Philips and University of Malaya to establish centre for sleep disorders

23 January 2012

South East Asia’s first excellence centre for sleep disorders will be established at the University of Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC) in collaboration with Philips Malaysia. The centre is scheduled to open in July this year.

The ASEAN Sleep Research & Competence Centre (ASRCC) will focus on driving awareness and early diagnosis of sleep disorders through clinical research, training, and a full spectrum of sleep medicine services.

The 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 recognized 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 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 centralized 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 and check-up services.

Professor Dato’ Amin Bin Jalaludin, Chief Executive Officer, University of Malaya Specialist Centre, said, “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, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, 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 ASEAN Sleep Research & Competence Centre may help hospitals across the region to provide new levels of understanding and competencies in the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders.”

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 Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Insomnia and Narcolepsy.

“The upcoming ASEAN Sleep Research & Competence Centre 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.

Sleep disorders in Asia

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 OSA, which is the most common disorder that is associated with SDB. 15.1% of Malaysia’s adult population, or 2.5 million adults, are classified as obese.

Even though OSA was clinically recognized over 30 years ago, awareness of this condition outside the field of sleep medicine has been slow to develop2. In Asia, the prevalence of OSA among middle-aged men is 4.1 to 7.5% and, 2.1 to 3.2% among middle-aged women. Besides obesity, facial bone structure is also a major contributor of OSA among Asians.


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