March 2015

Published in ESRS Newsletter March 2015


Dear ESRS and ANSS Members, Colleagues and Friends,

Spring returns to Europe with this newsletter, a good omen if there ever was one! With it also comes the renewed pleasure of watching migratory birds return to nest in their unique habitats, preparing the future of the species. I remain amazed at the thought that they fly over such vast expanses, capable of sleeping with one cerebral hemisphere at a time - a feat in itself if we consider the complexity of the brain mechanisms underlying that most simple of actions: sleeping.

If sleeping/resting is what we share with animal species, the monosyllabic word Sleep is the topic that binds together our scientific and clinical communities. I am extremely happy to see a growing number of young and advanced sleep scientists deciding to nest within the ESRS. First of all, a warm welcome to our 88 new ESRS members since the November 2014 ESRS newsletter! May you find your new society both interesting and supportive! Your presence will increase our dynamism and as well as our attractiveness.

Dynamism in a society also implies new blood. I am pleased to inform you of the launch of the ESRS Early Career Researcher Network during the Tallinn meeting. The main purpose of the ECRN is to give a stronger voice to early career researchers within the ESRS, and this new group is now fully operational with an elected Executive Committee. Recognizing the importance of the ECRN as integral to the future of the ESRS, the ESRS board has invited Erna Sif Arnardottir, head of the ECRN Executive Committee, to participate in future ESRS board meetings and discussions. In a similar vein, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the recipients of the ESRS Travel Grants 2015, a continued initiative of the ESRS Research Networking Committee (RNC). Once again, the RNC received the input of the Scientific Committee (SC) in selecting the successful recipients. The RNC and SC will now work together on revising the eligibility criteria for the next calls to ensure that knowledge exchange and learning remain its key focus in addition to fostering links between sleep researchers in Europe. The ESRS board and committees are also continuously on the lookout for novel initiatives to ensure that young scientists in the field are offered adequate opportunities to develop their career. 

Only 7 months ago, we gathered in Tallinn for a highly successful 22nd ESRS Congress. Yet we are already extremely busy with the next major ESRS event: the 3rd Sleep and Breathing conference in Barcelona (April 16-18, 2015). This event is jointly organized by the ESRS and the European Respiratory Society (ERS). With a strong educational and professional focus, this conference is the only meeting to offer an integrated approach to the investigation and treatment of sleep disorders. At this meeting, sleep practitioners will find State-of-the-Art lectures targeting the latest developments in sleep and breathing disorders, delivered by a first-class faculty. Registration is still open, so please have a look at the outstanding program and do not be the last to join us in Barcelona! 

The Barcelona Sleep and Breathing Conference will also act as the venue for the 4th Examination of the Certification in Sleep Medicine (68 applicants) and the 2nd Examination of the Certification in Sleep Medicine for Grandparent Sleep Technologists (33 applicants). All applications have now been received and validated. Most importantly, the Sleep Medicine Examination Committee headed by Thomas Penzel has now assembled a new pool of examination questions, based for the first time on the recently published ESRS Sleep Medicine Textbook. This publication written by experts in the field provides a comprehensive educational material (527 pages) structured around the Catalogue of Knowledge and Skills for Sleep Medicine (Penzel et al. 2014, Journal of Sleep Research). Like the ESRS did in the past for the ERS Handbook of Respiratory Sleep Medicine, the ESRS Sleep Medicine Textbook is also officially endorsed by the ERS. If you have not yet acquired your exemplar of this must-have book, it will be for sale at the Barcelona meeting, saving you the expedition costs. Alternatively, it can of course be easily ordered through the ESRS website. I also remind you that as a courtesy on behalf of the ESRS and a token of our esteem, we are offering all members of the Associate National Sleep Societies (ANSS), the European Biological Rhythms Society (EBRS) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS) the ESRS Sleep Medicine Textbook at the reduced ESRS member price. ESRS members have also access to the ERS Handbook of Respiratory Sleep Medicine at ERS member price.

Next but not least in our list of events comes Sleep & Health 2015, the 7th World Congress of the World Sleep Federation hosted by the ESRS in Istanbul (October 31 – November 3, 2015). The program is now online ! I am certain you will fully agree with us that WorldSleep 2015 promises to be a major 2015 event, with exceptional keynote speakers and symposia in the basic, clinical and translational areas of sleep. The call for abstracts is now open with a submission deadline of May 14th, 2015, giving you ample time to prepare your submission. Please, share your latest findings with the community! We are committed to making the oral and poster presentations the key events of this congress.

Sleep & Health 2015 is a must-go for 2015, but it also a nice way to keep our minds active while waiting for our biannual ESRS meeting! The 23rd Congress of the European Sleep Research Society (September 13-17, 2016) will be held in Bologna, an historical centre for the development of sleep research and sleep medicine. Preparations are already underway to make this ESRS congress an exceptional event. However, we would like to ask you about the ideal duration of the ESRS congress. Indeed, despite an exceptional attendance at the Tallinn conference (> 1570 participants), only about 200 participants attended the Saturday (last) morning sessions. This is frustrating for speakers allotted this time slot, but also means organisational expenses for a supplementary day of meeting that is underutilised.

Therefore we are wondering whether a better format is not having a 4-day event, with the first day reserved as usual for educational courses and satellite events, then followed by 3 days (instead of 31/2 days) with the scientific program, of course without any concession on quality, ending the last day at a reasonable time to catch late-evening flights. This is actually the format planned for WorldSleep 2015, please have a look at the Istanbul program for an overview.

We want your opinion on this and to this end have created an online survey that you can access here until the April 13th to note your preference and leave comments. The survey will take 10 seconds or your time, so please register your preference and opinion! 

In this newsletter, you will also find the reports of the ESRS Committees and associates, which document the activities of the individuals who are giving their time and energy to keeping our society alive as well as facing the challenges of the future, for instance in the fields of certification and recognition of sleep medicine centres at the European and national levels, or the professional education of sleep scientists and sleep practitioners. My deepest gratitude to all of you who fulfil and enable these ESRS actions - for your hard work, your commitment, and for your service. We are also fortunate in receiving outstanding administrative support from Maria Wiechmann, Brigitte Knobl and our organisational partners.

Finally, in this newsletter we launch the National Sleep Society Highlight Series, aimed at better understanding the activities of one particular National Sleep Society in interview format. In line with our current preoccupations regarding accreditation and education, we had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Joaquin Terán Santos, President of the Spanish Sleep Society, about Spanish initiatives in the domain of accreditation procedures for sleep medicine experts and sleep centres, and the education of sleep professionals. The ESRS board will join the Presidents of the Assembly of National Sleep Societies and its Executive Committee headed by Liborio Parrino, to discuss some of these matters in Prague (May 2-3, 2015). 

Last but not least, I thank Renata Riha for proofreading and editing the English version of this newsletter as language editor, any remaining misspelling is mine!

I invite you to enjoy this March 2015 issue of the ESRS Newsletter. And do not forget to visit the ESRS website, which is continuously updated.

Do not hesitate to contact me, or any member of the board with any remarks or suggestions, which will be most welcome.

Sleep well and keep safe!

Sincerely yours,

Philippe Peigneux
ESRS President