ILAE History: Introduction

This brochure has been prepared on the occasion of the ninetieth anniversary of the date of founding of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). As the ILAE was established in 1909, the ninetieth anniversary is at the same time the last anniversary in the twentieth century. The history of the ILAE and of the journal Epilepsia are closely related. The reference to the ninetieth anniversary of the date of founding is appropriate as twice a world war interrupted the proper functioning of the organization. In fact, after World War I the ILAE had to be formally restarted; during World War II the national chapters restored the international work as soon as circumstances permitted. Given these interruptions it could be argued that the organization is younger than might appear.

Epilepsia also had several interruptions. Four restarts were marked by designating later issues as belonging to the second, third and fourth series. When in 1974, without interruption the publisher was changed from Elsevier to Raven Press the indication Fourth Series was abandoned.

Unfortunately, for various reasons the archival materials of the Executive Committees have been lost. Therefore most of the history of the ILAE has been extracted from information published in Epilepsia. In various issues of Epilepsia, apart from announcements of the ILAE, reports are also published from the chapters, however, as this publication is concerned with the umbrella organization ILAE itself, the information from the chapters will only be cited if it has bearing on the theme of this book.

The composition of the executive boards, a chart of the national chapters, the subsequent constitutions, an overview of the Epilepsia issues and an overview of the congresses are presented in appendices I-V.

In a sense this account of the history is an outline. Examples used to illustrate what happened in the course of the years are the choice of the writer and not the responsibility of the present Executive Committee. The writer is conscious of the fact that the choices, in particular from the recent years in which the activities in the field covered by the ILAE have so greatly expanded, are arbitrary and often more inspired by having information at hand than by order of importance. However, hopefully this booklet will provide a framework, which may assist in producing a more balanced centennial publication, based on further research in the history of epileptology and the role of the ILAE.

Published by ILAE, 1999
Made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Janssen-Cilag and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical

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Van der Weij BV Grafische Bedrijven
Hilversum, The Netherlands