Chapter Spotlight: Italy
LICE website: www.lice.it
The Italian League Against Epilepsy is a scientific society with the statutory objective of contributing to the treatment and assistance of patients with epilepsy and to their integration into society at large, by promoting and pursuing all kinds of activities designed to achieve those aims.
The League was set up for the first time in Milan in 1955 during the meeting called by Mario Gozzano and Eugenio Medea, who became President and Vice President respectively, while Raffaello Vizioli was appointed Secretary. After a temporary loss of vigour and pace, the Italian League Against Epilepsy was founded anew in 1972, with Lugaresi as President and Canger as Secretary.
From then onward, Lugaresi was succeeded by Angeleri, Tassinari, Mutani, Avanzini, Canger, Dalla Bernardina, Munari, Vigevano, Perucca, Tinuper, Beghi, Michelucci and Capovilla, and under each developed into one of the most dynamic, close-knit Italian scientific bodies, consistently working to implement numerous activities aimed at responding to the League's institutional aims. The LICE is currently composed of 800 Members, neurologists, child neuropsychiatrists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, etc., who operate throughout Italy, dealing mainly or exclusively with the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.
LICE strives to:
- promote research into the causes of and treatments for epilepsy
- collect and process statistical data and information on a national and regional basis
- promote and encourage the setting up of Centres for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with epilepsy
- establish and maintain relations with the ILAE and with national Associations and Entities dealing with the treatment and assistance of people with epilepsy
- organise congresses, scientific and informative conferences on the medical and social aspects of the disease, and organise national scientific meetings at least once a year
- establish and maintain relations with the pertinent national and regional bodies to promote legislation and measures to help people with epilepsy
- collect contributions and donations and organise fundraising for the purpose of achieving the statutory objectives
The contribution of Italian epileptologists to the advancement of the scientific knowledge in epilepsy is substantial. A MEDLINE search of the articles on epilepsy published by Italian scientists showed more than 4,000 titles. Italian researchers are actively involved in several commissions of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).
LICE is composed of an Executive Council, renewed every three years and comprising, according to the new Statute, the President, Vice President, Past President, Secretary, Treaurer, seven Councillors, three Probiviri, and one external Auditor.
President: Oriano Mecarelli; VicePresident: Laura Tassi; Past President: Giuseppe Capovilla; Secretary: Carlo Andrea Galimberti; Treasurer: Angela La Neve; Councillors: Vincenzo Belcastro, Francesca Bisulli, Giuseppe d’Orsi, Stefano Meletti, Monica Lodi, Nicola Specchio, Pasquale Striano; Probiviri: Roberto Michelucci, Paolo Tinuper, Federico Vigevano
Organisation of LICE activities: Commission and Study Groups
- Genetic aspects
- Video-EEG Library
- Neurosurgery of Epilepsy
- New Syndromes
- Experimental Epilepsy
- Promotional and Educational Activities
- Neonatal Convulsions
- Epilepsy and Dietary Therapy
- Epilepsy and Headache
- Epilepsy and Childhood
- Epilepsy and Woman
- Epilepsy and Cerebral Tumours
- Epilepsy in the Elderly
- Epilepsy and Autoimmunity
- Narrative Medicine
- Epilepsy and Neuropsychology
Guidelines & Recommendations
The activities of the Commissions and Study Groups have led to the drafting of Guidelines, some of which have been published in “Supplementi di Epilepsia“ (2006, 2009 and 2013) entirely devoted to the work of the Italian chapter of ILAE. They are available on the LICE site, and listed below:
- Diagnosis and treatment of the first epileptic seizure: guidelines of the Italian League against Epilepsy. Beghi E et al., Epilepsia. 2006; 47 Suppl 5:2-8
- Treatment of status epilepticus in adults: guidelines of the Italian League against Epilepsy. (Minicucci F et al. Epilepsia. 2006; 47 Suppl 5:9-15)
- Recommendations of the Italian League against Epilepsy working group on generic products of antiepileptic drugs. (Perucca E et al. Epilepsia. 2006; 47 Suppl 5:16-20)
- Italian consensus conference on epilepsy and pregnancy, labor and puerperium. (Aguglia U et al. Epilepsia. 2009 Jan;50 Suppl 1:7-23)
- Recommendations for the management of “febrile seizures“: ad hoc Task Force of LICE Guidelines Commission. (Capovilla G et al. Epilepsia. 2009 Jan;50 Suppl 1:2-6).
- Epilepsy and vaccinations: Italian guidelines ( Pruna D et al. Epilepsia. 2013 Oct;54 Suppl 7:13-22)
- Treatment of convulsive status epilepticus in childhood: recommendations of the Italian League Against Epilepsy (Capovilla G et al Epilepsia. 2013 Oct;54 Suppl 7:23-34)
- Withdrawal of antiepileptic drugs: guidelines of the Italian League Against Epilepsy. (Beghi E et al, Epilepsia. 2013 Oct;54 Suppl 7:2-12)
- Health Technology Assessment report on the presurgical evaluation and surgical treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. (Marras CE et al. Commission on Epilepsy Surgery of the Italian League Against Epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2013 Oct;54 Suppl 7:49-58)
- Overview of presurgical assessment and surgical treatment of epilepsy from the Italian League Against Epilepsy. (Guerrini R et al.; Commission for Epilepsy Surgery of the Italian League Against Epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2013 Oct; 54 Suppl 7:35-48)
Congress and Multi-Site Meeting
The Italian chapter of the ILAE is very active, and each year organises several scientific epilepsy meetings at local, regional, and national levels.
The National Epilepsy Congress is organised on an annual basis in June, and is attended by no fewer than 450 neurologists, child neurologists, and neurosurgeons, many of them younger than 40 years of age.
The Congress deals with a different topic each year, but there is ample time set aside for free discussion of other issues. During the Congress, each Commission and Study Group reports on the progress of the Projects underway and puts forwards proposals for new research.
The 2016 LICE Congress will be held in Rome (8-10 June).
The Multi-Site Meeting on Epileptology is held every year in January, at La Sapienza University of Rome, with some 350 epileptologists taking part, most of them young. During the event, discussion takes place on over 50 clinical cases that are challenging to diagnose and treat. The discussions are divided into specific sessions: genetic aspects, children and adult controversies; particular aspects of neurophysiological and neuroimaging, neurosurgery.
Activities of the Regional Sections
The country is divided up into regions. Every three years, in each Region, Members elect a Coordinator (Sezioni Regionali), who sees to the organisation of local meetings and takes care of educational and promotional activities. At the end of the year, the Coordinators report to the Executive Council on the activities organised in the areas they are responsible for.
Recognition of Centres
Throughout Italy, the LICE Executive Council recognises Centres for the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy, which it categorises into three levels, according to the staff and facilities available and the level of care and assistance provided. In the various Italian Regions, LICE recognises over 50 Centres that comply with the established criteria.
Promotional and Educational Activities
The Commission for Promotional and Educational Activities organises and promotes national campaigns aimed at raising awareness of epilepsy and the important psychological and social aspects related to the disease, among both the general population and specific groups (i.e. teachers).
LICE has drawn up a Guide to Epilepsy (in Italian), which is both distributed in paper format and freely available for consultation here and on the chapter website.
In 2012 a storybook was published, written by the mother of a child with epilepsy and aimed at explaining the condition in reassuring terms for children aged between five and eight.
2013 saw the publication of the book “A volte non abito qui“, a collection of short stories and poems written by adults with epilepsy. This book is the first in a series of projects LICE intends to promote within the framework of “Narrative Medicine in Epileptology“.
In recent years, the Commission for Promotional and Educational Activities has also published a number of papers illustrating the findings of nationwide surveys:
- Mecarelli O et al. Past and present public knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy in Italy.
Epilepsy Behav. 2010; 18:110-5.
- Mecarelli O. et al. Knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy among primary and secondary schoolteachers in Italy. Epilepsy Behav 2011; 22: 285-292.
- Mecarelli O et al. Epischool Collaborative Group of the Italian League Against Epilepsy (LICE). An educational campaign toward epilepsy among Italian primary school teachers: 1. Survey on knowledge and attitudes Epilepsy Behav. 2014; 32:84-91.
- Mecarelli O et al. Epischool Collaborative Group of the Italian League Against Epilepsy (LICE). An educational campaign toward epilepsy among Italian primary school teachers: 2. The results of a focused training program. Epilepsy Behav. 2015; 42:93-97.
National Day for Epilepsy
Starting from 2016, the date of the National Day for Epilepsy will be the same as the IBE-ILAE International Day (second Monday in February)
The website www.lice.it offers a list of the activities and projects implemented every year by LICE to raise awareness of epilepsy issues among the general public in Italy.
Epilepsy LICE Foundation
In 2011, the Epilepsy LICE Foundation was established within the framework of LICE. This non-profit Foundation seeks to support medical and scientific research into epilepsy diseases and related conditions. The Foundation's main aim is to organise fundraising activities to support specific research projects. In 2015 funds were assigned for carrying out two research projects regarding “Genetic aspects of Epilepsy”
In 2015 the foundation has decided to align itself to the world day for epilepsy, getting the approval from the Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister.
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