This is the leading gathering of respiratory specialists in Europe. Lung cancer, asthma, chronic bronchitis and sleep apnea are just some of the topics that will be addressed at this annual Congress, scheduled for October 9-13 in the Palacio Municipal de Congresos.
Some 10,000 MDs and scientists will be taking part, including many world-renowned specialists.
"It is one of the year's outstanding scientific events", says Nicolás Gonzales Mangado, the chairman of the congress. "This meeting will be a unique, historic occasion, as Spain will be welcoming over 10,000 of the world's leading specialists in respiratory pathology."
Over and above the 3,000 advanced studies that have been selected for presentation (either oral presentations or posters), the program includes over 50 specialized symposia featuring the best experts, and covering a range from basic and applied research to still-unpublished clinical trials.
"This meeting offers a very attractive combination for a wide audience of specialists," adds Manuel Cosio, the Vice-Chairman of the meeting. "That is why the ERS has attracted more and more investigators from all over the world and why our annual meeting is really growing in importance. Madrid got a record number of 3,740 submitted abstracts, out of which 3,035 were accepted," he reported.
One of the symposia will be devoted to promising new approaches to the prevention of lung cancer. Very recent advances in this field have opened the way to "pre-invasive" cancer treatment, which stops the formation of cancer cells using an aerosol that will soon undergo human trials.
Also in the field of lung cancer, the meeting will be told how it is becoming possible, using sophisticated medical imaging (computerized tomography) techniques, to diagnose the illness at a sufficiently early stage to apply therapy.
"Occupational" asthma is an issue which is raising an increasing number of questions, to which three Madrid symposia will be trying to provide some answers. What sort of working conditions, for instance, are more conducive to the disorder, and are some individuals more exposed than others? What are the main risk factors and how much of a problem is absenteeism in different countries? These are the kinds of questions the best European and American specialists will be trying to answer.
The 9th ERS annual meeting will also be focusing on "artificial ventilation" methods, techniques intended for patients who need help with their breathing, either because they have been placed in intensive care or because they are seriously affected by chronic respiratory deficiency.
One of the symposia will be discussing a worrisome problem that has been investigated by a special international task force: Certain forms of pneumonia can be caused by the most commonly used method of ventilation, in which the ventilator tube is inserted into the throat. (This is actually the second most frequent cause of hospital infection, meeting planners declare.)
As if in reply to the results produced so far by that task force, another symposium will for the first time be reporting on large-scale clinical trials undertaken in three European countries on so-called "non-invasive" ventilation, which consists in blowing air through a mask attached over the patient's nose and mouth. This method is said to offer many clinical advantages, to save many lives and to work out to be considerably cheaper.
One of the most popular topics of the meeting, sleep apnea, will have two major symposia entirely devoted to it for an opportunity to discuss all related issues -- for instance, how many individuals are affected by the condition? What sort of health effects can be expected from this nocturnal respiratory disorder, which can even lead to congestive heart failure? What are the implications of ensuing daytime drowsiness, which lies at the root of many accidents? The issues raised will also look at possible medical remedies using well-tried techniques.
Organizers of the conference have extended the agenda to respiratory problems faced by mountaineers, deep sea divers and astronauts. The question to be considered at this meeting for the first time is, What particular precautions are needed to cope with extreme living conditions?