Editor's letter

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

Trauma results in death for more than 5 million people worldwide annually.  Although natural disasters are the most common form of trauma death in low income countries, for the rest of the world road traffic accidents, falls, drownings and other potentially avoidable types of trauma are by far the most common etiologies for trauma death.  In the United States, trauma accounts for roughly half of all deaths in people less than 46 years of age, with a cost to the country of roughly $700 billion annually.

Perhaps less obvious is the cost of other forms of trauma, e.g. sports concussion injuries and workplace injuries (resulting in spinal disorders in particular).  We should not forget the importance of developing protective devices and clothes, and programs and policies to minimize the risk of repetitive stress and other avoidable injuries.

Three programs addressing trauma prevention are presented in this edition of the Newsletter: 

The first, ThinkFirst, is notable for being the most comprehensive and diverse program – both in terms of age of the population served (from elementary school through adult) and location (across the US and in 18 other countries). 

Pense Bem (“Think Well”) in Brazil is notable for extensive partnering between public/government and private institutions – resulting in impressive penetration into the public school system in Brazil.

The trauma prevention program in Peshawar (Pakistan) is notable for the diversity of techniques for raising public awareness of trauma prevention and its bringing together so many aspects of the local society to address trauma prevention.

There are no doubt other programs equally creative to address trauma prevention.  This issue of the Newsletter is intended to spark discussion of trauma prevention, and foster exchange of ideas on how to minimize the cost (both economical and emotional).  There are so many disorders of the nervous system for neurosurgeons to address that we should dedicate ourselves to minimizing neurotrauma.  Let’s not forget that every person who avoids a traumatic injury is still subject to all the other – non-preventable - nervous system disorders that we may be able to treat.

Also in this Newsletter are reports on five recent WFNS-sponsored courses and conferences:

- International Consensus Meeting on the Role of Decompressive Craniectomy in the Management of Traumatic Brain Injury, Cambridge, UK, 28-29 September 2017

- International Symposium on Spine Surgery and Neuro-oncology, Pereira, Colombia 23-25 November 2017

- Intraoperative Neurophysiology in Neurosurgery Symposium, Verona, Italy 14-16 December 2017

- Live Surgery Seminar, Hanoi, Vietnam, 15-17 December 2017

- Pain and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan, 15-17 December 2017

Please keep the WFNS Central Office and the Newsletter Editor up to date with reports of WFNS-sponsored courses and conferences.  Reports should be brief (a page or so maximum text, and one photo if desired).  As always, your suggestions on how the Newsletter can be improved are welcome!

Russell Andrews

August 2022