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Keynote Speakers at IPSA Glasgow 2024

One keynote presentation is scheduled for each of the two days of the main scientific program at IPSA 2024 Glasgow. Find more details about the keynote presentations below and the full scientific program on

Saturday, April 27
8:15am – 9:00pm | Level 2 Auditorium

Kelton Minor, PhD (United States)
Columbia University 

Global warming and human sleep: A planetary experiment

Optimal sleep health is foundational to human development, functioning, and well-being throughout our lives. Yet, human-induced environmental changes threaten this essential pillar of health. Notably, nighttime temperatures are climbing faster than daytime temperatures in most populated regions due to global warming. For the global majority, human exposure to nighttime heat is further exacerbated by urbanization and the resultant urban heat island effect. While laboratory studies have historically shown that extreme temperatures can disrupt sleep, the real-world consequences of rising nighttime temperatures on sleep health remain underexplored.

In his keynote address, Dr. Minor will shed light on recent ecological evidence from the first global study of the effects of nighttime warming on human sleep and the findings from a new systematic review of the literature. This body of evidence indicates a clear link between higher nighttime temperatures and diminished sleep quality and quantity around the world. Research using new quasi-experimental designs further highlights that this relationship is causal in nature. The adverse effects of heat on sleep appear more pronounced during peak heat periods, among vulnerable groups, and in the hottest climates. Moreover, the current evidence points to a limited capacity for human adaptation to these warmer conditions over short to medium time horizons, highlighting the significant risk that climate change and urban heat islands pose to our sleep and, consequently, to broader aspects of human health, learning and well-being separately shown to suffer during hot weather.

Dr. Minor will also emphasize the critical gap in research concerning the impact of heat on children's sleep, a gap that is alarmingly wide given the magnitude of the global challenge at hand. He will call for an urgent increase in collaborative efforts among pediatric sleep researchers, climate scientists, and the climate impacts research community. Such transdisciplinary work is urgently needed to assess and address this "planetary experiment" at a scale commensurate with its potential threat, aiming to safeguard the sleep of both current and future generations.

Sunday, April 28
8:15am – 9:00pm | Level 2 Auditorium

Stijn Verhulst, MD, PhD (Belgium)

Antwerp University Hospital

The interaction between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea in children: A global and universal health priority

The prevalence of childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Childhood obesity should be considered as a global health problem because of its impact on the body and mind of developing children and adults and because of its high likelihood to persist in adulthood. This is critical as complications might still be reversible. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an important comorbidity in view of the bidirectional relation between obesity and OSA. Prof. Verhulst has been studying this bidirectional impact in the last 20 years and will present an overview of clinical and translational studies with a main focus on how to tackle the interplay between obesity and OSA in children.

In a first part, Dr. Verhulst will focus on clinical aspects of OSA in obesity and will zoom in on diagnostic and treatment approaches. In a second part, Dr. Verhulst will overview how OSA is also relevant for childhood obesity from a morbidity point of view. He will highlight several studies on the interplay between OSA and obesity-related complications and zoom in especially on linking mechanisms because this might result in additional treatment options for this difficult to treat disease(s). In a final part, Dr. Verhulst will also highlight if OSA could also impact weight management strategies. Throughout the entire presentation, Dr. Verhulst will emphasize that is critical to treat OSA in childhood obesity with a holistic approach and he will identify critical research and clinical knowledge gaps.

© 2024 International Pediatric Sleep Association

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