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NCS Currents Sept 2016

NEWS BRIEFS This summer, I travelled with my family to the Eastern Plains of Colombia, a vast region encompassing the watershed areas of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers (see pictures). As we were navigating along the immense Meta River, one of the main tributaries of the mighty Orinoco, I could not help thinking that I had to write my last piece for Currents as Secretary of the NCS. I also was besieged by the thought that, even though I had visited this corner of the world several times, much of the scenery seemed different from what I remembered. Yes, this is the land of familiar capybaras, toucans, piranhas, anacondas, jaguars, and many other wonderful animal and plant species but my memory was faulty. If I were to write an article summarizing relevant initiatives that the NCS has accomplished in the last year since I became Secretary, my hippocampus and accompanying neural circuits were likely to retrieve deceiving images. Nobel Prize winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez advocated that life was not what one had lived but rather what one remembered. The problem is that memory is not a photographic record. The fact that memory is fallible and that memories are neither stable nor unstable has been demonstrated by many neuroscientists. Daniel Schacter has described the pervasive problems with human memory in his delightful and important book titled The Seven Sins of Memory: transience, absent-mindedness, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence. The first three sins can be classified as sins of omission and the others as sins of commission. Since I did not wish to be named a sinner and burn on the sands of Hell, to paraphrase our beloved Dante, I decided to compose this article once I regained reliable internet access and found myself in more technologically-advanced and sophisticated surroundings. As soon as I located my laptop computer lying among our belongings left behind high up in the Andes, I succumbed to one of the few pleasures afforded by the tyranny of the worldwide web and electronic mail: the ability to review what has been documented and remember more accurately the facts without much effort. Both human memory and our ability to store information in supercomputers are astonishing. However, the former can become distorted over time and the latter can help the former recalibrate. I re-read many emails and prior issues of Currents and accessed the NCS website after a restorative sleep to improve my mood and enhance access to my ongoing memory functions. This exercise proved not only fruitful but also very gratifying as I was able to verify the many accomplishments that the NCS has achieved since the fall of 2015. My main roles during this period as Secretary have been to serve as the Chair of the Membership Committee, a member of the Executive Committee, and to verify the accuracy of the minutes of all the meetings I attended, including the Board of Directors. My trip down memory lane and the recorded word have allowed me to compile a list of some of those attainments with a high degree of accuracy: • We have gained 447 new members in 2016. The Membership Committee has worked very hard on several successful initiatives including the following: Nurses Appreciation Month; Residents and Fellows Appreciation Month; membership recruitment at exhibits and live ENLS courses; membership discounts for ENLS survey participation; outreach to pharmacy and nursing listserv user non-members; creation of a new membership display for NCS exhibiting; and the creation of a membership video. • We have welcomed six new Global Partners: Nepalese Society of Critical Care (NSCC), Indian Society of Neuroanesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (ISNACC), Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM), Sociedad Chilena de Medicina Intensiva (SOCHIMI), and the German Society of Neurocritical Care (DGNI). The total number of NCS Global Partners has now increased to 15. • Fifty-five NCS members can call themselves Fellows of the Neurocritical Care Society (FNCS). • We funded one NCS Research & Training Grant and are currently reviewing applications for our second award. • We held the Fourth Neurocritical Care Research Conference funded by the NIH/NINDS, NCS, CHI Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center, and the Integra Foundation. During this successful meeting, we unveiled the Unruptured Cerebral Aneurysm and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Common Data Elements in conjunction with the NINDS and the National Library of Medicine. • ENLS has really taken off. Numerous ENLS courses have been held in North, Central, and South America as well as the Caribbean and Asia. The Joint Commission has endorsed ENLS as a valid mechanism for meeting the requirement for education of healthcare professionals working at institutions designated or seeking designation as Comprehensive Stroke Centers. • The list of accolades continues to accumulate and has become too long now to fit within the word limit constraints for this article. Reminiscing is a tricky business indeed but it is real that NCS continues to grow and has a very bright future. Our members are very enthusiastic and collegial and I am grateful to all for giving me the honor to serve as NCS Secretary. I feel extremely proud to be an NCS Officer and look forward to more years of hard work. The Sins of Memory and the Pleasures of Reminiscence By Jose Suarez, MD The family farm where we stayed and rested after long and adventurous days on the banks of the Cravo Sur River A breathtaking sunset over the plains near the Orinoco The Meta River near its origin at the confluence of the Metica, Yucao, and Manacacias rivers Pictures courtesy of Mariana Suarez-Gaviria 15


NCS Currents Sept 2016
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