By Paul Gross, Chairman of the HA Board of Directors
The third NIH sponsored research conference on hydrocephalus concluded on July 11th and by all accounts was a resounding success! Entitled “Opportunities in Hydrocephalus Research: Pathways to Better Outcomes“, the conference featured a broad spectrum of thought leaders from bench scientists in molecular biology to neuro-anatomy, clinical researchers in neurosurgery, neurology and neuropsychology, bio-engineers, patient advocates and representation from the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to thought-provoking presentations in injury mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, the connections that were made among researchers will have a large beneficial impact in moving the field of hydrocephalus research forward. Bench scientists met clinicians happy to provide critical specimens such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to advance their work. Bio-engineers heard first hand from patient families what problems were most important to solve with devices. And everyone got a chance to “weigh in” on what they considered the highest priority topics to address.
Marc Randolph, founder of Netflix, gave an inspiring keynote speech about his experiences building a successful consumer internet service. His messages about trying things before they are perfected, being persistent, the importance of teams, sharing of ideas and optimism both resonated and were inspirational to the attendees.
The final day was spent in a group discussion to prioritize the opportunities that were presented throughout the conference. The group determined focus areas that could have meaningful outcomes over the next three to five years. Imaging with MRI, bio-markers, working toward CSF drug therapies, advances in endoscopic third ventriculostomy, and standardized neuropsychological assessments were among the leading topics in the conference. The presentations will be made available on our website in a few weeks and we will keep you informed of the synthesis and results of the conference as we work with the Rudi Schulte Research Institute to determine the most promising research area to fund in the coming months.