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Posted on: Mar 24, 2014    Publication: Best Practice Spring 2014 print page

ESPEN 2013

Conference Report

The 35th ESPEN congress was held for the second time in Leipzig, Germany from the 31st August – 3rd September. The theme was “Tearing down barriers – nutrition brings people together”, with the aim to showcase an interesting, broad and open-minded programme, offering both updated and cutting-edge science, as well as clinical practice. imageThe conference consisted of a full scientific programme as well as a display of over 580 posters showcasing new research from across the world.

The Nutricia symposium explored integrated patient care in the role of medical nutrition and featured world renowned speakers; Professor Luc van Loon who discussed the role of dietary protein and physical activity in aging and disease. He initially outlined the age-related progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength resulting in loss of functional capacity and an increased risk of disease before going on to describe how an imbalance in skeletal muscle protein turnover (protein synthesis and degradation) underpins this process. He also described recent evidence suggesting that muscle protein synthetic response to food intake may be blunted in the elderly, which may be a key factor for the decline in skeletal muscle mass as people get older.

Professor Paul Wischmeyer then went onto to discuss the current challenges around delivering Nutrition support in ICU and how providing adequate protein (>1g/kg/day) and achieving optimal nutrition can improve clinical outcomes.

Lastly Niamh Rice presented a powerful and engaging presentation around making a business case for tackling malnutrition. Niamh discussed the key elements to a successful business case including; developing an inarguable case focusing upon the local problem, the cost, the effectiveness and the saving; getting important others to make and support your case making sure to involve experts, professional groups and patients and using the media to your advantage, and making your case compelling to the right audience.

All the presentations presented during the Nutricia symposium are available at the following link:,-espen-2013,-leipzig,-germany.

The Malnutrition Nutrition International Industry (MNI) also presented the 2013 grant of €30,000 to “Fighting the malnutrition battle:
The power of partnerships” supported by the Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (IrSPEN).
For more information visit:

Quote from an attendee:
“From a clinical aspect I think it was the Nutricia talks about the importance of protein that stood out for me. As clinical dietitians we are all aware of the importance of protein in acutely unwell patients, however I do think that sometimes if a patient is meeting their energy requirements you tend not to worry about their protein as much. These two talks re-emphasised for me the importance of ensuring the patient has adequate protein, and that it is even more important than energy at times.”
Mary Byrne (Dietitian, Mater)


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