By Ted Wirecki, M.D.
It has been roughly three months since our Annual Meeting held in Brooklyn, New York. I can say with confidence that this was one of the best meetings of the Clinical TMS Society (CTMSS) and showcased the breadth and vigor of the organization. There were 532 attendees, up from 134 in 2015 and 433 last year, demonstrating the growth of TMS and of our organization. There were over fifty attendees from outside the United States, and over 20% of the presenters were international. The comments from our members were consistently very positive as we are genuinely an international organization, to the benefit of our Society and its members.
The meeting was characterized by a lovely professional camaraderie. Psychiatrists, physicians from other specialties, a diverse group of mental health professionals, TMS treatment coordinators and technicians, as well as representatives of device manufacturers, clinicians and researchers all gathered in a friendly and comfortable environment. Informal interactions and give and take at the welcome reception, at the members business lunch, in the exhibit hall and at the poster session, beautifully complemented the numerous exciting presentations.
The exhibit hall was in some ways the hub of the meeting and was a convenient place for a beverage and a snack, and the number of TMS devices now available is impressive. As several people commented, “it is so convenient to see all available TMS systems in one place and be able to compare the various features side by side “. Other relevant vendors could be found there as well, making it a valuable asset to the attendees.
We had a record number of research posters submitted, with 49 accepted by authors from around the world. Based on posters presented in Brooklyn alone there are now so many conditions being evaluated for TMS treatment, including OCD, autism spectrum, PTSD, cocaine use, stroke, ADHD and bipolar mixed states. After spending an hour or so talking with the poster presenters one could only come away with a sense of vigor and energy about the field. Hopefully some of these indications will survive the test of time and sham placebo-controlled studies to join major depression as conditions FDA cleared for TMS treatment. Other posters involved the use of EEG, processes used for location of treatment site, cost effectiveness analysis, including one from England where TMS is in the process of being funded by some of the trusts of the National Health Service, the use of TMS in correlations with ketamine, and many others. We extend a hearty thank you to all poster presenters.
At times there was too much to choose from. Some of the concurrent breakout sessions were so good that one wished to be in two places at once. It was clear at the meeting how hard Michelle Cochran and the Meeting Committee were working, and they truly deserve a rich and genuine thank you from the rest of us. In addition, having an app on the smart phone made navigating the meeting very easy. The staff of our management company, the Professional Exchange Service Corporation (PESC), did a terrific job organizing the mechanics of the meeting and helping us be in the right place at the right time. It is impressive how the CTMSS has grown and matured in less than ten years. We are fiscally sound and stable, have well over 500 worldwide members and continue to add real value to our members’ professional lives and practice patterns.
Our Annual meeting will be planned apart from APA for 2019, due to hotel and meeting space challenges and a poll of our members showing a small percentage actually attend both. Therefore, our next meeting will be in February of 2019 in Vancouver and is only 8 months away. We are hosting our meeting prior to the Brain Stimulation Conference which is a better fit for many of our members. I hope to see all of you there and challenge the skiers and snowboarders amongst us to combine the trip with a day or two at Whistler/Blackcomb, only 90 minutes away and one of the best skiing and riding mountains in the world!