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National Clinical Leaders’ away day 4th September

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ABN Autumn Lecture

2016 Peter Sandercock

Peter Sandercock graduated from Oxford in 1975 and then headed up the M6 where his interest in neurology was kindled during an attachment with Ed Hutchinson and Jim Heron in Stoke. He then continued northwards completing his neurology training in Manchester and Liverpool.

However, it was his return to Oxford in 1981 that laid the foundations of his future academic career. Under Charles Warlow’s supervision, Peter set up the Oxfordshire Community Stroke Project, the first proper epidemiological study of stroke in the UK and the first in the world to utilise CT scanning. Large clinical trials in vascular disease were also coming of age and based next door to the OCSP in the Radcliffe Infirmary were the UK TIA Aspirin and European Carotid Surgery Trials, whilst just round the corner were Richard Doll and Richard Peto. Then in 1987 Peter was the Visiting Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University where he acquired the skills required for the emerging specialty of evidence based medicine.

Peter moved to Edinburgh as Senior Lecturer in 1987, became Reader in 1992, and Professor of Medical Neurology in 1999. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2001. His list of publications, research grants, trainees, clinical trial committees, national and international appointments is prodigious by anyone’s standard, but I would highlight the following :

As the co-ordinating editor of the Cochrane Collaboration Stroke Review Group from 1998-2011, Peter ensured that stroke medicine was at the forefront of evidence-based care, and as Chief Investigator of the International Stroke Trials, he put UK neurology at the centre of a huge collaboration which has transformed acute stroke treatment worldwide. No one has done more to banish the nihilism that previously over-shadowed the treatment of patients with acute stroke but also no one has done more to nurture an infrastructure, both human and physical, which will continue to produce research of the highest quality for years to come. In recognition of this, in 2010 Peter received the University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s Award for Research. Finally, as a member of the Board of Directors of the World Stroke Association since its inception in 2008, Peter has been one of the catalysts for improving the care of patients with stroke in developing countries for which he received the WSO Presidents Award for Services to Stroke in 2012. But perhaps more tellingly, the huge number of attendees who travelled from all over the world for his festschrift earlier this year was testament to the importance people attach to his friendship and advice.  

Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to invite Professor Peter Sandercock to give the ABN Autumn Lecture entitled  “Stroke treatment: past, present and future”.


Dr John Bamford

2015 Clare Fowler

 Clare Fowler was educated at Wycombe Abbey school, and then qualified at the Middlesex Hospital in 1973.

Her neurological career began in earnest in 1976 as SHO at Queen Square to Chris Earle, Roman Kocen and Roger Bannister, and two years later she obtained her MSc in neurophysiology at UCL.

From 1981 she worked increasingly on clinical neurophysiology.

Her interest in Uro-Neurology had begun in collaboration with the urologist Roger Kirby, their first paper in 1983 in the British Journal of Urology being on non-obstructive detrusor failure, and she assisted with his thesis on MSA, the start of her ongoing keen interest in this disease.

In 1987 she was appointed as consultant neurophysiologist to the National Hospital, the Middlesex and Bart’s. She established the first Department of Uro-Neurology in the UK, and also in the world, at Queen Square. As a clinical neurophysiologist, she preferred this title to the alternative of Neuro-Urology. In 2001 Clare was appointed to a personal chair in Uro-Neurology at UCL Institute of Neurology

The impact and clinical importance of her work in this area cannot be overemphasised.

She trained 18 urological research fellows, 15 of whom were awarded higher degrees.

She has published three books, 83 book chapters, and 219 refereed articles. Her expertise and teaching have been widely sought, and she has given over 350 invited lectures in 33 countries.

She has studied and treated patients with diabetes, MS, HIV, Parkinson’s, MSA and PSP, among others.

Investigations that she developed and applied include bladder muscle biopsy and histochemical studies and external sphincter EMG. Together with UK and International colleagues such as Derek Griffiths and Chet de Groat in Pittsburgh, among others, with the use of fMRI and PET techniques, she has elucidated the currently accepted working model of neurological control of voiding and continence.

Most importantly, she has pioneered a succession of treatments that have improved the symptoms and quality of life of countless neurological patients with urogenital problems.

These include intravesical capsaicin and vanilloids, sildenafil, botulinum toxin injections, and electrical stimulation of sacral roots (“sacral neuromodulation”).

Clare has also achieved eponymous recognition for her description in 1985 of Fowler’s syndrome, a condition causing hitherto unexplained urinary retention in young women, often associated with polycystic ovaries and with a characteristic sphincter EMG pattern.

In 2010 Clare was the second Neurologist ever to be awarded the St Peter’s Medal by the British Association of Urological Surgeons. In 2010 she was made CBE for services to Uro-Neurology, and in 2013 received a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Urodynamics.

She has served on the boards of six medical charities, particularly the MSA Trust which is close to her heart and of which she is now Chairman. She has been on the editorial boards of six journals and, among many other Trust positions, was Caldicott Guardian for UCLH for a decade and Deputy Medical Director for three years. Nationally and Internationally she has worked with numerous organisations as Chair, Secretary or Member of committees and advisory boards, including as Chair of the Clinical Autonomic Research Society, NICE member, and as Associate Member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons, whom she has taught when not to operate on patients with PD or MSA!

Clare retired from full-time clinical work in 2010, and fully in 2012, leaving her department in the very capable hands of neurologist Janesh Panicker.

In addition to all these achievements, Clare has other strings to her bow, or should I say rotary valves to her brass. She plays the French Horn, drives a Porsche, keeps bees and rings church bells. She has Level 3 Diplomas in Horticulture from the RHS, and a “top student” award from Merrist Wood where she studied. She and her husband Peter have a lovely garden in Surrey that they open for the NGS in June. She is now writing a book on Pharmacopoiea Londinensis of 1618. Most recently, she has begun yet another career and is about to start training to become a Lay Reader in the Church of England.

As you can see, Clare has had a full and very productive career that has hugely enhanced the health and quality of life of others, and I am sure you will agree that she is perfectly qualified to give this year’s ABN Autumn Lecture.


Professor Niall Quinn

The ABN Autumn Lecture is given annually by a speaker invited in recognition of their major contribution to British/International Neurology

Winner of 2016 - Peter Sandercock


ABN shortlisted to host World Congress of Neurology 2021

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National Clinical Leaders’ away day 4th September

Read More