FESN – Milan
The Translational Neuropsychology Group traveled to Milan this month to present several new research projects at the Federation of European Societies for Neuropsychology’s 2019 conference (FESN 2019). This conference featured researchers from around Europe presenting on many related topics in Cognitive and Clinical Neuropsychology. The conference itself was hosted by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart or Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. For our time in Milan we stayed in the cities heart and visited the Piazza del Duomo which was host to a famous study about representational neglect which is still talked about even though it was published over 40 years ago by Bisiach & Luzzatti. Considering research moves quickly and this study is still discussed we felt we had to go there and check it out.
The program itself was packed with excellent symposia and speakers from across the globe, including our very own Margaret Moore who presented her work. Her talk focused on her theoretical research teasing apart whether having attentional/spatial issues with words is part of the same cognitive mechanism as attentional/spatial issues with visual space. Turns out whether we can definitively say they are one shared mechanism or different is contentious and stirred up a lot of discussion and lively talk, and led to new potential collaborations with other neglect researchers. So her talk certainly was a winner for us.
Sam Webb also presented a poster on our COMPASS project, sharing one of the Translational Neuropsychology Group’s newest tools, the COMPASS, a brief neuropsychological screen to supplement and guide mental capacity assessment. The poster presentation gave Sam a unique opportunity to share this new tool with other groups and gain thoughtful feedback, some of which has now influenced the research pathway we intended, which was fantastic. Of course there were plenty of speakers who we had not collaborated with who were very interesting to listen to, and thought provoking symposia. For instance, there were many (at least 3) symposia/talks on spatial neglect, others on body movements and how they are represented in the brain, and plenty on memory loss, including discussion of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
All in all FESN 2019 was a fantastic conference in an inspiring venue, located in a city which has historical routes in neglect research (see photo of the Piazza del Duomo – famous for being the base for the first paper to investigate attentional issues towards our mental representation of a place/object), and has allowed us to bridge new international collaborations and fine tune our research.