Winter 2014 (Volume 24, Number 4)

The Laurentian Conference of Rheumatology Turned 45 in 2014!

By Carol Yeadon, MD, FRCPC

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It started off as a group of guys getting together in Montreal to discuss what was new, interesting, or challenging about rheumatic diseases. From the outset, it was a forum for the shared interests of these French- and English-speaking physicians, surgeons, and basic scientists. In addition to getting away from the hospital, office, or lab, they chose a venue that allowed breathing mountain air between sessions of serious talk. Finally, with pharmaceutical industry support, they invited some star guest speakers.


Dr. Jean-Pierre Pelletier presenting the first
Marie-Thérèse Fortin award in 1994 to Dr. Edith
Verrier-Jones in recognition of her professional
and humanistic qualities in the care of patients with
rheumatic diseases.

Thus, the Laurentian Conference of Rheumatology was born! Dr. Roger Demers of Montreal’s Hôtel-Dieu hospital was the tenacious captain of the enterprise through the ‘70s and ‘80s, ensuring an appealing, top quality meeting.


Dr. and Mrs. Donato Alarcon-Segovia flanked by Thérèse Haraoui and
Dr. Carol Yeadon at Montebello, 2001.

The 45th edition maintained these goals, emphasizing immunological topics and recent controversies in osteoporosis prevention and management. All investigators (trainees and staff) gave excellent oral and poster presentations, covering a wide range of topics pertinent to rheumatology. Our invited guest speakers were outstanding! Dr. John Stone of Boston brought his unique know-ledge and expertise on IgG4-related disease to his talk on “Vasculitis: Pearls and Myths”. Dr. Jack Karsh and Dr. William Rigby from Dartmouth (his third Conference, almost an honorary Canadian!) reminded us of their encyclopaedic knowledge with their coverage of acquired immune deficiencies.


Dr. Pelletier presenting the first Roger Demers award
to Dr. Duncan Gordon in 1998 in recognition for his
contribution to the international rheumatology community.

Dr. Emil Nashi, a colleague from our own Montreal General Hospital and Dr. Michael Walsh, a nephrologist from McMaster, helped us understand and use immunoglobulin manipulation, focusing on how “we giveth and we taketh away” as we use therapeutic IV Ig and plasmapheresis in many clinical situations. We are now more sophisticated in their uses. Finally, Dr. Suzanne Morin and Dr. Sophie Roux, from Montreal and Sherbrooke respectively, brought enlightening answers to the topical questions “calcium, good for the bones, bad for the heart?” and “is too much anti-resorptive therapy dangerous?”.


The gang attending the 1999 Conference at La Sapinière.

As the accompanying photos to this article remind us of great Conferences past, it is time to plan next year’s Conference and to look ahead to our golden anniversary landmark in 2019!

Carol Yeadon, MD, FRCPC
Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM),
Nôtre-Dame Hospital
Associate Professor,
Université de Montréal
Montreal, Quebec

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