On a snowy day in 1975, Allan Rechtschaffen came into the conference room at the University of Chicago Sleep Research Laboratory and told me I should join a group called the Association for the Psychophysiological Study of Sleep. He said there was an annual meeting and some other stuff that would make it worth my while. The other graduate students started to chant, “Do it! Do it!” and so, succumbing to peer pressure, I joined my first professional society. (Author’s note: I’m not sure it really happened that way. It was a long time ago. My memory for what I just had for breakfast is hazy, so you can imagine what is left of my 1975 memories. But something like that did happen. I think.) I’ve been a member ever since.
I was a postdoctoral fellow at Argonne National Laboratory and had the pleasure of working with George Sacher. At the time, he was president of the Gerontological Society of America and had spent his life working on ways to increase lifespan. He was a proponent of hormesis, the idea that moderation was the path to a longer life. Of course, some things should be off the list, like a moderate amount of murder.
I often start the day with great expectations. I’ll finish the syllabus for my upcoming Sleep and Dreams class. I’ll write a blog or two. I’ll put together a Case of the Month. I’ll clean out the closet that filled up with boxes when we moved last year and hasn’t been touched since then. I’ll brew up some potent coffee to stimulate my thinking. I’ll sit down in front of my computer. I’ll check the email. I’ll look at a few pictures of cats stumbling around on catnip. I’ll shuffle a few lecture slides around. I’m ready for a nap.
During my site visiting years, I spent a considerable amount of time on planes reading accreditation applications. One thing that always puzzled me was that many centers included high and low ranges for sleep stages as a percentage of total sleep time. Despite the fact that my site visiting hit its peak in 2010, I think these numbers usually came from the 1974 opus by Williams, Karacan and Hirsch, which appears to be out of print. Patients with inadequate Stage 3 or excessive REM were branded as abnormal. But abnormal how?
The AAST has hired SmithBucklin, the largest association management company in the world. Since then there has been a number of questions that our current, past , and dare I say future members have been asking. We have listed the top questions and answers thus far in this post.