ASN-ASAD International Medical Conference 2014 kicks off in Colombo

Saturday, 15 November 2014 00:36 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The eighth Annual Academic Sessions of the Association of Sri Lankan Neurologists and eighth Annual Congress of the Asian Society Against Dementia kicked off yesterday at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo. First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the inauguration of the two-day joint conference which is being held from 14 to 16 November. In his welcome address, ASN-ASAD 2014 Conference Co-Chair Professor Asita de Silva said: “We started planning for this in 2012; what you see today is a result of two years of hard work. We have brought together a faculty of well repute, to this country, in this joint conference to deliberate on the challenge of the ageing brain. “It is not uncommon for people to live on to their seventh or eighth decade. It is particularly noteworthy that Sri Lanka ranks 11th from the top in terms of life expectancy in the Asia Pacific Region. This is a fantastic achievement probably due to a very good healthcare system but with that achievement, comes the challenge of the ageing brain.” Professor de Silva noted that dementia, a devastating neurological disease, is the most important disorder associated with ageing and WHO estimates that there are currently more than 35 million sufferers of dementia in the world and over the next 15 years the numbers will double. “Although it has been more than 100 years since Alzheimer’s disease, the commonest form of dementia was described by a German neurologist, we still don’t have a test to diagnose the disease directly and we don’t have medicines to cure it. That’s the scale of the problem we face today,” he asserted. He added that the conference will have a global outlook with an Asian focus and that at the end of the two-day conference, they hope to come up with coherent strategies to counter the disease that takes away one’s dignity. World Federation of Neurology President Dr. Raad Shakir pointed out the fact that ‘there is no health without brain health’ and added that it is the mantra that they always work for. “Brain disorders comprising mental, neurological, and substance-use conditions, constitute 13% of the global burden of disease, surpassing cardiovascular disease and cancer. Decision makers should be informed not only of death but the long-term disabilities caused by neurological diseases,” he said. Also present at the inauguration were ASN President and ASN-ASAD 2014 Conference Co-Chair Dr. Arjuna Fernando and ASAD President Prof. Akira Homma.