Welcome to the 5th International research workshop on frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in ALS. Since the first workshop in 2005, these workshops have given rise to innumerable collaborations, 2 textbooks on the frontotemporal syndromes of ALS, and international consensus criteria. They have served as a highly collegial forum in which to discuss the intersection of ALS and FTD. In the decade since their inception, we have come to understand that frontotemporal dysfunction in ALS is not uncommon, that when present it significantly impacts upon the natural history of an already devastating disorder, and that its presence is often a consequence of a range of different genetic abnormalities. Not the least of these has been the discovery of pathological hexanucleotide expansions in C9orf72, giving rise to a seemingly unique dementia in which behavioural and neuropsychiatric manifestations can be prominent amongst those afflicted with a FTD, whereas this is less clear in ALS. The recognition that the overt manifestations of frontotemporal dysfunction of ALS includes impairment in social cognition, and that dysruptions in network connectivity may underlie a range of deficits, are new concepts just beginning to be fully understood.
Given these advances, and many others, it is an opportune time to return to the International consensus criteria for diagnosing frontotemporal cognitive and behavioural syndromes in ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 2009;10(3):131-46). This will be the focus of this year's workshop.
The international research workshops on FTD and ALS remain the only forum where both clinicians and researchers from a wide range of disciplines have the opportunity to explore the intersection of these two diseases in a highly interactive manner. The invited speakers are leading researchers who cross multiple boundaries of expertise and disciplines. This year's workshop continues this standard, with internationally respected leaders in a broad range of relevant topics. Keep an eye on the schedule and the confirmed speakers to get an up-to-date view of the program.
The highly successful cash awards for the top three posters ($750, $500 and $250 Cdn) will again be offered. As with the 3rd workshop, we will continue the "rapid fire" presentation session at the beginning of the poster session, allowing each poster presenter 2 minutes at the podium with the opportunity to peak the interest of the attendees. Abstracts can again be submitted on line.
A hallmark of these workshops has been the ability to interact in a very social environment. This year will be no different with a Tuesday evening out to the Avon theatre in Stratford to see "She Stoops to Conquer" by Oliver Goldsmith and directed by one of Canada's most acclaimed actors, Martha Henry. Dinner will be at the Prune Restaurant. The cost remains $225/person – a great deal for full transportation, an exceptional dinner and an evening at the Stratford Theatre. We strongly suggest signing up early as this evening is always over-subscribed and the tickets limited in number (60)!
New to this year's workshop, we are planning an evening event for those graduate students in particular who do not attend the Tuesday evening in Stratford. It should be a wonderful opportunity to network.
Finally, the venue this year will be again be Spencer Hall. This conference centre is particularly suited to these types of workshops, in part due to the constraints on the number of attendees possible. So, as with previous years, we will limit the number of attendees to 100 (on a first come, first serve basis).
We look forward to welcoming you again to London, Canada for what is shaping up to be another excellent workshop.