It was a great privilege to be invited to address the 16th Asian Australasian Congress of Neurological Surgeons that took place in Jerusalem in September. I was invited to speak on the topic of when a conservative approach to a brain arteriovenous malformation is appropriate. There was also a panel discussion of difficult cases that highlighted both the differences in approach to this enigmatic disease around the world. It was a terrific to hear analyses from experts around the world and have them challenge my own perspective.
The AACNS represents those responsible for the neurosurgical care of more than fifty per cent of the planets population! With guest representation from American and European societies, for many of us this was the first large, international conference that we had participated in since COVID appeared. The importance of the conference to the host country was displayed in the quality of the excellent guest speakers in attendance. I make particular mention of Nobel prize winning biologist Aaron Ciechanover who gave an inspiring talk on the development of personalised medicine that was also a passionate call to the defence of bioethics.
Throughout the week a wide range of topics were discussed some that touch neurosurgery indirectly as well asa great deal about advancements in surgical robotics and molecular advancements in personalised medicine. The social program was predictably fascinating in a city with such a wonderful if sometimes unhappy history. This kicked off with a reception at the Tower of David from where the whole city could be regarded and we walked amongst buildings laid down in the time of Herod.
The conference was addressed by the Prime Minister of Israel, Yair Lapid. In office since July and facing elections in the near future he still found time to spend an hour with the Congress in recognition of the importance placed in medical advancement by our hosts.
There was time to visit many of the historical landmarks of Jerusalem and at the end of the week speak with Palestinian colleagues who hosted their first national neurosurgical meeting in Ramallah.