Plenary sessions

Friday, March 27 – 17:00-19:00
Opening Ceremony and Steward Cameron Lecture Battling pseudoscience in the age of misinformation, by Tim Caulfield

Popular culture is filled with health myths, pseudoscientific noise and dangerous conspiracy theories. In this fun and provocative presentation, Professor Caulfield will debunk some of the most pernicious falsehoods and explore the cultural forces driving the rise and spread of health misinformation, including celebrity culture, social media and cognitive biases. In addition, he will provide suggestions regarding concrete steps that can (and should) be taken by both individuals and organizations to fight the spread of misinformation. 

Saturday, March 28 – 10:45–11:45
Plenary Session and Brenner/Dirks Lecture Human genome editing, ethics and global concerns, by Indira Nath

Gene editing technologies to cure human genetic diseases are being actively pursued and CRISPR Cas technologies are the latest in the tool box. The field got a great boost with the discovery of CRISPR Cas, system first discovered in bacteria and applicable to many species including man. More importantly it is reproducible, cheap and easy to use. This has led to debates on ethics of gene editing as to whether it should be limited to somatic cells only. CCR5 abrogated stem cells transplanted into a HIV subject showed safety and survived for 19 months. The current consensus is that gene editing of embryos should not be permitted. However, reports of Chinese twins born after the CCR5 gene editing of embryos led to global concerns on ethical permissions, regulation, monitoring at national and international levels.

Saturday, March 28 – 14:45–16:00
Plenary Session and Claude Amiel Lecture Global burden of disease with a great focus on the comparative disease burden from nephrological conditions, by Alan Lopez

For the past three decades, the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study has provided periodic assessments, now annual, of the amount of health loss (DALYs) worldwide, as well as for 200 countries, from over 360 diseases and injuries,  and more than 80 risk factors. This information has been widely used to inform national and global health priority setting, as well as by philanthropy and global health and development agencies such as WHO and the World Bank. This plenary talk will briefly outline the history and methods of the GBD Study, trace a number of key evolutions in the scope and methods of the Study, and present results for the leading causes of DALYs with a focus on kidney diseases and their comparative trends over the past decade. Trends in key risk factors for chronic kidney diseases will also be assessed.