Much like the streets of San Francisco, Alcratraz Island, and Fisherman's Wharf, NASS brought with it many sights of its own. The experience of stepping onto the conference floor for the first time was similar to that of entering Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, if over 4,000 golden tickets were printed and formal attire was mandatory. With thousands of colorful screws, cages, and all sorts of spinal instruments arranged in sparkling glass boxes (and frozen in ice in one case), it was quite the display. Jumping booth to booth, I explored each device with a keen eye, fascinated with how aesthetically pleasing these devices could be. Then it hit me. This show was similar to something I had seen on the Discovery Channel a few months back...the show that a peacock puts on when attempting to mate, flaunting the colors of its tail to entice its target. While there is nothing wrong with this practice, it seemed to me that these colorful booths and devices took away from the most important benchmarks for these products, namely, device functionality and safety. On the marketing end, I applaud the companies involved for recognizing the demand for aesthetically pleasing devices, but my hope is that color does not play a significant role in device preference for doctors.
 
Conference floor aside, the lectures at NASS this year were very helpful in understanding the doctor's perspective when evaluating patients, making decisions pertaining to device choice, and using various products for different indications. The most interesting of all lectures in my opinion, however, was that of Craig Venter, the man responsible for sequencing the human genome. As one of the leading scientists in the world, Dr. Venter has dedicated his life to furthering our understanding of genetics. His lecture on the current state of genetics at NASS was riveting, and seeing what the future holds for this field was deeply interesting, and almost a little frightening!
 
Overall, this conference was quite the spectacle, with a large attendance, great shows put on by industry, some mind-blowing lectures, and an abundance of sugar-filled danishes and coffee by the front doors. Needless to say, this was an amazing experience for me, and I look forward to seeing what NASS 2015 holds!

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