One hundred years since first Nordic congress on ear disorders

The Congress of the Nordic Association of Otolaryngology, or ENT (ear, nose and throat), is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

The Congress of the Nordic Association of Otolaryngology, or ENT (ear, nose and throat), is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Professor Anne Pitkäranta is the first female president of the congress and also the first female chairperson of the Association. She points out that the first theme of the conference is the same as at the first conference 100 years ago.

– The keynote lecture is about infections and complications in the middle ear. The same theme was discussed a hundred years ago, although the problems are quite different today.

In 1911, people commonly died of infections and complications in the middle ear. Due to the introduction of antibiotics about 60 years ago, nobody dies anymore of ear disorders.

– Rather, we tend to overtreat with antibiotics, says Pitkäranta.

The Nordic connection

According to Pitkäranta, it is easy for the Nordic countries to discuss different ways of treating patients; their medical systems are quite similar and all citizens have the opportunity to receive treatment.

We also adhere to the same ethical principles, and have efficient systems for registration.

– I think that we should cooperate more in the field of surveys. Alone, Finland and Sweden are small countries, but if we join forces to create a broader patient pool for surveys, that would benefit medical research.

Pitkäranta also feels that the Nordic countries ought to do more for the developing counties. One of the lectures is about Nordic ENT doctors working in developing countries, such as Angola and Kenya.

– In Sweden they are a little ahead of us and better aware of the situation in many developing countries. This is something we should pay more attention to.

The Association’s 31st congress will be held in Helsinki, 18–20 August. During the 100 years, only twice has it not been possible to arrange the congress as planned: in 1919 in Oslo, because of World War I, and in 1947 in Stockholm, after World War II.

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Text: Nadine Aschan
Photo: Martti Korpijaakko
17.8.2011
Translation: AAC Global
University of Helsinki, digital communications


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