President's Address

The American Association of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (ASSFN), serves as an affiliate joint section of the AANS and CNS and remains deeply involved in a variety of educational, organizational and advocacy activities, on behalf of North American functional neurosurgeons and our patients. It gives me enormous pride and pleasure to be the current president of the ASSFN.

The ASSFN is actively planning for the upcoming Biennial Meeting in 2018. The meeting will be held in Denver, June 3-6, under the guidance of our past-president, Aviva Abosch, MD, PhD, FAANS. There will be a stellar scientific program and many exciting presentations in our rapidlyevolving field.

Members of the ASSFN/Stereotactic & Functional Section continue to lead the way in promoting scientific and clinical research. Our field is uniquely poised for continued growth with the increased interest in neuromodulation. In particular, there are ongoing advances in increasing the number of viable indications. For example, there is work being performed to enhance memory and to treat a broad range of neuropsychiatric indications, such as major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and others. In addition, there is a great deal of active work on the next generation of neuromodulatory devices. Among the areas being actively studied are much higher numbers of electrodes, closed-loop stimulation and increased miniaturization.

In addition, there is new excitement in the field as private entrepreneurs are increasingly interested in developing brain-machine interfaces. The injection of significant new funds into the field presents both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, there is the potential for significant new advances. On the other hand, we have to be thoughtful, both individually and collectively, in ensuring that any new neuro-modulatory approaches meet the highest scientific, moral and ethical standards. As neurosurgeons, we are the gate-keepers to the brain. As such, we have a special responsibility to guard that most sacred aspect of humanity, our minds, with all that entails.

This is a conversation that will be ongoing for many years, but I would urge the members to start thinking about the possibility of more viable, high bandwidth, brain-machine interfaces and the individual and societal implications of such devices. It will be important to have a coherent set of guiding principles going forward. Otherwise, we risk being overtaken by the technology, without a clear scientific, medical or societal mandate.

I look forward to seeing you all at the upcoming meetings.

Sincerely yours,

Emad N. Eskandar, MD, MBA, FAANS

President, ASSFN