel’s guidance.

Professor Stefano Cappa (Italy) discussed rehabilitation of linguistic aspects of aphasia, with a special emphasis on the neurological correlates of specific aspects of language impairment. He taught us the diagnosis of unusual neuropsychological features and cognitive studies of memory disorders in dementia, as well as the application of functional imaging methods (positron emission tomography, functional magnetic resonance) for the study of cognitive function (in particular, language and semantic memory). The questions of neuroplasticity and approaches to aphasia therapy had been presented during his workshop. He also showed us that intensive training is beneficial for patients with aphasia.

Steffano Cappa
Application of functional imaging methods of speech disorder

Professor Anatoly Son (Ukraine) showed neurosurgical approaches to treat lumbago, and effect of Kinesiotherapy after Lumbar Microdiscectory.
Anatoly Son
video of lumbar microdiscectory

We also had a speaker from the EAYNT visiting Odessa, Xenia Kobeleva (Germany), who gave practical information on the young neurologists’ activities. She provided information for young neurologists how to improve training and promote clinical and scientific exchange in European countries.
The second day was dedicated to cognitive disorders.
Professor Martin Rossor (UK) described major dementia syndromes with video presentation and opened the door to new treatment of dementia.
Michael Brainin (Austria) emphasized on the necessity of treating stroke patients in a multi-disciplinary stroke unit. Questions about perspectives and treatment options of post-stroke cognitive deterioration were discussed during his workshop.

Gilles Defer (France) talked about cognitive dysfunctions and patient with MS, described all specificities of such disturbances and methods of rehabilitation.
Liliia Zviagina (Ukraine) provided methods of non-drug rehabilitation of post-stroke cognitive impairment.

The third day various neurological topics were presented.
An excellent talk about the diagnosis of eye movement disorders with video slides was held by Detlef Kömpf (Germany). He demonstrated many cases and proposed some methods to treat vertigo.
Big interest was called by the lecture of Professor Max Hilz (Germany): “Differential diagnosis of syncope and seizure” He presented video material and cases, and gave information how to diagnose and prevent syncope.

Two informative lectures were held by Professor Jean-Marc Léger (France) who described differential diagnosis of neuropathies and the management of such disorders.
Professor Anna Czlonkowska (Poland) gave an update on pharmacotherapy during the rehabilitation period of stroke patients.

The entire programme was tough, but there was a lot of information which the professors wanted to pass on, so we used every free minute. Professor Max Hilz even arranged a scientific lunch where he taught us about telemedicine.
All lectors avoided a conflict of interests with the pharmaceutical industry according to the request of the EFNS. We thank all our partners, who helped and arranged for participants to come to Odessa. Separately from the main programme, satellite symposia had been arranged. Our guests, Professors Jerzy Krupinski (Spain), Ingmar Skoog (Sweden), Jaime Kulisevsky Bojarski (Spain), Vladimir Golic, Slobodyan Tatyana and Angelika Paenok (Ukraine), showed results of their own expertise. During the breaks the participants could inform themselves about new pharmaceutical approaches while visiting the small exhibition area the orgnaisers arranged.
I would like to express my admiration to the quality of the simultaneous translation. Invited interpreters did an immense work during the preparation of the RTC. All lectures had been studied before to be able to help our participants to understand professors properly. That is why more than 50% of the participants passed the exam successfully, and got special certificates. Everybody got a certificate of attendance after the course.

Of course I would like to thank Vladimir Kolodenko, director of the hotel complex Belaya Acacia. It is a modern comfortable sanatorium located on the coast of the Black Sea in Odessa, having a perfect clinical base for diagnostics and recovery treatment. He and his colleagues had been responsible for the stay of our guests, equipment facilities, conference rooms, transportations; every question could be helped immediately.

We arranged for our professors and participants a rich cultural programme. Every day professors who weren’t involved in the lectures had possibilities to see Odessa. For all participants we organised a visit to our treasure, the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater, where we showed the ballet of Tchaikovsky “Sleeping beauty”. Our guests had the possibilities to get acquainted with Ukrainian national folk dance, songs and food.

We visited Shabo, the famous town of wine production, situated at the Dniester Liman. The Tatar village was established ca. 1500, when it was called Acha-abag: "the lower vineyards". In 1822 invited Swiss settlers of Vaud came to cultivate the vineyards of Shabo, and Shabo wine remains famous for its quality to the present time.

According to the opinion of the faculty the course was a big success. Our neurologists said that such RTCs are a window to western knowledge. Our positive experience in the past attracted many participants, some of them came to Odessa for the second, third, even fourth time since 2005. As such, the RTC provides an excellent opportunity for many neurologists, neurosurgeons, epidemiologists, neuropsychologists, rehabilitation specialists, geriatricians, specialists and health care providers working in the area of neurological disorders to share their new ideas, research findings and experience.

For one year and half we prepared the RTC, but the three days passed like one moment. I was so happy to spend time with such intelligent and nice people. I am very sad that this was the last EFNS RTC in Odessa, but at the same time I want to express my big hope that such activities will be continued in the frame of the new EAN and put all my energy and strength to this future prospect.

Liliia Zviagina, neurologist, MD
Course coordinator of the EFNS Regional Teaching in Odessa