Future of Neurology Congress Will Offer Expert Insights on Hot Topics

Alicia Bigica
Published Online: Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
The 1st annual International Congress on the Future of Neurology will be held on September 27-28, 2019 in New York City, featuring a rigourous agenda of presentations, question and answer sessions, and lightning rounds highlighting topics across the breadth of neurology. 

The Congress, which will take place at the InterContinental New York Times Square, will be chaired by Stephen D. Silberstein, MD, professor of neurology and director of the Jefferson Headache Center in Philadelphia, and will feature programming highly relevant to physicians and other heathcare providers who treat neurological disorders. 

Sessions focused on dementia and Alzheimer disease, epilepsy, headache and migraine, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders, stroke, and sleep disorders will be led by leaders in the field, where the latest data and best practices will be discussed to better inform clinical decision-making. 

Karl Doghramji, MD, professor of psychiatry, neurology, and medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, Medical Director, Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center, and Program Director, Fellowship in Sleep Medicine, will moderate the sleep disorders session, titled "Beyond Counting Sheep: Effective Therapies for Sleep Disorders," where experts in the field will discuss new therapeutic approaches for insomnia, how to best manage narcolepsy and risk for therapeutic abuse, as well as navigating the physiologic and psychologic crossroads at play in excessive daytime sleepiness and obstructive sleep apnea. 

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Doghramji discussed some of the central issues currently at play in sleep disorder medicine.

The importance of quality sleep is becoming more top-of-mind for people given an increased focus on wellness; yet, screening for sleep disorders is still lacking in the neurology community. Do you have a call to action for your peers to help encourage screening and diagnosis?

Disturbed sleep is associated with a myriad of impairments. It enhances the risk of future mood disorders, contributes to cognitive impairments, enhances the risk of cardiometabolic disorders, and even shortens lifespan. Sleep disorders also enhance the risk of stroke, and contribute to repeat stroke. It is critical, therefore, that neurologists develop a strategy to identify and manage sleep disorders in clinical settings.

With several new therapies available or up-and-coming for both insomnia and narcolepsy, what are some of the advantages of these new therapeutic classes compared to current treatment modalities?

Hypnotic agents are being developed that are not only effective for the management of insomnia, but are also safer than those utilized decades ago, particularly in the realm of daytime residual effects and respiratory compromise. Whereas the older agents were primarily GABA receptor agonists, more recently introduced agents antagonize the orexin receptor, thus muting the arousal drive, which is thought to be exaggerated in insomnia. 

What are some of the challenges of implementing alternative therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy for sleep disorders like insomnia? 

Some of the main challenges faced when trying to incorporate nonpharmaceutical treatments like CBT-I are a shortage of properly trained therapists, third party payer support, and time limitations. Given that CBT-I is indicated as a first-line treatment for insomnia, it is imperitive that the healthcare community works harder to better prepare for and provide these therapies to patients, and work closely with payers to ensure access to this treatment modality. 

This article first appeared in Neurology Live.

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