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Registration is now open for the ABN Acute Neurology Boot Camp - 8th July 2019

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Registration is now open for the ABN Acute Neurology Boot Camp - 8th July 2019

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ABN Medal

The ABN Medal is awarded annually to recognise outstanding contributions by British and Irish neurologists to the science or practice of neurology, or for contributions to the Association.

2018 Christopher Kennard

Christopher Kennard is a world leader in Neurology who has made major, innovative contributions to neuro-ophthalmology, cognitive neurology and neuroscience. He has a distinguished track record of leadership and service to British and international neurology, through the ABN, WFN, European Neurological Society and the European Neuro-ophthalmology Society.

As a previous Chair of the UK Medical Research Council Neurosciences & Mental Health Board, Editor of Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, Chairman of the Guarantors of Brain and President of the Association of British Neurologists, he has served to improve standards of education and quality of research in Neurology. Through his leadership of departments of Neuroscience at both the University of Oxford and Imperial College London he has also been a key, influential figure in UK Neurology and has been instrumental in making strong links with neurologists across the world.

In 2001, as Secretary-General and Chairman of the Executive Committee for the World Congress of Neurology in London, he through the ABN organised a most successful and memorable Congress. Since 1992 he has been committed to the development of the WFN, first through the Neuro-ophthalmology Research Committee and Council of Delegates, then as Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, member of the Finance Committee and Chair of Publications and Communications Committee. Chris now chairs the scientific program committee for WCN 2019. He has led the European Neuro-ophthalmology Society as President and served on the Executive of the European Neurological Society. He is one of a select number of Delegates to Oxford University Press, who advises on their publishing programme and strategy. His list of publications, chapters and books run into hundreds and is well beyond the time allotted to this citation.

His research has covered many aspects of vision, oculo-motor control and cognition in health and disease. Currently his focus is on the development of motor biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases. He is now Emeritus Professor of Clinical Neurology and Senior Nicholas Kurti Fellow, Brasenose College. His current job title is also that of Senior Responsible Owner, Tinbergen Redevelopment Project Oxford. I am informed that he at times dons a hard hat and a high Vis jacket.

I can go on and on about his scientific and clinical attributes. However, the most important attribute has always been his personality and dedication. Working with him gives one the feeling of security and solidity. His advice is thoughtful and precise. He has time for all those who work with him. This is a rare attribute, which has created innumerable friends from across the world. Another character is that of a ‘can do’ attitude, nothing is too small or too big and all can be dealt with and smoothed. Having known him and worked with him for decades, he has remained the person to go to when advice is needed or a problem is faced. For that, a large number of fellow neurologists strongly feel that he is a most worthy medalist.



2017 Martin Rossor

Professor Martin Rossor

It is a great pleasure and privilege to provide the citation for the ABN Medal for Professor Martin Rossor.

Martin went up to Cambridge to study medicine in 1968 from Watford Grammar School and for his clinical came to London to King’s.  He held SHO posts at Bart’s, the Brompton and then at Queen Square, which was the beginning of a long association, and then a year at the Hammersmith as Medical Registrar.

In 1979 Martin then went back to Cambridge to do research on neurotransmitters in human post-mortem tissue at the MRC Neurochemical Pharmacology Unit, working with Les Iversen. It had recently been recognised that Alzheimer’s disease was associated with a substantial presynaptic cholinergic deficit and it proved to be a remarkably productive time for Martin – between 1980 and 1982 he published an amazing 29 papers including a number in the Lancet, the BMJ and Brain and a masterly single author Lancet review, on ‘Neurotransmitter deficits in dementia’.

In 1982 Martin returned to Queen Square as Registrar in Neurology and only a year later was made Senior Registrar – he continued to publish prodigiously and by the time he was awarded his MD in 1986 he had published another 25 papers – including now Nature as well as more in the Lancet. It is no surprise that he won the 1986 Horton-Smith prize for the best MD from Cambridge that year.

That same year he was appointed consultant neurologist to St Mary’s and the National Hospital.  Despite this being a 100% NHS appointment he managed, in 1987, to secure two separate MRC project grants. One was on PET and CSF markers in AD - clearly ahead of its time, some 20 years before the revolution of amyloid PET scans and CSF amyloid and tau that are now having such an impact.  The other project grant was a collaboration with two members of the Biochemistry Department at St Mary’s – Bob Williamson and John Hardy – the grant was entitled ‘molecular studies on the genetics of AD’. Together in 1989 they published the landmark paper showing that a locus on chromosome 21 predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease.  In 1991,  Alison Goate, John Hardy and Martin identified the first mutation associated with familial Alzheimer’s disease – in the APP (Amyloid Precursor Protein) gene - that led to the amyloid cascade hypothesis and the first transgenic animal models. Ever the neurological polymath, Martin in that same year published a (slightly less widely cited) paper on “Sciatic nerve damage due to toilet seat entrapment”.

He was awarded a personal chair as Professor of Clinical Neurology at the Institute of Neurology in 1998 and established the Dementia Research Centre in 1999.  Under his leadership the Centre grew from a couple of research fellows and nurses to a major multi-disciplinary group now comprising over 80 staff.

Despite his major research contributions  - he has published over 700 papers, on topics ranging from neuropathology to genetics and imaging - Martin has always been at heart a bedside neurologist, and a widely sought clinical opinion.  The care of his patients has come first, and he has not shirked from clinical management or service development. In 1991 he established the first specialist cognitive clinic at Queen Square – just once a month in those days, when the notion of dementia as a fit subject for neurological attention was still something of a novelty. That clinical service rapidly expanded. Martin has contributed more than anyone to changing how neurologists view dementia and to establishing cognitive neurology as a sub-specialty in the UK. Many, if not most, of the cognitive neurologists currently working in Britain were trained or taught by Martin – he is an excellent teacher and a generous colleague.

His list of accomplishments goes on and on – he has done it all. He is a wonderfully astute writer and editor – his red pen has been the scourge of many a split infinitive and ill-formed thought over the years. He, very successfully, edited the JNNP from 2004 to 2009.  He has contributed to, or edited, most of the most important neurological textbooks. He is an excellent organizer and chair, a thoughtful advisor and untiring source of wise counsel.  This has been increasingly recognized and valued by Government. From 2005 to 2014 he was Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network for Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases (DeNDRoN).  In 2010 he was asked to be a member of the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge Research Group and in 2014 was appointed NIHR National Director for Dementia Research a post in which he continues today. 

In 2009 Martin was, quite rightly, awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alzheimer’s Association – he said at the time that must mean your career is over.  His continuing achievements so clearly belie that – his daunting pace of work and early morning starts continue unabated.

Martin has always been a staunch supporter of the ABN, serving as a Member of Council from 1993-1996 and President from 2011-2013.  

I am delighted that Martin is to be honoured as this year’s ABN medalist. There could be no more worthy recipient.

Professor Nick Fox



2016 Alastair Compston

Professor Alastair Compston CBE                                             

Alastair Compston is a neurologist and clinical neuroscientist of the highest distinction, an outstanding ambassador for British neurology, and an exemplary role model for the aspiring clinician scientist.

Alastair trained in London and completed a PhD principally at the Institute of Neurology with Richard Batchelor and Ian MacDonald. This work opened up the then novel area of genetic linkage in multiple sclerosis to immune function, a field Alastair went on to command to the current day.

He moved to Cardiff in 1982, later becoming the first professor of neurology there, continuing his MS genetic research (whilst also making notable and lasting contributions to our knowledge of several other neurogenetic disorders), but extending his multiple sclerosis  research programme to two other areas, immune  treatment, and the underlying neurobiology of MS.

Alastair continued to build and to develop these three multiple sclerosis research areas after moving to Cambridge in 1989, again as the foundation Professor of Neurology. He helped determine the genetic basis of MS; developed and introduced alemtuzumab; and pioneered the field of cell therapy in MS, opening the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair in 1992. His strategy has also been three-pronged. First, he has gathered about him - or attracted - people whose potential he was able to spot early, often where others did not, and to nurture. Some he kept about him, to build for the future; others he scattered to professorships across the UK, where many have thrived not least depending on whether they fell on stony ground, amongst thistles and thorns, or on good soil. All stand as a testimony to the outward-facing nature of Alastair's approach to neuroscience, and all have retained their respect, admiration and affection for Alastair. Secondly, he invested time and energy in identifying and building local, national and international research collaborations - which, more unusually, he successfully marshalled and maintained as not just productive but also as long-term alliances. But third and easily above all, he has led by extraordinary example - the example of prodigious and self-sacrificing industry, of deep but generously-shared knowledge, and of truly remarkable quickness of mind.  No less exemplary and indeed inspirational have been his courage and resolution in the face of challenge and adversity - most recently exhibited in his manner of bearing, and facing down his rather horrid illness.

Beyond Cardiff and Cambridge, Alastair's achievements, combined with his national and global honours and awards, together make a slightly daunting list: they both explain and reflect the esteem in which he is held in British neurology and indeed throughout the world of clinical neuroscience. He was Secretary to the ABN from 1990-1992, and ABN President 2009-2010; President of the ENS from 2002-2003; Editor of the Journal of Neurology from 1989-1998, and then of Brain 2004-2013. He was a Foundation Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and was awarded the Sobek prize in 2002, and the World Federation of Neurology prize for scientific achievement in 2013. His achievements continue - a CBE in the last Honours list, and Fellowship the Royal Society just a few weeks ago.

Alastair Compston has been an extraordinary servant of British neurology; I can think of no more distinguished a recipient, and no one who has done more to merit the 2016 ABN Medal.


Professor Neil Scolding, PhD, FRCP

2015 Andrew Lees

Professor Andrew Lees, MD, FRCP, FMedSci

At the age of 16 Andrew read Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon and the Andes compiled by Richard Spruce from 1849 introducing the idea that plants, such as yagé a hallucinogenic vine, could be used to change brain chemistry, and possibly kindling his interest in pharmacology and South America.

He qualified in medicine at the Royal London Hospital Medical College in 1970, where he was influenced by Ronald Henson, Chris Earl and the neurosurgeons Sid Watkins and Tom King. After house jobs at the London Hospital and St Stephens, Westminster where he witnessed the effects of L-dopa, he had a year in Paris largely at the Salpetrière. In 1975 he was appointed neurology registrar at UCH where he met Gerald Stern and in the following year he was at the Middlesex Hospital with Roger Gilliatt, Chris Earl and Michael Harrison. From 1977 he was at the Institute of Neurology with Gerald Curzon studying L-dopa effects and was awarded his MD in 1978.

In 1982 he succeeded William Gooddy at UCH and the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases; but his job plan also included the Whittington Hospital after the retirement of Eric Nieman; so he had inpatients at UCH, Maida Vale Hospital and the Whittington Hospital, where he shared a Victorian ward with John Scadding.

With Gerald Stern he continued clinical and pharmacological studies in Parkinson’s disease using bromocriptine and selegeline; their early experience of Deprenyl was taking therapeutic doses of a supply carried from Hungary in 1977 by Merton Sandler of Queen Charlotte’s Hospital; noting that tyramine did not cause the cheese effect.

In the early 1980s Andrew Lees and Gerald Stern formed the Parkinson’s Disease Research Group of the UK, Andrew was the secretary; in 1985 its defining national trial began, comparing L-dopa, L-dopa and selegeline, and bromocriptine, with the final 14 year follow up reported in 2008.  During this time he tried Apomorphine (after a satisfactory dose of domperidone) and then started this pioneering treatment in patients, with single dose experiments and then continuous infusions.

His second area of interest was pathology.  With David Marsden in 1985 he obtained a five year programme grant from the Parkinson's Disease Society to create a brain bank. The frozen half brains went to Peter Jenner at the Institute of Psychiatry and the formalin half came to Maida Vale Hospital where I had recently started; kindly accommodated by Robin Barnard. Some years later the bank came together in Wakefield Street and eventually became the Queen Square Brain Bank. In 2002 Andrew became Director of the Sara Koe PSP Research Centre and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Panel of the PSP Association.

His third interest was behavioural neurology; his monograph Tics and Related Disorderspublished in 1985 was translated to five languages including Russian; it remains a useful text. In 1988 he founded Behavioural Neurology and for a number of years was the sole editor.  His interests included the limbic system, bradyphrenia, mannerisms, obsessional slowness, premorbid personality and compulsive behaviours.

I first met Andrew when I joined the UCH registrar rotation in 1983; the first post was with Andrew Lees and John Scadding at the Whittington Hospital.  After clinical studies of movement disorders Andrew tempted me to examine the Lewy body so the following year I became his research student.  He continued to attract and foster research students in neurology, and some in pharmacology and psychology. They came from the UK and overseas particularly from Innsbruck and Melbourne, and later from South America. His achievements at this stage were extraordinary because they were all accomplished from his NHS post, and by 1998 had well over 300 journal publications.  In 1998 he succeeded Michael Harrison at the Middlesex Hospital as Professor of Neurology and the Francis and Renee Hock Director of Research at the Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies.

Andrew had diverse international friends and collaborators; Yves Agid, Eduardo Tolosa, Oliver Sacks and John Steele among others. From 1987 he had close ties with South America speaking at meetings of the Brazillian Academy of Neurology. From 1990, for ten years, Eduardo Tolosa and Andrew were integral to meetings of RELAMA (Reunion Europeo-Latinoamericana de Movimientos Anormales), held each year in a different city in Central and South America. His international profile encouraged a stream of clinical associates to Queen Square.

He was Co-Editor-in-Chief of Movement Disorders (1995-2003) and President of the Movement Disorder Society (2005-6).

He has had many worldwide honours including in 2006 the Movement Disorders Research Award of the American Academy of Neurology. In 2007 he gave the reinstated Gowers Memorial Lecture at the National Hospital and was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, later becoming a council member. In 2010 he delivered the Melvin Yahr Memorial Lecture at Mount Sinai Hospital and the inaugural Lord Brain Memorial Lecture at Barts and the Royal London Hospitals. In 2011 he gave the David Marsden Memorial Lecture at the EFNS, and in 2012 was the recipient of the Stanley Fahn Lectureship Award at the MDS in Dublin. He was Visiting Professor to the University of Liverpool and Universities in Fortaleza and Salvador, Brazil.  He is an elected member of 15 national neurological societies.

Andrew is an original member of the Highly Cited Researchers Institute for Scientific Information with an h-index of 105.  He is the most highly cited Parkinson’s disease author for papers published between 1985 and 2011, and co-author of eight citation classics, with two of the top ten all time publications. He has 1172 publications.

Andrew’s talent as a wordsmith is evident from his scientific writing; but also his books. Ray of Hope (1993) is a biography of Ray Kennedy, the England footballer who developed Parkinson's disease at the age of 35; revealing something of Andrew’s love of football. The Hurricane Port. A social History of Liverpool(2011) is a detailed reminiscence reflecting his early childhood in Liverpool. He continues to write richly descriptive prose for the Dublin Review of Books. He was science consultant to Patient 39the film adaptation of a William Boyd short story. These and others achievements qualified his membership of the Groucho club, for those in the arts and media.

A few years ago his colleagues gave him a birthday present, Essays for Andrew. In the preface Gerald Stern wrote how his command of at least four languages may have enhanced his global reputation and ability to facilitate friendships in many countries’, as well as his ability to lecture in French and Spanish. Dr Stern wrote of the ‘charm, kindness and consideration which is his hallmark’ and that the book was ‘a token of the admiration, friendship and affection which Andrew has earned from his colleagues’.The book includes fond reminiscences of a faithful friend, and is a tribute to a gifted luminary.

I hope you agree that Andrew Lees is a deserving ABN medallist.

William Gibb

2014 Michael Hutchinson

The last time I had the opportunity to speak about Michael was at his Festschrift - that was a couple of years ago (and I use the word couple, loosely). This is normally when individuals are supposed to retire but clearly no one had told Michael that - or perhaps he just saw it as an excuse for a good party (and it certainly was).

If you look at the activities listed in his CV over the last five years Michael would be head-hunted by most, if not all, of the academic institutions in the country. He has published over 80 papers and in the last two years alone, he has brought in over a million euros in grants as PI for studies of primary torsion dystonia.

But I should start at the beginning …

Michael went to secondary school in Ballymena Academy in Country Antrim where he became Head Boy.
He attended medical school at Queen’s University Belfast, 1962–1969 and completed an intercalated year in anatomy – BSc 1966 (1st Hons).
After his general medical training, he was awarded his MRCP (UK) in 1972.

And became Registrar in Neurology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, 1972–1975 where his consultants were JHD Miller, Michael Swallow, and Joe Lyttle.

His role model was Louis Hurwitz who had died in 1969 from coronary artery disease in his early 50’s. He was an extraordinary and inspirational teacher and had given twice weekly demonstrations for final years on neurological cases at the Royal Victoria Hospital and Claremont Street Hospital (which was the only dedicated neurology hospital outside of Queen Square at that time).

Michael did a year of research (1974–1975) on optic neuritis and the risk for the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) and this work was published the following year, thus beginning his life-long interest in MS.

Ingrid Allen (his supervisor) had a collection of early post–mortem brains of patients with multiple sclerosis and together they carried out extensive electron microscopy, hoping to find the virus which caused MS, a search which continues to the present day! Just to remind the younger members of the audience, this was shortly after the measles virus had been seen in tissue from subacute sclerosing panencephalitis cases - again a number of publications followed.
In 1975 Michael Swallow arranged for Michael to see Roger Gilliatt, which Michael described as a rather terrifying experience akin to going to see the headmaster with his CV. Although he was somewhat formal at the time, Roger was very supportive when Michael went to interview for a Senior Registrar post at Barts/NHQS.
At Queen Square in October 1975, Michael worked with Drs Zilkha, Blau and McArdle – when pressed Michael said he and I have a number of stories about that period, none of which could be mentioned now - - but perhaps after dinner tonight?

He then went to work at Maida Vale with Ian McDonald, Reggie Kelly, and Roman Kocen, which he enjoyed enormously, describing them as very kind and instructive.
One of the highlights of his time at Queen Square was when Norman Geschwind came and gave a series of brilliant lectures on cortical aspects of neurological disease, including the disconnection syndromes.

One of the benefits of neurology, at that time, was the relatively small size of the consultant body and the collegiality that comes with that. Anita Harding was an SHO in NHQS at the time; Alistair Compston was doing research with Ian, and David Neary was just about to leave. At Barts he worked with Tony Hopkins and Jeff Gawler, who had just been appointed and delighted in reminding Michael that he was younger than him.
Michael had always thought that he would go back to Belfast, but a post came up in Dublin at the end of 1977, he applied, was successful and started working with Eddie Martin in April 1978 (two very different personalities).

Michael initiated a very active and productive research programme - VEPs, CSF IgG and other immunological abnormalities in MS, myelin basic protein, Benign MS.
Of his 250 or so papers, one of the most important reported a major study on pregnancy in MS with the late Christian Confavreux published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1998 with a further paper in Brain on post-partum relapse in 2004.

In the last 15 years, his areas of interest have broadened and have incorporated HSP, genetics, extrapyramidal disorders - particularly the dystonias, outcome measures and new treatments for MS - particularly natalizumab, and a range a rare and complex conditions such as the identification of a novel glycine receptor antibody in a syndrome incorporating encephalomyelitis, rigidity and myoclonus, published in Neurology in 2008.

My first encounter was 30 years ago as a neurology registrar - the first of many registrars and research fellows who have benefited from Michael’s guidance and mentorship - many of whom are in the audience as consultants and clinical academics including Mary Reilly, one of the most inspirational.
Ward round was a challenging affair for everyone - Michael flew around the wards at around 90 miles an hour - his fleet of foot matched only by the speed with which he moved from one topic to another - sometimes stopping one thought in mid-sentence whilst another one took centre stage. We all struggled to keep up physically and mentally but did our best …

I vividly remember that we would be accompanied by a nun who was relatively junior and was under the mistaken impression that she was in charge. She was determined to impose some discipline on this process - needless to say she failed miserably (and I’m not sure she has ever been the same again).
Now we are editors of MSJ where Michael, in typical form, manages the controversies - two opposing views on a topical issue with Michael providing the sage, sensible balanced overview. In truth, much as I had anticipated, Michael’s comments are as controversial and certainly stimulate more letters to the editor than either of the protagonists!

Michael’s contribution to British and Irish Neurology has been and continues to be immense - academic, insightful, instructive. He never takes himself too seriously (a relatively rare trait), nor indeed does he take others too seriously - and he always goes out of his way to give credit to others.
He is certainly a free spirit with an enquiring mind, terrifying energy and insatiable curiosity.

I am personally delighted that he has been asked to give this year’s ABN medallist lecture and would like to invite him to the platform to make his presentation.

Alan Thompson

2013 David Chadwick

Professor David Chadwick

David Chadwick has inspired a generation of neurologists, who admire his clinical wisdom and practical common sense, and know him as an outstanding doctor and a leader by example. His clinical academic legacy will continue to inform practice for decades to come.

David qualified from Oxford in 1971 and at King’s College Hospital fortuitously encountered Ted Reynolds—who introduced him to epilepsy—not then a fashionable subject within neurology. David worked productively with David Marsden at King’s College hospital, then at Newcastle-upon-Tyne as First Assistant, before starting in Liverpool in 1979 as a full-time NHS Consultant, one of only three neurologists in the Regional Centre. There, with Ian Williams, he planned and delivered the innovative and high profile ‘Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery’, bringing to Liverpool neurosciences an unparalleled reputation for excellence. David became their first Professor of Neurology in 1993.

His championing of a pragmatic approach to epilepsy trials has proved a major service to patients. He developed the three largest randomised controlled epilepsy trials—the MRC antiepileptic drug withdrawal study, the MESS study of single seizures and early epilepsy, and the influential SANAD study, each benefitting from his vision by being unencumbered by the rigidity of short-term blinded placebo-controlled studies, providing outcomes highly relevant to patient needs.

David led the UK Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) from 2004, and between 2005–7 served simultaneously as ABN President. He deservedly received many honours—principally from the ILAE—who recognised him as ‘Ambassador for Epilepsy’ in 1991 and bestowed the UK Chapter’s ‘Excellence in Epilepsy’ award in 2008. He was appointed Fellow of Academy of Medical Science in 2003. But remarkably, and despite a global profile in neurology and epilepsy, his OBE in 2004 was for ‘Services to Road Safety’, recognising major contributions to the Department for Transport’s Panel on Driving and Disorders of the Nervous System.

David Chadwick is an example of the rarest of medical academics: one whose clear-thinking pragmatism, inspirational teaching and personal empathy are as evident in the clinic as on the lecture podium, and whose determination for progress is equally apparent on the journal page and the relatives’ room. Epileptology would always appeal to David, because here the clinical history so evidently trumps the tests—and for him, patient interaction is paramount.

It is with heartfelt pleasure that I commend to you the ABN medalist for 2013, Professor David Chadwick OBE.

Phil Smith


2012 Mark Wiles

It is a great pleasure and honor to provide the citation for the ABN Medal for Professor Mark Wiles.

Mark qualified from St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School in 1972, with a first in his Physiology BSc and multiple prizes.
After house jobs he did a medical rotation in Southampton – which included General Medicine, Geriatrics and Neurology, but unusually had an attachment in Psychiatry. This was followed by an SHO job in Neurology at Queen Square. He then transferred to University College London, first to work in the department of medicine, and then as a Welcome Trust Research Fellow with Professor Richard Edwards looking at Muscle disease.  He returned to Queen Square as a registrar in neurological surgery, and then senior registrar in neurology, before being appointed as consultant between the National and St Thomas’ Hospital. 
At this stage the focus of Mark’s research interest moved from muscle to the neurology of breathing and swallowing. These interests were further developed as Physician in charge of the Harris Medical Intensive Care Unit, and through his involvement in patients with neuromuscular disease, and in particular Motor Neurone disease. This research continued after he moved to Cardiff in 1990 as Professor. 
Mark has developed Cardiff into a fantastic Neurology centre.  He maintained a high personal clinical commitment on top of his research and undergraduate teaching – his colleagues tell me he is much loved by his patients as well as his trainees. Reading his long list of publications you will be struck by the breadth of his interests – practical problems ranging from breathing to walking; and diseases from the inherited ataxia to stroke.
Really good ideas have an interesting property - once they are adopted it is hard to believe anyone ever thought any other way - and Mark has been involved in developing and promulgating a number of really good ideas.  That breathing and swallowing are important and need to be managed in many neurological diseases. That trials can be used to assess interventions such as physiotherapy and outcomes such as swallow or walking. That working in a multidisciplinary team improves neurological care.  
On top to all this Mark has been very active in teaching and training.  For the ABN he was the Chairman of the Training and Education subcommittee from 2001 to 2007 – a tenure that included the development of basic neuroscience training opportunities for SHOs, the development and introduction of work based assessments, new curriculum and the nightmare that was Modernising Medical Careers – where he did much to help limit the damage of MMC to neurology.
Mark  continues to teach undergraduates following his retirement from Cardiff.
Recognising Mark Wiles with this medal reflects his outstanding contributions in all these areas – Science, Practice and the Association and his contribution to training.
I look forward to hearing his lecture on “Learning Neurology”.
Geraint Fuller

2011 David Neary

It is an honour to provide the citation for the award of the 2011 ABN Gold Medal, the sixteenth ABN Medal, to Professor David Neary. 

David was a pupil at the Bolton County Grammar School and then a medical student in Manchester. His early posts pointed to the future as he worked successively as an SHO in clinical pathology, a Registrar in Psychiatry and an SHO with Bryan Matthews, at that time in Manchester.  He moved on to Queen Square, where his initial research was with Roger Gilliatt on entrapment neuropathies, with papers on ulnar nerve compression, and the thoracic outlet syndrome, though even at this early stage a contribution to a study of CJD hinted rebelliously at what was to come. On an informal note, several of David’s colleagues from his National Hospital days have mentioned to me that in private moments he could sometimes be persuaded to produce a wonderfully accurate impersonation of his distinguished supervisor.

While at the National David was introduced to the work of Norman Geschwind which he found inspiring, and in 1976 he travelled to the States to spend a formative period at the VA Hospital in Boston, working with several of the founding fathers of contemporary neuropsychology including Geschwind himself, Frank Benson, Laird Cermak and Nelson Butters. This set him on the path that his career was to follow and productively extend.

On returning to Manchester after his spell in North America, David established the Cerebral Function Unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1976: 35 years later this unit goes from strength to strength. David’s long tenure as the leader of this research group and his wide and highly informed grasp of the nature of cognitive disorders, from the bedside to the bench and back again, have allowed him and his collaborators to make a series of key contributions to the science of dementia.

On the clinical plane, David has led international efforts to define the characteristic features of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), authoring consensus guidelines on diagnosis in 1994 and 1998. His group recognised the association between FTD and Motor Neuron Disease, and has helped to define the phenotypes of Alzheimer’s disease.

On the neurobiological plane, David has made huge contributions to understanding both the pathology and the genetics of dementia. With the pathologist David Mann, David established the Manchester brain bank, one of the four national Alzheimer Brain Bank Centres. With Stuart Pickering Brown in genetics, and partly in collaboration with John Hardy then at the Mayo Clinic, David’s group has played a seminal role in defining the mutations in the tau and progranulin genes associated with FTD. Further discoveries will surely follow.

Last but not least David’s collaboration with Professor Julie Snowden has produced a rich seam of work on the neuropsychology of dementia: papers on preserved arithmetical skills in FTD and the role of autobiographical experience in maintaining knowledge of word meaning in semantic dementia and on social cognition in Huntington’s and Motor Neuron Disease stand shoulder to shoulder in David’s CV with work on the neuroimaging, neuropathology and neurogenetics of dementia.

Besides his impressive body of original research, David has an international reputation as a teacher, travelling regularly to Sweden, Japan, Russia, Sudan, Italy, India, Canada and elsewhere. When David agreed to give an introductory talk on dementia to a group of Neurology and Psychiatry Sprs recently his talk was top rated for its clarity and quality overall.

He is a Guarantor of Brain and has been a director of the British Neuropsychiatry Association.

Reflecting on David’s remarkable career, two qualities stand out especially. David has done, with great verve, what perhaps only doctors can do in clinical research: he has pulled it together, made sure that people are getting diagnoses right, and coordinated a highly talented team of collaborators who could not have achieved anything like so much without him: he has been the crucial linch-pin of a highly productive group endeavour. Secondly, he has ploughed his efforts back into the ground from which he sprang. Manchester trained him, and Manchester should be very proud of him, as, clearly is this Association.

David, we very much look forward to hearing your talk on the neurology of dementia.


Adam Zeman

2010 Michael Swash

Citation on Professor Michael Swash - ABN Medallist 2010
By Professor R J Guiloff - 13th May 2010

Michael Swash is a rower – he still rows! He is tall and powerful! These are not the reasons why he got a job as consultant neurologist at The Royal London Hospital, nor why he is the 2010 ABN medallist!

Michael graduated from the London Hospital Medical College in 1962. After House Physician and SHO appointments at The London and in Bath, he departed to the USA. He spent three years there doing clinical neurology and clinical neurophysiology training in Cleveland with, amongst others, Dr J Foley, Maurice Victor, Dr Landau and he also came into contact with Rita Levi-Montalcini, the Nobel Prize winner.

He came back to The Royal London as a registrar and senior registrar and later as a Research Fellow in neuropathology.

These early years are the background for his subsequent prolific work with over 500 publications, 17 books and a number of monographs, in the fields of clinical neurology, clinical neurophysiology and neuropathology.

He was appointed Consultant Neurologist to The Royal London Hospital in 1973. In addition to the usual MRCP and FRCP steps, he was made a member of the Royal College of Pathologists for his published pathological work in 1982 and was made an FRCPath in 1991. He became Professor of Neurology at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine in 1994. He is currently emeritus Professor of Neurology at Barts and The London and invited Professor of Neurology at the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon University.

Michael Swash is widely known worldwide and has been, and is, a true ambassador of British neurology. He has over 40 visiting Professorships and has given more lectures abroad than I can count, including many prestigious ones.

As far as I know, he is not too keen on beer, yet he has managed to get to parts that many others have not been able to reach, lecturing for example, in addition to Europe or USA, in Yambu (Saudi Arabia), University of Coimbatore in India, Tunisia, Kuwait, Taipei, Sapporo, Chile and so on.

Mike is a member of a large number of learned societies in the UK and abroad including the American Neurological Association, the New York Academy of Science and the American Association for Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He is an honorary member of the Australasia Association of Neurologists and of the Hong Kong Neurological Society as well as of the French Society of Proctology and the International Committee for the Pelvic Floor. He has served on the editorial boards of many journals.

His neurological work in the UK, apart from the consultancy of the Royal London deserves to be mentioned too. He was Honorary Consultant to St Marks and St Luke’s Hospitals where he investigated and advised on colorectal and pelvic floor neurology. He also did general neurology at Newham and Bethnal Green Hospitals and served as Honorary Consultant in Neurology to the Ministry of Defence for eight years. He stepped well beyond neurology in his services to medicine in the UK as Medical Director of The Royal London NHS Trust from 1991 to 1994. Michael also served as secretary to this association from 1981 to 1987 and in the Medical Research Council from 1987 to 1991.

Michael’s contributions to research and publications are many and outstanding and mainly cover neuromuscular diseases, clinical neurophysiology, Motor Neuron Diseases, Neurology of the pelvic floor and general neurology. Early in his career he produced detailed morphological studies on the muscle spindles in humans and the alterations seen in Myotonic Dystrophy, Duchenne and Myasthenia Gravis. His pioneer work on the neurology of the pelvic floor started with a paper in Gut in 1997 on sphincter denervation in anorectal incontinence and rectal prolapse and a paper in the Lancet the following year on electrophysiological recordings of the anal reflex. Well over 100 publications on this area have followed.

We will hear him today speaking about Motor Neuron Disease. He has written extensively on this topic, from morphological descriptions of focal loss of anterior horn cells and ubiquitin inclusions to physiological studies of motor unit changes, central conduction, fasciculations, to epidemiology and quality of life measurements. He has been part of the consensus diagnostic criteria of El Escorial and Arlie House and the more recent Iwaji electrophysiological criteria. As chairman of the Research Committee on Motor Neuron Diseases of the World Federation of Neurology, he wrote the articles of Association of that committee, shaped its current form and, single-handed at first, negotiated and created the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Journal of which he was his first Editor in Chief. This journal has been a success story. In this field, he was also chairman of the Motor Neuron Disease Association of Great Britain which he steered through a period of growth and development internationally.

There are a myriad, too long to pay justice to in a short time, of other contributions. In nerve and muscle disease, such as on muscle fibre splitting, quadriceps myopathy, acid maltase deficiency, collition studies with David Ingram and single fibre EMG studies in neuropathies, as well as in most aspects of clinical neurology, ranging from historical papers on Hughlings Jackson, Henry Head and Lord Brain, to insightful papers, as judged by what we know today, like ‘A possible biochemical basis of memory disorders in Alzheimer's disease’ – a hypothesis published in Annals of Neurology in 1978.

We can reflect as to whether neurologists in the 21st Century and beyond will ever reach the degree of generality and wide horizons, in addition to the focal and specific knowledge, that the work of Michael Swash shows.

Michael, in the words of our President, is one of the ‘oldies’. From 2008 to the present day, this oldie, our ABN Medallist, has published 35 papers 12 on pelvic floor neurology, 16 on motor neuron diseases and the rest on other subjects.

I am told that at several neurological centres in America, when they have a difficult case or situation, they Google ‘Swash’, as it is likely that he would have published something on the subject!

You will agree with me, as members of ABN, that we are all proud that he is awarded the 2010 ABN medal, a thoroughly deserved honour for somebody who has been an ambassador for British Neurology for many years.

RJ Guiloff

2009 Angela Vincent

The ABN Medal is awarded annually to recognise outstanding contributions by British neurologists or neuroscientists to the science or practice of neurology, or for contributions to the Association.

For over 100 years the prestige of British neurology depended on charismatic clinical skills and leadership. But from the 1960s the breeze of change could be felt as new methodologies from which many other specialities took advantage started to inform the pathogenesis of neurological disorders, and the rituals of descriptive neurology were no longer seen as sufficient; disease mechanisms had also to be understood. The seeds of this brave new clinical neuroscience were sown sparingly; and few individuals had the confidence and ability to embrace the new methodologies and use these to illuminate the nature of neurological disease. 
In honouring Angela Vincent as the 2009 ABN medallist, we recognise someone who has played an important role in the evolution of experimental neurology in the run-up to this millennium, and who remains active particularly in neuroimmunology. Angela qualified at the Westminster Hospital Medical School in 1966. She worked first with Ricardo Miledi at University College London. And with John Newsom Davis she established a neuroimmunology group at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine from 1977. This was a formidable combination: the talented and energetic clinician-scientist complementing these same qualities in the imaginative and technically versatile scientist-clinician. In Oxford, Angela, John and their loyal team, systematically unravelled an understanding of immunological and molecular disease mechanisms in neurology. In time, no autoantibody could hope to lurk undisturbed in the nooks and crannies of brain, nerve, neuromuscular junction or muscle without danger of exposure from the searchlight of Angela’s ever more sophisticated and intuitive assays: the acetylcholine receptor, alone and clustered; MuSK; rapsyn; potassium channels in nerve and brain; glutamate and glycine receptors; aquaporin-4; and acid sensing ion channels have all come under her scrutiny and had their pathogenicity laid bare.
Angela has held personal or honorary professorships in Oxford, here in Liverpool, and now in London; she is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences; and of the Royal Colleges of Pathologists and of Physicians; she is past-president of the International Society for Neuroimmunologists. As one of that distinguished group of academics to have made her mark without pausing to collect a domestic higher degree on the way, she does nevertheless hold an honorary doctorate from Bergen University in Norway; she is currently an associate editor of Brain; and has been a member of the Association of British Neurologists since 1994.
We are not the first institution to honour Angela but in pioneering the establishment of a new branch of neurological medicine; in recognising her fundamental contributions to explaining a whole host of disorders having an immunological basis; in training a generation of clinical investigators in the arts of laboratory medicine; and in providing scientific excellence and infrastructure in the two outstanding clinical neuroscience departments where she has worked - the Royal Free and Oxford - with modesty and self-effacing lack of personal promotion, we have served the spirit of this award well in awarding the 2009 ABN medal to Angela Vincent.
Alastair Compston

2008 John Morgan-Hughes

Dr John Morgan-Hughes is one of the most enthusiastic neurologists I have ever met. He has made outstanding contributions to British and world neurology as an incisive clinician, a rigorous researcher and an inspiring teacher.

 John obtained a 1st class honours degree in natural sciences at Cambridge in 1954 and commenced his neurology career as a senior house officer at Queen Square in 1961. In 1966 he spent a formative year as an MRC funded international post-doctoral fellow at NIH Bethesda. He worked in the then world leading neuromuscular unit of Dr King Engel.
On his return to London he established a major UK diagnostic and research muscle laboratory at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square. Between 1968 and his retirement in 1997, he personally read over 12,000 muscle biopsies, and provided a highly valued service to colleagues which benefited patients nationally and internationally.
John’s passion for elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of human mitochondrial disease was infectious. He established a world class mitochondrial research group with strong links to John Clarke, David Landon and to the late Anita Harding (previous ABN medallist).
In 1987 John’s group discovered that mitochondrial DNA deletions that were only detectable in DNA extracted from skeletal muscle (and not from blood) could cause human neurological disease. These findings were published in the journal Nature in 1988. This seminal discovery opened a completely new chapter in neurology and in medicine. Since John’s 1988 Nature paper, literally thousands of publications linking mitochondrial DNA to different human diseases have followed.
John published very extensively, and at the same time enjoyed and thrived upon major clinical commitments. He ran the neurology service at Bedford hospital and the muscle service at Queen Square. John is respected worldwide and he received a prestigious life-time achievement award from the world federation of neurology in 2002.
It is a great pleasure for the Association of British Neurologists, and for me personally, to award Dr John Morgan-Hughes the ABN medal for distinguished contributions to Neurology.
I would now like to invite John to deliver the medallist’s lecture entitled “Mutations of an ancient endosymbiont”
Professor Michael G Hanna

2007 Richard Langton-Hewer

In this citation I hope to show that Richard is and always was a man ahead of his time. He practiced through his clinical activities principles that were at the time unusual, but that are now becoming mainstream. He has advanced the interests of this association greatly in this way.

 I first met Richard about 30 years ago when I became a registrar in neurology at Frenchay hospital, Bristol. I had not previous done any neurology. Richard’s practice convinced me to pursue a career in neurology and specifically neurological rehabilitation, a career choice I have never regretted for one minute. I will explain what characteristics inspired me then, and still inspire me.
Richard has always been primarily concerned with the experience of the patient – what do they worry about, what do they want to know, how can we make life better for this person? He was patient-centred when much of medical practice was still professionally driven and centred. Two examples will suffice.
He became interested in people with Friedreich’s Ataxia as a registrar, not simply in relation to the neurobiology and clinical presentation, but also in relation to the concerns of the families and patients. He set up what was probably one of the earliest disease-specific support groups and was the chairman of the Friedreich’s Ataxia Group for many years.
Second by 1978 he was running a follow-up clinic for people with multiple sclerosis where the main focus was on the practical problems of living with this disease. In 1980 he started collecting data on Activities of Daily Living (ADL) using the Barthel ADL index on every patient with MS. In so doing he discovered that faecal incontinence was quite common in the patients attending. Although these patients had been attending for some time this fact only became known once the question was asked, demonstrating the value of routine collecting simple data.
This interest in the patient’s perspective might reflect his own experience with head injury, a topic that neurologists rarely take an interest in. As an aside, I note that none of the 146 titles of talks and papers presented at this meeting concern head injury! Richard had a motor cycle accident and had a sub-dural haemorrhage as a result of the accident.  He obviously made a very good recovery, though he does still limp from time to time. However it is possible that his concern about the patient’s perspective may have been reinforced by his own experience.
The second area where Richard was ahead of his time concerns the collection and use of routine patient data; this was part of his insistence on generating and using evidence to support service development. I have already noted that the routine use of the Barthel ADL index revealed previously unknown faecal incontinence in people with MS. There are other more important examples.
When I first met Richard in 1978 he had obtained money for and set up a Stroke Unit, and by 1981 he had collected a standardised set of data on many patients who had attended.  Using a PDP-11 computer (which was larger than several filing cabinets put together) he with others started to investigate the natural history of recovery after stroke. Surprisingly no-one had studied this much before, and simply using data collected routinely by all staff led to a series of papers that are still quoted and are still good evidence.
Another example of his focus on using evidence concerns the collation and use of epidemiological evidence to drive rational service development. The paper we wrote in 1986 is still used as no better summary has been made.
This brings me to the third area where he was ahead of his time, namely being concerned with the development and provision of clinical services. At the time this was not a popular view within the medical profession in general and within the ABN in particular.
The best example is the work he undertook with others between 1984 and 1986 writing ‘Physical Disability: 1986 and Beyond’ for the Royal College of Physicians.   This pioneering booklet outlined some principles of management of people with long-term conditions that are still relevant and unfortunately still have to be enacted. He also was instrumental in setting up the services sub-committee of the ABN, and co-authored several other reports on services.
The final area where he was ahead of his time was in his collaboration with other professions on an equal footing. He was truly committed to multi-disciplinary teams at a time when doctors still expected to lead and to be obeyed. He worked with and supported many people who have gone on as leaders in their own right, for example Professor Pam Enderby (speech and language therapist), Dr Clive Skilbeck (clinical neuropsychologist), Dr Victoria Wood (health service researcher) and Professor Jenny Butler (occupational therapist).
I would like to finish by thanking Richard twice.
The first ‘thank you’ is personal. I would like to thank Richard for all his support, encouragement and advice over the last 27 years. Without it I would not be here, and I would not have had such a rewarding career.
The second is on behalf of the Association of British Neurologists. Thank you for stimulating us to become patient-centred, to collect and use evidence on a routine basis to support service development and research, to become interested in and concerned about the provision of services, and to recognise the immense value of multi-disciplinary team working.
I am sure that you will now tell us how much more we need to do!!
Derick Wade
Professor of Neurological Rehabilitation

2006 Richard Hughes

Richard Hughes has a brilliant academic record, a scholarship to Marlborough, an exhibition in classics to Cambridge, fortunately for neurology a change to medicine followed by a double first with several more prizes and scholarships en route, including a scholarship to Guy's Hospital Medical School, where he followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great grandfather. He trained in neurology at Guy's Hospital, The National Hospital and University College Hospital and was appointed to the staff of Guy's Hospital and Medical School in 1975. Since then his academic output has been prodigious, raising about four million pounds in grants, publishing over 200 papers, reviews and editorials, including 15 this year alone, over 40 book chapters including four in the latest edition of Dyck and Thomas' Peripheral Neuropathy. He has written or edited seven books, one now in its 4 th edition. Along the way he has supervised four MDs and eight PhDs, with two more in process. He has edited The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry and The Journal of Neurology and is the current editor of the Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Review Group. He is internationally recognised for his expertise in peripheral nerve disorders, particularly the idiopathic demyelinating neuropathies, and he has that rare gift for clinically meaningful laboratory bench research and relevant clinical trials leading to clear management guidelines for the rest of us to adopt, as demonstrated by the recent production of the EFNS guidelines for the management of these conditions.

This very substantial list of academic achievements only represents about half of his activities. The ideal professor contributes not only to research but also to management, teaching and clinical work. Among more than 30 national and international committees on which he has served, he has chaired the Royal College of Physicians Neurology Committee and The Neuroimmunology Group of the British Society of Immunology. He chaired the Scientific Committee of the highly successful World Congress of Neurology in 2001, which was such a credit to this Association, and he has chaired the Scientific Committee of the European Federation of Neurological Societies, of which he was a Vice President. His consultant colleagues at Guy's and St.Thomas' elected him to chair their Medical and Dental Committee. He has been President of the Section of Clinical Neurosciences at the Royal Society of Medicine and President of the international Peripheral Nerve Society.

Throughout all this he has maintained a full teaching and clinical commitment, including providing a clinical service to SE Kent for eight years. His clinical excellence is attested by the number of consultant staff who seek his advice for their patients, themselves and their families, a measure of the esteem in which he is held by his colleagues. Much of this is a matter of record, but says little of the man himself. Those who know him well fully appreciate his warmth and humour as well as his kindness and generosity, both personal and professional.

I mentioned four parameters by which we might judge a professor: clinical, academic, teaching and management. Richard Hughes has demonstrated extraordinary expertise in all four areas, nowadays quite a rarity. Our Associations Medal is a fitting tribute to this outstanding and multitalented academic clinical neurologist. 
MD O'Brien 5 October 2006

2005 Charles Warlow

Charles Warlow has been a major influence on international neurology over the last 25 years, especially on stroke neurology. His first recorded publication (The Lancet, 1969) was on 'burns encephalopathy' in children, but soon his interests turned towards haematological factors in thrombosis and embolism. Finally, with the advent of aspirin as an antithrombotic agent, the emphasis in his research shifted from the venous to the arterial side of the circulation.

In the early 1980s Charles Warlow grew into his role of a leader in stroke research by organising clinical trials. It all started with the UK-TIA aspirin trial, which compared two different doses of aspirin with placebo. Out of this collaboration grew his most conspicuous research accomplishment, the European Carotid Surgery Trial. In hindsight this was a hazardous undertaking - initially only UK centres collaborated and there was little funding, while the resistance from vascular surgeons was formidable. Nevertheless Charles managed to spread the 'light of doubt' across his own country and continental Europe. His 1984 review article in Stroke 'Carotid endarterectomy: does it work?' shows all the elements of the mature Warlow style: comprehensive, persuasive, slightly provocative, and peppered with irony. Once it became clear the European study would provide useful answers a similar but heavily funded 'steamroller trial' from North America was launched; it was no small feat of diplomacy from the part of Charles Warlow that the two studies were eventually welded into a single, solid block of clinical evidence.

It is a fortuitous combination of personal characteristics that has resulted in Charles Warlow's continuing success: his vision to collaborate with Richard Peto in applying epidemiological principles to clinical neurology before this became a common mantra; his capacity for hard work (a PubMed search - for what it is worth - provided 314 hits by the end of August 2005; even more notable is that of the latest 100 publications he was the first author in 15); his efficiency in getting so much important research done with limited means; his love of teaching, reflected in the Advanced Clinical Neurology Course that was started during his time in Oxford and continued in Edinburgh (this year the 27th course was held); his anti-authoritarian attitude, which he also managed to pass on to his collaborators, at least three of whom became professors in their own right; and finally his unconventionality - instead of accepting the editorship of an existing journal he preferred to start a new one, 'Practical Neurology', in his own style. That achievement also serves to prove that he is more than a great 'strokologist' - as is his growing interest in the borderland between neurology and psychiatry.

British Neurology has known quite a few stars since Willis and his Oxford circle; Charles Warlow is unquestionably one of them.

Jan van Gijn MD FRCP FRCP(Edin), September 2005

2004 David Stevens

The ABN Medal was established in 1996 and in the past has been awarded to such neurological giants as PK Thomas, John Walton, Ian McDonald and John Newsom-Davis, so why is it being presented to David Stevens – a jobbing neurologist from the West Country? The answer is simple, it is because he is a unique, multi-talented neurologist who has given outstanding service and made a number of seminal contributions to our Association.

David trained at the neurological feet of Bryan Matthews, Hugh Garland and Maurice Parsonage before taking up his appointment as consultant neurologist at the Gloucester Royal infirmary in 1973. There, as a single-handed neurologist, he provided a neurological service for a population of 522,000, he reported all the electroencephalograms and evoked response studies, carried out the electromyographic and nerve conduction studies for the county and he was also the consultant in charge of Ermin House, a unit for the younger physically handicapped. This heavy clinical workload was not carried out with two SHOs, a registrar and senior registrar, but with a single SHO who was on a medical rotation. His first registrar arrived in 1991 and he was joined by a second neurological colleague in 1994, 21 years after taking up his appointment.

David has an infectious enthusiasm for clinical neurology, he loves not only teasing out the diagnosis but also caring for his patients with chronic neurological disorders. He is a meticulous observer of the old school, but he is always ready and prepared to use the latest advances in neurological investigation. He is also I suspect the only neurologist who has a record of every outpatient, inpatient, ward consultation and domiciliary that he has seen.

Despite his exceptionally heavy clinical workload he maintained a continuing interest in teaching and research and he also took on numerous administrative activities at local, regional, national and international levels.

His MD thesis was on Huntington's disease, a disorder on which he has written extensively. He was a member of the World Federation of Neurology's research group on Huntington's disease for many years; he organised their Ninth International Conference and was their Secretary General for eight years. He has also written papers on a wide variety of topics, including the first description of CADASIL which he presented to this Association in 1976 and of interest is that he was a co-author of a paper with Carleton Gajdusec, a Nobel Prize winner. He has contributed chapters to a number of books, including five in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology as well as serving on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Hospital Medicine and the Journal of Neurological Sciences.

David has lectured widely throughout the world, from Kyoto to Vancouver as well as at the Royal Colleges of London and Edinburgh and in 1996 he was invited to give the Sydney Watson Smith lecture at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh . In 1997 he was invited to become the President of the Advanced Course in Neurology in Lille , and in 1998 he was awarded the Faculte de Medicine Medal for his services to postgraduate education in neurology in France.

David's administrative activities are too numerous to document but in our Association he was a member of the Services Committee during which time he was author or co-author of four important discussion documents. In 1997 he became treasurer of the Association and in the same year Chairman of the Finance Committee and a member of both the International and Local Organising Committees for the very successful 17 th World Congress of Neurology which was held in London in 2001.

This of course tells you little about David Stevens the person. Although now an old age pensioner, I can assure you that he is only old on the outside; he is still as articulate, artistic, imaginative, innovative and as enthusiastic as ever, particularly if there are gadgets involved, with an infectious and at times a wicked senses of humour, though on a rather sad note I have to report that he was turned down for a walk-on part in the sequel to the film Bridget Jones' Diary which was being filmed earlier this year in Lech, a part carried out by his wife with distinction and panache. Needless to say, Ute as given him considerable support over the years.

David now rightly takes his place with the other ABN medallists and he has demonstrated what can be achieved from a District General Hospital . He has done what he wanted to do, he has enjoyed it, and he has made the most of every opportunity. The ABN owes him much and has been fortunate to have him as such an active member but the people who have been most fortunate are his patients and those of us who have benefited from his warm friendship.

DC Thrush, September 2004

2003 David Aitken Shaw

Like most Englishmen who have held high office, David Shaw is a Scot. In common with many of his generation, he was late into medicine having served in the Navy in the latter part of the war. His seafaring career was cut short when his landing craft was sunk by a torpedo and he moved to train in medicine. The Navy's loss has definitely been neurology's gain. His early training in Edinburgh with J K Slater excited his interest in neurology and he subsequently became Lecturer at The National Hospital with John Marshall and was one of the earliest neurologists to develop an interest in cerebrovascular disease and stroke. Henry Miller recognised his talents and brought him to Newcastle to expand research activities into cerebrovascular disease, but David's interests soon turned to Undergraduate Education and he rapidly progressed up the Medical School hierarchy, becoming Clinical Sub-Dean, and Dean. His manifest experience and enthusiasm in this area became recognised when as a member of the GMC, he became Chairman of the Education Subcommittee and was largely responsible for the production of the document 'Tomorrow's Doctors'. The statutory recommendations of this document have transformed medical education, resulting in, amongst other things, a shift of emphasis from factual information to clinical skills. Tomorrow's Doctors are indebted to David Shaw. He has made considerable contributions to the JCHMT, the University Hospitals Association, the Association of the study of medical education and of course, our own Association, serving as Council member, being Treasurer for many years, and becoming President in 1988.

The Association has chosen wisely to honour David Shaw with the award of its medal for his contributions to neurology, to the Association itself, and to medical education in general. Professor Shaw, we look forward with interest to your presentation on 'Pupils of Argyll-Robertson'.

NEF Cartlidge, October 2003

2002 Pauline Monro

Pauline Monro was an outstanding medical student, gaining first class honours in her BSc at University College London, and then Distinction in both Medicine and Pathology when she qualified from University College Hospital in 1958. She was also a competitive swimmer, wining a Gold Medal in the World University games at Dortmund in 1953.

Like many others, she was inspired to go into neurology by JZ Young whom she had heard - while still at school - give the Reith lectures. Despite the challenges at a time when there were less than a handful of female consultant neurologists in the UK, and an almost fatal illness late in her training, she was appointed a consultant to Atkinson Morley's Hospital, London, in 1970 - the first woman to be appointed to the consultant staff of the St George's Hospitals. At AMH she threw her energies into creating one of the best Neurosciences Centres in the UK, encouraging multidisciplinary team meetings before they were fashionable, and developing an integrated neurology course for the medical students. Such was her charisma, that I can actually remember the teaching round when she explained to us the difference between upper and lower motor neurone lesions when I was a St George's medical student in 1967.

She retired from the NHS in 1993 and later became the first woman to be President of the Section of Neurosciences at the Royal Society of Medicine. As a result of going on the ABN visit to Leningrad in 1988, Pauline became passionately involved with helping the neurological services in what had by then become St Petersburg, as well as in Russia generally. She became so fluent in Russian from a standing start that she can now lecture easily in the language, bought a flat in St Petersburg, and befriended young Russian neuroscientists. All this culminated in the most deserved award of an MBE in 2000. This is really her life work, more than being an NHS consultant, however successful - as she told me recently 'driving across Europe to Russia in an ambulance with Zimmer frames is much more interesting than being an NHS neurologist".

Despite the loss of Michael in 2000, her beloved husband and partner, Pauline continues her work in Russia with as much energy as ever. I can't believe she will ever stop shuttling backwards and forwards to Russia with yet another small band of British physiotherapists or nurses going one way and their Russian counterparts coming the other. When Pauline first went to Russia, neurological care there had been isolated from the West for 70 years.

Now, encouraged and helped by Pauline, the first multidisciplinary stroke team in Pavlov's Medical University Hospital is accepted by the local Committee of Health as a model centre, one of many examples of good practice which are springing up across the city. In St Petersburg she is known to everyone as Paulina, and so it is with great pleasure that I invite you - Paulina - to give your lecture entitled 'Russian and British Neurology: contacts and contrasts'.

CP Warlow, 5 April 2002

2002 John Nicolas Walton

Lord Walton of Detchant has made outstanding contributions in neurology, medical education and scientific research. He is arguably the most renowned British neurologist of his generation. He was born in the North East of England and trained at King's College in the University of Durham, now the University of Newcastle on Tyne, where he graduated in 1945 with First Class Honours and Distinctions in Medicine, Surgery and Midwifery. During National Service he served in the Western Approaches and the Middle East, later joining the TA and gaining the TD. He demonstrated his potential for research and writing during his MD thesis on subarachnoid haemorrhage, on which he was examined by Professor Natrass and Sir Charles Symonds, and which he later turned into an outstanding book in 1956.

He was persuaded by Natrass and Henry Miller to forego an initial interest in paediatrics and, after a research fellowship, part of which was at the National Hospital, he spent time in Boston with Raymond Adams before writing his second book, a comprehensive text on Polymyositis, the start of his lifelong interest in muscle disease. He founded the Muscular Dystrophy Laboratories at NGH and his phenotypic classification of muscle disease laid the foundation for subsequent studies in molecular genetics. In 1961 he wrote the book that became a standard text for medical students, Essentials of Neurology. In 1964 he edited the first edition of Disorders of Voluntary Muscle and in 1969, shortly after his appointment as Professor, he was invited to follow Lord Brain as author of Diseases of the Nervous System.

In 1971 he succeeded Henry Miller as Dean of Medicine, a post which he held for a decade and during which he was knighted in 1979. Towards the end of his time in Newcastle he became successively President of the BMA, President of the GMC then President of the RSM, he moved to Oxford as Warden of Green College in 1983. His writing continued and there followed Skeletal Muscle Pathology, Introduction to Clinical Neurosciences, and the Oxford Companion to Medicine.

In 1989 he left Green College, became President of the WFN and was appointed to a Life Peerage. During his stewardship the WFN increased in strength and importance and his tenure culminated in the successful British bid for the World Congress in 2001. His work in the House of Lords continues, his is a respected opinion whenever matters medical, scientific or educational are discussed and he has served as member and chairman of several important committees and reports.

What Lord Walton has given to Neurology, Medicine and Research is evident to all, but to those who have worked for him and with him his interest in the individual, willingness to spend time with juniors, kindness and generosity are equally apparent and more important. Colleagues around the world will applaud this Association for its recognition of his work and this award of the ABN Medal for 2002.

Lord Walton, we look forward to your talk on "Fifty years in Neurology".

Professor David Bates, October 2002

2000 Ralph Ross Russell

Like many other talented Scots, Ralph Ross Russell migrated south to England after completing his schooling in Scotland. He went to university at Cambridge, medical school at St Thomas'Hospital, and then did National Service in Malaysia with the Royal Army Medical Corps. It cannot have been very common for people of Ralph's generation who had to do National Service to put the experience to serious academic use. However, he did, and his first paper was on Torula meningitis, and his MD thesis was based on his RAMC experience of leptospirosis. But, his first proper academic appointment was as lecturer in medicine at Oxford University. There, his lifetime research interest in cerebrovascular disease was kindled by Sir George Pickering, Regius Professor of Medicine. He developed an animal model of thromboembolism, observed emboli passing through the cortical arteries of rabbits, and it was this model which was later used to explore the antiplatelet properties of drugs like dipyridamole. He then moved to London as a registrar in neurology at Queen Square, but within six months he became a consultant physician at St Thomas' Hospital, the National Hospital Queen Square, and also at Moorfields Eye Hospital where he remained until his retirement in 1993. Here he developed not just his clinical expertise in cerebrovascular disease, but also his research, and later neuro-ophthalmology as well. It seems extraordinary nowadays to think that people like Ralph Ross Russell were able to pursue an internationally recognised research career, and yet have no formal academic sessions, being a more or less full time NHS consultant. He made major contributions to our knowledge about stroke at a time when - apart from his colleagues John Marshall and Michael Harrison - there was almost no interest amongst UK neurologists in the subject. I think his most memorable papers were on how high blood pressure causes stroke, published in the Lancet, with Iain Wilkinson about the distribution of the pathology of giant cell arteritis, with the cerebral blood flow team at Queen Square where it was his idea to look at cerebral blood flow in polycythaemia, and his several contributions on transient monocular blindness, and low blood flow to the retina.

Ralph has always been a great supporter of the ABN, and of course he served as President before his retirement. He has now moved back to his native Scotland where he can be closer to golf, family and farming, and it is a great pleasure to have him occasionally join our neurological meetings in Edinburgh. So on behalf of us all Ralph, I would like to ask you to present your talk "My life with the carotid artery".

CP Warlow 7 April 2000

1999 John Newsom-Davis

In recent years the Association of British Neurologists has awarded the ABN Medal to members of the Association who are considered to have made an outstanding contribution in Clinical Neurology either in Research, Teaching or Clinical Practice. This year Council of the ABN has decided to award the ABN Medal to Professor John Newsom-Davis who has made just such an outstanding contribution under all three headings. He has had a most distinguished career as a Clinical Neurologist and has made a major research contribution. He is also a most able teacher of the subject and I am reminded of the occasion after a lecture which he gave to the Australian Association of Neurologists. The President of that Association remarked to me after hearing John's lecture "that was the best lecture in Clinical Neurology I have ever heard - real Bonzer!" John was a late starter. He began his medical training only after National Service and he qualified significantly later than his contemporaries. He trained in Queen Square and then worked with Fred Plum in New York and with Tom Sears at the National. He has been Consultant Neurologist at the Royal Free, the National Hospital Queen Square, and of course Professor of Clinical Neurology at Oxford since 1987. He has given generously of his time and skills to the MRC, the RCP, the Muscular Dystrophy Group, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and not least to the Association of British Neurologists where he was Honorary Secretary from 1981-84 and now its President. His publications, his books and journals are legion; he is of course the present Editor of Brain. I spoke earlier of awards and honours. John Newsom-Davis was awarded the Queen Square Prize in Neurology, the RCP Jean Hunter Prize, the RCP Moxon Medal; he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991 and awarded the CBE in 1996. It is a privilege as well as a great pleasure to be able to give you the medal for the Association for 1999.

R Godwin-Austen 25 March 1999

1998 William Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald is held in the highest regard as a clinician, as a clinical neuroscientist and as an ambassador for British neurology. His early training was in New Zealand, where he obtained his PhD at the University of Otago for a seminal study of experimental demyelination, a research field that has been the focus of his interest throughout his career. He came to Queen Square as a House Physician in 1963, being appointed to the Consultant staff in 1966 and as Professor of Clinical Neurology in 1974, a career that might serve as a model - however unattainable - for all aspiring neurologists. Ian McDonald has shown a remarkable ability to remain at the forefront of multiple sclerosis research for more than two decades, leading a highly productive group and training a succession of fellows. His exceptional achievements rest in particular on his special insight into pathophysiological processes, on his ability to exploit new technical developments and on the care with which his research is executed. It is no wonder that he has for so long been the leading British researcher internationally in this highly competitive field. His contributions to neurology have not been in research alone, as this Association knows. He was our President from 1995 to 1997, President of the European Neurological Society from 1994 to 1995, and is President-Elect of the World Congress in 2001. He was appointed Editor of Brain in 1991, serving until last year and overseeing a steady rise in the Journal's impact factor. His recent appointment as Harveian Librarian at the Royal College of Physicians is a mark of his wide cultural interests that embrace music in particular. This Association, in awarding you its Medal for 1998, does so with admiration and with gratitude for your egregious service to clinical neurology.

1997 Peter Kynaston Thomas

Professor PK Thomas, a past President of the Association of British Neurologists, has made outstanding contributions to neurology, as investigator, clinician, author, educator, and editor. "PK", as he is universally and affectionately known, trained with JZ Young in the Anatomy Department at University College. After working at the Middlesex, the National, and Montreal General hospitals, he was appointed consultant at the Royal Free Hospital in 1962, and soon afterwards at the National and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospitals. In 1974 he became Professor of Neurology at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and the Institute of Neurology. His research output has continued unchecked following the conferment of his emeritus title in 1991. His formidable publication record includes, so far, 211 original articles, 61 review articles, 100 book chapters and 13 books. He pioneered the study of cutaneous nerve biopsy and illuminated many aspects of peripheral nerve structure and function. His research has improved our understanding and management of nerve injury and inherited, metabolic and inflammatory neuropathies. His publications are models of scholarship, written with the meticulous care which he generously shares with authors who submit articles to the books and journals which he edits. PK has already earned the respect of the international neurological community and been honoured by his country as Commander of the British Empire. Last year the Association of British Neurologists took solace from awarding one of its first medals to PK's greatly loved wife, Anita Harding. This year the Association is proud to award its Medal to PK himself, in admiration of his science, his scholarship, his unflagging energy and his unfailing fortitude.

RAC Hughes 4 April 1997

1996 Christopher Joseph Earl

Christopher Earl is an outstanding presence in our profession. His early clinical training at Guy's Hospital and Queen Square, and especially the influence of Sir Charles Symonds, nurtured his natural talent as a physician. From his laboratory training with Robert Thompson at Guy's and in particular with Derek Denny-Brown at Harvard, he developed a lasting concern with the mechanisms of disorder and disease in the nervous system. He has, as all those who have seen him at work know, a remarkable memory for the individual case, the salient features of which he can summon up to illuminate the specific problem at hand. To witness him dissecting a history, incorporating the relevant clinical and investigative findings while discarding with a sure instinct the unhelpful, is an example which has influenced students of neurology of all ages over the past four decades. For the patient, his warm concern as he communicates - ever clearly - the results of his objective assessment and advises on management informed by all aspects of the patient's circumstances, is deeply reassuring, and has earned him a wide reputation. Christopher Earl's skills as a physician, his wisdom, his manifest enthusiasm for clinical medicine, and his personal integrity have determined the influential roles he has played in the hospitals with which he has been associated including the Royal London, the Middlesex and the National Hospital, Queen Square; as advisor or consultant to a number of Government agencies and the Air Force; in the Royal Society of Medicine as President of the Section of Neurology; in the Royal College of Physicians as Censor; and in our own Association as Secretary and President. We owe him much and this we symbolise in the award of the ABN Medal.

WI McDonald 12 April 1996

1996 Anita Harding

Anita Harding's clinical wisdom, enthusiasm, talent for research, and extraordinary personality epitomise all that we value most in a clinical scientist. Anita was an ambassador for British neurology, who patrolled the far corners of a still significant empire which had its roots at Queen Square where she worked and was happy. The evidence for her scientific achievement is in the writings; the style is in our memories. Each will endure.  

The rise in Anita’s career - a readership and honorary consultancy in neurology at the National in 1987, a personal professorship in the University of London in the 1990, and chairmanship of neurology at the Institute in 1995 – was meteoric. She served the editorial boards of eleven journals and eighteen research panels, was a frequent member of the teaching faculty at international meetings and held visiting professorships in the United Kingdom, Europe, North America and Australia.  

From amongst the Aladdin’s cave of Anita’s scientific achievements can be singled out her classifications of the peripheral neuropathies and hereditary ataxias, and genotype-phenotype correlations for each, the first identification of a mitochondrial DNA mutation in human disease, the spectrum of trinucleotide repeats in neurodegeneration, and the population genetics of disorders which show ethnic or geographic restriction.

For her manifest achievements, and for our comfort in her absence, I commend Anita Harding to you as the Associations as (joint) first medallist for distinguished contributions to neurology.

 DAS Compston, 11 April 1996 

The ABN Medal is awarded annually to recognise outstanding contributions by British and Irish neurologists to the science or practice of neurology, or for contributions to the Association.

Winner of 2018 Christopher Kennard


Registration is now open for the ABN Acute Neurology Boot Camp - 8th July 2019

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Registration is now open for the ABN Acute Neurology Boot Camp - 8th July 2019

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