Posted on Sunday, September 9, 2012 · Leave a Comment
How will YOU transform healthcare?
John Hockenberry, the award-winning journalist and commentator, opened the Transform 2012 symposium, hosted by the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, in the following eloquent fashion: “The engine for Transform is to be ready for the unexpected, the unpredictable. We must allow for throwing out the rules, to seek the cutting edge. We must think differently, think about what priorities need to be addressed not only today but 5 years from today.”
Transform 2012. Designing Solutions. Inspiring Health.
I attended a Science Sunday talk, moderated by Hockenberry and featuring 4 researchers from Mayo with cutting edge results to report. The most interesting and, quite frankly, understandable to a lay person such as myself, was Virend Somers’ presentation on sleep apnea, sleep deprivation, and their connection to obesity. It makes sense actually – technology and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter continue to develop, and are used obsessively by a lot of people, especially young people, even getting to the point where people would rather tweet and poke than catch some zzzzzzzz’s. This widespread sleep deprivation has correlated pretty much in lockstep with the obesity epidemic in this country. It’s not a perfect cause-and-effect relationship, but Somers’ research clearly showed that less sleep leads to an increased hunger the following day, which in turn leads to the obesity.
What he said about sleep apnea was even scarier. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is blocked and results in pauses in breathing, which can last for mere seconds up to even minutes. That’s where the risk occurs. Sleep apnea causes the risk of sudden death overnight to skyrocket, compared to those who breathe normally while sleeping. Obese individuals, with lower muscle tone in their airways, are at a high risk of sleep apnea. (Click here for cures and treatment options.) Gotta hit the hotel gym tomorrow morning!
The walk from the hotel to the Mayo Clinic Civic Center in beautiful downtown Rochester.
All in all, it was a fascinating day. As Hockenberry said, “Innovation is not simply inspiration but a group of people working together to achieve a common goal.” Stayed tuned for more great news tomorrow.