The American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine has managed to attract two very prestigious medical conferences, opening up the possibility of a new tourism thrust for Antigua & Barbuda – a 25th Independence anniversary gift for the nation, said organisers.

Dr. Surendra Parmar, AUA vice president of Continuing Medical Education and professor of physiology and principal organiser of the two conferences asserted that the conferences will put Antigua & Barbuda on the worldwide education map.

“This is the first time this is happening anywhere in the Caribbean,” said Parmar.

The first conference, now in progress at the Grand Royal Antigua Hotel, is the International Symposium on recent Research Advances in Asthma Pathogenesis, began Sunday and ends tomorrow.

It is being held in conjunction with the University of Manitoba, the University of North Dakota, and Manipal University/Kasturba Medical College International Center, Manipal, India, with whom AUA has a formal alliance.

Around 80 participants from Europe, Japan, Canada, and the United States, are here for the event.

Around one in 10 people  suffers from asthma with a high prevalence in the West. Researchers are working hard to find therapeutic cures for the ailment, which continually diverts millions of dollars of medical resources to deal with acute attacks.

The conference will hold discussions around the surrounding causes of asthma, mechanisms of treatment, presentation of experiments, and new research.

A reception, hosted by the prime minister, was held Sunday evening at the Grand Royal Antiguan for participants. PM Spencer opened the conference.

Also present were Minister of Health John Maginley, Minister of Information Dr. Edmund Mansoor and Ambassador Colin Murdoch.

The second conference, the International Society for Neurochemistry’s on Avanti Polar Lipids will take place between 1 Dec., and 5 Dec., at the Jolly Beach Resort.

The conference will explore the causes of central nervous system or brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis etc. Dr. Reza Sanii, AUA Physiology Department chairman said the conference will focus more on the chemical aspect of the disease.

Over 400 participants are expected from China, India, Israel, Japan, Columbia, United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Chile, and many more.