August 30, 2012

WSCA2012 - #2 - Small Beginnings

I have written in the past about the World Congress on Sleep Apnea. I was a newcomer then and knew hardly anyone. But now six years later many of the American attendees and some of the Europeans recognize me. Progress, I guess.

On the conference’s first day, two keynote addresses were delivered simultaneously. I attended Dr. Alan Pack's presentation on OSA and genetics. No new information, but a useful overview of where the research stands today. His most startlingly remark had to do with the likely increased incidence of OSA in China. The prevalence of sleep apnea there, he said, is due in large measure to the recessed chin typical of the Chinese, an anatomical feature that narrows the opening to the upper airway. Now that the high fat western diet is making its way into China, the corresponding increase in people’s weight will add to the prevalence of OSA, Pack said, and increase the number of people suffering.

The highlight of the first day of the meeting was a trip to the Sala della Protomoteca in the Capitolium for an inaugural ceremony. I was one of the invited speakers for the proposal of a world awareness day on obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS Day). Here is the text of my speech in English. I read it in Italian and translated it...

Mr. Mayor, dignitaries from La Sapienza, the Pontifical Lateran University, Celio Military Hospital, and Umberto I General Hospital.

Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak at this ceremony.

I am honored to share the dais with Drs. Lugaresi, Guilleminault, Kryger, Fabiani, and Bruni,  representing  the American Sleep Apnea Association and representing the millions of adults and children around the world suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

It is past time to wake up to how serious this condition is not only to those who suffer from it, but to their bed partners, family, their co-workers and the larger community.

Our association will collaborate with other patient organizations to use world awareness day for obstructive sleep apnea as an annual event to encourage people who suspect they have the condition to speak with their doctor and begin the process of recovering their ability to get a good night’s sleep, something that is so important to a healthy life.
Again, thank you very much for this great honor. 

May 25 was designated World OSAS Day. That date was chosen because of its significance in the history of the sleep apnea research. On that day in 1972 the first international research meeting for sleep apnea, a gathering organized by Prof. Elio Lugaresi and Prof. Paul Sadoul, convened in Rimini, Italy.

Thus went Day 1. Then it was on to the patients' group roundtable.

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