Joint ANS/BSCN National Audit Meeting

Thursday 7 February 2019 at the IET, Birmingham.

Registration information: the 2018 Audits page.

Professor Graham HardingGraham Frederick Anthony Harding 1937-2018
DSc, PhD, BSc, Hon FRCP, FBPsS, CPsychol

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Graham Harding who died peacefully on October 20th 2018.

Graham graduated in Psychology from University College, London in 1961 and then obtained a PhD in EEG and Psychiatry from Birmingham University. Graham studied with Grey Walter at the Burden Neurological Institute in Bristol and learned the secrets of EEG interpretation from “Pep” Pampiglione at Hospital for Sick Children Great Ormond Street in London

On his move to Birmingham, he created the Clinical Neurophysiology Unit at Aston University in 1963 and was head of that Unit until his retirement in 2002.

Peter Jeavons was the first Clinical Neurophysiologist in Birmingham, and when Graham arrived there, they developed a friendship and comradeship which lasted over 35 years. Graham and Peter shared an interest in photosensitive epilepsy, a subject on which they published two books (Harding & Jeavons 1994) and many papers. Together, they carried out the largest study of a photosensitive population in the world.

In December 1997 an episode of the cartoon, Pokémon, was transmitted on Japanese television. It included a short burst of alternating blue and red light which triggered a form of flicker sensitive epilepsy and 560 children were admitted to hospital. Graham was contacted by the Japanese Government and helped draft guidelines for the Japanese public broadcasting corporation. He had been one of first to recognise the dangers of such inappropriate broadcasts on television and in video games and had drafted the original UK guidelines.

Graham first studied the Visual Evoked Potentials in photosensitive patients, but with links to the Birmingham Midland Eye Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, many studies followed characterising the value and application of evoked potentials to the study of visual disorders and neurodevelopment. These included the prediction of ocular surgical outcome, the study of optic atrophies, the effect of multiple sclerosis, and the application of VEP’s during orbital surgery. Latterly, these included seminal studies of flash and pattern VEP in Alzheimers Disease and in characterizing the effects on vision of the anti-convulsant Vigabatrin

I sometimes wonder whether part of Graham’s motivation and sense of enjoyment came from setting his co-workers technical challenges to overcome; that was certainly the case with me. These included recording flash VEP’s during orbital surgery and recording flash ERG’s and pattern reversal VEP’s on premature babies, in incubators in the Special Care Baby Unit at Dudley Road Hospital.

Graham had a keen intuition and vision for the direction that research needed to travel. This was exemplified by his commitment to developing Magnetoencephalography. He invested in a single channel MEG system in 1988, and in 1992, through his collaboration with the Institute of Physics in Moscow, Graham secured the first multi-channel MEG system to be used in the UK. In 2000, Graham led a successful Wellcome Trust bid to secure UK’s first whole-head MEG system.

There was something of the showman in Graham too. The Royal Society of Biology invited Graham to give the annual Charter Lecture at Aston. Graham would never miss the opportunity for a live demonstration. To this end we linked a live audio-visual feed from the CNU MEG Lab to the University Great Hall and gave an interactive demonstration of MEG. Graham entered the stage to the Great Hall which was flooded with dry ice fog, complete with music and cape. He entitled his talk ‘Mystic MEG’. He loved it…. And so did the audience.

Graham’s role of honour is extensive and impressive.
He was the first Professor of Clinical Neurophysiology in the UK, received a DSc from the University of Aston, was President of the British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology, Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Chartered Psychologist and Secretary of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology.

In 1998, he was awarded an Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Physicians and latterly an Honorary Fellowship for outstanding contributions to medicine and was winner of the highest honour from the BSCN, the Grey Walter medal.

He graduated more than 40 PhD and MD students, and published more than 350 articles in the fields of electroencephalography, visual evoked potentials and Magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Perhaps Grahams true legacy is the inspiration and support he gave to a generation of scientists. A keen supporter of EPTA and ANS, he ensured that Clinical Scientists had a voice on BSCN Council during his tenure as BSCN President.

He was particularly proud of his Honorary MRCP, then FRCP, a remarkable achievement for a non-medical man. He was an inspiration for all of us as scientists working in clinical medicine.

He is survived by daughters Cathy and Laura, and son, Anthony, in whom Graham had shown when he was a new born, that colour vision in neonates is not switched on until around 6 weeks after birth.

On a final and personal note, Graham was a gentle and humorous man with a sharp intellect and generous spirit. He enthused his colleagues with a sense of the possible. He often quoted his mentor Grey Walter to me ‘Keep your band pass filters open and trust your instincts’. This advice served him, and those who benefitted from his mentorship well.

All who work in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology owe much to Graham’s dedication, hard work and vision. I know that I certainly do.

Paul Furlong


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On the day briefing: Developing the long term plan for the NHS

Information that will likely be of interest for department managers and budding managers.

View the NHS Providers website.

Applications for CSci to pause from 31/08/2018

Important for those who are in the process of applying for CSci

ANS have recently undertaken a Science Council Licence Body Review to offer Chartered Scientist (CSci) to our membership. Although the review went well, there is one action we need to undertake so that we can retain our licence body status.  The Science Council have asked for the application process to only consider the Chartered Scientist competencies. Currently the application process is via RCCP, where members can apply for both CSci and RCCP M-level – this is because the application process
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Over the next month, ANS will be working closely with the Science Council in order to produce an application process for Chartered Scientist status which considers CSci competencies only. We cannot envisage that this will be in place by 31st August, but we would like to emphasise that this is just a short pause in the application process for CSci. As soon as we have more information regarding the new process, we will let you know.

Joanne Horrocks
ANS membership Sec

Kelly St.Pier
ANS CSci Rep

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