by Nancy Collop, MD
Dr. Collop is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care and Director of the Emory Sleep Center at Emory University in Atlanta.
SLEEP 2012 was held June 9-13 in Boston. The weather the week before was cold and rainy but the weather during the meeting (except for Wednesday) was fantastic. Of course, most of the attendees were inside at the meeting, but it still made for pleasant evening activities. It was held at the Hynes Convention Center in Back Bay, which is a perfect setting—close to the Charles River, shopping, restaurants, and hotels. It was the largest meeting ever for the American Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
At this meeting, several societies run their meeting concurrently—the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Sleep Technologists, and the Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine. The annual meeting of the APSS is a joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. There were over 5,000 attendees this year and I don’t believe anyone was disappointed.
The opening session included talks by two well-known scientists. Mark Rosekind, PhD, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, gave a rousing speech in which he reviewed what the NTSB is doing with regard to sleep and fatigue in various modes of transportation. His speech is accessible on the NTSB website: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/speeches/rosekind/Rosekind_120611.pdf. It was an excellent speech and a rallying cry for those involved in sleep medicine to continue to educate, advocate, and practice good sleep hygiene. Mark is a longtime member of the “sleep medicine family,” and we are very proud and honored to have him serve in this very prestigious position.
The second talk was by Robert Stickgold, PhD, of Harvard University, who discussed his research on sleep and memory. Dr. Stickgold was a very entertaining speaker who kept the audience engaged with his humorous quips and impressive data on the subject. This session was an excellent start to what turned out to be a fantastic meeting.
The meeting had a number of new session types this year and an increase in sessions aimed more at the practicing sleep specialist. All of the postgraduate sessions were sold out and many of the regular sessions were packed. Although I did not get to attend many of the sessions, there were plenty of intriguing titles like: “How to Sleep Like a Rockstar,” “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Diabetes Mellitus: Does One Disorder Alter the Development or Progression of the Other?” and “Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Chronic Inflammatory Disease?”
Several intriguing abstracts were also presented. Two studies showed data on the benefits of CPAP therapy—one suggesting it improves men’s sexual function and the other showing improvement in depressive symptoms. Other hot abstracts about sleep apnea included how OSA is linked to increased carbohydrate craving in diabetics and the ill effects untreated OSA can exhibit on children with regards to life skills. The poster sessions were particularly well attended this year as they ran unopposed to other sessions, allowing attendees to participate in the lectures and view the exceptional research without missing either.
All in all, it was a fantastic meeting which only made me more excited to see what they can do to top it next year in Baltimore (June 1-5, 2013)!