Report on the ANSS Meeting (Reykjavik, 5-6 May 2017)

Assembly of National Sleep Societies (ANSS)

The annual ANSS meeting took place in Reykjavik (Iceland) on May 5 and 6, 2017. Under the brilliant direction of Erna Sif Arnardottir, it was possible to join social and scientific issues in a successful blend.

The opening cerimony was preceded by the exceptional reception of the President of the Republic of Iceland Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, who officially invited the ANSS to Bessastadir, the presidential residence (picture 1). An original map of Europe stamped in Paris 1820 was donated to the President (picture 2) underlying the friendship and vicinity of all European countries in the unified achievement of research and cooperation.

After the presentation of the national Presidents, the program was opened by Erna Sif Arnardottir who illustrated the outcomes and methodological procedures of the ANSS-ESRS Task Force “Beyond the AHI: Standardisation of additional measures in adult sleep studies for obstructive sleep disordered breathing”. The aim is to investigate the role of alternative methods to diagnose sleep disordered breathing in adults by standardized literature review and provide suggestions for future research on promising diagnostic methods that can be developed further for clinical use.

Dirk Pevernagie presented the results of the questionnaire completed by the NSS on Sleep Medicine as a subspeciality. The development of master degrees, sleep education via universities and networking between universities were recommended. Johan Verbraeken suggested to include in the ANSS website the list of countries that have implemented the subspecialty/specialty in Sleep Medicine.

Implementation of the ESRS guidelines was discussed by Zoran Dogas who stressed the necessity to define the learning outcomes for different specialities (e.g. MD, psychologist, technicians) and the need for protocols/guidelines to submit to the different ministeries of health.

An update on the application of the EU-directive 2014 confirmed that European countries are still having relevant problems with obstructive sleep apnea and sleepy drivers. In order to explore alternative perspecticves, technological advances in the car industry were detailed by Gianluigi Ferrari. The major car companies are focusing on sleepiness with different solutions: 1) Sensing (cameras, inertial measurement units, other sensors); 2) Processing of data (signal processing, video, acceleration, angular velocity) / data analysis (machine learning, deep learning); 3) Audio/visual messages. A holistic view of research related to sleepiness should exploit also smartphone-based information and vehicle interaction with environment. The possibility of using car technologies to measure sleepiness in general population was suggested as well as the necessity to raise awareness on road/traffic safety spreading legislation into society through media and medical associations.

Walter McNicholas and Piere-Hervè Luppi shared the ESRS activities (joint task forces with ERS on driving and sleep; Sleep and Breathing conference in Marseille; Sleep and epilepsy task force with EAN and the International League Against Epilepsy; Organization of a sleep science school in Frejus, ESRS congress in Basel 2018).

Roberto Amici updated the ANSS proposal for Horizon 2020 explaining that the term “sleep” is not mentioned in the Horizon 2020 framework, and that funding for sleep-related programs has been very low in recent years.

During dedicated slots, the sponsors (Philips and Bioprojet) illustrated the main topics in their research pipelines. In the final sessions, Barbara Stražišar outlined the patient organisations in different ANSS member states, while Dr. Zoltan Szakacs (Hungary) accepted to be the promotor of an ANSS-ESRS Task Force on Occupational Health and Sleep.

At the ANSS Busness Meeting, Marielle Zoetmulder submitted her resignation to the ANSS Executive Committee, due to personal reasons. The NSS Presidents unanimously asked Oana Deleanu, who was first non-elected last year in Bruxelles, to join the EC for a three years term. Oana accepted the proposal and now covers the role of Secretary.

The goodbye dinner, accompanied by sleep poems and excellent food, was anticipated by an unforgettable swimming experience in the Blue Lagoon which offered the opportunity to enjoy the properties of the geothermal seawater and socialize in a warm and relaxing environment (picture 3).

In 2018, the ANSS Presidents and the ESRS Board will meet in Parma, Italy, May, 4-5.

Liborio Parrino
Chair, on behalf of the EC ANSS