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Allergy School in Athens

The EAACI-GA2LEN Allergy Summer School “Allergy at Different Systems”, took place in Athens, on June 25-28, 2010. This was the 5th such School taking place under the blue sunny sky of Greece, organized by the Allergy Department of the Athens University, a GA2LEN centre, under the auspices of EAACI.
The classical recipe of intense science and social interaction worked perfectly once more, with over 100 participants and 17 faculty members, from 13 countries.  The school was financially supported by unrestricted educational grants by the industry. Both EAACI and GA2LEN were actively promoted.
Within four days distinguished scientists and physicians actively interacted with the participants and discussed burning issues on allergies of different systems.
The Scientific program comprised of 7 sessions dedicated to individual systems as well as to allergy as a systemic disease. It started on June 25th, with an overview on the immune defects and the system interactions in allergy, followed by presentations on the systemic inflammation in asthma and the gene-environmental interactions in the development of atopy.
In the following days, lectures were devoted to each system individually, including the upper and lower airways, the skin, the eye and the gut. Guest speakers from Europe, the U.S. and Australia presented information about pathophysiology, natural history, diagnosis of rhinitis, atopic eczema, allergic conjunctivitis and asthma.  New pertinent information was also provided regarding current treatment of allergic diseases. The discrepancy between an increasing number of allergic phenotypes and the available therapeutic options were underlined and led to an interrelated discussion between participants at the conclusion of the presentations.
The attendees were also very appreciative of the exceptional Social Program which included the sightseeing of Greece's most famous temple, the Parthenon, located on Acropolis hill, as well as the New Acropolis Museum which included an informative guided tour.
Participants also enjoyed Mediterranean cuisine, drinks on the bay, not to mention the dancing to the rhythms of traditional Greek live music at a restaurant in Plaka.
An evaluation form was completed by the participants and the results were very reassuring. Between 82% and 97% of the participants found different elements of the School to be either very good or excellent. The participants were also asked “Would you come again to an EAACI-GA2LEN Summer School?”  The answer to that was 100% “YES”. Around half of the participants were not yet EAACI members; of these 73% stated they consider joining!