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  • A Preview of the 2019 CNS Annual Meeting

    Authors: Alexander A. Khalessi, MD, MBA, MS
    Nader Pouratian, MD PhD
    Brian V. Nahed, MD
    April Martin
    Deanne Starr
    Ganesh Rao

    The CNS Annual Meeting Committee is proud to provide this preview of the 2019 CNS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. In a time when medical expertise and evidence are being challenged by hearsay, and public safety and health are being undermined by poor science, our 2019 meeting theme, “The Age of Reason for Neurosurgery” will renew an emphasis on rational thought and evidence-based reason as the cornerstones of neurosurgery.

    The Annual Meeting committee has packed the General Scientific Sessions with keynote speakers chosen to illuminate our theme. We have enhanced the rest of the meeting in response to attendee feedback to maximize the clinical content and CME opportunities for your registration dollar and time. Be sure to check out Dr. Ashok Asthagiri’s article on page 8 to learn more about how we’ve retooled the weekend course offerings in San Francisco.

    Our daily Sunrise Science and Guidelines Sessions offer an overview of essential CNS practice guidelines and offer oral presentations of the top abstracts in each section as well as late-breaking science. See Drs. Jennifer Sweet’s and Martina Stippler’s article on page 10 for more details.

    We have placed an emphasis on significantly enhancing opportunities to present your research. You will find essential original science and clinical abstracts throughout the program with daily Oral Presentations and new Interactive Multimedia Presentations on Tuesday with mini-podium talks in strategically situated oral presentation venues throughout the poster hall. And given their popularity at last year’s meeting, we will again feature the most impactful papers in NEUROSURGERY with our Top Paper awards in each subspecialty. 

    We have also enhanced opportunities to be recognized for outstanding contributions to neurosurgery. In addition to section-specific awards that we all know from past years, this year there will be additional awards for best overall and Best Clinical, Best Science, and Best Operative Technique Oral Presentations for each section. During the Interactive Multimedia Presentation, the top clinical, basic science, and operative technique abstract in each section will also be recognized.


    Raymond Sawaya

    We are proud to present Dr. Raymond Sawaya as our 2019 Honored Guest.

    Dr. Sawaya was the founding chair of Neurosurgery at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, ultimately building the department into the most comprehensive and best recognized neurosurgical oncology program in the country. He also served as director of the Brain Tumor Center, an advisor to the leaders of the Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Moon Shot™, and is currently the holder of the Anne C. Brooks & Anthony D. Bullock III Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery.

    Dr. Sawaya is an internationally recognized leader in neurosurgery, with particular expertise in primary and metastatic brain tumors. On the clinical side, he has helped identify brain metastases as a major threat to the well-being of cancer patients and was the first to promote the treatment of patients with multiple brain metastases (J Neurosurg 79: 210-6, 1993; 368 citations). Dr. Sawaya is renowned for his great strides in enhancing the accessibility and safety of brain tumor surgery. This can best be demonstrated in his landmark paper on the importance of extent of resection on the survival of glioblastoma patients (J Neurosurg 95: 190-8, 2001; 1440 citations). He has also conducted the first prospective trial on the use of intraoperative MRI to maximize the extent of resection (Neurosurgery 64: 1073- 81, 2009; 105 citations). His laboratory work helped identify molecular determinants of brain tumor invasiveness, and in particular, the role of serine proteases in glioma oncogenesis (over 60 publications).

    Dr. Sawaya will deliver lectures during the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday General Sessions, host the Resident/Honored Guest Luncheon on Monday afternoon and hold a meet and greet session Monday morning in the CNS Xperience Lounge. 

    Look for our 2019 Honored Guest, Dr. Raymond Sayawa at the following sessions:

    Monday, October 21

    GSSII 9:13–9:40 am

    Honored Guest Presentation: Role of Resection for Glioblastoma: Can Technology Overcome Biology?

    12:15–1:45 pm

    Resident/Honored Guest Luncheon

    Tuesday, October 22

    GSS III 8:50–9:12 am

    Honored Guest Presentation: Evidence-based Medicine Through Development of Home-grown Databases

    Wednesday, October 23

    GSS IV 8:50–9:12 am

    Honored Guest Presentation: The Evolving Landscape and Management of Brain Metastases


    Featured Speakers

    Lucy Kalanithi, MD
    A Conversation with Lucy Kalanithi

    Lucy Kalanithi, MD, is the widow of the late Dr. Paul Kalanithi, neurosurgeon and author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir When Breath Becomes Air for which she wrote the epilogue. An internal medicine physician and faculty member at the Stanford School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, she completed her medical degree at Yale, residency at the University of California-San Francisco, and a postdoctoral fellowship in healthcare delivery innovation at Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center. At the cross-section of her career as a medical professional and her personal experience alongside her husband during his life, diagnosis, treatment, and death, Dr. Kalanithi has special interests in healthcare value, meaning in medicine, patient-centered care, and end-of-life care. She has appeared on PBS NewsHour, NPR Morning Edition, and Yahoo News with Katie Couric, and been interviewed for People, NPR, and The New York Times. Join us Sunday, October 20, for a conversation with Lucy Kalanithi, immediately followed by a book signing of When Breath Becomes Air.


    Shankar Vedantam
    Hidden Brain
    CNS Michael L. J. Apuzzo Lecturer on Creativity and Innovation

    Shankar Vedantam is the host of NPR’s “Hidden Brain” podcast and radio show, as well as the author of the non-fiction book, The Hidden Brain: How our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives. The book, published in 2010, describes how unconscious biases influence people.

    Vendantam’s goal is to help people think about the world in new and interesting ways. He is endlessly fascinated by research in fields ranging from psychology and history to sociology and economics. Before joining NPR in 2011, Vedantam spent 10 years as a reporter at The Washington Post. From 2007 to 2009, he was also a columnist and wrote the Department of Human Behavior column for the Post. He will deliver a talk on Hidden Brain during the Monday GSS and will be signing copies of his book in the CNS Xperience Lounge during the morning beverage break.


    Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Leadership in Turbulent Times
    Walter E. Dandy Orator

    Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker, and Pulitzer Prizewinning New York Times #1 best- selling author. Her career as a presidential historian and author was inspired when, as a 24-year-old graduate student at Harvard, she was selected to join the White House Fellows, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. Goodwin worked with Johnson in the White House and later assisted him in the writing of his memoirs. She then wrote Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, which became a national bestseller and achieved critical acclaim. Goodwin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. Her sixth book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, won the Carnegie Medal and is being developed into a film. Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln served as the basis for Steven Spielberg’s hit film Lincoln, and was awarded the prestigious Lincoln Prize, the inaugural Book Prize for American History, and the Lincoln Leadership Prize. She will deliver the Walter E. Dandy Oration, Leadership in Turbulent Times, on Monday afternoon and will be signing copies of her book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, in the CNS Xperience Lounge immediately following the conclusion of her talk.


    Carl Zimmer
    A Journey to the Center of the Brain

    Carl Zimmer is the author of 13 books about science, including his latest, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity. He also writes a weekly column, Matter, in the New York Times and created the podcast “What Is Life?” Zimmer’s writing has earned a number of awards, including the 2016 Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science. She Has Her Mother’s Laugh was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review and was selected for Publisher’s  Weekly Best 10 Books of 2018 and the 2018 shortlist for Baillie-Gifford Prize for Nonfiction. The Guardian named it the best science book of 2018. Zimmer will deliver a talk Tuesday morning during the general scientific session and will sign copies of his book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh in the CNS Xperience Lounge during the morning beverage break.


    Bret Stephens
    U.S. Foreign Policy and the World

    Bret Stephens became an op-ed columnist and associate editor for the New York Times in April 2017, after spending 11 years as the author of Global View, the foreign-affairs column of the Wall Street Journal, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 2013. He also served eight years as the Journal’s deputy editorial-page editor, responsible for the newspaper’s global opinion section, as well as a member of the editorial board. Stephens has twice been chairman of Pulitzer Prize juries and is a national judge of the prestigious Livingston Awards. He holds two honorary doctorates. In 2014 he was awarded the Professional Achievement Prize by the University of Chicago, a distinction he shares with composer Philip Glass, astronomer Carl Sagan, and Nobel laureate Gary Becker. In 2014 Penguin published his book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. Stephens will deliver a talk on US Foreign Policy and the World during the Tuesday morning GSS and will sign copies of his book, America in Retreat, in the CNS Xperience Lounge immediately following the session.


    Rebecca Skloot
    John Thompson History of Medicine Lecture

    Bestselling author Rebecca Skloot spent more than 10 years doggedly uncovering the truth about the life, death, and ultimate “immortality” of a poor Black tobacco farmer named Henrietta Lacks. Her phenomenal book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lackshas sold nearly 3 million copies to date. Recognizable for its engaging, straightforward language, Skloot’s writing—both in The Immortal Life and her many feature articles for major publications—has charmed readers around the world. More than 250 communities, schools, and universities have chosen The Immortal Life for their common read programs and it was selected as a best book of 2010 by over 60 media outlets. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks also spent more than four years on The New York Times bestseller list, was named one of Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, has been translated into more than 25 languages, and was made into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball. Skloot was named One of Five Surprising Leaders of 2010 by The Washington Post. Join us Wednesday, October 23 as Skloot delivers the John Thompson History of Medicine Lecture, followed by a signing of The Immortal Life during the morning break.


    Aaron E. Carroll, MD
    Healthcare in the U.S.

    Aaron E. Carroll, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Dean for Research Mentoring, and the Director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine. His research focuses on health care financing reform, the study of information technology to improve pediatric care, and areas of health policy including physician malpractice and the pharmaceutical industry/physician relationship. Dr. Carroll also serves as Regenstrief Institute’s vice president for faculty development where he leads Regenstrief’s faculty development strategy and implementation efforts. Carroll was one of the first to study the use of mobile devices in actual care and has written numerous publications on the subject. He has held millions of dollars in various government agency grants to explore the use of information technology in health care and is one of the leading pediatric informaticists in the U.S. He has also served in this capacity in committees for the American Academy of Pediatrics and is the co-founder of Medical Data Solutions, one of the first software companies to create programs for health professionals for mobile devices. Dr. Carroll is the Web and Social Media Editor at JAMA Pediatrics, co-editor of The Incidental Economist and host of “Healthcare Triage, “ a YouTube channel that received the National Institute of Health Care Management Digital Media Award. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times’ The Upshot, as well as other media outlets and he has appeared on Good Morning America, the CBS Evening News, ABC News, and The Colbert Report. Dr. Carroll’s latest book, Bad Food Bible, joins the three books he co-authored on medical myths. He will deliver a lecture on Healthcare in the U.S. during the Wednesday GSS and will host a meet and greet in the Xperience Lounge following the session.


    Partner Societies

    The CNS is honored to welcome the Japanese Congress of Neurological Surgeons (JCNS) as our international partner for 2019. We are thrilled to host several leaders of JCNS at this year’s meeting, and we hope you will attend their presentations. We are especially excited to present three new international symposia on brain tumor surgery, cerebrovascular surgery, and functional neurosurgery on Monday afternoon. 

    We also are pleased to continue our collaboration with the Association of Neurological Physician Assistants (ANSPA) again this year, with their Annual Fall CME Meeting hosted in partnership with the CNS as a full-day course on Sunday, October 20. We’d like to thank all the ANSPA attendees for helping us make this collaboration seamless.


    2019 Highlights

    This year’s meeting is full of can’t-miss content and opportunities to enrich your practice. We encourage you to engage with the following features of this year’s meeting:

    • Enhanced recognition of outstanding neurosurgical research with dedicated awards for best clinical, scientific, and operative techniques oral presentation for each section.
    • The CNS Xperience Lounge will be a bustling area to network, explore, and immerse yourself in technology and education. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the Innovator of the Year, take advantage of book signings by speakers, participate in wellness activities, and attend a special seminar presented by NVidia on using advanced computing to enhance the field of neurosurgery.
    • Daily live surgery via telemedicine technology is back this year in the CNS Xperience Lounge!
    • International Symposia – The CNS is bringing together international experts in brain tumor surgery, cerebrovascular surgery, and functional and stereotactic surgery on Monday afternoon to bring new perspectives to your practice.
    • Operative Techniques – We have introduced a new abstract type this year, focusing on operative techniques, highlighting expert and novel techniques to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. Operative Neurosurgery will be highlighted each afternoon for each section, with operative videos and special oral presentation opportunities for abstracts focusing on operative techniques.
    • Submit your cases now for our Case-based Discussion Sessions, at case-based, where real cases will be examined by attendees, offering differing or opposing viewpoints that could shape your response to similar cases.
    • New Interactive Multimedia Presentation – A dedicated session with wine and cheese on Tuesday afternoon allows neurosurgeons to present their work to colleagues, with additional opportunities for mini-podium presentations during the session.
    • Check out our new full-day Symposia on Saturday and Sunday for a deeper dive into clinical issues relevant to your practice, with more clinical and scientific content at a reduced price with industry-sponsored breakout sessions and lunch included.



    You absolutely will not want to miss the 2019 CNS Annual Meeting in beautiful San Francisco, California. Bring your family to enjoy the city’s incredible food, art, and culture, while you connect with your colleagues and catch up on the latest advances in the field. Register by September 18 to secure our best registration rates, as well as a complimentary Spouse/Guest registration.

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