October 13, 2007

Traveling to Mecca

I am in San Francisco for the annual meeting of American Society of Anesthesiologists... our association has exhibited at their meetings for a number of years. They have always had an interest in managing the sleep apnea patient before, during and after surgery. In the past couple of years they have introduced a set of guidelines for managing the patients... so our presence here helps to reinforce the importance of identifying and managing apnea patients. This is the first one of these I attend, so it will be interesting. I will report on details in another entry.

On Friday, I went to what I call Mecca for the sleep field - the campus of Stanford University. I say Mecca, because it is the home of the Stanford University Center of Excellence for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Disorders. Housed here is the Sleep Disorder Clinic founded in 1970 by Drs. William Dement and Christian Guilleminault (both whom I have mentioned in this blog before). In addition to Dement and Guilleminault are world-renowned sleep surgeons Nelson Powell, Robert Riley and Kasey Li. Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, and the Stanford Center for Narcolepsy was the first to that narcolepsy-cataplexy is caused by hypocretin (orexin) abnormalities in both animal models and humans. With the School for Sleep Medicine, it is the center of the sleep universe.

While I was there I spent time with Bill Dement and together we attended the weekly Grand Rounds presentation. The subject of the talk by Craig Harris on hibernation and its relate to sleep.

Bill and I spent a long time talking about the course he has presented at Stanford to undergraduates on Sleep and Dreams. It is the most popular course with undergrads at the University. Bill would like to see the course taught at all 4,000 colleges and universities around the country – a tall order indeed. He has put together the course slides and the course textbook – The Stanford Sleep Book. My hope is to work with him to get the course offered at one university in the Washington area.

The treat of the day, was to attend Bill’s talk… Sleepless at Stanford, which he did for the alumni who had returned for Homecoming weekend. I heard this talk before, and I always marvel at the energy and enthusiasm of this nearly 80-year-old man. I can only hope to have this much verve when and if I get to 80.

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