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SLEEP 2024: Key Takeaways From Leading Speakers

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Speakers at SLEEP 2024, the annual meeting of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, share their favorite parts of the conference.

At SLEEP 2024, the annual meeting of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, we spoke with experts in the field of sleep disorders and sleep medicine about their favorite parts of attending the event:

  • Melissa B. Jones, MD, staff neuropsychiatrist, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, and assistant professor of psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Michael Thorpy, MD, professor of neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Caitlin Kindberg, patient advocate, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Ron Grunstein, MD, PhD, head of sleep and circadian research, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

Transcript

What is your favorite part of attending the SLEEP conference?

Jones: My favorite aspects of the SLEEP reading, and sleep medicine in general, is its interdisciplinary nature. Sleep affects every aspect of medicine, and especially at the VA, sleep disorders are everywhere. And I see parallels between the evolution of sleep medicine as a field and neuropsychiatry, which is my specialty, as a field, as well. And I feel welcome there. I also really enjoy learning from the industry side, because they're at the forefront of the development of future technologies and sleep medicine. I personally find it exciting and fun.

Thorpy: The SLEEP conference is the largest sleep conference in the world. One of the exciting things about the SLEEP conference is that we have researchers from all over the world that come to this meeting. It's the opportunity to be able to hear from people in different countries, and there's so much research now being done. The whole area of sleep medicine has expanded so dramatically, so that there's research being done in many countries around the world. Often this research is of great importance to us in understanding sleep and sleep disorders. So, the big thing about this particular meeting is that it gives us the opportunity to get together with colleagues from around the world and learn from their experiences.

Kindberg: This was actually be my first time at this conference, so it's hard to say, but I do appreciate that they kind of bring all the different players in the sleep industry together. So, they're bringing together the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, the patient advocacy organizations, the technologists, and then, most importantly, patients—people actually living with sleep disorders. I think it's important to highlight their experiences and their struggles so that we can make the industry, as a whole, better, [including] treatment outcomes and pretty much everything.

Grunstein: I've been going to these meetings for many years. It's meeting colleagues and discussing not just what they're doing in their scientific life, but many of them I've known for a long time, so we exchange what we're up to in terms of our families and so forth. It's a bit of a community that started very small. When I first came to these conferences, there was only about 150 to 200 people, and now there's thousands. So, it's quite special.

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