On May 20th-23rd 2010, the 5th International Hydrocephalus Workshop and meeting of the International Society for Hydrocephalus and CSF Disorders was held in Greece. Over 100 surgeons and scientists attended from Europe, North America and Japan. In the past, this meeting has focused on adult forms of hydrocephalus. Recently there has been increasing participation by pediatric hydrocephalus researchers at the meeting and this year was the best yet. I represented the HCRN and talked about the current and future status of clinical research in pediatric hydrocephalus. The response was very positive – one senior neurosurgeon commented that “…there is more level 1 evidence in there than the rest of adult neurosurgery combined..” . Other invited speakers talked about a new definition classification of hydrocephalus (Dr. Hal Rekate). This definition is an essential step in developing common treatment plans for specific types of hydrocephalus. Dr Constantini reported on the International Randomized Trial for Infants comparing shunt and third ventriculostomy (S. Constantini) This trial is not complete but hopefully will tell us if third ventriculostomy or shunting in infancy will result in better developmental outcome.
There were also many basic science papers including some in the area of aquaporins. These are being investigated for the potential role in CSF production. This is an exciting area of cutting edge research being applied to hydrocephalus. Aquaporins were acclaimed in the 2003 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. They are proteins in the cell membrane that regulate the flow of water. If their function could be understood, the potential to increase or decrease their function might have a role in the treatment of hydrocephalus.
The meeting was an exciting opportunity for clinicians and laboratory investigators to discuss new ideas for further research. This is an annual meeting and is likely to become the most important annual hydrocephalus research conference. HCRN members will plan to actively participate in this meeting in the future.