vision and audition are major causes of disabilities.
When considering the “Disability –adjusted
– life – year – (DAILY), hearing loss
ranks 9th and vision loss ranks 10th underlying the
substantial social economic impact.
Addressing these issues in scientific terms is achievable
challenges taking into account the recent trends and
successes in the fields in the recent years.
Blindness is the most feared sensory
health threat in our society. Visual loss has a devastating
impact on physical social and mental well-being and
is recognised as major economic burden. A variety of
retinal degenerative diseases cause visual impairment
in millions of people in Europe. A sizeable proportion
of the visually impaired suffer from hereditary retinal
disorders. However with the ageing demographics of the
European population, AMD) is now the commonest cause
of visual handicap in the majority of those registered
as visually impaired.
Worldwide a staggering 50 million people
are blind and this is projected to rise to 75 million
over the next twenty years. In Europe as a whole the
population of people over 60 in the United Nations estimate
for 2003 is 145.2 million. Restricting this to the 27
countries that will be EU members in 2007 still gives
96.4 million people. Age related macular disease alone
affects 8.6% of this group, and this translates into
12.5 million people in Europe as a whole and 8.3 million
people in the EU.
Hearing impairment affects more than
1 child out of 1000 either at birth or during early
childhood. Early diagnosis and counselling is critical
for the development of deaf children.
For the elderly, presbycusis is the
most common defect. After the age of 75, close to 40%
of the population has some hearing loss. Since hearing
handicap becomes particularly significant in situations
involving communication with people, hearing impairment
often leads to a deficit in social skills and withdrawal
of social network. In parallel, the inability to hear
danger signals leads eventually to loss of independence.
Improving the quality of life through understanding
the pathogenesis underlying the handicap, either vision
or hearing, is the main theme of the European research
consortia EVI Genoret and EuroHear. Both projects are
funded from the EU's Research Framework Programme.
From the state of the art in the different fields of
research, the panel of experts will envision which research
and implementation would speed up translating fundamental
scientific breakthroughs into clinical applications.
The meeting will center around:
1. Scientific lectures, which will cover the main results
of the past decade and the projection of a forward-looking
strategy for translating research into the clinics and
identification of bottlenecks. The scientific lectures
will deal with hearing, seeing, and combined disabilities
of sensory processes, early onset defects in young adults,
late onset defects, therapies, prostheses, pharmacology
and gene therapy.
2. An open debate on how to leverage research activity
and accelerate implementation.
3. A press conference with Christian Bréchot,
Octavi Quintana Trias, Christine Petit, José
Sahel and other scientific lecturers.
4. Information for patient associations on current research
and new directions.
the conference agenda
This event is supported by the Ile-de-France
Regional Council, the French National Research Program,
the Seeing and Hearing Foundation and the European Commission.
Registrations are now closed