The Spine Times Liverpool Issue 3

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INTERVIEW WITH FRANK GARDNER Eurospine 2013 is a conference dedicated to the discussion of spinal injuries and conditions like yours. What was the main appeal for you with regard to speaking at the conference?

Usually I get asked to talk about the Middle East, security: my normal line of work. I don’t often get asked to talk about spinal injuries so felt it was an original topic to contribute to. I’ve gone from knowing nothing about medical matters and spinal injuries to, whilst not being an expert, knowing a bit more than most people in the street.

annoy me, is lumping everyone in together. There’s a huge difference in capability and lifestyle between somebody who’s got a complete cervical neck injury and somebody with a low lumber injury like me who can still move their legs and has more mobility. As a journalist yourself, have you ever felt that spinal injuries or disabilities are overlooked by the media? Prior to the Paralympics, I would have said yes. Not only did they make the sight of someone in a wheelchair commonplace, but for a brief moment last summer we had almost hero status. However, Paralympics aside I think probably because diseases like cancer are such big killers, and because people rarely die straight away from spinal chord injuries (it’s a life ruiner rather than a killer), inevitably it doesn’t get as much attention or funding.

INTERVIEW WITH FERRAN PELLISÉ 9/11 played out in the middle east. It was obvious from the beginning that this was a jihadist attack on the US, so it was incredibly important to go around the region, literally the very next day, canvassing opinion on the backstreets of Cairo. Then, taking that further and going in to Saudi Arabia, the heartland of where the attackers came from, talking to people there, trying to understand why the people did what they did and why they had supporters. On a lighter note, you have a sizeable social media presence. Have you ever posted something that got you in trouble? Not so far. A few times I’ve thought twice about something after posting it and deleted it, but of course with Twitter and retweet your post whether you like it or not.

of the Society”: relevant young persons from all over Europe representing all the countries. of our paper and they did a critical analysis of it, and with their insight and opinions, we If you look back over the year of your presidency, would you say there have been major challenges and would you also say there have been major changes and shifts in the society? I think this has been a very, very important year for the society. In fact, it is our 15th anniversary – the society was founded in 1998 – and in 15 years the society has grown a lot. Just in terms of the meeting, the attendance has number of abstracts has been multiplied by three, which is a huge increase. After that, the executive thought that it was time to do a review process and to

Is your injury something you ever tire of explaining to people? Not at all, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to be asked to explain it. The

As someone who’s had almost two decades of experience in the world media, what would you say event you’ve ever witnessed

the strategy of the society. Based on that, we had a plan to develop what could be our future strategy. We did several workshops where all the members of the executive committee were involved, and


Inevitably it’s got to be how

that we called “Young Leaders




of the society, which is very important. We established several priorities: e.g. our members. We will focus to increase the number of members and try to attract young people, people with talent: the elite, but without being elitist. We will also try to get agreements with national societies to get what we call “institutional members”, where members of national societies automatically become members of the EUROSPINE society, simply because their To watch the full video-interview, please scan this QR-code with your smartphone or browse to


Dr. Franke, you are Chair of

the Programme Committee. What were the challenges in selecting the best articles? First of all, we always have a lot of articles: 785 this year, so we had to select the authors who did the most objective reviews. We accomplished this by having every abstract read

by four people, and from their results generated an average, thus allowing us to select the right abstracts. Another challenge was to make an interesting programme. We have almost 2,000 people here with different interests, so we have to ensure that the

programme represents a good mixture of spine related topics. I think we have accomplished this, and so far I’m happy with the programme and I hope it is well perceived. To watch the full video-interview, please scan this QR-code with

your smartphone or browse to


INTERVIEW - GRAMMER AWARD It was the highlight of this years society to achieve the Grammer Award for the 14th year in succession. I am currently here with Katja Bühlmeyer of Grammer, and Professor HansJoachim Wilke. Professor Wilke, where did the idea for the Grammer Award come from? Hans-Joachim Wilke The Grammer Award idea was born about 15 years ago when I was sitting together with people from Grammer, and they realised during our discussion that we knew a little bit about the spine, what’s going on in spine surgery, and therefore they decided that they wanted to give an award to motivate basic scientists to communicate with them in order to aid in the development of Grammer products. Who are Grammer? Katja Bühlmeyer Grammer is a world wide player in two areas: an automotive area where we make arm rests or head rests for seats in cars, and another called ‘Seating

Systems’ where we make seats for commercial vehicles such as trucks, tractors, fork lifts etc. Of course we are also innovation leaders in ergonomics, comfort and safety, and therefore vehicle drivers are in the focus of our product development: predominantly the health of the driver and of the spine. As such, this is our key point of contact with spinal research, one of the principle reasons for us establishing the Grammar Award, and why we want to support spinal research and development, as it allows us to get all the latest knowledge about the spine into our products. As a result, collaboration is invariably our end user. This is a very generous award. Is it really the highest given to a participating researcher? Hans-Joachim Wilke Yes, at €20,000, it is absolutely the highest research award for spine research. The European Spine Journal was so in favour


INTERVIEW WITH BAOGE LIU of the award that they added an additional €10,000 to the original €10,000 offered by Grammer, thus giving the Grammer European Journal Award.


We hope that the Grammer Award will continue to be granted in years to come, and hopefully its value will also eventually increase, as it currently acts as a fantastic funding and incentivising tool for basic scientists. What are your thoughts on this? Hans-Joachim Wilke Exactly! The award works as great motivation for basic scientists to further contribute to the journal, to the society, and also to future spine related developments and products. Watch the full video-interview:

We have different systems, including different social and educational systems, but I think that the European Spine Diploma has many advantages. Going forward, we have much interest in it and we hope to initiate cooperation between the Chinese education system and the European system. I

think the European education system is very logical and offers many improvements. Many spine surgeons in China would be interested in the European Spine Diploma. To watch the full video-interview, please scan this QR-code with your smartphone or browse to

INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA REITMAIER Standing in front of me is Sandra Reitmaier, the recipient of the best published paper award. Can you tell us about yourself, your background, and where you work?

Ciaran Bolger, Jean Charles Le Huec, Hans-Joachim Wilke, Federico Balagué, Charles Greenough, H. Michael Mayer, Gordon F.G. Findlay Not on pictures: Petr Suchomel

You are a member of the International Relations Committee. In China, are you aware of the European Spine Diploma and do you think this is something that your country could adopt?

Hello and thank you for inviting me. I’m from the Institute of Orthopaedic Research and Biomechanics School where I work as a veterinarian, focussing on the implantation of hydrogels, the likes of which are investigated in our study. Currently, numerous approaches are being pursued with regard to the biological treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration, and we’re hoping to determine whether in the coming years it will be clinically feasible to treat patients using this method. Therefore, and in an animal model, we tried to apply hydrogels to stimulate disc regeneration, and tried to treatment was effective. This is a fascinating area as we currently know that disc degeneration effects many people causing, amongst many other clinical issues,

pain and discomfort. Perhaps you could use your work to estimate where we might be in ten years with regard to this issue?

The results of our current study show that the treatment might face problems with regard to locking the hydrogels into the intervertebral disc space, so if you have a degenerated disc and you put something in after you’ve opened the intervertebral disc, the treatment might not stay inside the space where it has the opportunity to be effective. Hence, one aspect certainly is to focus on the repair on the annulus as well, as this is sometimes overlooked. It’s very important to make sure attention is paid to annulus closure systems so that treatments really stay inside the intervertebral disc space. Thus, in my opinion, this is a topic which should be focussed on in the future.

So we still have many miles to go before we achieve a clinically acceptable treatment for this condition? Yes, I think that there are a lot of steps still required before we have a treatment modality for intervertebral disc degeneration, although currently it seems that from an in vitro perspective, there are many many promising approaches. However, if we put all this research into preclinical tests as I have done in my current study, we can also seize the opportunity to see where there might be certain pitfalls of such in vitro strategies. EUROSPINE would like to thank the members of the Award Committee for their great work: Philip J Sell, Leicester, UK (chair-institutional) Max Aebi, Bern, Switzerland (institutional) Antonius Rohlmann, Berlin, Germany Erich Kast, Winterthur, Switzerland Dietrich Schlenzka, Helsinki, Finland





As one of the largest cultural, academic and commercial hubs in the north west of the UK, the more intricate nuances of Liverpool are often overlooked by those merely passing through, and like any other city, when one glances behind the glossy facade of neatly polished shopping arcades, vibrant night life and world renowned musical heritage, there are in fact an abundance of hidden treasures dwelling within the cities numerous and sprawling boroughs. LARK LANE


Nestling in the suburban district of Aigburth and akin to London’s Carnaby Street, Lark Lane (referred to as ‘the Lane’ by locals) is nonetheless an area of the city which is easy to overlook, particularly

for anyone unfamiliar with the basic geography of Liverpool. A cornucopia of restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, shops, vintage stores, and even a monthly farmers market, all within a 500 meter strip of road on the edge of Grade One listed Sefton Park, Lark Lane is in essence a microcosm of the wider city of Liverpool. Real ale, good wine, food from across the globe, live music, vintage shopping, and an overall bohemian atmosphere make the region a must for anyone visiting the city. THE WILLIAMSON TUNNELS


A labyrinth of underground tunnels in the Edge Hill region of the city, the full extent of which remains unknown, the Williamson Tunnels were apparently

arbitrarily constructed at the request and direction of eccentric businessman Joseph Williamson between approximately 1805 and 1840. Archaeological investigations and excavations since 1995 have allowed the tunnels to open to the public as a heritage site. THE BLUECOAT GALLERY


Situated on the quaintly named School Lane, the Bluecoat Gallery is a three hundred year old, Grade I listed building, now almost entirely encapsulated by the ever growing and surrounding Liverpudlian city-scape. Offering visitors an assortment of aesthetic spectacles including visual art, literature, music, dance and live art, those of a more adventurous

disposition are welcome to engage in exhibitions or participate in performances, whilst those wishing to wind down can relax in the garden with a coffee and a cake from the espresso bar, or indulge in a locally sourced meal in the bistro. FESTIVAL GARDENS


Based on the original site of the 1984 International Garden Festival, the centrepiece of the city’s early regeneration following industrial decline in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Festival Gardens represent the culmination of decades of effort channeled towards revitalising Liverpool. As such, visitors of this hidden treasure are now able to take a stroll through woodlands trails and oriental gardens, over lakes, waterways and waterfalls

before heading down to the promenade and the iconic River Mersey. ANTHONY GORMLEY´S ANOTHER PLACE An intriguing art installation spread out over a 3km area of Crosby Beach, Another Place was conceived by British sculpture Anthony Gormley and consists of approximately 100 iron statues of the artists body all facing out to sea. At high tide, many of the statues become submerged, and sand drifts have partially buried many more. Although it was originally intended as a temporary installation, in 2007 Sefton Council accepted proposals to keep the installation at Crosby instead of moving it to New York.





The EuroSpine Society would like to thank Haluk Berk and Thomas Blattert for their great work as onsite editors of The Spine Times.

The Spine Times® is a free congress newspaper published by The EUROSPINE Society. Publishing House: EUROSPINE, The Society of Europe

On-Site Editors: Haluk Berk, Thomas Blattert Editor in Chief: Christian Lendl


Judith Reichert Schild Seefeldstrasse 16 8610 Uster-Zürich Switzerland Tel. +41 44 - 994 14 04 Fax +41 44 - 994 14 03

Contributors: Anna Ganthaler, Ferran Pellisé, Tim Pigott, Jonathan Weatherill-Hunt, Martin Wilby Photographs: Martin Steiger, Shutterstock / Elena Romera

Haluk Berk


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Kazuya Shinmura, Krishna Kumar, Kazuya Kitamura Not on picture: Tapanut Chuntarapas, Anand Hari Segar, Osa Emohare Thomas Blattert

EuroSpine: Putting Patient Care at the Forefront

At EuroSpine, the patient always comes first. All of our activities are designed with the goal of improving patient care while providing highvalue services to our members and stakeholders. EuroSpine has recently reviewed its strategic direction and defined a clear Way Forward with a priority focus on members, stakeholders, activities and organisational set-up.

The Spine Times® is a registered trademark by EUROSPINE – the Spine Society of Europe // OHIM trademark No. 010618296

Four key activities that have built EuroSpine‘s solid foundation over the years will be given ongoing top priority: Meetings The Annual Meeting is and shall remain the core element of EuroSpine’s educational and scientific offering. As a well-established networking event presenting strong educational and scientific content, we will continue to strengthen this forum to meet the needs of a diverse group of spine care professionals. We will also address the growing demand for short, targeted events covering sub-specialty topics by launching a new “spring meeting program” starting May 2014 in Prague.

Publishers: Ferran Pellisé (EUROSPINE President) Everard Munting (EUROSPINE Secretary)

Education EuroSpine is committed to setting standards for spinal education in Europe, leading to the establishment of a European Surgical Spine Certification. To this end, we will proactively solicit cooperation with national spine societies and other international orthopaedic and neurosurgical organisations such as EFORT, EBOT and EANS.

We want to listen to you EuroSpine is constantly seeking new ideas and innovative proposals from its members and stakeholders. We want to hear from you, about what you would like from us. We want to be interactive with you. Just contact us at What’s new in our service pipeline

Our unique education program – operationally partnered with our EuroSpine Foundation – includes live educational events, fellowships and master classes. We will review and update our educational content on an ongoing basis to benefit our members and clinicians. Research EuroSpine plans to expand its portfolio of research activities. We will continue to fund a significant number of high-profile projects – as well as our Research Task Force (TFR) – and run regular live educational events on research skills. New research activities will be approved based on membership needs, with EuroSpine members receiving preferential consideration for funding. Guidance for patients and clinicians Patient Line, our information service for patients and Spine Tango, our registry service, round out our service portfolio. We will continue to provide education, research, services and guidance to patients and clinicians while proactively evaluate exciting new service offerings.

BURNING QUESTIONS Thank you for your active participation in the second interactive voting. The result is clear: The vast majority of the voters (91%) think that national curriculas are not needed anymore, as the European Spine Diploma is now established.

We have a formal selection process to continually assess and improve our activities. We are currently reviewing the following: t A member forum for cases t Innovative topics for the New spring meetings to appeal to select specialty spine groups t Education Week and Live educational events t Patient Line development t EuroSpine Guidelines Quality communication needs interaction. We have launched a project to upgrade and adapt our website and will further strengthen our social media presence. Our new EuroSpine 2013 App for the Annual Meeting is just one example of many technical improvements you will see. Ferran Pellisé and Philip J Sell EUROSPINE Presidents 2013, 2014

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