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A Day in the Life of a Neurologist

RCPE Symposium Edinburgh

Date: Thursday, 25 October 2018


Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh,
9 Queen Street,


Modern neurology needs its practitioners to combine awareness of cutting edge diagnostic techniques and complex therapeutics with a sound knowledge of neurological localisation and basic clinical skills. More than most specialities the interpretation of the history and the ability to separate what is organic from what is not are key skills. Like all specialities there are common presentations that need fast assessment in the busy clinic environment.

We've arranged a day to try and reflect the modern reality of a clinical neurologist. Key features include a pacy and varied program, with authoritative and dynamic speakers, and two debate sessions concentrating on divisive issues in neurological therapeutics and diagnosis. Our keynote lecturer will highlight and explain the clinical symptomatology and diagnosis of dementia syndromes.

We've arranged the day around the different aspects of a neurologists life, which includes inpatient and outpatient work, everyday common presentations and an ability to recognise the unusual. Our 'heated debates' section invites surgical colleagues to address the existence of normal pressure hydrocephalus, while experts in multiple sclerosis will consider how we should be using modern immunotherapies in that disorder, which have become so much more effective in recent years.

Audience interaction will be a key component in all sessions, especially the debates. The symposium is aimed at students, doctors in training, GPs, general physicians, and of course neurologists as well.

Dr James Overell
Chair, Organising Committee

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Thursday 25 October 2018


Registration and Coffee


by Vice President, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Session 1 - Screening referrals, then the morning clinic

Chair: Professor John Paul Leach, Consultant Neurologist, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow


Words I hate in neurology
Dr Richard Davenport, Consultant Neurologist, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh
*the use and misuse of language between professionals and with patients * common pitfalls: 'confusion', 'dizziness', 'known epilepsy' and others


Making sense of tingling 
Dr Kathryn Brennan, Consultant Neurologist, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow
*the clinical approach to sensory symptoms * How sensory symptoms can inform diagnosis in neuropathy * sensory symptoms that are unlikely to have an identifiable cause  * sensory 'red flags'


Making sense of trembling
Dr Jane Alty, Consultant Neurologist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
*common tremor disorders and tips for making a positive diagnosis * treatment of non-parkinsonian tremor * video session of common tremor disorders with audience interaction / voting


Coffee / tea

Session 2 - The morning clinic continues: cognitive problems

Chair: Dr Paul Worth, Consultant in Neurology, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge


Debate: Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus - fact or fiction?


Mr Anthony Amato-Watkins, Consultant, Paediatric Neurosurgery, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow


Mr Roddy O’Kane, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow


Audience questions, discussion and final vote
Mr Roddy O’Kane, Mr Anthony Amato-Watkins, and Dr Paul Worth (Chair)


Chair - Vice President, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

A walk around the brain
Professor Nick Fox, Professor of Clinical Neurology, University College London
*common presentations of dementia syndromes * localisation from clinical symptoms and signs



Session 3 - The afternoon ward round – controversies in the management of multiple sclerosis    

Chair: Dr James Overell, Consultant Neurologist,  Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow


“Can I have stem cell therapy, doctor?”
Professor Basil Sharrack, Consultant Neurologist, Academic Department of Neurology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital
* mechanism * the evidence base for stem cell therapy in multiple sclerosis *current indications for use of stem cell therapy in multiple sclerosis


Debate: Both relapsing and progressive multiple sclerosis should be treated with immunotherapy


Dr Klaus Schmierer, Reader in Clinical Neurology, Queen Mary University of London and The Royal London Hospital


Dr Jeremy Chataway, Consultant Neurologist, University College London


Audience questions, discussion and final vote
Dr Klaus Schmierer, Dr Jeremy Chataway and Dr James Overell (Chair)


Coffee/ Tea

Session 4 - The call to the acute receiving unit

Chair: Dr Susan Duncan, Consultant Neurologist, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh


Unusual causes of blackout
Dr Rajiv Mohanraj, Consultant Neurologist, Greater Manchester Neurosciences Centre
*relationship between syncope and seizure, and difficulties in making the distinction * unusual syncopal / seizure syndromes, diagnostic pitfalls * brainstem disorders


Can we be confident this is a functional neurological disorder?
Professor Alan Carson, Professor of Neuropsychiatry, University of Edinburgh
*how to make a positive clinical diagnosis of functional illness in the receiving unit * key aspects of the history and physical signs *when are further investigations necessary? * tips and videos


Controversies in acute headache
Dr Anish Bahra, Consultant Neurologist,  University College London
*grey cases and diagnostic pitfalls * new concepts on imaging in acute headache: when and which modality? * is lumbar puncture still needed to exclude subarachnoid haemorrhage? *who should manage acute headache?


A rewarding day's work...
Concluding remarks




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Online booking for this event closes on Wednesday 24 October but places may still be available after that date - please contact the Education Co-ordinator for further information.

An early bird discount applies until Wednesday 26 September 2018.


Early Bird fee until 
Wednesday 26 September  

Standard Fee
from Thursday 27 September

Registrations fees

Standard fee



RCPE Fellow



RCPE Collegiate / Associate / Foundation Member



Nurse / AHP / Pharmacist / Postgraduate student



Retired FRCPE, including lunch



Retired FRCPE, no lunch



Medical student



Long term / other leave – Fellows and Members, please contact the Event Co-ordinator as some discretion may be available.

Collegiate and Associate Members of the RCPE in clinical research posts may be eligible for funding - please contact the Event Co-ordinator for further information.

Trainees – Scotland Deanery medical specialty trainees can attend any number of eligible symposia for a one-off payment from their study leave budget (block grant scheme).

Further details can be obtained from the Event Co-ordinator.

Free places

Unpaid post – Nil, if confirmation of status provided – please contact the Event Co-ordinator.

Refugee doctors – free places are available to refugee doctors who are Associate Members of the College. Associate Membership for refugee doctors is available free of charge. Please visit our website for instructions on how to join, and then apply to the Event Co-ordinator for your free place.

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Further Info

This event is open to all grades of medical, health care and scientific staff and to students. If you are unsure about eligibility, or the correct fee category, please contact the RCPE member of staff responsible for the event (see Fees page).

All relevant events are approved for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). A certificate of attendance with CPD information will be issued electronically to individual delegates via email. Please note - certificates can only be issued to attendees who have signed against their name on the CPD Register/Delegate List available at each event and completed feedback forms have been received.

Please note that on occasion event programmes may be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.

A professional photographer may be in attendance at this event. Photographs may be used by the College in digital and printed publicity material. If you do not wish to be photographed, please let a member of staff know at the registration desk.


As a listed building, the College has restricted disabled access. A wheelchair lift is provided at the rear of the College giving access to the Conference Centre and the main historic rooms, but not all of the smaller rooms used for educational events. For further information and assistance please contact the RCPE Co-ordinator responsible for the event.

An induction loop system is available in the conference centre and Great Hall.

Accommodation and Directions to the College

The College has negotiated special rates with a number of local hotels.

Parking is available on street (metered) or at the Omni Centre car park, 10 minute's walk from the College.

Download pdf map and directions

Bicycle racks are available for cyclists at the door to 8 Queen Street. For access to further bicycle racks, please ask at reception.

Local walking routes

Three short walks can be enjoyed from the College. So if you are visiting us, why not explore the local area. Details can be found at Medal Routes.

Commercial Sponsorship

Many events are supported by commercial companies taking stand space. Health professionals and NHS managers are invited to visit the company stands during the breaks. Companies interested in sponsoring this, or other events listed on the Calendar, should contact the Co-ordinator responsible for the event.

Exhibitors/sponsors play no part in the planning or delivery of the event and the College has developed an Ethical Sponsorship Policy to support organising committees and committee chairs in their negotiations with potential commercial partners for education and other events.

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