June 26, 2006

Sleep 2006 part one

Unlike the other conferences I attend on behalf of the ASAA, the Sleep meeting has the most content on sleep apnea. I am likely to be overwhelmed by trying to recount every detail of the meeting affecting my topic of interest... witness my earlier post.

The science is important, very important, but for me so are the people. The sleep field is filled with charactors, some of whom I have mentioned in this journal.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to become friends withDr. William C. Dement. He is considered by some to be the father of sleep medicine. I am not certain about that claim, but what I do know for certain is that he has for many years been the most vocal person around about the importance of sleep and sleep research. If he is speaking and there is a way for me to get there I go to listen to him. This time he was providing the keynote address to Sleep Research Society trainee day. Bill was relating experiences from the early days of his sleep research. In his powerpoint presentation he included pictures of himself with a narcoleptic dog (included here). The photographer doing a story about the research Dr. Dement was doing with these special dogs, wanted Bill to hold the dog until it had a bout of cataplesy and went limp. Bill related that holding the dog in sun made it a whole lot longer to happen. Everyone got a good laugh.

The Sleep meeting also afford me the chance to with a group, last year only two, physicians, surgeons actually who also attend the meeting. Dr. Edward Weaver and Dr. Tucker Woodson are Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons who are very interested in sleep medicine. They offer a very different perspective from what hears the pulmonologists - who make up a large portion of the sleep physician community.

Ed, Tucker and I had pizza and beer on Sunday with a couple of other ENTs and Dave Hargett (the ASAA board chair). To hear them tell it... they have a strong commitment to PAP therapy in OSA patients. If one accepts Dr. Guilleminault's assumption that sleep apnea starts at the tip of the nose, the ENT very definitely has a role to play in the treatment of sleep apnea.

Next the exhibit hall...

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