11th Asian and Oceanian Epilepsy Congress (AOEC)

Hong Kong

13 - 16 May 2016

The 11th Asian and Oceanian Epilepsy Congress was hosted by Hong Kong 13-16 May 2016. The Congress lasted for 4 days and it was attended by 1,053 delegates from 48 different countries in the Asian-Oceanian region. The opening ceremony was chaired by Dr Ada Yung, President of the Hong Kong Epilepsy Society. An opening speech was delivered by Dr Ko Wing-Man, Secretary for Food and Health Bureau, the Government of Hong Kong SAR. Dr Ko was a keen promotor and advocator of epilepsy care. He spoke about the delivery of epilepsy service in Hong Kong and the Renaming Ceremony of epilepsy undertaken in the region back in 2010.

Dr Shichuo Li and Dr Chen Hong, president(s) of the China Association Against Epilepsy, gave support to the Hong Kong Epilepsy Society on this very memorable day. The ceremony was also led by CAOA Chair Prof Byung-In Lee, ILAE President Prof Emilio Perucca, Co-chair of IBE Western Pacific Denise Chapman, and IBE President Athanasios Covanis.

It was to everyone’s delight that four Asian Oceanian Outstanding Epilepsy Achievement Awards and 10 Golden Light Awards were presented on this occasion. The ceremony was greeted with the traditional lion dances from the local region and the speakers gave the lion dancers “eye painting” which was a symbol of making alive all the spirituality in this Congress.

11th CAOA Dr. Ada Yung
Dr Ada Yung, The President of The Hong Kong Epilepsy Society, gave an opening speech on the first day of the Congress

The first day’s program started with the Chairman’s symposium which featured the topic of autoimmune encephalitis with speakers from Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, and the United Kindgom. This was followed by the Masakazu Seino Memorial lecture. We were delighted to have Prof Akio Ikeda delivering a speech on infraslow and DC shift on epilepsy treatment. The 2nd day’s lectures consisted of epilepsy and behaviour, epilepsy and comorbidities, minimally invasive epilepsy surgery, the burden of epilepsy in the Asian Oceanian region, and ketogenic diet therapy. The day’s program was punctuated by an intellectually-challenging debate on first seizure! The 3rd day’s lectures had yet more innovative sessions on antiepileptic drug therapy, the use of repurpose drugs, stereo-EEG and brain networks, gender issues, the advent of devices, and another debate on the new classification of epilepsy!

The platform sessions were well attended throughout the second and third days of the programme with eight separate sessions on adult epileptology, psychosocial issues, surgery, basic science and genetics, clinical neurophysiology and neuroimaging, treatment and epidemiology, paediatric epileptology, and status epilepticus. These were chosen from 531 abstract submissions. Two contenders received the Tadokoro award and 25 candidates also received bursary awards from AOEC to attend the conference.

11th CAOA Lion Dancers
The lion dancers celebrated the opening ceremony with Denise Chapman, Ada Yung, Emilio Perruca, Athanasios Covanis and Byung-In Lee.

One of the highlights of the 11th AOEC is the Epilepsy and Society Symposium, a series of talks dedicated to patients, family members, and support groups. The Symposium began with addresses from Dr Ko Wing-Man and Athanasios Covanis. Afterwards, there was sharing by Dr Ko and Byung-in Lee about the renaming of epilepsy in the Asian Oceanian region and the International Epilepsy Caring Day by Dr Shichuo Li. Dr Eva Fung from Hong Kong discussed the use of electronic apps on mobile phones. Prof Martin Brodie spoke on specialist nursing and Dr Derrick Chan spoke on collaborative epilepsy care. The finale to the day’s event was marked by the performance by a group called “Kids on the Block,” which featured a puppet show on epilepsy!

The resounding success of the 11th AOEC was echoed by the many participants of the Congress. It was a time and place not merely for academic exchange, but a venue for the experts, patients and family members alike to share their lives about facing epilepsy with one another.

Submitted by Ada Yung, Co-chair of Scientific Organizing Committee of 11th AOEC and Howan Leung, Co-chair of Abstract Review Committee of 11th AOEC.