32nd International Epilepsy Congress
2 - 6 September 2017
The 32nd International Epilepsy Congress (IEC) took place in Barcelona, Spain, on September 2-5, 2017. The Congress, organized jointly by ILAE and IBE, represents the most important global scientific event in 2017 dedicated to epilepsy. Over 3,200 delegates from 124 countries attended. A total of 134 speakers from 38 countries discussed ground-breaking progress in basic and clinical research, improvements in diagnostic tools, and therapeutic advances. The Congress also included over 1,000 platform/poster presentations of original data, and a rich teaching program.
The New ILAE Classification of Seizures and Epilepsies
The theme of the Presidential Symposium, traditionally the key event of the Congress, was dedicated to the new ILAE classification of seizures and epilepsies. In addition to presentations explaining in detail the new classification schemes (Ingrid Scheffer, Australia and Sameer Zuberi, UK), the session included session included a historical overview of our understanding of seizures and epilepsies over the last century (Nico Moshé, USA), and a discussion on how the classification can impact lives of people with epilepsy in different cultural contexts (Satish Jain, India). In the words of outgoing ILAE President Emilio Perucca, “It was great to have the 2017 classification of seizures and the epilepsies as the main topic of the Presidential Symposium. The way we classify seizures, epilepsies, and the terminology that we use is extremely important, not only for professionals, but also for our constituency, including patients, caregivers, and the lay public.”
New ILAE Executive Starts Four-Year Term
The ILAE Executive Committee (EC) has a four-year term. The EC that started its term at the 31st congress in Montreal in 2013 completed its mandate under the presidency of Emilio Perucca from Italy. The new Executive Committee, elected for 2017-2021 and led by new president Sam Wiebe from Canada, started its term at the General Assembly. At the Chapter Convention and at the General Assembly, the outgoing EC described some achievements of the past four years, emphasizing the introduction of the new definition of epilepsy, the new classification of epilepsies and seizures, the contribution to the World Health Organization Declaration on Epilepsy, a reduction in congress registration fees and a concomitant increase in attendance, the acquisition of the new educational journal of the League, Epileptic Disorders, the introduction of the new open access journal, Epilepsia Open, the increasing impact factor of Epilepsia, and a sound financial position. Emilio Perucca made very clear that all this was the work of the many members of the commissions and task forces which are at the heart of the operation of the ILAE.
Incoming ILAE president Sam Wiebe stated that “The goals of the ILAE are to promote knowledge, education, and research in order to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of epilepsy worldwide. To achieve these goals, I envision the development of state-of-the-art, needs-based educational programs, enhanced collaboration with international organizations working in epilepsy, use of new media to disseminate accurate and up to date information about epilepsy, supporting open science and data sharing to create new knowledge in epilepsy, and cultivating the next generation of leaders in epilepsy.”
An exciting part of the congress was the bestowing of several important awards. At the Opening Ceremony, the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Charlotte Dravet, Susan Axelrod received the Social Accomplishment Award, and 13 Ambassador for Epilepsy Awards were given. During the congress, Boris Bernhardt received the Michael Prize, Tiwalade Sobayo and Sarah Weckhuysen were awarded Epilepsia Prizes, Hiroko Ikeda received the Epileptic Disorders Educational Prize, and 78 Young Investigator Awards were given.
Young delegates: Leadership, Mentorship, and Social Event
The participants in the Leadership Development program, now in its second year, expressed their enthusiasm. The program is aimed at developing leadership skills in the next generation of ILAE leaders. The Mentorship Program, offered for the first time in Barcelona and very well received, aimed at pairing young investigators, typically graduate students or post-doctoral fellows, with an established mentor for social and professional discussion about research and career development. An Evening for Young Epileptologists, taking place at a venue with a spectacular view of Barcelona, was also a great success.
A Rich Program
The Congress had a very rich program, which is too vast to summarize here. It included main sessions on Novel technologies, Stress, Precision medicine, Epileptic encephalopathies and Seizure networks. There were numerous other sessions, several lively debates, Ask the expert sessions, Satellite symposia, as well as over 1,000 posters. The teaching program took place every morning, with 18 Teaching sessions, including several video sessions. On the last day, a session was dedicated to highlights of the most important contributions presented at the Congress.
Congress Highlights Videos
Day 1: A glimpse of preparations, welcome ceremony, and awards presentations
Day 2: Highlights from the day including the Presidential Symposium, 'A New Classification is Born', with comments from key speakers and attendees.
Day 3: Comments from key speakers and attendees
Day 4: Highlights from the day including comments from key speakers and attendees
Ambassador For Epilepsy Awards
The poster sessions were well-attended and sparked the sharing of ideas.
The Presidential Syposium on the ILAE classification of seizures and epilepsies was well-attended.
The Executive Committee met several times during the Congress.
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