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Commission on European Affairs (CEA)

Aims
To stimulate and coordinate all aspects of epileptology across Europe, including organizing the European Congress on Epileptology.

  1. Congresses: European Congress on Epileptology
  2. Education: residential course (ex Eilat), summer schools, migrating course, regional courses (Baltic)
  3. Collaboration with EUREPA: funding of some of its activities
  4. Improvement of care: relationships with EMEA, AED availability, orphan drug program for rare epileptic diseases, integrated program on epilepsy surgery
  5. Research: support to collaborative projects, of European added-value; political action in favor of  epilepsy research at the EU level
  6. Communication: ILAE, chapters (in collaboration with the European Advisory Council)

Commission activities from 1 January 2006 until 31 May 2007
The major event in 2006 was the very successful European Congress in Helsinki with 3244 participants and we would like to congratulate our Finnish colleagues, Matti Sillanpaa and Reetta Kalviainen, as well as the International Director of Meetings, for their splendid organization. The new initiative, Post-Congress Satellite in St Petersburg, with more than 600 participants, mostly from Russia and Eastern-European countries, was also very successful.

The extensive preparations for the 8th European Congress in Berlin, 2008, (under the auspices of the German and Israeli Chapters of ILAE) are now in progress.

The hosting country for the 9th European Congress in 2010 will be Greece, whilst Turkey was the runner-up of the selection process.

The Chapter Convention in Helsinki brought together representatives of 36 chapters and turned out to be really interesting and productive. The minutes, prepared by EAC Secretary Svein Johannessen are also available at the ILAE Web site. During the Plenary Session the activities of the CEA and EAC were presented, but, most importantly, discussion groups were initiated on the following topics:

  1. Providing comprehensive epileptology in countries with limited resources
  2. Improving educational efforts so as to improve the provision of basic epilepsy care
  3. Development of pediatric epilepsy care in Europe
  4. AED Generics in the treatment of epilepsy

We would like to thank all the chapter representatives and speakers for their contributions to keep these discussion groups active for the future, and, accordingly, we are planning a Convention of European Chapters during the 27th International Epilepsy Congress in Singapore.

Education is a major commitment, in close partnership with EUREPA.

There are now several series of Educational Courses:

  • Eilat course (tentatively biannual) on Pharmacological treatment of epilepsy, with a successful start in 2005 and next event on 2-9 September 2007.
  • A “Migrating Course” will take place once a year in a different European country. It is clinically-oriented, targeted to specialists at the second and third levels of epilepsy care, and focused on comprehensive aspects of diagnosis and treatment; it will also include basic sciences and comprehensive care and rehabilitation of children and adults with epilepsy. The first course will be organized in Serbia (27 May - 3 June 2007).
  • Baltic Sea Summer School On Epilepsy, an initiative of the Scandinavian Chapters, will be launched in 2007 (Lithuania, 19-23 August) and will thereafter take place in turn in the countries bordering the Baltic Sea. The target is junior medical doctors (<40 yrs) who regularly care for patients with epilepsy, consider subspecialization in epileptology, or have taken their first steps as epileptologists.
  • The CEA is a co-sponsor of the well established San Servolo International Course (23 July-2 August, 2007) and supports financially many other EUREPA activities.

An Integrated Program for Epilepsy Surgery, coordinated by Cigdem Ozkara, (also CEA Secretary) has been launched recently, targeting neurologists and neurosurgeons, mainly from central/eastern Europe, providing different levels of training to enable them to initiate or improve their own program.

As a general objective, we would like to create or support new initiatives, and to reinforce existing projects that are of “added European value,” like:

  • Collaborative research enterprises (EURAP on pregnancy registries, FONDE on newly diagnosed epilepsy, surveys on mortality, etc.)
  • Collaboration with other European societies (EFNS, neuropediatric societies)
  • Improving the lines of communication with the EMEA (European Drug Agency), in particular on guidelines for the development of new AEDs, on Orphan Drug Programs, and initiating collaboration with the EU Rare Disease Task Force.
  • Contributing to the optimization of care, for example in the domain of Status Epilepticus, by supporting the London Colloquium (12-14 April 2007), that will include the elaboration of a European guideline on the treatment of Status Epilepticus.
  • Shaping a political action on the support of epilepsy research in the EU, in order to ensure that epilepsy research topics are well included in the next EU calls for research grants (Framework program 7), this in continuation of the recent EPICURE project, led by Giuliano Avanzini, and successfully funded.

Accomplishments (2006)
ECE in Helsinki Satellite in St Petersburg

Recommendations for Future Work

  • Shaping a political action in favor of epilepsy research at the EU level
  • Harmonizing a European policy regarding generic AEDs
  • Redefining the relationships with EUREPA
 

Michel Baulac
Chair, Commission on European Affairs

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