Huntington´s disease Days Congress

An international conference titled Huntington´s disease Days took part in Zvolen, Slovakia, on 26 and 27th May 2023. This in-person conference was organized by Agel Hospital Zvolen, Parkinsonism and Movement Disorders Treatment Center in Zvolen, and Slovak patient organization Spoločnosť pre pomoc pri Huntingtonovej chorobe. It was dedicated for various medical professionals and patients with Huntington´s disease with their relatives or caregivers.

            In total, 12 lectures were presented. After the short introduction speech of the organizers and the mayor of the town Zvolen, the first three presenters spoke about the infrastructure of Huntington´s disease in Slovakia and abroad (Ján Necpál, Zvolen, Slovakia), Huntington´s disease itself and genetics (Katarína Hubčíková, Pezinok, Slovakia), and premanifest and early Huntington´s disease (Matej Škorvánek, Košice, Slovakia). The second part started with two beautiful lectures by the professor Jan Roth (Prague, Czech Republic) focusing on predictive testing and juvenile Huntington´s disease. On the end of the day, Michal Patarák, PhD, a psychiatrist from Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, spoke about the historical moments related to George Huntington and provided to the audience his deep reflection on insanity and the need for destigmatisation of the disease.

            The morning part of the second day included lectures about the pharmacotherapy of movement disorders associated with Huntington´s disease (Pavel Ressner, Brno, Czech Republic), psychiatric abnormalities ant their treatment (professor Ustohal, Brno, Czech Republic), and finally new perspectives in the treatment of Huntington´s disease by Alžbeta Műhlbäck (Taufkirchen, Germany). Her lecture summarized all genetic treatment efforts to date and gave the hopes in the feature. Many participants considered this lecture as a highlight of the symposium. She also launched the movement disease center in Zvolen as a new member in the EHDN (European Huntington´s Disease Network). The last part aimed to be helpful mainly for the patients and their families. All three presenters come from the Zvolen center and focused on psychological help towards the family (Zuzana Brežná), speech and swallowing interventions in Huntington´s disease (Zuzana Mašlejová), and social issues in Huntington´s disease (Viera Bebjaková). Their provided a lot of practical tips and tricks how to overcome many of these aspects of the disease. After the lunch, a multidisciplinary HD team specialists and patients with their family members joined together the round table to discuss a many individual problems in a more unofficial way.

            More than 120 participants from four countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine), and more than 20 cities attended the conference. The spectrum of the audience include neurologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychiatrists, genetics, psychologists, speech and language therapists, social workers and many nurses from different specializations. The event attracted a lot of media (TV, radio) attention and was finished with great success.

Ján Necpál, MD

26-27th May 2023, Zvolen, Slovakia