Epigraph Vol. 17 Issue 3, Fall 2015
A message from the ILAE President
As 2015 draws to a close, it is appropriate to look back at events and achievements that affected our community during the past 12 months. The year started in the most auspicious way with the approval, on February 2, of the Resolution on the Burden of Epilepsy by the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO). The Resolution was approved unanimously by the 168th World Health Assembly (WHA) on May 26, 2015. This event, which comes almost 20 years after the establishment of the Global Campaign against Epilepsy, is a true milestone made possible by the long-standing collaboration of ILAE, IBE and WHO in promoting improved epilepsy care and expanded epilepsy research (1). Above all, the Resolution represents the outcome of truly remarkable efforts made by ILAE Chapters and IBE Associations in sensitizing their governments about the unmet needs of people with epilepsy. With the WHA Resolution, our members now have a powerful tool to engage governments and health authorities into stepping up concrete actions to improve epilepsy services, promote awareness and education, and support epilepsy research.
The League would not exist without the support and dedication of thousands of epilepsy professionals worldwide. The many volunteers who contribute to our Commissions and Task Forces have been working tirelessly and produced 16 published reports over the last two years. Some of the latest include a report on the classification of status epilepticus (2), a systematic review of existing epilepsy guidelines (3), a report outlining the ILAE-approved methodology for the preparation of future epilepsy guidelines (4), and a report providing general guidance for the participation of people with epilepsy in sport activities (5).
In addition, the Seizure Type Classification Task Force has recently finalized a report on the operational classification of seizure types (6). Because of its pivotal importance, this report will undergo the approval process that applies to "official" ILAE position documents: the report will soon be placed on the League's website, input will be solicited from the entire community, and an ad hoc task force will be appointed to ensure that the comments received are evaluated and incorporated into the final version as appropriate.
A sister ILAE position document, the report by the Commission for Classification and Terminology, which refines the 2010 proposal on the classification of the epilepsies (7), already received extensive public feedback, and a roadmap involving further engagement of our community has been implemented aiming at reaching consensus on the most critical issues and publishing the final version before the end of the current term. Because of the many unique aspects of seizures in neonates, a Task Force on Neonatal Seizures has also been established to address ways by which neonatal seizures and epilepsies can be integrated into the new classification schemes. A brief update on the work being undertaken by this Task Force appears in this issue of Epigraph.
As you are surely aware, in 2013 the League expanded its publication portfolio through the acquisition of Epileptic Disorders as its educational journal. Recognizing that existing journals do not allow us to fully address the diverse needs of our constituency, we decided to launch, before the end of 2016, a new research-based open-access journal. More information about this important development will be made available in the coming months.
Publications are only one of many ways by which ILAE advances epilepsy knowledge and education. The 31st International Epilepsy Congress (IEC) took place in Istanbul in September 2015 and provided a rich educational and scientific program attended by over 2,700 delegates. Preparations for the 3rd Eastern Mediterranean Epilepsy Congress (hosted jointly with the Emirati League against Epilepsy) in Dubai, 4-5 March 2016, the 11th Asian and Oceanian Epilepsy Congress (Hong Kong, 13-16 May 2016), the 9th Latin American Congress on Epilepsy (Cancun, Mexico, 20-23 August 2016), and the 12th European Congress on Epileptology (Prague, 11-15 September 2016) are well under way.
In addition, we continue to invest a major portion of our resources into epilepsy courses, training programs, and other initiatives especially aimed at supporting young colleagues committed to epilepsy care and research. Examples of these activities featured in this issue of Epigraph include the ALADE fellowships, the reorganization and expansion of our distance education programs (VIREPA), and a highly successful initiative, spearheaded by our North American Commission at the Istanbul IEC, to mentor and promote the epilepsy leaders of tomorrow.
We recognize the value of partnering with our Chapters and with other organizations and scientific societies in activities that bring added value to our mission. Thus, we continue to work closely with IBE in promoting epilepsy awareness and in advocating for support of epilepsy research. The Joint ILAE/AES Translational Research Task Force is making important progress in producing recommendations to improve the quality and translational value of preclinical research. The League worked closely with the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) in promoting the WHA Resolution on Epilepsy, in supporting World Brain Day (which for 2015 was dedicated to epilepsy), and in finalizing a well-attended epilepsy program at the recent World Congress of Neurology in Santiago, Chile. Likewise, collaborative initiatives are ongoing with the European Academy of Neurology in relation to the organization of courses and congresses, and with the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology Societies (IFCN) in relation to the program of the 31st International Congress on Clinical Neurophysiology due to take place in Washington DC, USA, in May 2018.
I cannot close my brief summary of 2015 ILAE events without remembering two great leaders of our community who left us in recent months. Jean Aicardi, a much loved physician and scientist who mentored so many leaders in child neurology and epileptology, passed away on August 3. Hanneke de Boer, the advocacy champion who fought for decades for the rights of people with epilepsy worldwide, left us on October 12. Although these giants are no longer with us physically, they are still vividly alive in our memory and will continue to inspire our community for generations to come.
1 Covanis A, Guekht A, Li S, Secco M, Shakir R, Perucca E. From global campaign to global commitment: The World Health Assembly's Resolution on epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2015 Nov;56(11):1651-7.
2 Trinka E, Cock H, Hesdorffer D, Rossetti AO, Scheffer IE, Shinnar S, Shorvon S, Lowenstein DH. A definition and classification of status epilepticus — Report of the ILAE Task Force on Classification of Status Epilepticus. Epilepsia 2015;56:1515-23
3 Sauro KM, Wiebe S, Dunkley C, Janszky J, Kmlien E, Moshé S, Nakasato N, Pedley TA, Perucca E, Senties H, Thomas S, Wang Y, Wilmshurst J, Jetté N. The current state of epilepsy guidelines: A systematic review. Epilepsia (in press)
4 Sauro KM, Wiebe S, Perucca E, French J, Dunkley C, de Marinis A, Kirkpatrick M, Jetté N. Developing clinical practice guidelines for epilepsy: A report from the ILAE Epilepsy Guidelines Working Group. Epilepsia 2015 [Epub ahead of print]
5 Capovilla G, Kaufman KR, Perucca E, Moshé SL, Arida RM. Epilepsy, seizures, physical exercise, and sports: A report from the ILAE Task Force on Sports and Epilepsy. Epilepsia (in press)
6 Fisher RS, Cross JH, French JA, Norimichi Higurashi N, Hirsch E, Jansen F, Lagae L, Moshé SL, Peltola J, Roulet Perez E, Scheffer I, Zuberi SM. Operational classification of seizure types by the International League Against Epilepsy. Epilepsia (submitted)
7 Berg AT, Berkovic SF, Brodie MJ, Buchhalter J, Cross JH, van Emde Boas W, Engel J, French J, Glauser TA, Mathern GW, Moshé SL, Nordli D, Plouin P, Scheffer IE. Revised terminology and concepts for organization of seizures and epilepsies: Report of the ILAE Commission on Classification and Terminology, 2005-2009. Epilepsia. 2010;51:676-85.
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