10th Asian and Oceanian Epilepsy Congress (AOEC)

Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in Singapore

7 - 10 August 2014

The 10th Asian & Oceanian Epilepsy Congress was held in Singapore August 7 - 10, 2014. The Congress was attended by 1,306 delegates from 48 countries. The programme covered a broad range of topics selected from recommendations across the region and featured eminent speakers from the region and around the world. A total of 400 abstracts were submitted from centres across Asia and Oceania and from as far as Russia and USA. The subjects ranged from cutting-edge basic science to critical community and epidemiological work.

The opening ceremony was framed by videos highlighting the uniqueness of Singapore culture and diversity. An entertaining explanation of the conference logo by the Co-chair Prof Lim Shih Hui was followed by remarks by CAOA Chair Dr Byung-In Lee, Co-Chair IBE Dr Vinod Saxena, the ILAE President, Emilio Perucca, IBE President Athanasios Covanis and IBE Treasurer Robert Cole. The Asian and Oceanian Outstanding Achievement Epilepsy Awards and the Outstanding Persons with Epilepsy Awards were handed out to recipients from across the region.

ASEPA didactic lectures led off each day, underlining the educational mission component. Two excellent symposia on neuroimaging and structural and metabolic causes of epilepsy were followed by the Chairman's session on anticonvulsant tolerance and resistance. The Seino memorial lecture was delivered by Prof Samuel Berkovic, who shared his insights into the impact and future of genetics in epilepsy.

Dr Lim Shih Hui, President of the Singapore Epilepsy Society, gave the opening address
Dr Lim Shih Hui, President of the Singapore Epilepsy Society, gave the opening address

Main sessions ranged from the burden of epilepsy and neurostimulation in epilepsy to neurophysiological markers of the epileptogenic zone. The post-main and parallel sessions covered anticonvulsant cost, side effects and generics, psychiatry and mortality in epilepsy, epilepsy surgery in Asia, epilepsy in the elderly and children, seizures and epilepsy due to inflammation and infections and prospective therapies for epilepsy.

The Tournament of the Brainwaves was engaging and pitted teams from across the region against each other in friendly rivalry. Amongst the audience, unofficial groups also vied for the correct answers. The debate sessions on relevance of AED mechanism in epilepsy treatment and epilepsy surgery in non-lesional epilepsy were cordial and spirited.

A total of 5 satellite symposia were held, ranging from MEG to newer anticonvulsants to community initiatives in developing countries in the region.

Helen Cross, Ingrid Sheffer, Samuel Wiebe and Sam Bercovic
Helen Cross, Ingrid Sheffer, Samuel Wiebe and Sam Bercovic

The Chapter Convention was well attended by member chapters as well as candidate chapters. Many business meetings were held, notably of the Commission of Asian and Oceanian Affairs, the meetings of the Western Pacific and South East Asian regions of the IBE and the ILAE committee. Sessions on research for the region and Epinet were held to strengthen research and cooperation on epilepsy in the region.

Platform sessions were of good quality and many countries were represented. The posters filled the exhibition rooms to capacity and a wide range of topics were on display. From such a field of important and quality work, it was necessary to choose recipients for the Takadoro prize, which was awarded to two platforms and two posters.

Session chairs were invited from around the world
Session chairs were invited from around the world

The Epilepsy and Society Symposium saw 190 attendees from Singapore and across the region. Recognizing that epilepsy is a condition that impacts the entire family, a family rate was introduced to facilitate attendance of the entire family unit. Topics ranged from anticonvulsants to stigma at work and school, and the truth about reflexology and stem cell therapy for epilepsy as well as heartfelt sharing from people with epilepsy and caregivers. The symposium was rounded off with a Minifair. Booths showcased seizure first aid guidance, educational games stations, cognitive and behavioural strategies in epilepsy and videos from IBE groups around the region. Fun was also to be had, with balloon animals, a lucky dip, exercise station, street artist, and back massage stations, funded by a generous grant from the Singapore Epilepsy Society and gifts from the Singapore Epilepsy Foundation. Volunteers from the Singapore General Hospital, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore Epilepsy Foundation generously donated their time and effort to make it an enriching experience for all.

Many opportunities for discussion and networking were made, friendships renewed and new acquaintances made. A highlight of the meeting was the evening of the 9th August. Delegates venturing to the quayside were treated to the fireworks display crowning Singapore's National Day celebrations.

Submitted by Derrick Chan
Co-Chair, Information Committee, CAOA

More photos from the 10th Asian & Oceanian Epilepsy Congress

Additional photos from the 10th ECE, held in Singapore from 7 – 10 August 2014