Chapter Name: Serbian League Against Epilepsy
Report By: Aleksandar J. Ristic
Summary of Activities:
Serbian League Against Epilepsy changed its leadership after the early and tragic death of late Prof. Nebojsa Jovic, past President of the Serbian League, at the end of 2018. The New Managing Board of the SLAE now consists of epileptologists that belong to a fresher generation highly motivated to continue previous activities and enhanced it even further.
1. 21st Epileptology School (ZLATIBOR SERBIA)
The Epileptology School is designed as a constant and unavoidable educational activity of the Serbian League Against Epilepsy. Late Prof. Nebojsa Jovic establishes this School, and the tradition is back to 2003. The Epileptology School's set goal is to present updated epileptological attitudes to professional audiences (neurologists and epileptologists from Serbia, Montenegro, and Republika Srpska) at equal time intervals and through professional debate. For many years, the Epileptology School has maintained a curve of knowledge in the format of a mixture of lectures, workshops, and case studies, which was of immeasurable importance, knowing that modern epileptology is a very dynamic cognitive discipline.
The new leadership of the Serbian League Against Epilepsy, based on the views and suggestions arising from the League's membership, changed the 21st Epileptology School in the format, participation in the school membership, and partly in the duration of the School itself. The League entrusted the drafting of the program framework to Professor Dragoslav Sokić, the most prominent Serbian epileptologist and President of the League Assembly.
Accordingly, with the significant efforts of the new leadership of the League in the organization, epileptology school was held in Čigota on Zlatibor from October 25 to 27, 2019. The 21st Epileptology School gathered 34 lecturers, 29 participants with case reports, and ten neurologists / epileptologists with passive participation. In that way, the most massive professional gathering within the Epileptology School ever took place.
During the two-day program, the League members had the opportunity to learn about current and updated trends, exchange professional experiences, and complete critical knowledge through thematically diverse sessions (pharmacotherapy, electroencephalography, surgical treatment of epilepsy, special epileptological topics). The 21st Epileptology School was strongly supported by young neurologists' professional participation, who significantly enriched the professional quality of the meeting with extraordinary presentations of educational cases. In addition to the desire for the knowledge presented in the lively discussion after the oral presentations, the young neurologists and members of the League also showed enviable professional expertise in creating a homogeneous educational space during the school year.
The Serbian League for the Fight against Epilepsy mainly thanks the young people neurologists Dr. Mirjana Arsenijevic and Dr. Aleksa Pejovic for selfless help to end the organization School flawlessly. The 21st Epileptology School evaluation was performed synchronously with the meeting's duration, and the response to the invitation for evaluation was very high.
The following are the evaluation results with an average grade for the given questions (the answer is 1, which means the lowest rate to 5, which means the highest rate): 1. The duration of the School as a whole was assessed with an average grade of 4.58. 2. The schedule of lectures was graded with an average of 4.49. 3. Improvement of expertise was evaluated with an average of 4.87. 4. The applicability of what was learned in everyday work was assessed with an average of 4.7. 5. The quality of the lecture hall was evaluated with an average grade of 4.67. 6. The School's overall quality as a whole was assessed with an average of 4.89. During the evaluation, membership suggestions related to future epileptological schools' organizations were collected, which will be carefully considered in the following period.
2. 9th Migrating Course on Epilepsy (MCE) – Endorsed by ILAE-Europe (VRDNIK SERBIA)
This Course is organized in memory of late Prof. Nebojsa Jovic, past President of the Serbian League and one of the initiators of the MCE. The Local Organizing Committee was formed by Aleksandar Ristic, Dragoslav Sokic, Mirjana Arsenijevic, Nikola Vojvodic, and Aleksa Pejovic.
The Course Directors were Aleksandar Ristic and Silvio Basic. The organizing committee was formed by Eugen Trinka, Meir Bialer, Alla Guekht, Silvio Basic, Aleksandar Ristic, and Dragoslav Sokic.
Students organized their own trips to the venue, and one student came by plane and at his arrival was picked by pre-arranged transfer. Faculty was picked up and delivered back to the Belgrade International Airport Nikola Tesla by pre-arranged and at times shared transfer. Three faculty members (outside Serbia) came by car.
All students and Faculty Members were given a file during the opening remarks and registration session or upon arrival, with the program's printed versions and additional pieces of information regarding their stay in the hotel. Most of the didactic material was made available to the students per the Serbian League Against Epilepsy website's link. A We Transfer file with course material and pictures taken during the course activities was created and sent to all the participants and instructors.
The students and the instructors were accommodated in the hotel Premier Aqua, Vrdnik. All Faculty Members stayed in single rooms for the period necessary to do their tutorials and lectures (an average of 3.5 nights each). All students arrived on time and remained at the Course for its duration.
The Course respected its schedule with little or no delays from the planned sessions' programs. Certificates of attendance were distributed to all of the students at the Closing Session of the Course. The faculty received a certificate as well.
The Course was based on a comprehensive educational program combining basic and clinical epileptology. There were:
- 21 Lectures
- 12 Group works (tutorials, case-oriented learning)
- 29 Students' Case Discussions
- mechanisms of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of AEDs • basic mechanisms of pharmacoresistance
- etiology, epidemiology and classification of epilepsies
- therapeutic strategies
- seizure semiology in adults, children, and infants
- diagnostic evaluation including preoperative non-invasive and invasive monitoring • differential diagnosis and co-morbidities
- therapeutic strategies and new approaches in epilepsy surgery and epileptic
- epileptic status
There were 30 students. Twenty-seven bursaries were given (14 to Serbians and 13 to students from outside Serbia). Three students came as self payers; one came from Serbia, one came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one is from North Macedonia. Students came from different geographical areas:
- Serbia: 15
- Croatia: 9
- North Macedonia: 2
- Montenegro: 2
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: 1
- Egypt: 1
We had 15 Faculty Members from Serbia and the rest of Europe. The flights were booked according to preferences initialy given, and the transfers all went out flawlessly. The local Faculty members came by car to the venue. Nine faculty members came from abroad.
The Faculty Members of the 9th Migrating Course were the following: Matthew Walker, Dana Craiu, Dragoslav Sokic, Silvio Basic, Emilija Cvetkovska, Felix von Podewils, Milan Brazdil, Aleksandar J. Ristic, Vladimir Bascarevic, Nikola Vojvodic, Galina Stevanovic, Ivana Markovic, Zeljka Petelin Gadze, Davor Sporis, Stevo Lukic. Eugen Trinka canceled his attendance, and Matthew Walker gave his planned lectures, which were previously arranged between those two faculty members.
According to a survey, this Course exceeded expectations by 54%.
3. Observership to European highly profiled epilepsy centers sponsored by the Serbian League Against Epilepsy
The Serbian League Against Epilepsy's new leadership established the Annual Grant for the observership to European highly profiled centers. The Grant includes financial support for the full coverage of the accommodation and travel in three months period. Dr. Galina Stevanovic (a member of the SLAE and child neurologist specialized in epilepsy management) received a grant for a three-month stay at University Medical Center - UMC Utrecht at Wilhelmina Children's Hospital (WKZ) in the Netherlands. In close collaboration with Prof. Kees Braun, she was exposed to routine practice in their center in the fall of 2019. This fruitful observership significantly changed the current profile of child epilepsy management in Dr. Stevanovic's epilepsy clinic.
4. Purple Day (MAR 2020)
It was supposed to be the first-ever manifestation of Purple Day in Serbia. Despite careful planning and tremendous efforts, this event was canceled due to COVID 19 pandemic.
5. Epilepsy and Pregnancy Symposium (APR 2020)
It was supposed to be the first-ever symposium with the intention to gather neurologists and OBG specialists in Serbia in the same venue. Despite careful planning and tremendous efforts, this event was canceled due to COVID 19 pandemic.
6. 22nd Epileptology School (SEP 2020)
Despite careful planning and tremendous efforts, this event was canceled due to COVID 19 pandemic.
7. Documentary about epilepsy stigma and epilepsy surgery (APR - DEC 2020)
In addition to educational activities, the Serbian League Against Epilepsy has set an ambitious goal to bring to lay and the general public in Serbia problems that patients with epilepsy have throughout their lives. More precisely, according to the knowledge and the most profound belief that the stigma and functional disability that accompanies people with epilepsy are not adequately presented in public, we intend to show this problem's reality through a documentary.
For this purpose, a synopsis was made, which will tell a patient's story (the patient will reveal his identity for the film) and present this problem in the dimension of art documentary. Namely, the concept of epilepsy is familiar to most people in our environment. Still, this notion is associated with numerous prejudices, stigmatization, and misunderstanding of the essence of people with epilepsy encounter. Our wish is that through a socially engaged film, on a concrete example of a young man experiencing his first epileptic seizure on a students excursion, let's raise the level of social awareness of epilepsy and everything people suffer from it encounter in everyday life.
The film follows the story of eighteen-year-olds from the first attack, to neurosurgery, through all the reactions of the social environment with whom he, and his family, met on this journey. In that context, the Serbian League made a contract with the production of ARCHITEL. ARHITEL production started in 1993 with the series "Images and Words of Hate" within the Right to Image and Word Foundation. The ARCHITEL production contents are derived from investigative and analytical journalism that often relies on archival material. Besides, the production works well with films with themes related to phenomena that present problems everywhere globally, but with specifics characteristics of countries in transition, such as corruption, drug addiction, terrorism, social issues, etc. Movies coming from the ARHITEL production shows are broadcast on TV stations in Serbia and the region. They have been shown at several world festivals and have been used in journalism schools and symposia across Europe.
At this moment, the documentary is in the final stages. Hundreds of minutes of the raw video material acquired during patient visits, family discussion, interviews with his teachers and friends, neurology and neurosurgery ward stay, awake craniotomy epilepsy surgery, and the early and positive surgery outcome are now close to the final documentary. The release of this documentary is planned for February 2021.
President of the Serbian League Againts Epilepsy
Aleksandar J. Ristic
COVID 19 pandemic
To organize all planned events scheduled for 2020
Officer Election Date: Dec 2022
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