The 93rd Annual Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists took place at the ACC Liverpool 9th - 11th July 2013.
Report by Portia Goldsmith (London)
Twenty four years of attending the annual conference and I think this was one of the best. Of course the weather helped but the walk along the river each morning was refreshing and Liverpool is a lively city which doesn’t take itself too seriously. For the first time in ages I decided to do the ‘Full Monty’- no, I kept my clothes on but I did arrive on the Monday night and leave on the Thursday evening. This has advantages; I was relaxed, able to pick and choose what I went to and even had time to visit the Chagal Exhibition and the Museum of Slavery (both 4 star events).
Usually I do a clinic, race to the meeting, race back and do a clinic all within 36 hours- bad with a small ‘b’. Tuesday morning was a challenge. I wanted to be in 3 places at once: Cutaneous Allergy, Paediatric Dermatology and the Historical Symposium. This is frustrating and I would suggest that perhaps the specialist sessions should rotate their timing so that the same clashes do not occur year after year. I can’t be the only Dermatologist who is interested in paediatric dermatology as well as ‘Contact’. Lacking Hermione Granger’s Time Turner I chose to stay in Contact Allergy where Prof Jeannne Johansen gave a beautiful account of the latest villain in the world of Contact Dermatitis – methyl isothiazolinone. This preservative is triggering contact allergy
at an alarming rate. Other presentations from St Johns and Leeds confirmed this as ‘The Allergen of 2013’, commonest in women over 40 but present in products as diverse as wet wipes, shaving foam, shower gel, washing up liquid and paint. We wait with interest to see how long it will take before legislation materialises to ban this ubiquitous preservative. Also in this session I found David Gawkrodger’s pragmatic approach to patients with possible metal allergy who are due to have joint replacements helpful and easy to adopt. After lunch I had the ‘find’ of the meeting. We were given a tour of ‘The BAD Dermatology Smartphone App for Medical Students’ by Helbling and Coleman. I have downloaded it and can confirm it is really good, easy to use and great for beginner SpRs and junior Drs and it’s free! Well done to all those who contributed and created it. Later that day I found it reassuring to listen to Prof Mooi talk about ‘Small melanomas, naevoid melanomas and non melanomas’. In the same way that clinicians can’t tell and agree about pigmented lesions, Dermatopathologists also struggle and sometimes just don’t know. This makes sense to me and I think we underestimate the intelligence of our patients if we think they can’t cope with this concept. Two other guest speakers whose talks I found very interesting and illuminating were Prof Denton on ‘Translating Scleroderma’and Prof Gallo on ‘Understanding skin disease through the perspective of innate immunity’- both were able to make complex subjects understandable and accessible. Hidradenitis suppurativa is a challenging and somewhat depressing condition to manage so I listened with hope to Prof Jemec’s account on the advances in HS. Our own specialists also shone in this meeting with excellent talks from John McGrath, Robert Sarkany, Nick Reynolds and James Ferguson to names a few.
Another highlight was this year’s heterogeneous collection of posters covering subjects as diverse as ‘Post traumatic stress disorder following DRESS’ to ‘Algorithms for choosing wound care dressings’. Dermatology on call services are in danger and I thought the idea of an on call database as used by Anjum et al in Portsmouth was an excellent idea. Perhaps this is something the BAD could develop and then it could be rolled out nationally. Malcolm Rustin and his team should feel proud that this year they gave us a Vintage Annual Conference.