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International Director of Meetings Report

Richard Holmes

The International Director of Meetings and the International Epilepsy’s Congress Secretariat team continue to provide planning support for all aspects of the International and Regional Epilepsy Congresses. This involves all organisational tasks such as site inspections, venue selection reports, website development, registration and abstract handling, congress promotion, logistics, sponsorship, speakers’arrangements and administrative back up for all matters related to the Scientific Programme.

International Epilepsy Congresses (ILAE/IBE)

The 25th International Epilepsy Congress took place in Lisbon in from the 12th-16th October 2003; 2,982 delegates from over 80 countries attended meeting. The congress also boasted 182 speakers from more than 30 countries represented in the main scientific programme. Seven Main Topics were incorporated into the programme for the meeting covering both the social and the medical spheres.

Lisbon was also the first ILAE/IBE meeting to offer the 'Congress Attendance Award', a bursary fund dedicated to assisting delegates from developing regions to attend the congress. The Congress Attendance Award (CAA) and Young Investigators Award schemes were successful in helping 210 delegates attend the 25th International Epilepsy Congress in Lisbon. Without support from the congress, most of these delegates would not have been in a position to attend the meeting.

A full evaluation system was implemented during the Lisbon congress. Of the delegates who completed the congress evaluation form, 31% stated that Lisbon was the first ILAE/IBE congress that they had attended; a further 52% had attended between 1 and 5 ILAE/IBE Congresses, 86% of respondents rated the congress overall as Good, Very Good or Excellent and 70% stated that they would attend another ILAE/IBE Epilepsy Congress based on their experience in Lisbon.

Plans for the 26th International Epilepsy Congress, which will take place in Paris from the 28th August-1st September 2005, are now in the final stages. The Project Manager for this meeting, Soazig Daniel, is working closely with the Scientific Advisory Committee on the scientific programming and scheduling for the meeting. The meeting will incorporate 7 Main Topics: Sex, Hormones and Pregnancy; Genes and Syndromes; Drug Resistance, Mortality and Surgical Treatment; Seizures and the Developing Brain; Depression, Anxiety, and Psychosis; Cross Cultural Aspects of Epilepsy Care; Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders and is expected to provide a wide-ranging and varied programme with interest for Neurologists and Epileptologists from all regions. There will be a total of more than 250 speakers from all over the world participating in the scientific programme. The congress received a record 1,429 abstracts for platform and poster presentations, of which 1,370 will presented during the meeting. Registration figures at the time of publication are very encouraging as we approach the early registration deadline and it is expected that the congress will attract a high attendance in this ever popular venue.

European Congresses on Epileptology

The 6th European Congress on Epileptology took place in Vienna from 30th May-3rd June 2004. The meeting attracted 3,408 delegates and has received much acclaim in terms of the organization of the meeting and the scientific quality of the programming throughout the meeting. A full 5 days of programming was scheduled, with Teaching Sessions, Special Symposia, Main Sessions and a comprehensive programme of Discussion Groups, Platform Sessions and Poster Presentations adding to the overall composition of the meeting. The IDM Office would like to pay special tribute to Christoph Baumgartner, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee, other members of the Committee and the members of the Commission on European Affairs for their constant hard work in the construction of the Scientific Programme and on-going support to the Congress Secretariat in the co-ordination of congress arrangements.

Plans are already underway for the 7th European Congress on Epileptology, which will take place in Helsinki from 2nd-6th July 2006.

Regional ILAE Congresses

The 3rd Latin American Epilepsy Congress, the first regional meeting to be coordinated by the IDM office, was held in Mexico City from 2nd-5th July 2004. The final number of registered delegates for the meeting was 504, with 311 from Mexico and 157 from the other regions of Latin America.

The website for the congress incorporated an on-line abstract submission for the first time for a Latin American Epilepsy Congress. A total of 117 abstracts were submitted and 112 were accepted for poster or platform presentation. Twenty-three travel bursaries were granted for the congress based on the quality of abstracts received from delegates under the age of 35 years.

The congress was held over four days, the first day being dedicated to a meeting for people with epilepsy and their families and a Neurobiology Symposium entitled ‘Neuroplasticity and Epilepsy’. The remaining three days began with breakfast seminars given by Martin Brodie (Scotland), Andre Palmini (Brasil) and Natalio Fejerman (Argentina). There were two plenary sessions each morning comprising the following topics: Epidemiology, Prevention, Genetic Syndromes, Pharmacogenetics & Pharmacoresistance, Clinical Consequences, Social & Economic Consequences.

Plans are underway for the 4th Latin American Epilepsy Congress which will be held in Guatemala in September 2006.

The 5th Asian & Oceanian Epilepsy Congress took place in the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, from 28th-31st August 2004. The main topics selected for the Plenary Sessions were chosen with particular reference to regional topics: Prevention of Epilepsy - C.T. Tan (Malaysia) and Pongsakdi Visudhiphan (Thailand); Treatment of Epilepsy with Limited Resources - Shih-Hui Lim (Singapore) and Somchai Towanabut (Thailand); Symptomatic Epilepsies and Epileptic Syndromes in Asia - Kazuichi Yagi (Japan) and Surang Chiemchanya (Thailand). In the parallel sessions such topics as pediatric myoclonic epilepsies, surgery, the elderly, women, neurobiology and Asian and Oceanian literature were featured, along with social issues such as reducing prejudice, influencing government policy and the global campaign against epilepsy.

Two hundred and ten abstracts were submitted for review out of which 33 were selected for platform presentations and 169 for presentation at poster sessions. Twenty five Travel Bursaries were awarded to candidates. In addition, there were 4 awards for the Takadoro Best Paper Awards with 1st and 2nd prize for the Poster and Platform presentations. The congress also supported 10 doctors to attend the ILAE/CAOA Chapter Convention and the 5th AOEC from countries that would otherwise not have the budget to send representatives.

The congress attracted 1,148 delegates from 41 countries, an unprecedented attendance for an Asian & Oceanian Epilepsy Congress. This was also the first of the Asian & Oceanian congresses to return a surplus, which will help towards the bursary fund for the next congress.

The 6th Asian & Oceanian Epilepsy Congress is scheduled to take place in Bali, Indonesia from
20th-23rd May 2006.

 

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