On 25 January, Almazov Centre hosted a conference on «Medicine During the Siege of Leningrad», timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the siege of Leningrad.
Thousands of lives were saved by doctors in the besieged city under extremely difficult conditions. The unique experience gained by scientists and doctors about the body's reaction to hunger, its tolerance to diseases, and the peculiarities of the course and development of diseases formed the basis of many scientific works and gave direction to the creation of new diagnostic and treatment methods.
In his opening speech, Evgeny Shlyakhto, Director General of Almazov Centre, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, stressed the importance of organizing such events to keep the memory of those days alive in the minds of the younger generation.
The conference was dedicated to the work of doctors, nurses, paramedics, orderlies and other medical workers who worked in Leningrad during almost 900 days of the siege, caring for the wounded and sick. During the siege, more than 370 medical institutions operated in the city.
The first session featured presentations on the organization of medical care in besieged Leningrad, using the work of the Leningrad Neurosurgical Institute, the Central Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the USSR People's Commissariat of Public Health and the Leningrad Children's Medical Institute as examples.
The second session was devoted to the theme of motherhood and childhood in besieged Leningrad. The participants paid particular attention to the problems of pediatrics and obstetrics at that time.
The following session was entitled «Children's doctors and scientists of besieged Leningrad – daily work and great achievements – in quotes from authors».
The most common infectious diseases in the besieged city were typhus, dysentery and infectious hepatitis, which became a real disaster for the medical staff. In the session «Infectious diseases in the besieged city», specialists recalled how their colleagues of the time fought every day for every patient.
The final session, «Intergenerational effects of health in a cohort of besieged Leningrad residents and their descendants», reported on the effects of childhood and lengthy starvation on the health of siege survivors; the long-term cardiometabolic consequences of early-life starvation in a cohort of besieged Leningrad residents; and the intergenerational effects of cardiometabolic disorders and vascular aging in a cohort of descendants of siege survivors. The results of the study of congenital and acquired DNA characteristics in the inhabitants of the besieged city were also presented.
The event was very well received. Participants included doctors, residents, young specialists, students and schoolchildren. Thanks to such events it is possible to preserve and pass on to future generations the truth about the terrible ordeals suffered by the defenders and inhabitants of the city on the Neva, and to appreciate the contribution of medical workers to the common victory.
A special part of the event was an exhibition «Salute to the Victory of Leningrad – Liberation from the Enemy Siege», organized jointly with the State Memorial Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad.