Light Minutes of the 13th Symposium of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum which was held in Konstanz, West Germany in late July, 1980
GEOFFREY B. WEST
Amid glorious surroundings of the old German Town of Konstanz, the meeting in Germany opened alongside Lake Konstanz in a converted 12th Century Monastery. Fancy monks talking about "Cellular Interactions in Allergy"!
After a highly successful welcome reception on the terrace and in the cloisters on Sunday, July 27th, 1980, the meeting got under way on Monday at 9:00 A.M. with a brief introduction of the "Regulation of the IgE response" by - Vice-President Ishizaka. Then came the Fifth Carl Pansmitz Memorial Lecture presented by Zoltan Ovary, entitled "IgE production and suppression in mice". This was well presented verbally but not visually - only a teething problem, really, for the organisation of the meeting was first-class. The weather was good too, the views over Lake Konstanz being superb, but the mosquitoes - more about them later! After much talk about "Regulation of IgE responses", the coffee break came - and we all had to pay 2 DM per cup. Later this was changed to being free - but not until the organizers had said that they have no knowledge whatsoever about coffee costs!
Then came member Sehon’s presentation which contained such comments as:
After a real German lunch, we continued regulating the IgE response. I recall the secretary once saying "I cannot neither see you nor hear you" to a guy talking from behind a pillar. How many negatives did he really use?
And so to Monday evening which was free except for the General Business Meeting of the C.I.A. when we discussed "Finance, New Members and Future Events". That evening, some of us found that beer cost 4 DM inside but only 3 DM outside if you put up with the mosquitoes!
I liked Tuesday on "Delayed Type Hypersensitivity", for here were heard 44 times the phrase "As we can see" (22 from 1 author alone) and several "We think it is a reasonable dose". Just before coffee - now free, at last member Goodman, starting off on his talk, was able to tell us "I’ve just been handed a note to say that my time is up. So I will just have time to thank the organizers for inviting me here before I show a few slides". After coffee, the only point of interest, to me at any rate, was the fact that member Askenase found histamine to activate suppressor cells in mice - but he used 10-3 M histamine, a concentration which certainly makes the gastric mucosa cells stand on end.
Tuesday afternoon was set aside as a poster workshop on "Mediators of Allergic Reactions". I cannot recall too much excitement here, except when member Pepys was incorrectly quoted by someone and he immediately shouted "You’ve quoted me wrongly and my guinea-pigs were all men". Another member was heard to say "I haven’t the foggiest idea which of the 50 types of cells are involved in the reactions in human lung".
Tuesday evening was the boat ride on the Bodensee to Meersburg to hear the world-famous Knabenmusik in the Schloß. We set out in sunshine but 20 minutes later a thunderstorm hit us when we were nearly there. The heavens opened and we all got wet whilst disembarking - all except the six who refused and stayed on the boat in the dry. These six subsequently returned to Konstanz without the concert (which was first class). A fine meal in the castle followed and we returned home about 11.
On Wednesday, we had parallel sessions -"Clinical Evaluation and Standardization of Allergens". I could not be in both places at once - but I did hear that in the "Standardization" session one member showed a slide which had three heavy finger marks on it, and all he could say was "Disregard my fingers and concentrate on the data". In the other session, we all heard that adenoids are removed solely to give the pharmacologist the mast cells to play with. Not only that! The state of the MOON made a difference to the reactivity of these human mast cells. This all arose from member Schmutzler saying that his mast cells were better when the adenoids were removed at - night - yes, even at midnight when the surgeon was on double pay! You could even study diurnal variation in histamine release using these cells.
The ladies programme was well organised by Mrs. de Weck and on Wednesday it consisted of a guided tour of Konstanz. Four male members accompanied them and the highlight was the walk to the top of the cathedral tower. It was a highlight because you paid nothing at the bottom and ascended 400 steps to pay at the top and of course receive a ticket to say you’d climbed the tower.
The boatride on the Bodensee on Wednesday afternoon was superb. We even had a guide speaking from the bridge of the boat. This was of course Mrs. de Weck who told us all about the Mainau Island and the castle, now the property of Princess Bernadette of Sweden. It was a glorious leisurely trip and we all enjoyed the sunshine and the gardens. Home again and so to the CIA dinner in the banqueting hall in the evening. This started with drinks out in the open, marred only by the mosquitoes which really bit you. I recall one lady being bitten on the chest and crying out for help - she wanted some ointment and someone to rub it on. Needless to say, CIA members by the dozen offered help to rub it on . Needless to say, CIA members by the dozen offered help to rub it on but they had no ointment. The buffet followed - and a whole host of food was available. New members were introduced -we had the minutes of the New Orleans meeting - and we had dancing. All in all, a great evening.
Thursday morning was exciting - "What’s new in Allergy?" Leukotrienes was tops to begin with and we heard all about LTA 4, LTB4, LTC4 and LTD4. Then on to developments in the "Anaphylatoxin" field. After coffee (free again), PAF was on the menu but conflict arose between USA and France which did not end very comfortably. The two parties were still arguing when time ran out.
What a meeting? Everyone said it was superb and thanks go to members de Weck, Dukor and Rother for arranging such an event.