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Young Investigators Awards - 1999

IBE/ILAE Awards and IBE/ILAE Award
Young Investigators Winners

Every two years the Scientific Advisory Committee of each International Epilepsy Congress, organised by IBE and ILAE will nominate outstanding young scientists, one for each officially selected topic, to receive this award. The award was created to stimulate young professionals to dedicate time and energy to epilepsy research in order to enhance knowledge on the disorder.This award is made possible through an educational grant from Glaxo Wellcome.

The prize consists of a document stating that the awardee has performed excellent research. The recipient will be invited to attend the International Congress where the award will be presented.

Fatiha Lahjouji, Morocco: is based at the Laboratory of the Clinical Neurophysiology in Rabat, where she and her co-workers have studied the clinical and EEG characteristics of 68 patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. In 35% of patients the myoclonic jerks preceded generalised tonic clonic seizures, in 16% of patients generalised tonic clonic seizures preceded the myoclnic jerks, in 43% they occurred at around the same time and in 6% the patients had myoclonic jerks only. Furthrmore she found, that valproate is the first choice medication in the treatment of this type of epilepsy.

Inna Midzianovska, Russia: works at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neuro-physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. She has specialised in electro-physiology and her recent work focuses on analysis of spike-and-wave rhythm in a genetic model of absence seizures (Wag/Rij rats). These studies are performed in collaboration with a laboratory in Nijmegen the Netherlands.

Pascale Mary Moore, UK: is a principal clinical neuro-psychologist working at the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neuro-surgery in the UK. Alongside her collegue Dr. Gus Baker she provides a comprehensive psychological and neuro-psychological service for people with epilepsy. In addition to being an active clinician she is also an active researcher and has published a number of important papers on the assessment of people with intractable epilepsy and with non-epileptic attack disorders.

Suzanne Mueller, Switzerland: Together with collegues from a number of institutions she has been engaged in the clinical application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and recently in the measurement of GABA in patients with epilepsy, using a 1H-NMR-Spectroscopy with specific GABA editing techniques. Measuring the baseline GABA levels and the increase of GABA as a consequence of GABAergic treatment and correlating these results with the therapeutic effect, Mueller and co-workers showed that responders to GABAergic treatment can be identified non-invasively. Responders showed a low GABA concentration in the epileptogenic region and a sleep increase under GABAergic treatment. The prediction of responders to an AED allows for a more rationale and specific therapy and is particularly important in a drug with marked side effects.

Susanna Ranta, Finland: works in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Helsinki. Together with het co-workers she tried to identify the gene underlying Early Progressive Mental Retardation (EPMR). Gene sequences were identified from the EPMR critical region on chromosome 8p using various strategies such as exon amplification, screening of cDNA libraries by hybridisation, 5i and 3iA rapid amplification of cDNA ends and data base searches for coding sequences. A missense mutation in a novel putative transmembrane gene identified from the region was found to cosegrate with the disease phenotype. The data strongly suggest that this novel gene encodes the protein whose defects underlie EPMR.

Bhaskara Rao, India: is a young neurosurgeon at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Trivandrum, Karela, India.. Together with his neurologist collegue Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, he has established the first and most active, modern epilepsy surgery programme in India. In the past five years this group has already performed 200 anteromesial temporal lobe resections, with results comparable to those obtained in industrialised countries. Dr. Rao and his colleague are the first to truly document the practicality of surgical intervention as a cost effective treatment for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy in the developing world.

Marieke Reuvekamp, The Netherlands: is a neuro-psychologist who has worked in the field of epilepsy since 1993. She is currently investigating the employment status of people with epilepsy and the relationship with epilepsy related variables. A research project on such a large scale has never been performed in the Netherlands before and is extremely important in the assessment of the problems people with epilepsy encounter when trying to find employment and the identification of the right solution to those problems.

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