RAMS International Summer School 2017: Neurosurgery
11 – 15 July 2017
The third edition of the RAMS Summer School was the first international Summer School, and was organised in the theme of Neurosurgery. It was a collaboration with the department of Neurosurgery of the Radboudumc.
The RAMS International Summer School Neurosurgery 2017 finally started. We were absolutely delighted to meet attendants from various backgrounds, cultures and places across the globe with divergent motivations and objectives. After the organisers (members of the Summer School Committee) introduced themselves to the attendants at a very inspiring place, Operation Theatre 71, professor Bartels spoke out about motivation, incentives and goals this Summer School could provoke in all students. The location, formerly used for neurosurgical procedures and the initiation of careers of many current staff members of the neurosurgical center, is kindly provided to us by REShape Centre Nijmegen.
Betty Bussink, physician assistant at Neurosurgical Centre Nijmegen, gave an exciting lecture on the specialised care on the Neurosurgical ward and the (rise of the) importance of physician assistants in medicine. Thereafter, we welcomed professor Fernandez, Director of the Donders Institute. He gave a captivating, interactive speech in which he integrated future and past perspectives on memory, epilepsy and emotion – which encouraged many students to engage in various discussions. After lunch, the students went to the anatomical department to study neuroanatomy, refreshing the indispensable knowledge of neuroanatomy for the lectures to come in the rest of the week. Finally, Guido de Jong, Research Coordinator at Neurosurgical Centre Nijmegen, gave us an outstanding introduction in Artificial Neural Networks. After the lectures we finished the day with dinner at the Anatomical Museum where the curator, Lucas Boer, spoke a few words about the general and his personal purposes and objectives of the Anatomical Museum. We would like to thank all the speakers, REShape Centre and the Department of Anatomy for providing these outstanding locations. We are confident all attendants learned a lot today; not only about neuroscience, neuroanatomy or neurosurgery, but also about themselves and their potential colleagues!
The second day of the RAMS International Summer School Neurosurgery 2017 was of an extensive variety! Almost forty students took part in the lecture series that started with two lectures from professor Aronica, a neuropathologist from the Amsterdam Medical Centre. With neurodevelopmental disorders as her main area of interest, Aronica came to Nijmegen especially for this Summer School to teach about neuropathology and neuro-oncology associated with development of the central nervous system. After lunch, dr Boogaarts devoted his afternoon to giving a comprehensive lecture about vascular neurosurgery in all its aspects. The exciting and quickly evolving field was presented by the support of some fascinating clinical cases. Dr Delye enthused students with an overview of his specialty: craniosynostosis surgery, in which he also addressed many future perspectives in the field. The day was closed off by a two-hour lecture about epilepsy surgery by Peter Gosselaar, a Utrecht-based neurosurgeon with epilepsy amongst his areas of interest. He is one of the three neurosurgeons that work in the Utrecht Epilepsy Centre, where the majority of epilepsy surgery takes place. The lecture’s support of many clinical problems, future challenges and captivating cases lead to many questions and interesting discussions amongst the students! In addition, all students started working in groups on their review for Friday. All in all, the enthusiasm students show is phenomenal!
On Wednesday, the Summer School activities were covered by the British More than two thirds of the students had signed up for a workshop by Delta Surgical (Rowena), taught by dr. Ashpole from Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. In addition, students attended lectures by dr. Price about neuroimaging and neuro-oncology. In this lecture, the University of Cambridge neurosurgeon talked about various revolutions in these fields and closed the gap between different specialties: from pathology and physics to neuroscience and neurosurgery.
For the first time ever, the workshop with 3D-printed heads was organised for medical students instead of registrars or other professionals that are already more experienced in the (bio)medical field and for the first time, it was organised abroad of the UK!
The workshop by dr. Ashpole is all about learning the essentials of neurosurgery: amongst others, trepanation, draining and creating skull flaps have passed. After a short introduction with the necessary safety precautions by dr. Ashpole, a representative from Stryker, one of the largest medical technology firms in the world, taught students how to handle various drilling devices. Students could record their own surgery with a video glass to evaluate their performance and look back on this unique experience. Some Nijmegen neurosurgeons also visited the workshop and were very impressed by the quality and superb reality of the models.
On Thursday, the day started early again with a lecture by Erkan Kurt, a neurosurgeon in Nijmegen, who talked about fascinating historical cases in neurosurgery and innovative ways of reinventing neurosurgical treatment, which provoked interesting discussion and food for thought. After lunch, dr. Ter Laan used neuroanatomy and different imaging techniques to illustrate possibilities in neuro-oncology. In addition, some major paradigm shifts that amazed all students were presented, that also led to a series of questions. After that, professor De Leeuw talked about the clinical manifestations of young stroke, which is one of the areas of interest of Radboudumc’s Department of Neurology with international appeal. This elucidated the students again in the coupling of neuroscience and neurosurgery, indispensable for an innovative and creative working environment. Lastly, dr. Ashpole, the neurosurgeon who supervised one and a half days of workshops during these two days, educated students about entrepreneurship in medicine and stimulated them to just take the step. With all his enthusiasm, we are sure that the message was conceived well.
In the evening, we had dinner together at the historical De Waagh building, to show the students how beautiful Nijmegen is!
Also, on Wednesday and Thursday, there was time for the students to work on their reviews. Almost all areas that were covered during the Summer School are featured in the presentations: from epilepsy and deep brain stimulation to craniosynostosis, neurotraumatology and neuro-oncology. On Friday, these reviews are presented in short pitches and these will be assessed by a representation of the Neurosurgical Centre, with whom we have worked together very closely.
The last day of the unforgettable RAMS International Summer School Neurosurgery 2017 has passed. Friday, participants all attended a fascinating lecture on spinal cord traumas by dr. Zweckberger from Universität Heidelberg, presented their insights on a chosen subject during a 10-minute pitch and at the end of the day enjoyed the official ending ceremony.
The morning started with a short but inspational lecture on the Radboudumc Innovation Center called REshape. Participants also heard more about the special location in which most lectures of the week were held: Operating Theatre 71. Some of the Dutch lecturers had even used this operating room, which still holds the original lighting, for their neurosurgical operations.
Next, participants had time to finalise their pitch and listen to a clinically oriented and case-based lecture on Neurotraumatology by an expert on spinal cord trauma’s and surgery, dr. Zweckberger. In addition to the current state of this progressing field, dr. Zweckberger also made a window to the future of spinal cord preservation and regeneration.
Just before the ending ceremony, the participants pitched the findings and novel insights of their group. The pitches covered the same neurosurgical subjects as the mini-reviews that were handed in the day before. One of the postdoctoral researchers from Nijmegen, René Aquarius, attended all pitches, graded them and selected the best pitch-mini-review combination. All members of the winning group received a 3D-printed, white, brain shaped trophy.
Congratulations to Kiedo Wienholts, Boris Janssen, Victoria Visser, Iris Verploegh and Jeroen Crouzen for their excellent mini-review and pitch on deep brain stimulation as treatment for epilepsy, which was rated best for its excellent overview of current challenges, research questions and future perspectives!
For all interested participants, the day ended with an informal barbeque at Café Piecken followed by one of the legendary pubquizes by Pieter Monté.
Many thanks to all participants for their enthusiasm, their dedication and for making it a wonderful and successful Summer School!