By Prof Tissa Wijeratne, from COEX, Seoul, Korea

Around 1700 delegates from gathered from east and west: South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippine, Indonesia, Sweden, Pakistan, Honduras, Denmark, UK, Germany, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, Canada, Laos, Myanmar, and Nepal.

Delegates were treated with back-to-back world-class plenary lectures with Professor Beomseok Jeon, President of Asian and Oceanian Association of Neurology, Professor William Carroll, World Federation of Neurology President, and Professor Raad Shakir, immediate past WFN President, kicking off day two proceedings at the 16th AOCN (Asian Oceanian Congress of Neurology) and 7th Asian Regional Conference for Headache (ARCH), at the COEX centre, Seoul, South Korea on 9th November 2018.

Professor Jeon delivered a timely plenary on ethics and economics of diagnostic tests taking the audience through a case-based journey. He reminded the audience that as physicians it is our professional responsibility to ensure that each test we request is not only completely necessary but also ethical and cost-effective.

Professor William Carroll addressed the delegates on ethics and economics of high prize treatment in healthcare with a particular emphasis on neurology, taking a number of examples from therapeutics in multiple sclerosis, to a receptive and engaged audience. The topic is fundamental to the WFN's mission – to foster quality neurology and brain health worldwide.  The price of newly developed drug therapies is a major barrier to the treatment of neurological disorders. The high price barrier presents ethical and economic concerns for both new and old established therapies.

Professor Carroll reminded the audience of essential drug policy – a term coined by the late Professor Senaka Bibile, Sri Lankan physician and pharmacologist, who transformed Sri Lanka’s comprehensive pharmaceutical policy and universal health care in the 1970s.

The final complementary plenary on ethics and economics of "How far do we go?" was presented by Professor Raad Shakir.

"The spectrum of Neurology is continuously changing; We are able to deal with neurological disorders in a much more precise manner that has led to sub-specialisation within neurology. However, this creates a problem in the setting of limited resources. It is only possible to advance and propagate knowledge if those practising in the high-income countries impart their experiences to low to middle-income countries.  Such is the critically important role of regional and all international organizations like the Asian and Oceanian Association of Neurology (AOAN) and the World Federation of Neurology (WFN).  The rising healthcare costs are causing healthcare to become increasingly less affordable for low to middle-income countries and resulting in an equity issue. This raises many ethical issues that need to be addressed as a priority", said Professor Shakir.

Parallel sessions included Stroke, movement disorders, demyelinating disorders, and a large number of home-grown research presentations covering an assortment of neurological disorders with a lot of promise for the future.

The Asian-Oceanian neuroscience research was showcased with over 1100 abstracts (oral and poster). The enthusiasm was visible throughout the poster sessions with active participation between authors and delegates.