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Neuromodulation News: August 2019

President's Message l 14th World Congress Results l iWIN Survey l Expert Panel on Clinical Experience with Directional DBS Leads l Argentinean Neuromodulation Society Receives Chapter Grant l Dr. Mike DeJongste Receives Royal Decoration l Ways to Get Involved

A Message from the President

To the Members of the International Neuromodulation Society:

The first nine months of my term as President of the INS have been both remarkably demanding and rewarding. Our executive officers, board of directors and administrative staff have been working assiduously to accomplish the goals that we outlined at the beginning of my term and I would like to take this opportunity to report on our progress thus far. I think that you will agree when I say that the INS is moving rapidly toward becoming the impactful and forward-thinking society that we envisioned and that we provide increasing value to our members and stakeholders.

(1) INS Meetings

(a)  Our Biennial Meeting

I am honored to say that the 14th Biennial Meeting of the INS in Sydney was an unqualified success. Despite the considerable distance and costs associated with travelling to Australia, we had over 1200 registrants from 42 countries. The scientific program was clearly of the greatest breadth and highest quality that we have ever had. With our aggressively revamped efforts to eliminate commercial bias, I am proud to say that we received not a single complaint about content bias. We were further blessed with some of the best weather ever experienced by Sydney in late May.

I am further honored to formally announce to our membership that after reviewing several competitive bids, and after performing a comprehensive financial, educational, and logistical analysis, the 15th Biennial Congress of the INS will be held in Barcelona, Spain from May 1-6, 2021. We are in the process of forming a dedicated local organizing committee and a distinguished scientific program committee for the Barcelona meeting. Save the date information has already been posted in our journal, Neuromodulation, and on the INS website, and I encourage all members to enjoy this tremendous upcoming meeting.

(b) Interim INS Meetings

To provide the opportunity to highlight chapters and neuromodulation therapies in developing areas, the INS initiated its Interim meeting to be held in the years when the Biennial meeting did not occur. Prior Interim meetings have been held in China and Brazil; our next Interim meeting will be held in Mumbai, India, on October 23-25, 2020 under the direction of Indian Chapter President Professor Paresh Doshi. Planning for this meeting has been nothing short of remarkable and I encourage INS members both regionally and internationally to attend.

After careful consideration of invited proposals, the executive board of directors has decided to hold the 2022 Interim INS meeting in Moscow, Russia. The effort will be spearheaded by Dr. Emil Isagulyan, President of the new National Neuromodulation Society in Russia, from the Burdenko Institute in Moscow.

(c)  Biennial Joint Meeting of the European Chapters of the INS

Last September, Prof. Michael DeJongste hosted the first Biennial Joint Meeting of the INS European Chapters. This remarkable meeting was attended by 512 registrants who were met with an impressive program in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. The tremendous success of this program has maintained the inertia to continue this important biennial meeting. A pan-European planning group, with French Chapter President, Prof. Philippe Rigoard at the helm, is working tirelessly to host the next meeting in Paris in 2020. Additional details will be forthcoming very soon.

(2) Guidelines for Research in Neuromodulation

One of the critical goals of this presidency is to improve the quality and comparability of clinical research in neuromodulation. Despite the major advances in neuromodulation clinical trials over the past decade, there is significant additional progress that must be made to provide high level evidence for and to further legitimize our field. While landmark clinical trials such as the SENZA, ACCURATE and EVOKE trials demonstrated the value of randomized controlled designs, more recently the field has been focused on standardization of outcomes, aggressive control of bias and the inclusion of placebo controls.

Toward this aim and under partial INS sponsorship, a joint meeting between the IMPAACT group1 the INS, NANS and the Institute of Neuromodulation (ION) was held to discuss these issues and provide consensus for the future design and execution of neuromodulation clinical trials. The initial findings of this meeting were presented at the INS Congress in Sydney; we look forward to their final work product(s) in the form of guidance manuscripts in the near future.

(3) Evidence Based INS Education and Practice Guidelines and Centers of Excellence in Neuromodulation

Last year, the Associated Press published a series of critical investigative articles on implantable medical devices. Neuromodulation devices, their risks and failure rates, and the quality of training in our field were but a few of the issues raised. These articles reinforced the importance of what had already become a priority for the INS leadership: the critical need for training and practice guidelines in our field. While there are many societies which claim ownership of some proportion of neuromodulation physicians, we feel that the INS should take a leadership role in developing such guidelines which can then be reviewed and adopted by other stakeholder societies. Through such guidelines, we can help to improve the quality of care and better serve our patients.

These guidelines must be more than the guesses of practitioners in the field. Toward this aim, a working group consisting of Professors Jan Vesper, Konstantin Slavin, Lawrence Poree and me, have been carefully reviewing the medical literature for an evidence basis for these requirements in DBS, SCS, PNS, SNM and IT DAS.  These will be compiled and published in an independent INS consensus document. Using these guidelines, the same group will work with the INS Centers of Excellence Committee to create the structure for our Neuromodulation Centers of Excellence programs.

(4) INS Conflicts of Interest

Perhaps the greatest effort over the past nine months has been our work to develop an up to date, comprehensive conflict of interest (COI) policy for the INS, its leadership and our journal. We have held multiple meetings with INS leadership, and the INS COI committee, two of which included stakeholders in neuromodulation consisting of medical device industry leaders and consultants. Of course we seek to eliminate commercial bias in all of the INS’s programs and activities, with a close focus on mitigating biases and conflicts related to INS leaders’ and industry’s relationships. Thus far, two successive new versions of the INS COI policy have been passed (September, 2018 and May, 2019). A third version is currently under development and will be presented to the Board of Directors by the end of the summer, and published on the INS website once approved. Through such an iterative, living document, we hope to best serve the needs of the INS members, our stakeholders, and our patients.

(5) Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface

The journal continues to be the leading journal in the field of both invasive and non-invasive neuromodulation under the leadership of Acting Editor-in-Chief Dr. Robert Foreman. Of significant note is the recent development of a new position, that of Section Editor for Social Media and Online Content. Recognizing that we were not fully utilizing the potential power of social media and our available online content, a committee was established to solicit applications, interview and vote on a new section editor for the journal. After a comprehensive search, we have appointed Dr. Georgios Matis from the University Clinic of Cologne to assume this new position in August. We hope and expect that our improved presence on social media and the number of new online features to the journal will bring improved value to our members and readers.

Remarkably, the five critical projects noted above have not been pursued in a vacuum. Other important projects that are underway over the past 9 months include:

1) International Women in Neuromodulation Diversity and Inclusion Survey

The results of this comprehensive survey, the first of its kind in neuromodulation, have been submitted for presentation at the 2020 NANS Conference and will soon be submitted for potential publication in Neuromodulation. The insights gleaned from this survey will help to inform INS policies on diversity and inclusion for years to come.

2) INS Mentorship Program

The INS Young Neuromodulators Committee has been piloting a mentorship program which has been uniformly well received and is expanding rapidly. With the International Women in Neuromodulation Committee, they will be reaching out to Diversity and Inclusion Survey respondents who expressed interest in the INS’s mentorship program and providing them with mentorship opportunities.

3) INS Chapter Development and Expansion Grants

The first application to the INS new chapter grant program, established at the recommendation of our Globalization, Membership and Advocacy Committees, has been received. The Argentinean chapter (SANE) will receive a grant to be applied toward educational programs and membership. We congratulate SANE on this award, particularly during times of significant social and economic hardship in Argentina.

In conclusion, I hope the hard work and focus of the INS leadership is apparent to our membership. The value of the INS to its members includes not only our meetings and our journal, but also the society’s ability to improve the quality and stature of our field and the care of our patients. Through the projects outlined above, we hope to accomplish these goals, and by providing our milestones and timelines, we will keep our membership appraised of our progress. The Executive Board of Directors, the Board of Directors, our administrative staff and I thank you for your continued help and support.

Robert M. Levy, MD, PhD
INS President


November 15-16, 2018
Washington, DC

Robert H. Dworkin, PhD (University of Rochester)
Salim Hayek, MD (Case Western Reserve University)
Richard North, MD (Johns Hopkins University)
Simon Thomson, MBBS (Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals)
Dennis C. Turk, PhD (University of Washington)


INS 14th World Congress Results

We have received excellent feedback at the conclusion of the International Neuromodulation Society 14th World Congress, Neuromodulation: Leading a Global Medical Revolution, in Sydney in May 2019.

With plenary lectures from world experts, three parallel sessions, and 430 abstracts, the 3.5-day scientific program offered thoughtful analysis of scientific underpinnings and potential future directions, as well as important pivotal trial results, and data about emerging approaches and potential indications.

The congress welcomed 1,241 participants from 42 countries. Thirty-five attendees received travel grants. 

Local organizers from the Neuromodulation Society of Australia and New Zealand provided enthusiastic support, including assistance with the popular preconference cadaver workshop that offered training in a range of neuromodulation techniques.

The scientific program included a section for allied health professionals, and another on neuromodulation in Asia. Preconferences included a daylong session on noninvasive neuromodulation, an innovation-and-investment day, and a public education program featuring both patients and neuromodulation experts, which was open to the public and congress attendees.

The meeting abstracts will be published in the October 2019 issue of Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. (Citation: International Neuromodulation Society's 14th World Congress: Leading a Global Medical Revolution, Sydney, Australia May 25–30, 2019. Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, 2019;22: doi:10.1111/ner.12958.)

We announced the dates and location of the 15th INS World Congress, Neuromodulation: From Scientific Theory to Revolutionary Therapy, which will be May 1 – 6, 2021, in Barcelona, Spain.


International Women in Neuromodulation Survey

The International Neuromodulation Society and the INS International Women in Neuromodulation Committee (iWIN) would like to thank the 327 respondents who replied to a Diversity and Inclusion Survey distributed in May.

Its goals were:

  • To collect data about the experiences of neuromodulators in academic and non-academic settings worldwide.
  • To identify obstacles encountered by physicians wishing to enter neuromodulation specialties and advance their careers.
  • To identify gaps in education and mentoring that could be filled by iWIN and INS.
  • To serve as the basis for a publication about diversity and inclusion in neuromodulation.

It explored such issues as access to opportunity, career advancement, and work-life balance.

Committee members developed the survey in an effort to expand diversity in the subspecialty of neuromodulation practice, in which women account for approximately 5 – 10% of practitioners worldwide.

All INS members, and non-members who attended the 14th INS World Congress in May 2019, were invited to respond; 9.5% of the 3,107 survey recipients responded.

The results are being prepared for submission to Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, and to the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) 2020 annual scientific meeting.

Expert Panel on Directional Deep Brain Stimulation Leads

Mark your calendars for the next International Neuromodulation Society online Expert Panel session for members, Oct. 30 – Nov. 13, 2019, on "Clinical Experience with Directional Deep Brain Stimulation Leads".

The session will be co-moderated by Prof. Jan Vesper, MD, PhD, who is INS treasurer and Head of Department of Functional Neurosurgery and Stereotaxy, University Hospital, Düsseldorf, Germany; Prof. Konstantin Slavin, MD, who is INS secretary and Chief of Section and Fellowship Director for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Marie Krüger, MD, a consultant neurosurgeon and Head of the Stereotactic and Functional Division of the Neurosurgical Department at the Kantonsspital in St. Gallen, Switzerland, who has presented clinical trials on directional leads for tremor and pain in the past year at the World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery 18th biennial meeting and the Canadian Neuromodulation Society annual scientific meeting.

Directional deep brain stimulation was developed to steer electrical energy toward therapeutic targets and away from undesired structures. The availability of directional leads influences approaches to lead placement and programming. Up to now, the volume of tissue activated was shaped by imaging models of electrical current only. Now it becomes possible to steer electrical current directly. It will also be a matter of debate whether or not directional leads will be able to widen the therapeutic window without losing the long-term efficacy. 

Please plan to join your colleagues during this interactive forum discussion that takes place in the Members Only Global Discussion Forum of the INS website during the upcoming moderated two-week session.


Argentinean Neuromodulation Society Receives Chapter Grant

The International Neuromodulation Society is pleased to announce that the Argentinean Neuromodulation Society, Sociedad Argentina de Neuromodulación (SANE), has received the first INS chapter development and expansion grant. The $5,000 grant was approved by the INS leadership to support educational events and membership expansion.

With the goal of increasing knowledge and application of neuromodulation, SANE anticipates offering workshops and sessions around the country for “doctors’ specialists in the residency area, young doctors and auditors interested in neuromodulation practices”.

The INS grant should allow presenting these offerings at no cost to applicants. In addition, SANE would like to offer those three groups partial membership grants.

SANE anticipates that these steps will increase both membership, and knowledge and interest in neuromodulation, as well as facilitate acceptance of the therapy’s application and benefits.

The chapter development and expansion grant fund was established to encourage growth and influence at a national level. The fund permits grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, based on economic need and sustainability.


Mike DeJongste, MD, PhD, is Recognized by the King of the Netherlands for Life’s Work

The International Neuromodulation Society wishes to congratulate founding member Mike DeJongste, MD, PhD, who received a royal decoration from the king of the Netherlands for his groundbreaking work on spinal cord stimulation for treatment-resistant angina. The decoration was bestowed during a ceremony in April in his home town, by his local mayor. The royal award names him an “Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau” and recognizes "remarkable personal activities and vision with great quality” that benefit society as a whole.

His colleague Robert van Dongen, MD, PhD, attended the ceremony, and said the mayor noted Dr. DeJongste is "part of a larger international cooperation of scientists and doctors constantly striving for improving the quality of our patients’ lives."

We would like to note a few of Dr. DeJongste’s outstanding qualities and activities and their beneficial impact over the years:

Through his vision, skillful leadership, and pioneering research, he has advanced the field and practice of neuromodulation overall, improving the lives of patients. His early efforts to bring together international experts ultimately led to the founding of the INS biennial scientific congress.

As a cardiologist who is a leading expert and proponent of neuromodulation, his invited participation in international educational events extends well beyond cardiology. He has actively participated in the INS Scientific Oversight Committee, responsible for overseeing preparation of the INS congress scientific program. In the Netherlands, his education of physicians, nurses, and scientists has improved care in the local community. With his vision and organizational aptitude, he became a founder and served as president of the INS Benelux Chapter. Seeing potential benefits for all, he organized the first joint annual scientific meeting of the INS European chapters in 2018.

Considering Dr. DeJongste’s contributions, it is clear his royal award is well deserved.


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Last Updated on Monday, November 22, 2021 11:20 AM