|Sunrise over the Gulf of Aqaba (I took this picture)|
It's already been two days of conferencing, and I plan to mainly write some follow up posts when I get back. But I will just briefly mention the "Lifetime Member" lecture that was given on the first evening of the conference.
|Mahlon Delong (source)|
I've written before about deep brain stimulation (DBS) as a treatment for Parkinson's Disease, and DeLong has done some fascinating work that has lead up to DBS in the subthalamic nucleus (STN).
One particular treat was to see a video during the talk of the very first attempt at alleviating Parkinson's symptoms through a subthalamotomy, the lesion of the subthalamic nucleus.
A Parkinson's Disease monkey was given the subthalamotomy on only one side of the brain and the video shows Mahlon DeLong interacting with the monkey and noting that it's treated side is less stiff than the untreated side. A second video shows the monkey later able to move its arm with no problems.
It was exciting to see this sort of 'moment of discovery' from 1989. There were no cries of "Eureka!" or anything it was more of a 'hm, interesting' tone. You actually hear his post-doc on the video saying
(paraphrasing from memory) "the right side has better tone, at least Mahlon thinks so" and then start laughing.
One other cool thing about Dr. DeLong is that he is Muhammad Ali's physician.