Sunday February 17, 2013
The ASEAN Sleep Research & Competence Centre (ASRCC), which will be set up in Kuala Lumpur, aims to drive awareness and early diagnosis of sleep disorders through clinical research and training.
PHILIPS Malaysia and University of Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC) entered into a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the setting up of South East Asia’s first excellence centre for sleep disorders in Malaysia.
The centre will be housed at UMSC, and is scheduled to open its doors in July 2013. It will focus on driving awareness and early diagnosis of sleep disorders through clinical research and training.
With the aim of improving the state of health and wellbeing in the region, the ASEAN Sleep Research & Competence Centre (ASRCC) will constitute four sub-sections: Training Academy, Clinical Research Centre, Tele-medicine Centre, and Corporate Services Centre:
Training Academy: Sleep medicine training by the ASRCC will be recognised by hospitals worldwide, as it will be conducted by a global faculty and based on the global standards by the American Society of Sleep Medicine.
The training sub-section of the ASRCC aims to increase the number of trained sleep specialists in the region.
Clinical Research Centre: The ASRCC will be involved in clinical research to improve the understanding of sleep disorders from an Asian perspective. Patient-oriented product and application research will also be conducted through this sub-section.
Tele-Medicine Centre: Asia needs more trained specialists and facilities for sleep disorders, as this field of medicine that is still developing.
To overcome this, a Tele-medicine centre will be set up that will help to meet the needs of more patients across far flung areas. The hub will provide sleep consultation across ASEAN through a centralised hub for sleep reports scoring, analysis and patient management.
Corporate Services Centre: To raise awareness of sleep disorders and its link to employee productivity, the corporate services sub-section of the ASRCC will offer corporate packages for sleep disorder screening.
Sleep is the most under-diagnosed and least talked pillar of a healthy lifestyle. The estimated prevalence of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) is 24% among men and 9% among women between the ages of 30 and 60.
Increasing obesity in Asia, especially in Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore is driving higher prevalence of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), which is the most common disorder that is associated with SDB. Approximately 15.1% of Malaysia’s adult population, or 2.5 million adults, are classified as obese.
Even though OSA was clinically recognised over 30 years ago, awareness of this condition outside the field of sleep medicine has been slow to develop.
In Asia, the prevalence of OSA among middle-aged men is 4.1-7.5% and, 2.1-3.2% among middle-aged women. Besides obesity, facial bone structure is also a major contributor of OSA among Asians.
“We often forget to acknowledge the role of a good night’s sleep and its effect on our health. Research has shown that the quality and amount of sleep we have can affect our health, safety and productivity.
“The most common of sleep disorders, OSA, is also closely linked to other diseases. For example, moderate-to-severe OSA patients have a three-fold increase in the risk of hypertension and a two-fold increase in the risk of heart failure.
“As such, sleep disorders are a clear concern across different fields of medicine. I believe the upcoming ASRCC may help hospitals across the region to provide new levels of understanding and competencies in the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders,” said Prof Datuk Amin Bin Jalaludin, chief executive officer, University of Malaya Specialist Centre.
According to a recent survey by Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research on 289 bus drivers, 44.3% were found to have sleep disorders.
Road accidents are one of the significant impacts from OSA. Other sleep disorders such as insomnia, parasomnia, and narcolepsy also interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning, causing people to become less productive at work, irritable, depressed and sleepy behind the wheel while driving.
The ASRCC plans to open its doors for screening and management of OSA for public vehicle drivers and work with the government for drivers to undergo compulsory OSA screening. The ASRCC will focus on all areas of sleep disorders, including OSA, insomnia and narcolepsy.
“As a global leader in healthcare, Philips constantly seeks to find meaningful solutions and partnerships to improve the health and well-being of people. The upcoming ASRCC is a great example of a partnership that will improve the lives of patients with sleep disorders. As a result, we believe that this will help to relieve the healthcare costs on economies,” said Naeem Shahab Khan, managing director of Philips Malaysia
“We are delighted to welcome the ASRCC, the first of its kind in Asia. It’s heartening to see the fruition of our efforts to promote Kuala Lumpur as a regional hub for business, innovation and talent; in this case, a centre of excellence.
“Our city has much to offer – plenty of business opportunities for global multinational corporations as demonstrated by this partnership between Philips with UMSC, a growing economy and a pro-business government. I am confident that this centre will act as a catalyst to attract more like-minded centres and its contributions would be invaluable, offering Malaysians high value jobs and specialised training opportunities, which is in line with our Economic Transformation Programme,” said Zainal Amanshah, chief executive officer of InvestKL.