Fifth Sense’s Duncan Boak at AChemS 2016 meeting – blog post #1
I’ve had the enormous privilege of being invited to be a speaker at the 38th Annual AChemS Meeting at the Hyatt Coconut Point Hotel, Bonita Springs, 20-21st April 2016, as part of a symposium entitled ‘Anosmia – the patient, the clinic, the cure?’, organised by Sanne Boesveldt of Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
This came about after I was introduced to Steve Munger, incoming President of AChemS, in 2015. Around the same time, I was invited by Sanne to be part of the symposium she was putting together. Sanne’s symposium proposal was accepted by the AChemS committee, so here we are!
In tandem with this, you will have hopefully read about the SmellTaste2017 event that Fifth Sense is delivering in partnership with the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste (of which Steve is the Director). So it’s a great opportunity to meet Steve for the first time and his colleagues and discuss and promote our forthcoming event.
So what is AChemS? Well, it stands for the ‘Association of Chemoreception Sciences’ – an association for scientists whose work is focused on the chemical senses, or smell and taste as they are more commonly known. Their Annual Meeting is one of the world’s largest gatherings of leading experts in this area of work. It’s an opportunity for everyone to share their latest research findings and future plans in a warm, friendly environment. That last part is certainly what I’ve found since I arrived.
Fifth Sense, AChemS, Science and Research
So let me explain a bit more about why I’m here in the context of representing people with smell and taste disorders. I’m of course well-aware through my work with Fifth Sense that many of us affected by a smell or taste disorder are told by doctors that nothing can be done, in many cases without a proper consultation or examination. Whilst in many cases (my own included), there is not, at present, much that can be done to restore the sense of smell or taste after loss, there are things that people can try for themselves such as smell training. In addition to this, however, I feel that it is very important for patients to feel that there is potentially hope for the future, and that there are people who are working on our behalf.
Fifth Sense provides this to some extent, but we are a charity and are never going to be the people who make the discoveries about smell and taste that will hopefully allow future treatments to be developed. That’s where scientists, researchers and AChemS itself comes into the picture.
From the very beginning of establishing Fifth Sense I’ve worked extremely hard to make connections with people who can help our cause, not just now but also in the future. Being invited to AChemS gives me a huge opportunity to get close to the world’s leading experts on the science of smell and taste and find out what they are doing, and report back on this to Fifth Sense members.
So that’s why I’ve decided to keep a blog whilst I’m at the conference and post it on the Fifth Sense website. I hope you’ll find this useful and enjoyable, so please stay tuned and look out for further posts.