For Immediate Release: March 25, 2004
For Immediate Release: March 25, 2004
Evidence linking sleep with behavior, mood, and learning continues to grow. Now, scientists are finding that reduced or disrupted sleep appears to increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The first National Sleep Conference, to be held March 29 and 30 at the National Institutes of Health (Natcher Conference Center, 45 Center Drive), Bethesda, Maryland, will address the latest evidence regarding sleep and sleep disorders, and explore ways to improve public health and safety.
The purpose of the conference is to develop an action plan for implementing clinical practice changes and for expanding individuals' knowledge, attitudes, and sleep-related behaviors to improve public health and quality of life. Sponsored by the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), "Frontiers of Knowledge in Sleep & Sleep Disorders -- Opportunities for Improving Health and Quality of Life," will draw more than 500 health care providers, public health and education experts, policy makers, patient advocates, sleep medicine specialists, and others. NCSDR (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/org/ncsdr/) is administered by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"The depth and breadth of sleep problems is not fully appreciated in this country," U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona said. 'Chronic sleep loss and untreated sleep disorders have a profound impact on Americans of all ages -- they affect 70 million Americans and cost our nation $15 billion in health care expenses. It is essential that we get the public and health care professionals talking about sleep and the effects of insufficient sleep and sleep disorders, so they can take the necessary steps to avoid the dangers of poor sleep and benefit from improved health and well-being.'
This innovative, two-day program will also look at how insufficient sleep and sleep disorders impact the body's immune function, the development of psychiatric conditions including depression, and the progression of other chronic medical conditions such as breathing disorders and lung diseases, arthritis, and neurological disorders. Populations at risk for the detrimental effects of sleep problems, such as children and adolescents, older adults, women, and individuals in certain occupations will also be addressed.
"In the ten years since the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research was established by an act of Congress, our understanding of sleep and related biological processes has expanded significantly," said NHLBI Acting Director Dr. Barbara Alving. "This conference is an outstanding opportunity to develop cost-effective, comprehensive, and broadly applied strategies to fulfill our mission to communicate the latest scientific findings about sleep."
Cosponsors of the conference are the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Insomnia Association, the American Sleep Apnea Association, the Narcolepsy Network, the National Sleep Foundation, the NIH Office of Rare Diseases, the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, and the Sleep Research Society.
"We are all affected by sleep problems," said NCSDR Director Dr. Carl Hunt. "Even if you personally get sufficient sleep to feel refreshed each day, chances are you interact with someone who has a sleep problem. It could be your mother, whose sleep apnea increases her chances of developing heart disease; your carpool driver, who might be at increased risk for a car crash because of poor sleep; or your child, who has trouble in school because she doesn't get enough sleep at night.
"These and other types of sleep problems can usually be treated or prevented, but they must first be acknowledged and addressed," added Dr. Hunt. "This conference provides a forum for experts from a variety of fields to take an interdisciplinary, systematic approach to bridging the gap between knowledge and effective health care."
Selected conference presentations:
Following presentations by leaders in the field of research translation and dissemination, conference attendees will participate in group discussions to identify populations at risk, opportunities for and barriers to improving public health, and action items to address each of the following five areas: neurocognitive, performance, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, and psychiatric disorders.
Participants' overall recommendations for a national action plan will be presented in the closing session comoderated by Dr. Hunt and Dr. William Dement, director of the Sleep Disorders Research Center of Stanford University School of Medicine. The founder of the world's first sleep disorders clinic, Dr. Dement chaired the 1990 National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, which resulted in the establishment of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research in 1993.
The National Sleep Conference program is online at www.sleeptranslation.com [Link is no longer available]. General registration is limited. However, the conference will be videocast and can be viewed online through http://videocast.nih.gov. For more information, call (301) 435-0199.
Reporters can register on-site at the conference Press Room, Natcher Conference Center, Rooms C1/C2, or in advance by contacting the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information about the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research and related educational, research, and other programs, can be found at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/org/ncsdr/. Health professionals and the public may also call the NHLBI Information Center at (301) 592-8573.