European Insomnia Network (EIN)

First Call April 2009

In the last years the ESRS has already established the European networks on narcolepsy and sleep related breathing disorders. The most recent activity in that field is now a call sent out by Dieter Riemann to all members of the ESRS in order to establish a European Insomnia Network. This is a timely and important approach as insomnia afflicts in a chronic fashion probably more than 10% of the European population and probably is the most frequent sleep disorder per se. In comparison to other sleep disorders like sleep related breathing disorders, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy much less progress has been made in the insomnia field and even for many experienced clinicians and researchers insomnia treatment is equal with just the prescription of hypnotics.

The European Insomnia Network aims at European clinicians and researchers who deal with the topic of insomnia.

What are the purposes of the European Insomnia Network?

  • Get an overview how many ESRS members are actively involved in clinical or research insomnia work
  • Improve the exchange between European insomnia clinicians and researchers
  • Establish a structure for an insomnia network as basis for teaching, clinical and research activities at the EU level
  • Organization of a meeting of European insomnia clinicians and resear-chers in order to specify and coordinate activities
  • Establish insomnia as a research target on the EU level

So far, just one week after the first call was sent out per mail more than 70 ESRS members coming from more than 15 different European countries have answered and declared their interest to participate in the insomnia network. It is assumed that within 14 days after the first call more than 100 interested colleagues will show their interest in participating. In so far, a basis for successful work within the European Insomnia Network seems to be given and we will inform you in the future newsletters about the progress we make.

Dieter Riemann, Freiburg

[Published in ESRS Newsletter June 2009]

Second Call May 2009

Dear colleagues,

Approximately two weeks have passed since I have issued my first call for the European Insomnia Network.

In the meantime I have been able to collect more than 70 answers from the membership of the European Sleep Research Society who are interested in participating in the Insomnia Network. I think that is a tremendous response which demonstrates that insomnia is an important research and clinical topic also within the framework of the ESRS. Responses came practically from all European countries spanning Russia in the East to Portugal in the West. We have basic researchers who are interested, clinicians from the fields of psychiatry, neurology, internal medicine and other disciplines of medicine and, as expected, a large number of psychologists who work in the field. This, to my opinion, reflects the present situation in the insomnia field in Europe.

What will be our next steps?

  • First of all, I am thinking about establishing a steering committee encompassing 5 colleagues who have answered my call. I thought about a composition of a steering committee with 2 psychologists, a neurologist, a psychiatrist and a basic researcher. Let me know what you think of that.
  • Own work in the insomnia field with each other. Please find attached 2 papers from my group which are just in the status of “in press” in Sleep Medicine Reviews (see ESRS homepage, members´ section).
  • I think it a very important issue to improve the teaching situation for young researchers and clinicians from the ESRS concerning insomnia. I thought about following the example of the Bertinoro Training Meetings which are sponsored by the EU and gave 40 young scientists the chance to learn from experienced researchers and clinicians in the field. I would like to repeat this experience with a 3 day session focussing on insomnia. In that case I will in a first step contact several pharmaceutical companies who operate Europe-wide and ask them if they are interested to provide educational grants to promote such an enterprise. The idea would be to have 3 days of training for 30-40 young researchers and clinicians in the insomnia field under the age of 35 yrs. and maybe a faculty of 10 teachers. The focus would be solely on insomnia and would cover all aspects of insomnia from basic research to epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnostics and different clinical issues like pharmacotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia.
  • Please find attached some information on Eurocores (see ESRS homepage, members´section) which is an activity supported by the European Science Foundation. Eurocores every year collects suggestions for topics which should be funded by the EU. One of our main activities could be to write an application for insomnia in order to introduce insomnia as a research topic in Europe. Eurocores also would fund small meetings in order to prepare such an activity. This is something of utmost importance and about which I also would like to hear your opinion. Furthermore, if you are interested in working in a core group trying to establish insomnia as a research topic in Europe on that level, please let me know.
  • I am preparing a questionnaire which I will send to you at the end of June after returning from the APSS meeting in Seattle in order to ask you some questions about the insomnia situation (health care, clinical practice, research) in your country in order to get an overview about what’s going on in Europe. I would be grateful if you have the time to answer all the questions I am going to prepare for you.
  • Anyway, we will have an European Insomnia Network Meeting at the next ESRS congress in Lisbon in 2010. Nevertheless, I would really love to get the European Insomnia Network moving already in the meantime in order to further support and develop the topic of insomnia in basic research, clinical medicine and psychology in Europe.
    Dieter Riemann, Freiburg

P.S. If you are interested in joining, please mail me: dieter.riemann@uniklinik-freiburg.de

[Published in ESRS Newsletter June 2009]

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