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90th Annual Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists

The 90th Annual Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists took place at the Manchester Central 6th - 8th July 2010.

Report by Abbey McBeth (Norwich) and George Milldleton (Norwich)

We returned to Manchester for the 90th Annual meeting of the BAD, within the excellent conference facilities of Manchester Central. For the first time in recent memory, the main conference was reduced from four days down to three, meaning one day less of precious study leave expended – a commodity in short supply. Unfortunately for this reason there were some inevitable clashes of specialist society meetings. However, overall, members appeared to appreciate the condensed format.

The second outing of ‘Dermschool’ for budding dermatologists preceded the main meeting and was well-attended, with a very well chosen programme. Dermschool also offered the opportunity for poster presentations and these were of very high quality- well done to this year’s prize winners.

The trainee pre-conference session was, as ever, a thoroughly enjoyable programme of advice, evidence-based updates and lively interaction. Dr Karen Gibbon began the afternoon with an excellent clinic-based, practical guide to pregnancy dermatoses and reminded us of the correct classification of these symptomatic eruptions.  Haemangiomas were demystified in Dr Cameron Kennedy’s photographic tour and he stressed the importance of psychological support for parents but also speedy intervention for obstructive lesions. Dr Richard Groves gave a very useful overview of the format of the SCE and reminded us to apply early to avoid disappointment on exam centre selection.  With a change of style and pace the trainees (and some consultants) were put on the spot with case-based interactive teaching by Drs de Berker and Bowling. Scenarios includedXanthogranuloma, Lentigo maligna and Gouty nails. We all now know our arborising vessels from our zoonoses thanks to Dr Bowling’s fantastic A-Z of Dermoscopy and Dr Jemima Mellerio’s informative lecture on genodermatoses has had us obsessively drawing family trees for all new referrals.  Dr Jason Payne-James gave us an illuminating overview of Forensic Dermatology to round off.

And so the main meeting began with the Clinicopathological cases of the joint meeting with the British Society of Dermatopathology (BSD).  The presentations were wide-ranging and intellectually challenging, including drug eruptions, autoimmune phenomenon and genodermatoses. The main BSD meeting was well-attended, with guest lecturer Dr Mihm giving us a fascinating insight into a difficult clinicopathological problem, interface dermatitis and connective tissue diseases.

The British Society of Cutaneous Allergy and the British Society for Paediatric Dermatology meetings were at the same time as the clinicopathological cases section meeting. Both sections were very successful affairs, with many excellent short oral presentations and posters. This was the first annual meeting of the newly branded British Society of Cutaneous Allergy and Dr Tove Agner gave a superb Prosser-White Oration, covering all aspects of the management of hand eczema.

The Historical symposium this year included an inspirational biography of Sir Archibald Gray, founder of the BAD 90 years ago, delivered in the guest lecture by Dr Sid Orpin.

Continuing on Tuesday, Frank Nestle gave a most insightful guest lecture, showing us all how important an understanding of genetics is in the pathogenesis and therapy of psoriasis.

Later in the afternoon, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz displayed all of his experience in medical academia in a superb talk, hinting at what is currently driving the biomedical research economy in the UK, specifically with regard to MRC funding. We wish him well in his new post as Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.

On Wednesday the British Society for Dermatological Surgery meeting and dinner received strong support, with many excellent presentations as usual. The British Photodermatology Group also had a very good meeting, with a fascinating guest talk from Professor Mary Norvall about UVR induced immunosuppression.

Another particular highlight was Professor Jean Bolognia’s ‘Update on the side effects of chemotherapy’, a well navigated educational journey through the cutaneous manifestations of current chemotherapy agents.  Prof. Bolognia’s explanation of the re-classification of the Toxic Erythema of Chemotherapy was enlightening and we should now all feel well equipped to deal with those challenging post- or peri-chemotherapy referrals.

Dr Richard Groves delivered a most informative update, in his session entitled ‘what’s new in immunobullous disease’, including details of the current evidence for Rituximab usage in blistering disorders. Prof. Adam Balen gave a very interesting view of the current state of play with regard to polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition which overlaps many specialities, including our own.

Dr David Paige’s talk on HIV and dermatology really brought all of us up to date with his usual clarity of presentation. We will all be thinking twice about every case of nodular prurigo we see from now on.

Dr Kennedy’s ‘Emergency Dermatology’ provided an excellent guide for the on-call dermatologist.  We were reminded of the less obvious complications of these acute presentations, such as insulin resistance in the catabolic state of TEN and thrombo-embolic disease in Generalised Pustular Psoriasis.

Unfortunately, it seems as if the Department of Health funding for e-dermatology project has stalled for the moment. Dr Robert Charles-Holmes and Dr Jane Sterling suggested that the project would probably continue in a similar form in the future.

The joint BDNG session of Top tips on Psoriasis, PDT, Paediatrics, Hyperhidrosis, Surgery and Lymphoedema were also very well received. Key lessons from the afternoon session were new techniques of abbreviated iontophoresis, a reminder of the use of sucrose for analgesia in neonates and advice regarding pain relieving techniques for PDT, including careful explanation and distraction techniques.

After the intense debate of the uncertainties faced in Dermatology at the AGM, it was time to let our hair down at the Annual Dinner at Manchester Town hall.  By the arrival of coffee and the enjoyable after-dinner speeches all was temporarily forgotten and the entertainment ‘Boogie Wonderband’ worked their magic. 

Moving on to the final day, the “Professors and Registrars forum” imparted wisdom from those with “chairs” and from those aspiring to such a position perhaps? The highlight of this section was the Arthur Rook Oration given by Dr Joseph Jorizzo, who enlightened all of us on the perpetually perplexing topic of neutrophilic vascular reactions.

Thursday afternoon’s CPD session was a fitting end to the meeting, with excellent overviews of key topics such as biologics, management of connective tissue diseases, clinical audit software, photodermatology, paediatric dermatology and a fascinating guest lecture from Prof Sarah Thomas on medical education.

Prof Lesley Rhodes provided a very useful update discussing the issue of sunlight exposure and vitamin D and warning of the increasing use of alpha-MSH analogues and their potential to rapidly darken naevi, but also postulating their therapeutic application. 

Dr Mary Judge provided an excellent overview of a number of ‘What’s new in paediatrics’ including the role of filaggrin mutation, oral allergy syndrome and the potential benefit of sodium chromoglycate, and therapeutic pearls for the treatment of alopecia areata in children.

Drawing the meeting to a close, the president’s address discussed challenging times ahead with the financial difficulties in the NHS and the continued large number of vacant consultant posts around the country. Dr Stephen Jones discussed the important role of the BAD in addressing the potential for trainees assisting in the hospital at night programme in terms of both safety and governance issues and also a reduction in dermatology experience and service provision. 

We cannot discuss the meeting without highlighting the poster exhibition, with many superb visual presentations. The bar really was raised again this year. Thank you also to the meetings sponsors for their interesting satellite symposia and exhibitions.

Thanks to the BAD for another thoroughly enjoyable conference, we came away feeling inspired (and perhaps even a little competitive) and have begun planning submissions for the next meeting in London in 2011.  See you all there.

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