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Trainees’ Preview of the Brighton 2016 ABN Meeting

Posted in Special Feature on 14th Jun 2016

ACNR-MJJ16-full-PDF-19From fish and chips by Brighton pier to the trendiest bars and night clubs, Graham Greene novels to hipster street markets, the diverse microcosm that is Brighton has just about everything you’d ever need for a fantastic city break. And as if Brighton couldn’t provide enough to keep you busy all year round, the ABN annual meeting’s return there in 2016 coincides with the Brighton Festival and the Brighton Fringe.

The conference venue itself, the Brighton Centre, is on the sea-front right in the centre of town, perfectly placed for you to spill out after a long day’s thinking and listening to draw in the fresh sea air and unwind. Take a stroll along the historic promenade and enjoy the evening sun on the shingle and the pier, or head inland for the cafés and bars of The Lanes and around the Pavilion – from trendy to quirky, you’ll find something that suits.

But before you think you’re off to Brighton for a holiday, don’t forget the fabulous line-up for the Annual Meeting itself! Kicking off with the ever-popular ABN Trainees’ sessions on Monday 16th May, we have kept the formula of previous years for the first half, with small-group teaching on CNS inflammation: starting with diagnosis, differentials, mimics and red flags, we process through, imaging, DMARDs and symptomatic treatment such as for paroxysmal symptoms, pain and mood.

For the second half of the afternoon we step into new territory for the Trainees’ day with a double session on Leadership, courtesy of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management. We hope you will find this interesting and inspiring, as well as of direct practical use. We finish the Trainees’ afternoon in the experienced hands of Nigel Leigh as he takes us through his favourite clinical signs and shares other tips and gems.

All of this runs parallel with an excellent set of talks and case studies for medical students and foundation year and CMT doctors interested in neurology. There will be plenty of advice and insight into what neurologists do, where we fit in the wider neuro family and how to join in – do encourage your junior colleagues to come along.

The early-evening research workshop has also become well-established over the last few years and returns with some great speakers on choosing a research question and setting up research studies.

And so the first day draws to a close. Sound exhausting? So relax and enjoy the fellowship of trainees from around the country, friends old and new, at the Trainees’ Dinner. For me this has always been one of the highlights of coming to the ABN annual meeting, stepping over the deanery boundaries and meeting new people.

The final event specifically for trainees is the Trainee Forum. This is our opportunity as trainees to get together en masse to discuss issues amongst ourselves, and I would encourage you all to come along, even if it is at the breakfast slot the morning after the Trainees’ Dinner!

As a phrase “The Seven Ages of Man” brings a number of different images to mind. But it also brings together the ABN and the British Paediatric Neurology Association, in what should be a fantastic overview of neurological disorders from pre-natal diagnosis right through to the nature of ageing itself.

About Brighton itself

Brighton has been a popular destination since the mid-18th century, when it became the go-to for London’s rich and famous. Indeed Brighton Pavillion, built between 1787 and 1823, was commissioned by George IV when he was Prince Regent to be his palace by the sea from which to enjoy all the best that Brighton had to offer. As riotous as it looks on the outside, a trip inside is well worth the effort for the ridiculously over-the-top décor, followed by a cream tea in the Pavillion balcony café or an ice cream in the picturesque gardens.

A stroll along the sea-front also comes highly recommended: anything from a Jack Russell on a skateboard to a stag in drag may pass by as you explore the Palace Pier, the Wheel and the exciting i360 development which is set to be the World’s tallest moving observation tower (although sadly due to open a matter of weeks after the conference). Alternatively, perch on the beach and watch a glorious sunset over the eerie shell of the burnt out West Pier. For those wishing to absorb the sights on a morning jog, the promenade may take you several miles east past Kemptown, the Marina and under the chalk cliffs towards the St Dunstan’s Blind Veterans UK building, or west past Hove Lawns and yield distant views of Worthing Pier on a clear day.

If you’ve a penchant for shopping don’t miss the boutique shops of The Lanes, a network of alleyways constituting the original centre of Brighthelmston fishing village just next to the conference venue. Nearby also are a multitude of welcoming cafés such as The Blackbird, Julian Plumart Patisserie and Sugardough Bakery and excellent restaurants Cote Brasserie (French), Food For Friends (vegetarian), Chilli Pickle (Indian), Alfresco (Italian and on the beach!) and Hotel du Vin which also has a mean cocktail bar.

There are plenty of bustling nightlife venues with sea-front bars and nightclubs surrounding the conference centre. Within Kemptown, the centre of Brighton’s gay and lesbian community, are located the likes of Legends, Amsterdam Hotel and Revenge. More centrally along the lower promenade of King’s Road are The Fortune of War, Coalition, Digital and Ohso Social Beach Bar, amongst others, which can keep The Seven Ages of Man rocking into the early hours. Although Shakespeare’s Seventh Stage of ‘mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything’ is to be avoided. Do remember that there are breakfast SIG Meetings to enjoy!

The natural beauty of the South Downs and surrounding area are definitely worth a venture further afield should the opportunity present. Within an hour’s drive are Devil’s Dyke, the medieval Arundel Castle, the intricate mosaics of Fishbourne Roman Palace and the Seven Sisters Country Park with stunning views along the Sussex coastline.

ACNR 2015;16(2):19.  Published online 14/6/16

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