12th European Congress on Epileptology

Prague, The Czech Republic

11 - 15 September 2016

The 12th European Congress on Epileptology (ECE) was held September 11-15, 2016 in the very heart of Europe, and more specifically in the magical capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. The beautifully located Prague Congress Palace hosted more than 2,309 delegates from 87 countries, going far beyond Europe. The most numerous groups of participants came from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Importantly, also much more faraway countries were strongly represented in the congress, such as the Philippines, China, Japan, Republic of South Korea, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, and Australia.

Congress Chairs Meir Bialer and Milan Brázdil flank ILAE President Emilio Perucca
Congress Chairs Meir Bialer and Milan Brázdil flank ILAE President Emilio Perucca

During the five extensive congress days, Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) of European epileptology, as well as distinguished guests from all over the world presented exciting discoveries, novel fresh ideas, challenging projects and discussed many hot scientific and practical epileptological questions. The scientific program consisted of numerous scientific sessions (including Symposium of Excellence and Chairs' Symposium), platform symposia, teaching courses, interactive ECE fora, and seizure clubs, mostly ongoing in five parallel sessions. In addition, many guided poster tours, business meetings, and satellite symposia were heavily attended by delegates. Finally, there were a couple of late-breaking abstracts and one relevant special platform session included in the scientific program by the International Scientific and Organizing Committee.

The four main topics of the congress were: 1/ Neurogenesis in epilepsy; 2/ Trials and tribulations in the development of medical therapies; 3/ The changing landscape of epilepsy surgery: assessment and treatment; and 4/ Challenges in the management of epilepsy in children – systems and technology as solutions.

Three special symposia were dedicated to three local scientists who made important contributions to the development of modern Medicine and Epileptology: Jan Evangelista Purkyně, more widely known as Purkinje, Joannes Marcus Marci, Bohemian physician and scientist from the 16th century, who was the first to view complex partial seizure as an epileptic manifestation, and Johan Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics. At the end of the scientific program, the main topic chairs summarized the most challenging ideas selected from the congress in an excellent Highlights Session.

Award winners with ECE co-chairs
Award winners with ECE co-chairs

The social program included a well-attended Opening Ceremony with welcome speeches by Milan Brázdil, Emilio Perucca and Meir Bialer, and the awards ceremony (European Epileptology Award – Pavel Mareš and Federico Vigevano; European Education Award – Nana Tatishvili; Young Investigator Award – Julia Jacobs and Nicola Specchio; Epileptic Disorders Educational Prize – Ioana Mindruta see also more award details). After the inaugural lecture on Music and Epilepsy by Ivan Rektor, there was a short performance by the Black Light Theatre, introduced and “co-performed” by Petr Marusič. The evening finished with a lively Welcome Reception, which was a wonderful networking opportunity for participating delegates.

Also during the 12th ECE, EpiStop organized a successful Run for Epilepsy in Prague. An extraordinary Speakers’ Dinner in the medieval convent of St Agnes of Bohemia, organized by the Czech Chapter of ILAE, and a Beer Party organized by young epileptologists added more local flavour to the event.

Finally, amazing stable sunny weather, the unique beauties of Prague, and massive local media build-up of the congress resulted in unforgettable event for most of the delegates, and they left Prague with positive experiences, warm impressions, and a lot of inspiring ideas in their minds.

Milan Brázdil 
Meir Bialer
Co-Chairs, ECE Prague

 Speaker's Dinner, Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia