The Biomedical Research Institute (IBI) will intensify its knowledge sharing activities in May by holding three seminars in the framework of the BIOCAPS project. Childhood disorders, rare diseases and the role of melatonin and biological rhythms in the onset of various conditions will be the subjects of these scientific seminars, to which all researchers and physicians from the Galician biomedical community are invited. All are free to attend.
The seminar on management of hypotonic children and sleep disorders in childhood will be held in the function room at the Hospital Xeral de Vigo on May 7th and 8th. The first session will deal with recent progress in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood hypotonia, or decreased muscle tone, a condition that can lead to problems with body movement and posture control, which in turn, depending on the severity, can lead to speaking, swallowing and learning difficulties, as well as problems with socialising and overall functioning.
The experts participating in this seminar will cover recent scientific discoveries related to this disorder. The topics covered on the first day range from new diagnostic techniques (neurophysiological, neuropathological and genetic) to therapeutic measures, including physiotherapy, orthopaedics and surgery, for managing spinal deformities.
The second day is reserved exclusively for sleep disorders in infants, children and adolescents. Speakers will provide the most up-to-date information concerning apnoeas (subjects stop breathing for periods of 15 to 20 seconds while asleep), parasomnias (including sleep walking and night terrors), restless leg syndrome (an uncontrollable urge to move while asleep) and sleep problems in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (a disease affecting around 7% of Spanish children).
Rare diseases are conditions, generally hereditary, each of which affects only a very small number of patients, although together they affect a large number of people. This topic, which is one of the six research areas covered by the BIOCAPS project, will be the subject of the seminar to be held on May 15th in the function room at the Colegio Médico de Vigo. The IBI researchers responsible for organising the event are members of the Spanish Rare Disease Registries Research Network and are currently participating in a European project aimed at the treatment of neuromuscular McArdle's disease, amongst others.
The symposium will be delivered by leading scientists in this field from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, the University of Vigo, the Brain to Brain Clinical Research Institute (Germany, the European centre of reference for the treatment of rare diseases), the University of Padua, the Fundación Caubet-Cimera de Islas Baleares and the Institute of Myology (Paris, one of the advisory centres for BIOCAPS). The speakers will provide complementary points of view regarding the epidemiological, genetic, clinical and therapeutic aspects of several of the most common rare diseases.
Gene and cell therapies for treating conditions such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and spinal muscular atrophy, as well as the genetic diagnosis of ciliopathies (anomalies in the cells that lead to rare hereditary syndromes) are some of the new approaches that will be discussed during the seminar. The most recent progress in the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases in children and the importance of collecting samples and data in international registries and biobanks to improve strategies for managing these conditions will also be explained.
Melatonin and biological rhythms
Melatonin is a hormone that is involved in regulating biological or circadian rhythms, thus meaning that it is responsible for regulating sleep and appetite, stimulating growth and activating the reproductive function. In addition, it has recently been demonstrated to act as a powerful antioxidant that neutralises free radicals, thus making it a powerful cancer inhibitor, amongst other functions. Although the description of these processes is very recent, the field of biomedical science has already opened up numerous lines of research to determine how they can be altered to control numerous health disorders.
Researchers from the universities of Göttingen (Germany), Geneva (Switzerland), Leuven (Belgium), Ferrara (Italy), Barcelona, León and Vigo will meet in the Miralles Building on the Vigo Campus during this seminar, which will be held on May 29th. Their talks will cover their studies on the role of melatonin and biological rhythms in ageing, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes.