This issue of US Neurology comes in time for the 2014 biannual conference of the American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (ASSFN) in Washington, DC—the meeting that summarizes recent progress in our specialty and presents a wide overview of clinical and research advancements in the field of neurosurgical stereotaxis and functional neurosurgery. For those readers who are not familiar with the definition of stereotactic and functional neurosurgery, I would mention that our field—and our society, the ASSFN—is dedicated to the treatment of so-called functional disorders of the nervous system, i.e. diseases that result in abnormal circuitry behavior of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, a broad term that unites movement disorders, epilepsy, psychiatric conditions, and chronic pain, and does it through the use of stereotaxy and other forms of surgical technology. Functional neurosurgeons treat most advanced cases of all of these conditions; over the decades, functional neurosurgery has become the standard of care for medically refractory cases of Parkinson disease, tremor, dystonia, epilepsy, spasticity, and all kinds of chronic pain syndromes, and the list of surgical indications continuously expands.
The 2014 ASSFN conference continues the long tradition of our biannual meetings in providing cutting-edge medical research across the spectrum of our specialty; this time we will have seminars and talks dedicated to surgery for movement disorders, epilepsy, chronic pain, and psychiatric conditions—as well as on surgical perspectives in the treatment of dementia, peripheral nerve stimulation, use of focused ultrasound, and other novel and less-invasive modalities. In the characteristic manner of ASSFN conferences, we expect plenty of collegial discussions and open exchanges during plenary and parallel sessions, symposia, and paper and poster presentations, as well as numerous opportunities for informal interaction among participants and guests during breaks and social events.
Last year, the ASSFN celebrated 50 years of incorporation under the name of the International Society for Research in Stereoencephalotomy and 45 years since forming the US branch of this society. With these anniversaries we entered a new stage of maturity and are now ready to advance to the next step in our continuous evolution. With the introduction of new surgical modalities, new patient selection criteria, new outcome measuring instruments and imaging tools, and new educational paradigms and requirements, it is becoming clearer than ever that we depend on our neurology colleagues in making our skills available to our patients. We invite all migraine and headache specialists, epileptologists, movement disorder experts, neuropsychiatrists and neuropsychologists, multiple sclerosis specialists, pediatric neurologists, and neuro-oncologists to learn more about what functional neurosurgeons can offer to strengthen your practice and help your patients.
In the best traditions of US Neurology, the multi-disciplinary collaboration within the field of neuroscience is highlighted by the variety of high-quality in-depth articles—for which we thank the expert authors—and functional neurosurgery, the specialty field near and dear to me personally, represents the best example of similar clinical and research intersection of neurology, neurosurgery, and neuroscience. I look forward to our continuous work together and want to use this opportunity to reach out to our colleagues in non-surgical neurological specialties inviting them to participate in our Society, our conferences, and our projects.