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Brief Summary of the 1st APSAAR Congress

Sungwon Roh, M.D., PhD.
Member of the local organizing committee

The 1st Congress of APSAAR was held at COEX conference center, Seoul, Korea from November 12 to 14. About 200 participants registered at the congress, 129 from Korea, 21 from Japan, 18 from United States, 9 from Thailand, 4 from Taiwan, 3 from Australia, 3 from China, 2 from India, 2 from Malaysia, and 2 from Denmark who are the representative researchers from each country. All the participants had the valuable time for scientific exchange. Symposia of the congress covered wide range of addiction research, from basic to clinical field, including biological aspects, such as organ damage, bridging structure and function of alcoholic brain, alcohol and depression, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, genetics, pharmacotherapy, and psychosocial aspects, such as cultural differences in alcohol consumption, epidemiology, underage drinking, and rehabilitation. In addition, symposia also included diverse areas of addiction research, that is, other substances such as nicotine, heroin, and methamphetamine as well as behavioral addiction such as pathological gambling and internet addiction. This congress provided experts of various fields with state-of-the-art knowledge. The APSAAR Seoul Congress was organized by not only APSAAR but also Korean Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (KAAP), Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Korean Research Foundation for Addiction. Despite the global economic recess, the congress was sponsored by many organizations including National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), USA, Japanese Society of Psychiatric Research on Alcohol, Lundbeck, Whanin Pharmacy, Eulji University, Pfizer, Alcohol Project Supporting Committee of the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, Korea, and so on.

In the opening ceremony, an opening address was made by APSAAR president, Prof. Dongyul Oh. The chair of the 1st APSAAR Congress, Prof. Ihn-Geun Choi gave a welcome address. The following welcome speeches were presented by Prof. Toshikazu Saito, ISBRA president and the chairman of the National Assembly, Korea, Mr. Hyung Oh Kim. The welcome reception was held in the first evening, November 12. In the reception, Welcome remarks were delivered by president of Korean Neuropsychiatric Association, Prof. Byung-Hoon Oh, vice-chairman of the National Assembly, Korea, Mr. Yoonsung Lee, and director of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Jonggu Lee. The organizing committee hosted the official gala dinner in a Korean traditional restaurant on November 13. There were 3 plenary sessions. On the first day, Prof. Ting-Kai Li from Duke University gave a plenary lecture on "Alcohol Research Now and the Future", on the second day Prof. Victor Hesselbrock from Connecticut University delivered a plenary lecture about "Update on the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA)", and Prof. Ihn-Geun Choi, president of KAAP, gave a plenary lecture about "Genetics of Addiction Disorders in Korean Population: Does Ethnicity Really Matter?". Nineteen symposia were held and included 71 presentations. Furthermore, there were 63 poster presentations and a special lecture about "Joint Researches and Funding from NIAAA".

The APSAAR International Congress is supposed to be held every other year from 2009. The second APSAAR Congress is scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand in November, 2011. The board meeting of APSAAR decided to have the third meeting in Shanghai, China in 2013.

In conclusion, the first APSAAR Congress gave the participants the opportunity to expand precious knowledge and promote excellence in research on alcohol, addiction and related phenomena in Asia-Pacific region.

Fig1. Plenary lecture by prof. Ting-Kai Li (Day 1)

Fig2. Profs. Ihn-Geun Choi (Congress chair), Dongyul Oh (APSAAR president), Ting-Kai Li (APSAAR honorary member), and Toshikazu Saito (ISBRA President) (from left) at the welcome reception (Day 1)

Fig3. Photograph after plenary lecture by prof. Victor Hesselbrock (Day 2)

Fig4. Gala dinner (Day2)