Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Empower Yourself at the 9th Annual Sjogren's Conference!!

It's spring almost everywhere and time for the National Conference held by the Sjogren's Society of Canada.  "Empower Yourself" is the name of the conference. We'll be exploring current findings along with the "elephants in the room" to help you manage better. Presentations on new topics of Fatigue and Intimacy and Sexuality in Sjogren's will be discussed

Our Spring Crocuses are not up yet.

There is a great deal of evidence that suggests that patient knowledge, skill and confidence with managing chronic disease is a good indicator of better outcomes.

Lately I've seen Sjogren's Syndrome spelled many different ways: Sourjons, Soujgrens,Sjorgen's and Sojourns, all by different people who suspected this was a diagnosis that they would be adding to their other autoimmune disease(s). You can only imagine how difficult their searches for accurate information are going to be.

The upcoming National Sjogren's Conference will be a great way for both patients and health care professionals to learn more reliable facts. All you need to do to attend is register and come to the Delta London Armouries Hotel in London, Ontario on May 2. Health care professionals who attend are eligible for continuing education credits.

I am planning to take notes and post what I learn as I have in the past. Our conference has a distinctive special feature. For one hour the speakers and other volunteer heath professionals from Sjogren's related fields will host round table talks where attendees have a chance to ask personally relevant questions.  It's great to have that opportunity and also interesting to hear about the problems others face. Sometimes they match your problems.

Here's a quick overview of the speakers and their topics.

Dr. Arthur Bookman, the co-ordinator of the Multidisciplinary Sjogren's Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital and co-chair of the Sjogren's Canada Medical Advisory Board will start the program with "An Overview of Sjogren's Syndrome." He will tell us how it is diagnosed, the major manifestations and the impact it has on a patient's quality of life.

The next presentation is from Dr. Rookya Mather. She is the Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Ivey Eye Institute at Western University. Her topic is Understanding and Managing Dry Eye Disease and she'll be helping us to understand Dry Eye and how this affects those who live with it and have to manage it every day. Many of her patients have complex ocular surface problems.

We are excited to see Dr. Ava Wu at our conference for the first time ever. She is a Professor and researcher in the Department of Orofacial Services and has seen thousands of patients at the Sjogren's Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco where she is the Director.   Lately, she is also the co-author (with Dr. Troy E. Daniels, DDS, MS) of Chapter 16, "The Dry Mouth" in the newest "The Sjogren's Book" - Fourth Edition.  She sees patients as part of the International Sjogren's Syndrome Registry (International Collaborative Clinical Alliance (SICCA))

This year Dr. Arthur Bookman has added a new topic - "Fatigue and Sjogren's Syndrome"  This is one of the most disabling features of Sjogren's Syndrome" He will explore the possible causes, ways to minimize fatigue and promising new medications.

In comments made over the years members have indicated a wish to hear more about one of those topics that is usually kept in the closet. I have brought it up a few times but most Doctors seem to be uncomfortable with it and do not offer much advice. Since intimacy and all it implies is so crucial to maintaining relationships we will be happy to hear Iris Zink, a Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner and President Elect of the of the Rheumatology Nurses Society speak on the topic of "Intimacy, Sexuality and Sjogrens's Syndrome."

"What's New In Dry Eye Products?" This talk by C. Lisa Prokopich, OD, MSc, Optometrist and Head of the Ocular Health Clinic at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science will inform the audience of recent advances in pharmaceuticals and products to treat dry eye.

Glad to say my eye is never this red

After we hear from Dr. Prokopich the round table discussions occur. 

Our next speaker is Dr. Rami Abo-Shasha. His topic is "Corneal Neuralgia in Sjogren's Syndrome, A Brief Overview." I think we will all learn something new from Dr. Abo-Shasha. This is a problem that I was not previously aware of despite years with Sjogren's. It was also daunting to learn that this is not easily recognized by many doctors, so patients can spend a lot of time looking for a diagnosis.

Dryness of the mucous membranes is a hallmark of Sjogren's Syndrome

The final speaker of the day is Dr. Leslie Laing, "Saying "Treats" and Other Mouth-Watering Suggestions" who will discuss research findings on the oral aspects of Sjogren's including these areas: oroofacial altered sensation; the effects of the disorder on the quality of life; the outcome of usage of various oral moisturizers and non traditional products such as green tea, licorice root, xylitol,and virgin coconut oil. 

This is the 9th Annual Conference and is for patients and for health care professionals.  You can register at the Sjogren's Society of Canada website

Physician Accredited Conference

The Sjogren’s Society of Canada is pleased to announce that the 2015 National Conference is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  This activity was approved by the Canadian Rheumatology Association.      7 M.O.C credits.


The conference is a CE for dentists, hygienists and healthcare professionals – PACE accredited, 7 CE credits.