Anyway, catch-up time.
Lara Boyd spoke early on Friday morning. She is a PT/neuroscience researcher with the BrainBehaviourLab at UBC. The talk was fascinating (she should have been the keynote speaker); I don't recall much anymore, but what I gathered is that she looks at transcranial motor stimulation of the cortex of people with stroke. She talked about how the hemispheres inhibit each other all the time, and how in stroke, one hemisphere often shuts down completely and the other gets wildly excited. What I got excited about, was that she said cotico-spinal pyramidal cells don't just originate in the motor cortex, but rather, that they also originate from the sensory, and premotor cortices as well; that the motor, pre-motor and sensory cortices were really not discrete in their function as much as everyone used to imagine they were. She talked a bit about pain, but I forget what she said. I do remember Deb Patterson leaning over and whispering, "That must be why mirror therapy works!" And I remember the two of us, at the back of the room of 500 or so people, breaking out into spontaneous applause. A guy turned around and asked, "Neuro section?" and I replied, "Pain section."
I plan to read every scrap this woman has ever written.
Progressive Goal Attainment Program
One of the big surprises this year was that Michael Sullivan from McGill was invited to present. This is a HUGE step away from the pure mesodermalism I've learned to expect and dislike. He talked about predicting what patients would be less likely to do well with "regular" treatment, and helping patients keep moving along by avoiding therapeutic relational pitfalls common to our profession, common in that no PT school has ever bothered teaching us to be more "therapist" and less "physical." He extends the opportunity for interdisciplinary adventures with his by-now-famous Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP). Which I plan to take one of these days. I think the ortho division brought him in, which is a huge departure from Jay Shah and his muscle needling, from Congress last year.
Pain Science and our (Pain Science Division) chair, Dave Walton
Several workshops this year focused on the pain system, stress, goal attainment, therapeutic relationship, goal attainment, motivational interviewing, and classifications of patient subgroups; Dave was involved in many of them. It was SO good to see. SUCH an evolution away from mind-numbing presentations about elbows and knees and necks. Well, we haven't managed to get away from the necks, quite yet - a lot of stuff was about whiplash; however, much was about yellow flags applicable to any kind of pain, but unfortunately (IMO) because of the nature of science, this body-part issue has to do with the way research is organized and research questions have to be addressed. It's necessary to focus on one bit at a time - no one can ever ask a broad question that would apply to the human organism in general. Apparently PhDs are gained particle by particle.
Dave Walton, new chair of PSD as of Thursday July 14/11, second from right, beside Ronald Melzack
Also in picture: Lesley Singer far left, green dress; me far right
Neil Pearson stepped down as chair (because it's a timed term, not because he wasn't great, because he was), and Dave is our new chair. He is a PT, a PhD, a martial artist, and has been known to do breakdancing at Local Flavour Nights during Congress; it is rumoured he can do full splits. Pretty cool. Go Dave!