I am just back from the congress of the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Madrid (http://www.escap2015.com/). What a refreshing experience. I had great company of two colleagues from Helsinki. Madrid is a great city with lots of interesting attractions, the weather was perfect (particularly after the very cold summer we have in Finland so far) – and the congress programme was so god that it won over the attractions of sunny Madrid. I attended almost all lectures available, and with great pleasure.
The programme had a strong emphasis on neurodevelopmental aspects of emotional and behavioural disorders in childhood and adolescence. On the other hand, trauma discussion was really not there. Particulary autism was largely discussed, but neurodevelopmental aspect was emphasized regarding practically any disorder. In my department, we became aware of the need to learn more about and provide services for autism spectrum disorders in early 2000’s. At that time, ADHD was not separately diagnosed in the context of autism: ADHD symptoms were considered a part of autism itself. Later we have all been careful to set both the diagnose of autism and ADHD when both types of symptoms are present over diagnostic threshold. Now in ESCAP, professor Jan Buitelaar’s (excellent) keynote lecture focused on weighing whether or not ADHD and autism are actually different manifestations of same disorder.
In names of the EFCAP, I and my colleagues from Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK arranged 2 symposia on adolescent forensic research in Europe. The EFCAP symposia attracted a lively audience. It was a pity not to allow all discussion that was emerging, but the time limits were strict! I particularly want to pay attention to the presentation of professor Chis van Nieuwenhuizen (NL) on her research group’s work on whether neurofeedback is an effective treatment for ADHD. Unfortunately, they showed that neurofeedback did not bring additional value to treatment as usual in managing ADHD and behavioural symptoms in adolescents (link!). It is usually very difficult to publish research revealing that the new intervention is not better than the old or the treatment as usual (how boring: treatment as usual, the TAU… who wants to deliver this TAU?… don’t we all want to be the real experts delivering real expert interventions, not any TAUs?), or that the newly thought risk factor does not make a difference, or that the theory created with great enthusiasm does not work in reality. This is a well known bias. However, it is of outmost importance for those working in the field to hear the critical news before uncritically investing resources and adopting a new method. And if the critical news inspire more research, the better. The EFCAP will arrange its 5th international congress in May 2016 in Porto, Portugal. Keep following www.efcap.org !
I must admit that I chose the EFCAP congress partly due to the meeting being held in Madrid. There was a competing option of attending another very interesting meeting in much more rainy place at the same time… Despite that the congress programme exceeded my expectations and really required full-time attention, I managed to discover the city quite a lot in the evenings. I don’t know what to think about the fact that the vivid plaza Puerta del Sol is now called Vodafone Sol. And in Madrid metro there circulate lines like ‘Linea 1’, ‘Linea 5’, ‘Linea 7’ and ‘Linea 2 Vodafone’. I and my colleagues nevertheless adapted and returned several times to relax on Vodafone place. We were also lucky to find out way to a fascinating, emotional, passionate flamenco show in Tablao Flamenco Las Tablas I really recommend! And I owe thanks to Tampereen flamencoyhdistys for tipping me about this tablao.