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Educational Programs

2017 Annual Oration

Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion, and American Football
Friday, December 1, 2017
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The 2017 Annual Oration will focus on traumatic brain injury and concussions, and how the findings of the Football Players Health Study (FPHS) at Harvard University, the largest and most comprehensive study of living former professional football players, with more than 3,700 participants to date shed important insights into this broad public health issue.  The FPHS is not ‘another concussion study’. The overarching aim of the FPHS is to advance our understanding of the complex and inter-related biological pathways that underlie the development of player-related illnesses and disability.  The study focuses on lifelong health outcomes and risk of disability, including neurological and psychiatric issues, e.g. traumatic brain injury, mental illness, or cognitive and memory loss; as well as joint and musculoskeletal injuries, pain and inflammation. Preliminary findings indicate some players have significant lifelong health problems and disabilities, others have none. Some of these health problems and disabilities are associated with the exposure to football, but others are not or only minimally. The significance of the FPHS will extend well beyond football or even contact sports. As we gain greater understanding of the health impacts of former and current American football players we may consider how the results may benefit present and future athletes, patients with TBIs and concussions of all ages and their families.  

History of the Oration:

The MMS Annual Oration dates back to 1804 when Dr. Isaac Rand delivered his dissertation entitled, On Phthisis Pulmonalis, and the Use of the Warm Bath.  For more than 200 years, MMS orators have addressed a wide spectrum of topics germane to the evolving practice of medicine.


About the Orator:

Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhDAlvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD

Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, is Professor of Neurology and Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Harvard Medical School, Chief for the Division of Cognitive Neurology, Director, Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation before Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Director, Football Players Health Study at Harvard University

( Read full bio here)

Target Audience:  

Physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and medical educators who are interested in learning more about the diagnosis and treatment of TBIs/concussions.

Activity Objectives

As a result of participating in this activity, learners should be able to:

  • Define the basic science on types, frequency, and severity of TBIs/concussions;
  •  Identify populations at risk for TBIs/concussions and recognize associated symptoms;
  • Recognize consequences of mild TBIs/concussions and develop strategies to diagnose and treat effectively;
  • Describe the scope and goals of the Football Players Health Study (FPHS) at Harvard University and consider how it may benefit patients and their families.



Ethics Forum

CRISPR and the Ethics of Germline Manipulation
Friday, December 1, 2017
3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Presented by the Committee on Ethics, Grievances, and Professional Standards, the Ethics Forum alerts physicians to the ethical implications of issues that arise in daily practice and offers information on issues at the intersection of ethics, medicine, and professionalism. This year’s Ethics Forum will explore the CRISPR technology and the ethics of human germline manipulation.

About the Speaker:

M. William Lensch, PhDM. William Lensch, PhD is Chief of Staff for the Harvard Medical School.

( Read full bio here

Forum Description:

CRISPR is an experimental biomedical technique in which scientists are able to alter DNA, such as change the “misspellings” of a gene that contributes to mutations. The technology has the potential to reverse and eradicate congenital diseases if it can be used successfully on a developing fetus. In late July 2017, reports emerged that scientists in Oregon had used CRISPR to edit a human embryo. While research like this is already occurring in China and Great Britain, this is the first time scientists in the U.S. have edited an embryo. While of gene-editing tools like CRISPR have the potential to treat incurable diseases, the use of such tools raise serious ethical and scientific concerns (e.g. what if used to create "designer babies," or how do you deal work with a technology where mistakes in gene editing could be passed down from generation to generation?) As researchers are working to develop treatments for currently incurable genetic disorders using gene editing technologies, physicians need to consider the ethical implications of the technology as well as the potential risks and benefits to patients.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of participating in this activity, learners should be able to:

  • Describe how scientists are using CRISPR to modify the human genome
  • Discuss CRISPR's risks and potential benefits
  • Examine the ethical implications of gene editing
  • Discuss potential safeguards that could be put in place to protect against the ethical and medical risks of CRISPR  



Accreditation Statement:

The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement:  
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates each live activity for the number of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ listed below. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

  • 2017 Annual Oration (Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion, and American Football): 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit TM
  • Ethics Forum (CRISPR and the Ethics of Germline Manipulation): 2.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM

The above activities meet the criteria of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study.

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Hotel Reservations

A block of rooms is being held at the Westin Hotel, Waltham.  Click here to book your hotel room online before the MMS Hotel Deadline of Monday, October 30, 2017.

Save the Date for These Upcoming Meetings

  • 2018 Annual Meeting: April 26-28, 2018 at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston 

  • 2018 Interim Meeting: November 30 - December 1, 2018 at MMS Headquarters and the Westin Hotel, Waltham

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