Exchanging Ideas – Exchanging Knowledge: A Recap of the Eighth World Congress on Brain Injury



The Eighth World Congress on Brain Injury is the Most Successful in IBIA’s History

The International Brain Injury Association’s Eighth World Congress on Brain Injury was held in Washington, DC, March 10-14, 2010.  With close to 1100 delegates from over 40 countries, the Congress was the most successful in IBIA’s history. Over 650 scientific abstracts were submitted to the meeting, also a new record.  The four-day event was packed with educational presentations, panels and workshops, which provided attendees with a unique range of cutting-edge information spanning from basic science to clinical (coma to community) aspects of brain injury.

The meeting was organized by IBIA Chairperson, Dr. Nathan Zasler and IBIA President, Dr. Ross Zafonte, who were supported by a scientific planning committee of internationally recognized leaders in the field. Establishing itself as the premier event in brain injury, the World Congress was officially endorsed by 20 international and national scientific and advocacy organizations.

The Congress began on Wednesday, March 10, with four half-day, pre-Congress workshops focusing on Neuropsychiatry of TBI, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Assistive Technology and Constraint Induced Therapy. These sessions provided the overflow attendance crowd with in-depth information on cutting edge topics of interest in ABI assessment and treatment by some of the leading names in the field of neurorehabilitation, including Dr. David Arciniegas, Dr. John Whyte, Dr. Tony Gentry and Dr. Edward Taub, among numerous other participants.

The main Congress began on Thursday with comments by Dr. Zasler and Dr. Zafonte and IBIA founder Dr. George Zitnay. This was followed by the 2010 Jennett Plum Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to the Field of Brain Injury awarded to Sir Graham Teasdale, MD, who delivered a plenary lecture entitled: “Progress in Understanding Severity and Outcome Following” TBI which provided attendees with a wonderful historical perspective of the TBI work out of Glasgow, Scotland including the GCS and GOS, as well as updates on current outcome research. Dr. Zasler has asked Dr. Teasdale to write up his historical perspectives for publication in Brain Injury, the endorsed international, peer reviewed scientific journal of IBIA.

Delegates then broke out into concurrent session lectures or oral paper presentations. There were over 100 international invited speakers representing medicine, psychology and allied health fields, among other specialities who lectured on a broad range of topics spanning from the basic sciences, to acute care to long term community reentry issues. Over 200 free paper presentations were delivered during the course of the Congress in the categories of Basic Science, Animal; Basic Science, Human; Case Reports; Descriptive Model; Post-Acute Rehabilitation; and Acute Care. Over 370 poster presentations were made during the two extremely well-attended poster sessions held on Thursday and Friday during lunch. The poster award winners were:

First Place: Pamela VandeVord, PhD2;  Richard Bolander, MS1; Cynthia Bir, PhD1; Blake Mathie1.
1Wayne State University, United States, 2John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, Research & Development Service, United States
Maturation Related Changes May Explain a Range Specific Response in the Rat Model to Shock Wave Induced Neurotrauma
Second Place: Grant Iverson, PhD1;  Rael Lange, PhD2; Minna Waljas, MS3;  Ullamari Hakulinen, MS4; Prasun Dastidar, MD, PhD4;  Juha Ohman, MD, PhD3; Seppo Soimakallio, MD, PhD4.
1University of British Columbia, Canada, 2British Columbia Mental Health and Addiction Services, Canada, 3Tampere University Hospital, Finland, 4Medical Imaging Centre of Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Finland
Examining Neurobiological Underpinnings of Depression Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Over 400 posters were displayed at the World Congress
Over 370 poster presentations were made during the two well-attended poster sessions.


Congress delegates were honored by the presence of United States Congressman William “Bill” Pascrell (D-NJ), who was presented with an award from IBIA in recognition of his many years of service to the brain injury community, both in his own district and on a national level. Congressman Pascrell gave attendees a rousing speech congratulating the IBIA for its work in education and research.

Congressman Pascrell receives award from IBIA leadership
United States Congressman William “Bill” Pascrell (D-NJ), receives an award from IBIA in recognition of his many years of service to the brain injury community.  From left to right: George Zitnay, PhD, IBIA Founder; Nathan Zasler, MD, IBIA Chairperson; Congressman Pascrell; Ross Zafonte, DO, IBIA President.

On Friday evening, participants were given the opportunity to interact with select members of the invited faculty in an intimate yet informal two hour “Candlelight Session with the Experts” as an opportunity to get to know these renowned individuals on a more personal basis.

Aside from the excellent scientific content, IBIA organized several social activities and events, the highlight of which was the Gala Dinner and Banquet at the Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington from the time of their marriage in 1759 until General Washington's death in 1799.   During the Gala event, the International Brain Injury Association was pleased to present a number of important IBIA awards. Congress delegates were treated to exclusive access to estate on this special evening, which featured a fife and drum corps, a harpist and flutist, caricaturists, wonderful food, and the extraordinary illusions of professional magician, David Harris.

Caricaturists at the Congress Gala
Caricaturists added to the festive atmosphere during the Gala Dinner and Banquet at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.
Magician Davis Harris at the Congress Gala
Magician David Harris entertained Congress delegates with extraordinary illusions.

On the final day of the Congress, delegates had the option to choose from six half-day symposia which were presented by international experts in the following areas: Effort Testing, Blast Injuries, Vocational Rehabilitation, Family Outcomes, International Perspectives and Neurobehavioral Challenges.

Delegates also benefitted from the presence of over 50 national and international exhibitors, ranging from durable medical equipment manufacturers, rehabilitation facilities, publishers, pharmaceutical companies and academic research centers, among others.   IBIA is thankful for the amount of corporate and exhibitor interest and support. 

The International Brain Injury Association also would like to acknowledge our generous Congress Supporters for 2010.  Without such financial contributions the organization would not have been able to have organized such a successful meeting...in fact, the Eighth World Congress was the most succesful in IBIA's history. 

Over 53 exhibitors attended the World Congress
53 exhibitors displayed a variety of brain injury services, products and published material during the four day event.

The Eighth World Congress concluded on March 14, 2010, with the hope that all present would be able to attend the Ninth World Congress on Brain Injury scheduled to take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the Spring of 2012. Dr. Nathan Zasler, USA, will again preside as Chairperson and Dr. Thomas McMillan, UK, will serve as President for the meeting.

Charles Haynes, Esq., MCC, Inc.
Nathan Zasler, MD, IBIA Chairperson