The Second International Workshop on Brain Plasticity, Hemispheric Specialization and Neuro-Rehabilitation After Cerebral Hemispherectomy is designed to provide scientists from a wide range of disciplines with the latest research findings in neuro- rehabilitation/habilitation, cognition, and brain reorganization after hemispherectomy surgery. The conference will be held on July 9 - 11, 2014, at the Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland resort in Anaheim, California.
The specific aim of this interdisciplinary conference will be to focus on the current state of research, with the goal of establishing a five-year research strategy to formulate comprehensive guidelines for recovery. The theme will be "The Road Ahead: A Comprehensive Research Strategy For Post- Hemispherectomy Recovery." This conference will bring together leading international experts and will create a high quality scientific forum for discussion of latest findings, clinical deficit, and interventions. Conference content includes: best practices in surgical techniques;genetics of hemispherectomy syndromes;cortical plasticity (adaptive, maladaptive, therapy-driven, and animal models);neuro-rehabilitation (physical, cognitive and behavioral);brain imaging as a tool assessing neuroplasticity;and neuropsychology, including appropriate assessment tools to find intervention areas. The format will commence with two days of scientific sessions. Each session will first review the current state of clinical and scientific knowledge followed by extended discussion periods. The third day of the conference will overlap with the annual International Hemispherectomy Conference and Family Reunion, which brings together families from around the world struggling to fully understand the profound effects of hemispherectomy surgery. Here, the conference will introduce the novel presentation format of open forums with survivors and their families who will help guide the scientific community's research aims by providing "real world" challenges and struggles. A conference summary will later be disseminated. Every effort will be made to encourage participation by postgraduate students, to have parity in the numbers of women, and to include minorities and persons with disabilities. At least 150 attendees are expected from multiple disciplines.
Cerebral hemispherectomy, where half the brain is removed or disabled, is performed as a drastic yet effective means of stopping catastrophic epilepsy in children;however, very little is known about the long term physical, behavioral, and psychological effects of this procedure. Understanding the effects of this surgery provides a unique perspective on brain plasticity, thereby advancing public health by increasing our understanding of the human brain.