Promise of controversy and rarefied air at BTS Winter meeting

The British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting in London next month looks set to take delegates to new heights, as well as court some topics that its convenor says are likely to be controversial.

Critical care consultant Professor Mike Grocott, from the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, UK, will share with delegates his experiences on Mt Everest in the Moran Campbell Lecture.

He will talk about life at the limits and what he learned about pulmonary physiology (Wed 1 pm) on the highest mountain in the world.

The other named lectures also promise to be highlights, and according to BTS Science and Research Committee Chair Professor Gisli Jenkins could spark some controversy.

“The Morriston Davies Lecture will be delivered by Professor John Ioannidis [C.F. Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention at Stanford University], who will talk about data interpretation and is likely to be fairly controversial given that he has published manuscripts entitled ‘Why most research is wrong’,” he told the limbic (Thurs 12.45 pm).

He suspects the BTS Lecture on social justice and the lungs by Professor Sir Michael Marmot will also be controversial given his recent interactions with the UK Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, which included a Twitter spat over life expectancy statistics. (Fri 1 pm).

Current public health issues feature prominently in the upcoming meeting. Professor Jenkins says that within the scientific sessions they have identified pollution, obesity and ‘vaping’ as key areas for people to focus on given they are likely to be big issues for future generations.

Other session highlights from the conference include:

  • Lung health under threat, chaired by Dr Chris Barber and Dr Alex Wilkinson (Thurs 8.45 am).
  • The impact of the obesity epidemic on the lung, chaired by Dr Ari Manuel and Dr Sophie West (Fri 8.30 am).
  • Smoking and vaping, chaired by Dr Nick Hopkinson and Dr Louise Restrick (Fri 2 pm).

The NCEPOD review on NIV is likely to be important (Fri 10.45 am), Professor Jenkins believes, as is the BTS/SIGN asthma guidelines update (Wed 8.15 am).

He also flags the ‘Hot topics in home-based mechanical ventilation’ session (Thurs 8.30 pm), noting that there have been some great abstracts submitted to this session.

The Plenary Scientific symposium on Thursday (10.45 am) looks set to dazzle, showcasing the brightest and best emerging UK researchers who are likely to become future international leaders in their field.

Also looking to the future, Professor Jenkins says the BTS/BALR/BLF awards are always exciting (Wed 2 pm).

“These are the young researchers who will carry the flag as the next generation of research leaders in the UK.”

The awards are based on the highest scoring abstracts submitted to the conference and are “a window into the future of UK science,” he said.

Consultant respiratory physician, Professor Mark Woodhead, from the Manchester Royal Infirmary, will give the Presidential lecture (Wed 4.45 pm) with the intriguing title “A little flutter with the lung”.

The conference takes place 6 – 8 December at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London. You can read the full conference programme here. 

We’re very excited to be reporting from the conference for the limbic. You can also keep up to date on news from the conference on Twitter by following the hashtag #BTSWINTER2017

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