The journal Epilepsia first appeared in 1909 under the patronage of
a number of distinguished early epileptologists, including John
Hughlings Jackson, whose work in the mid to late 19th century contributed
greatly to the birth of modern epileptology. Epilepsy was already
a burgeoning area of clinical and research activity at the turn
of the century, particularly in Europe and North America, and in
September of 1909, the International League Against Epilepsy was
formed at a meeting in Budapest, Hungary, with membership derived
from eight European countries, the United States, and Algeria. This
history traces the roots of the League, and its journal Epilepsia,
and chronicles its development up until the present. Despite interruptions
during two world wars, our predecessors have carried out an effective
campaign on behalf of those with epilepsy through meetings, publications,
and other good works. Advancement of knowledge, encouragement of
research, promotion of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and advocacy
were always the primary objectives. Concern for involvement of the
layperson occurred early in the development of the League, and evolved
into the creation of its sister organization, the International
Bureau for Epilepsy. The partnership between these two bodies is
characterized by a closeness and productivity that may be unique
among international health-oriented organizations.
The League owes its archivist, Professor Harry Meinardi, a debt
of gratitude for searching out old records, some of which are still
missing, and piecing them together to create this valuable document.
We ride on the shoulders of those who went before us, and it is
important for us to know who they were. We also are only able to
understand where we are and where we are going through the knowledge
of where we have been. Consequently, this history is most welcome
reading for all of us involved in ILAE, and also IBE.
Los Angeles, July 1999
Jerome Engel, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
The Second Period
Post-World War II