Prader-Willi Syndrome Association Tackles Never-Ending Hunger at the First International Conference on Hyperphagia, June 4-5 in Baltimore

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Hyperphagia, the extreme unsatisfied drive to consume food, is the subject of the First International Conference on Hyperphagia, taking place this June in Baltimore. Presented by the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (USA), the two-day conference is an extension of the association's PWS Scientific Conference, and will feature keynotes and discussions from world renowned scientists, including George Bray, M.D. from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Hans-Rudolf Berthoud, Ph. D., an expert in the neurobiology of appetite.

Oppressive hyperphagia plagues not just those with Prader-Willi syndrome but also those affected by such syndromes as Alstrőm, WAGR, Fragile X and Bardet-Biedl

Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (USA) (http://www.pwsausa.org) announces that the First International Conference on Hyperphagia will take place June 4 and 5 as an extension of the PWS Scientific Conference. The First International Conference on Hyperphagia (http://www.hyperphagia.org) will focus on the puzzle that is hyperphagia -- the extreme unsatisfied drive to consume food -- and will for the first time unite experts from around the world to discuss developments and unanswered questions of appetite control. Discussion will center on such areas as genetics, behavior, addiction, neuroimaging, endocrinology, animal models and metabolism. Both conferences will take place at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland.

"Oppressive hyperphagia plagues not just those with Prader-Willi syndrome but also those affected by such syndromes as Alstrőm, WAGR, Fragile X and Bardet-Biedl," says Janalee Heinemann, Director of Research and Medical Affairs, PWSA (USA).

The unique structure of the program will include representatives from the National Institutes of Health, the pharmaceutical industry, the academic world and experts from several disorders that have hyperphagia as a hallmark characteristic. Attendees will participate in discussions focusing on developing a series of recommendations for the "Best Avenues" for future research.

George Bray, M.D. from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center will be the First International Conference on Hyperphagia's keynote speaker on Thursday night, June 4. An early contributor to the science of Prader-Willi syndrome and obesity, Dr. Bray has spent his career focusing on the problems of appetite control and has written a multitude of articles on appetite control, obesity and diabetes.

The keynote address on the morning of Friday, June 5 will be delivered Hans-Rudolf Berthoud, Ph. D. Dr. Berthoud is a world renowned expert in the neurobiology of appetite, having studied and written extensively about the gut-brain interactions and the neural circuitry controlling appetite.

"Prader-Willi syndrome has been described as the Window of Opportunity for study into the perplexing problems of hunger. The study of the extreme condition in such disorders as Prader-Willi syndrome, Alstrom, WAGR, Fragile X and Bardet-Biedl will yield results applicable to the general population," says conference co-chair James Kane.

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) (http://www.pwsausa.org), a complex syndrome affecting appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function and behavior, occurs in 12,000 to 15,000 births. PWS impacts both males and females in all ethnic groups. Currently there is no cure nor any medications or procedures successful in staving off the relentless hunger affecting those with PWS. Without environmental supports and dietary restrictions, those with PWS may suffer morbid, life-threatening obesity and premature death.

"Hunger is a cornerstone in the foundation of the critical worldwide public health problem of obesity. We hope that this conference will generate new ideas for research, make new connections for collaboration among scientists and foster partnering to fund this research," says scientific co-chair Ann Scheimann, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Registration for the First International Conference on Hyperphagia is open. The conference fee is $175, plus a $25 fee for the Thursday night kickoff dinner. A late registration fee of $25 will be charged for all registrations after May 15. For more information on the conference, visit http://www.hyperphagia.org.

Registration is also open for the PWS Scientific Conference. The fee for this conference is also $175 or, individuals may register for both conferences for only $300.

PWSA (USA) is a 501(c) (3) charity that helps children and adults with PWS and their families through every stage of life. It was formed in 1975 to serve parents, professionals and other interested citizens. Hospitals, physicians and parents from all over the world consult with PWSA (USA) with medical emergencies and questions daily. A 24-hour medical emergency hotline is offered at (800) 926-4797 to advise and assist families and medical and other professionals.

For more information about The First International Conference on Hyperphagia, contact Janalee Heinemann, Director of Medical Affairs and Research for PWSA (USA) at 800-926-4797, jheinemann (at) pwsausa (dot) org or James G. Kane, Chair, Research Advocacy Team for PWSA (USA) at 410-321-9788, jgkane (at) msn (dot) com. Visit http://www.pwsausa.org for information about Prader-Willi syndrome and http://www.hyperphagia.org for information and registration for the conference.

Contact
Janalee Heinemann         
Director of Medical Affairs and Research        
PWSA (USA)             
800-926-4797    or 941-312-0400        
Jheinemann (at) pwsausa (dot) org     

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