34th International Epilepsy Congress
28 August - 1 September 2021
The 34th International Epilepsy Congress took place online from 28 August to 1 September 2021 and attracted participants from 107 countries. The programme comprised 110 sessions, where more than 360 speakers led lectures and discussions on diagnosis and treatment advances, new research, epilepsy surgery and social aspects of epilepsy.
The Presidential Symposium ‘The future of epilepsy care: best practices’, chaired by the ILAE President, Samuel Wiebe, and the IBE President, Martin Brodie, built on the Symposium from the previous IEC in 2019. Speakers gave insights into what we can expect for epilepsy care with discussion on telemedicine, wearables, diagnosis using patient videos, patient-reported outcome measures in telehealth and real world evidence and the patient experience. Another four Main Sessions covered a vibrant mix of topics: ‘Choosing wisely – needs and reality in patient care’, ‘Cutting edge diagnostic methods in epilepsy: seizure onset zone’, ‘Epilepsy genetics: a global perspective’ and ‘Epilepsy surgery 2021 – state-of-the-art’.
In addition, the programme offered 27 Parallel Sessions, with topics such as status epilepticus, neuroimaging, paediatric and adult epileptology, neuropsychology, basic science, genetics, surgery, drug-resistant epilepsy and treatment. The congress hosted a debate and two controversial discussions, asking do we need to record seizures to know where they are coming from?, are ASMs disease-modifying or not? and is it autoimmune encephalitis with seizures or is it autoimmune epilepsy?. Three case-based discussion sessions covered the topics of considering behavioural disorders when managing epilepsy and vice versa, surgical evaluation and using antiseizure medicines optimally. Rounding out the programme were a full-day surgery symposium, a workshop on clinical practice guideline development and implementation, the Neurobiology Symposium and a focused session on ‘Kindling epileptogenesis: beginnings and future’.
Informal Interactive Sessions were organised by topical commissions and special interest groups. These sessions addressed specialised or focused topics and included shorter (or no) lectures, with more time for questions and participation by delegates.
Winners of the ILAE Journal Prizes and the Michael Prize presented their award-winning work at the Award Symposia over two days of the congress.
The inaugural ILAE – Fred Andermann Lecture in Clinical Epileptology was presented by Simon Shorvon (United Kingdom) and his lecture ‘Does epilepsy still exist?: the changing concepts of epilepsy in the last 150 years’ was chaired by ILAE President, Samuel Wiebe, and ILAE President Elect, J Helen Cross, with François Dubeau (Canada) delivering some words about Fred Andermann to start the session.
The expanded teaching programme introduced at the previous IEC continued here. Five courses were offered: a full-day course on neuroimaging and four half-day courses, plus multiple 60-minute teaching sessions throughout the congress.
Participants could view more than 680 presentations of original data as oral presentations in Platform Sessions and as interactive posters.
The ILAE YES organised six sessions in an open and informal format, with three on career development topics and three brainstorming sessions, all of which proved very popular.
ILAE YES also conducted its peer-to-peer mentoring programme, in which experienced fellows and postdocs act as mentors to younger colleagues at the congress, and possibly beyond.
The ILAE Mentor-Mentee programme, involving the allocation of a mentor, an experienced individual in the research/clinical area in which trainee demonstrates an interest, to a trainee, took place once again. This programme has been going from strength to strength since its beginnings at the IEC in 2017 and there was even higher interest in participating this time.
The IBE Day took place on Wednesday 1 September. It consisted of 3 two-hour virtual sessions on topical issues that affect the day-to-day lives of people living with epilepsy, including making epilepsy a national health priority – intersectoral collaboration, empowering youth to raise their voices and best practices to address the psychosocial impact of epilepsy. Additionally, the IBE International Golden Light Awards were presented; the IBE Golden Light Awards recognise the contributions of people affected by epilepsy in their community and those who care for them.
Although in-person interaction is missed at a virtual congress, virtual networking events were scheduled throughout the congress, with Newcomers’ Cafes and Coffee Times hosted by members of the SOC and the leadership of the ILAE. Post-session discussions followed many sessions, allowing attendees from a session to join the faculty immediately after the session to continue the discussion on the topic.
Several awards were acknowledged and presented during the Welcome Ceremony on 28 August.
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Shichuo Li (China)
- Social Accomplishment Award: Arlette Honein (Lebanon)
- Ambassador for Epilepsy Awards:
Michael Alexa (Austria); Milan Brázdil (Czech Republic); Amy Brooks-Kayal (USA); Jorge Burneo (Canada); Dave F Clarke (USA); Edouard Hirsch (France); Arlette Honein (Lebanon); Zhen Hong (China); Yushi Inoue (Japan); Shirley Maxwell (Scotland); Markus Reuber (United Kingdom); Francesca Sofia (Italy); Nicola Specchio (Italy); Michael Sperling (USA)
- IBE International Golden Light Awards:
Praise Bessong (Cameroon); Fred Beuchi (Kenya); Bright Bwalya (Zambia); Meng-Leo Chou (Taiwan, Republic of China); Mohan Dike (Nigeria); Mohsen Fariborzi (Iran); Luisa Gatto (Brazil); Lynna Held (Germany); Camila Herzberg Cuetu (Cuba); Vinay Jani (India); Valentina Kahn (Chile); Oliver Kilmartin (Ireland); Alison Kukla (USA); Emily (Ka Yan) Kwong (Hong Kong); Cassidy Megan (Canada); Sophie Nabukenya (Uganda); Lai Siew Tim (Malaysia); Veselka Šoštarić (Croatia); Adi Vaknin-Aviram (Israel)
- Michael Prize: Katja Kobow (Germany)
- ‘Epilepsia’ Prize – Basic Science: Shruthi Iyer (USA)
- ‘Epilepsia’ Prize – Clinical Science: Christian Meisel (Germany)
- ‘Epilepsia Open’ Prize – Basic Science: Ying Yu (USA)
- ‘Epilepsia Open’ Prize – Clinical Science: Laura Parviainen (Finland)
- ‘Epileptic Disorders’ Educational Prize: James Barnett (USA)
- Harinarayan Young Neuroscientist Award: Gabriele Lignani (United Kingdom), Hyunyong Koh (USA)
Scientific and Organising Committee:
Samuel Wiebe (Canada),
Martin Brodie (Scotland),
Fabrice Bartolomei (France)
Ingmar Blümcke (Germany)
J Helen Cross (United Kingdom)
Marian Galovic (Switzerland)
Shih-Hui Lim (Singapore)
Natela Okujava (Georgia)
Cristina Ruedell Reschke (Ireland)
Mary Secco (Canada)
Graeme Shears (Australia)
Eugen Trinka (Austria)
Abstract Review Committee:
The SOC would like to extend its gratitude for the assistance of the following people with the review of the abstracts:
Amza Ali (Jamaica)
Iscia Lopes Cendes (Brazil)
The SOC also thanks all industry partners who supported the 34th International Epilepsy Congress.
Certificate of attendance
In accordance with the policy of the UEMS for CME accreditation, certificates of attendance will only be available when delegates complete the evaluation form after the congress.
Certificates will be issued via the registration system. Please log in to your registration account to access the congress evaluation form and obtain your certificate.
Thank you for attending the International Epilepsy Congress 2021.
We hope all who attended found the congress rewarding and had the opportunity to network virtually with colleagues from around the world. Thank you for your participation and active contribution.
Special acknowledgement goes to the Scientific and Organising Committee, session chairs and speakers, poster authors, Abstract Review Committee, poster tour coordinators and leaders, the team and all whose hard work and dedication made the congress possible.
We hope to see you in person at the IEC in 2023.
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