The sweltering heat wave in Baltimore last week didn’t keep sleep medicine professionals from diving into the agenda at SLEEP 2008. With a stimulating clinical program, busy exhibit hall, and plenty of networking opportunities, the show had a turnout of approximately 6,000 attendees.

The conference kicked off with J. Allan Hobson, MD, delivering a captivating keynote address on sleep and dreaming. Along with a Freud finger puppet and an illustration of one of his own dreams, Hobson argued that dreaming is a proto-conscious state and not an unconscious act. The convincing argument presented by Hobson concluded that dreaming, a relatively under-researched subject, interacts with the wake state.

The plenary session also included the declaration of the AASM and Sleep Research Society award recipients. 2008 AASM honors went to:
• Conrad Iber, MD: 2008 Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Service Award
• Terry Young, MS, PhD: 2008 William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award
• Neil B. Kavey, MD: 2008 Mark O. Hatfield Public Policy Award
• Michael R. Littner, MD: 2008 Excellence in Education Award

2008 Sleep Research Society award recipients were:
• Charles A. Czeisler, MD, PhD: Distinguished Scientist Award
• Robert Y. Moore, MD, PhD: Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award
• Friedrich K. Stephan, PhD: Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award
• Irving Zucker, PhD: Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award
• Richard R. Bootzin, PhD: Outstanding Educator Award
• Thomas Penzel, PhD: Bill Greun Award

Highlights of the show included a packed session on home sleep testing chaired by newly installed AASM President, Mary Susan Esther, MD. “The session gave people a comprehensive perspective on home sleep testing,” said Kathleen McCann, AASM director of communications, “and addressed the needs of various memberships, IDTFs, hospitals, etc.” Look for updates on home sleep testing in upcoming issues of Sleep Report.

The academy also stressed the importance of strength in numbers with a session titled “Incorporating a State Sleep Society.” With increasing legislation threatening sleep labs at the local level, the academy is “pushing to educate members on the importance of local legislation,” McCann says.

Clinical highlights included sessions such as:

• Pediatric Sleep Medicine’s Challenge: What Is Normal?
• Sleep Disordered Breathing as a Cardiovascular Risk Factor: An Epidemiological Perspective from the Sleep Heart Health Study
• Controversies and Alternatives in the Management of Patients with Complicated Cases of Sleep Related Breathing Disorders.

SLEEP 2009 will be held June 6-11 in Seattle.