PREVIEW: Association of British Neurologists Annual Meeting

Posted in on 3rd Apr 2014

Conference details: Cardiff 7-9th May, 2014 Our cover image this issue shows “Cardiff Bay and the Grange,” a montage of Cardiff Bay and Grangetown. Artist: Christopher Langley. Featuring Grange Cottage, The Norwegian Church, The Senedd Building and The Millenium Centre, this was the centrepiece of the Abstract Wales Exhibition in May 2013.

Croeso i Caerdydd! Welcome to Cardiff! An invitation from Geraint Fuller, President, Association of British Neurologists

geraint-fullerThe 2014 Annual ABN meeting is being held in the magnificent Millennium Centre and if the wonderful architecture is not enough to entice you, we have a rich mix of education and research sessions not to be missed. There are teaching sessions that we think you will find useful and interesting on ‘Neurology and general medicine’, Genetics, Multiple Sclerosis and peripheral neuropathies. There are video sessions on epilepsy and sleep disorders and an interactive session on movement disorders. Once again we are running updates, this year on neuro-oncology, muscle disease and depression in neurology. We are delighted to welcome Prof Marty Samuels from Harvard who will be telling us ‘How neurologists think: what my errors taught me’.  Prof Matthew Kiernan will be talking on ‘MND – a clinical deconstruction’.  We look forward to Prof Michael Hutchinson’s lecture as the ABN Medalist. In response to the dramatic changes in the NHS we are running a session on Clinical Commissioning and the Shape of Training.  These are interesting times indeed. We have some of the traditionally very highly rated sessions – the clinical case competition (ACNR sponsored) and the CPC – this year with Graham Lennox in the hot seat – and neuro-ophthalmology. There are a few innovations too. This year we have a session that has been opened up to the Special Interest Groups and Affiliated Societies. They are being given the space to run mainly clinical and case based sessions which will allow them to network with fellow subspecialists but also to try to entice colleagues and trainees to join them. Movement disorders, cognitive neurology, rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury, peripheral nerve, myology,  myasthenia, and neuro-ophthalmology will all be represented. Take your pick. This year the programme will be available as an App and we will be experimenting with tweeting and texting of questions…well, at the chair’s discretion. On the Tuesday before the main meeting, we have a roadshow designed to encourage medical students and foundation doctors interested in neurology and a training day for neurology registrars. We are running our second ‘Need to Know Neurology’ course for GPs – which you might want to encourage GPs in your area to attend. On Tuesday evening we have a session on ‘How to get ahead in Research’ – including sessions on how to give a successful presentation, how to write a paper and how to get a grant…Looks like a great meeting.  Definitely not to be missed. ‘Rydym yn edrych ymlaen at eich gweld (we look forward to seeing you)… Geraint Fuller
The full programme can be found here.


 Croeso y Caerdydd

Rhys Thomas & Emma Tallantyre Forget what you think you might know about the youngest Capital city in Europe. Yes, there is an abundance of history: Cardiff Castle and the St Fagans National History Museum are great day trips, particularly for the kids. But dump the daffodils, drop the dragons and lose the leeks; we hope to provide you with a flavour of this hip and interesting city.

 The Millennium Centre and the Bay

We are delighted that the conference venue is the state of the art Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) in Cardiff Bay. The controversial exterior was designed to mirror the industrial heritage of the South Wales valleys with slate and copper plating. This produced a large brown building that some have compared to a slug. Visitors will discover a landmark building with a stunning modern interior. Cardiff Bay is Europe’s largest waterfront development. It may be the shops and restaurants of Mermaid Quay that first catch the eye, but iconic buildings include the snowy white Norwegian church, the red-brick Pierhead building and the stylish Senedd buildings. The Senedd, the seat of the National Assembly of Wales will be our neighbour in May. The building’s complete transparency is an apparent metaphor for good government. The waterfront location also ensures that the building is coated in seagull poop; this is not seen as a metaphor for good government. Entry is free, including the chance to observe the Senedd in session, and guided tours are available if pre-booked. The bay development was made possible by the creation of the £220 million barrage which creates a sheltered fresh-water bay. We recommend a brisk walk across the barrage, with its bridges and sluice gates, to Penarth where the Custom House provides a superb eating opportunity. The bay is famously the site from which Captain Scott departed on the Terra Nova for his doomed exploration of the South Pole in 1910. Delegates who are not dissuaded by this ominous portent can take a boat trip to the enigmatic island of Flat Holm or join Cardiff Sea Safaris for an exhilarating powerboat ride. For other water sports we can highly recommend the International White Water centre or the International Pool, both found in the nearby Sports Village. Whether you’re a serious canoeist, fancy a go at surfing, enjoy water slides or just like the idea of being thrown down a tumultuous river course in a flimsy inflatable, this location has something for you.

Eating and drinking in the Bay

Mermaid Quay houses the predictable middle and high-end chain restaurants that are ubiquitous on the UK high street. However, for something different why not try Signor Valentino’s – the menu adds a distinctly Welsh accent to traditional Italian fare. There are also two good brasseries (Bayside & Woods) in the Bay as well as British and Irish Lions’ captain, Sam Warburton’s favourite Indian restaurant – the Juboraj. ffresh is the restaurant located within the WMC which offers high class dining prepared with local ingredients. They offer a good value, pre-theatre menu if you find time to book up for a WMC performance. Underneath Jolyons boutique hotel (opposite WMC) discover ‘bar cwtch’ (cwtch is an untranslatable Welsh word; it is simultaneously a safe and warm hug as well as a snug). In addition to wood stone oven pizzas and tapas, this tiny bar can accommodate those in search of a subterranean cocktail.

Cardiff Bay – home of Doctor Who

The bay is now home to Roath Lock – BBC Wales’ new ‘drama village.’ Doctor Who, Torchwood, Casualty, Upstairs Downstairs and the Welsh language soap ‘Pobol y Cwm’ are the major productions here. As well visiting the impressive Doctor Who experience, fans could while away an hour or so on the Doctor Who walking tour or on a guided bus tour of the city. There is nothing wrong with wallowing in fifty years of memorabilia or cosying-up to a Dalek, if this is your want, however the rest of Cardiff is just a five-minute bus or train ride away.

Into the City

Enthusiastic visitors may enjoy a trip in to the city centre proper. As an alternative to traditional public transport, a waterbus provides regular links from Cardiff Bay to Bute Park, along the river Taff. From the botanic idyll of Bute Park, a short stroll will take you to Cardiff Castle, the Millennium Stadium or the bustling retail core of Cardiff. Nestled between the popular St. Mary Street and Queen Street is the recently developed St David’s centre, an undercover shopping opportunity. However, the discerning delegate may prefer to amble through the historic arcades that extend left and right from St. Mary’s Street. Discover Spillers (the oldest record store in the world), Wally’s Delicatessen with its Viennese-style coffee house, the overwhelming Troutmark books or the hip outfitters, Barkers. Alongside a host of city centre pubs of variable quality there are a few gems. Buffalo Bar offers bar food, cocktails and live music, while Gwdihw offers coffee, free wifi and board games by day and has a well stocked bar at night. For live music, Clwb Ifor Bach is a bone fide institution. The fun is spread across three floors in this ever-popular culture-magnet, which has the dual purpose of being a lightning rod for new music and perpetuating the Welsh language. For good food try the Potted Pig, Casanova’s or the Thai House. The nearby suburb of Pontcanna is home to many members of Cardiff’s art and media scene and offers some trendy alternatives to the city centre. Bully’s is a family run French restaurant with ‘some exotic twists’. A gourmet Indian restaurant experience can be enjoyed at the Purple Poppadom and the Chapter Arts Centre offers cheap and cheerful eats as well as exhibitions and the latest in world cinema.

And afterwards..

And if you’d like to extend your trip and explore further west after the conference try the nation’s favourite beach at Rhossili Bay on the Gower peninsula or experience rural Pembrokshire and take in a game of rugby. The Cardiff Blues are due to play away to the Scarlets in Llanelli during the weekend following the conference; a fierce derby and the last match of the regular season to boot. I hope you find the Cardiffians a friendly bunch: if we can help with your trip at all – just drop us a line. Rhys-Thomas@doctors.org.uk or emma.tallantyre@nhs.net References Arcades http://cardiffarcadesproject.com/ Bayside Brasserie http://www.baysidebrasserie.com/ Buffalo Bar http://buffalocardiff.co.uk/ Bully’s http://bullysrestaurant.co.uk/ Cardiff Bay http://www.cardiffbay.co.uk/index.php/en/ Casanova’s http://www.casanovacardiff.co.uk/ Chapter Arts Centre http://www.chapter.org/ Custom House http://theoldcustomhousepenarth.co.uk/ Cardiff International Sports Village http://www.internationalsportsvillage.com Cardiff Sea Safaris http://boattripscardiff.co.uk/ Doctor Who http://www.doctorwhoexperience.com/ http://britmovietours.com/bookings/ doctor-who-cardiff-walking-tour/ Clwb Ifor Bach http://www.clwb.net/ Gwdihw http://gwdihw.co.uk/ Jolyons http://www.jolyons.co.uk/ Juboraj http://www.juborajgroup.com/big-windsor/ Potted Pig http://www.thepottedpig.com/ Purple Poppadom http://purplepoppadom.com/ Roath Lock http://roathlock.com/ Rhossili Bay  http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ TravelersChoice-Beaches Scarlets http://www.scarlets.co.uk/ Signor Valentinos http://www.signorvalentino.com/ St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/stfagans/ The Thai House http://www.thaihouse.biz/ Wales Millennium Centre http://www.wmc.org.uk/WhatsOn/ Waterbus http://www.cardiffboat.com/ Woods Brasserie http://knifeandforkfood.co.uk/woods ACNR. Published online 3/4/14.

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