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32nd International Epilepsy Congress

The 32nd International Epilepsy Congress (IEC) will take place in Barcelona, Spain, on September 2-6, 2017. The Congress, organized jointly by ILAE and IBE, represents the most important global scientific event in 2017 dedicated to epilepsy. More than 3,000 delegates from all over the word are expected to attend. A total of 134 speakers from 38 countries will discuss ground-breaking progress in basic and clinical research, improvements in diagnostic tools, and therapeutic advances. The Congress will also include over 1,000 platform/poster presentations of original data, and a rich teaching program.

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Learn about the latest developments in translational research


The scientific program will open at 1 pm on Saturday September 2 with the highlights of the WONOEP (Workshop on Neurobiology of the Epilepsies), which will have taken place in the 5 days preceding the Congress. The WONOEP, a satellite event of the IEC since 1989, is a unique biannual meeting where basic and clinical researchers convene from all over the world to discuss their most recent research findings and novel developments in our understanding of the epilepsies. Although the WONOEP is a closed workshop, it is tradition to have its highlights presented in a special session at the opening of the IEC. This will provide Congress delegates with the unique opportunity to learn about the latest advances and developments in basic and clinical epilepsy, discussed by leading international researchers.

A further great opportunity to learn about cutting edge translational research will be provided by the Neurobiology Symposium, scheduled to take place from 12-2 pm on Sunday, September 3. The theme of the Symposium this year is ‘Understanding the Complexity of Networks of Epilepsies and their Comorbidities’. A distinguished set of researchers will discuss networks and connectivity maps associated to the epilepsies and their comorbidities (Maxime Guye, France), neurogenesis and gene cascade linking epilepsy to depression and autism (Steve Danzer, USA); brain somatic mutations in MTOR and epileptogenesis (Hoon-Chul Kang, Republic of Korea); etiology and cognitive impairment — networks as a therapeutic target to improve outcomes (Rodney Scott, UK); and clinical experimental and computational challenges to assess complexity and emergence in epileptogenic networks (Norberto Garcia-Cairasco, Brazil).

Barcelona panorama photo

The new ILAE Classification of Seizures and Epilepsies discussed at the Presidential Symposium

The Presidential Symposium, traditionally a key event of the Congress, will take place on Sunday, September 3. The theme of the Symposium is 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 will include 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).

Novel technologies impacting epilepsy management and the lives of people with epilepsy

Technology is triggering a revolution in the way epilepsy is diagnosed and managed. In a main session on Monday morning, Philippe Ryvlin (Switzerland) will provide a general overview of the topic, followed by presentations on how technology can be used to improve knowledge and skills (Nathalie Jette, Canada) and patients’ safety and quality of life (Gregory Krauss, USA). This will be followed by another session dedicated to a hot topic in current epileptology: automated seizure detection in ambulatory patients. Mark Cook (Australia) will report on experience from invasive EEG-based seizure detection; Andreas Schulze-Bonhage (Germany) will dwell on non- invasive EEG-based methods; Christoph Baumgartner (Austria) on EKG-based detection, and Frans Leitjen (The Netherlands) will address non-EEG, non-EKG based techniques. On Tuesday, the role of technological advances will be developed further by addressing the use of novel technologies to monitor and reduce seizure-related risks including, most notably, SUDEP.

Unraveling epilepsy comorbidities

Epilepsy comorbidities are another main theme of the 32nd IEC, which will be developed in the Neurobiology Symposium on Sunday, and in several sessions on Monday and Tuesday. A main session on Monday will focus on epilepsy and stress. Different lectures will address relationships between stress, the hippocampus and epilepsy (Terence O'Brien, Australia), the evolving interactions of stress, anxiety and depression in epilepsy (Markus Reuber, UK), the impact of prenatal and childhood stress on epilepsy ( Jolien van Campen, The Netherlands) and the role of novel technologies in measuring and treating stress (Sheryl Haut, USA). Another exciting session on Monday will address evidence behind a number of myths in epilepsy and psychiatry: should psychiatric comorbidities prevent patients from having epilepsy surgery? (Byung-In Lee, Korea, Republic of Korea); are psychostimulants contraindicated in children with epilepsy? (Jo Wilmshurst, South Africa); are psychogenic non-epileptic attacks less hazardous than epileptic seizures? (Kette Valente, Brazil); do AEDs increase suicidality in epilepsy? (Marco Mula, UK). The comorbidity theme will be completed with a session on Saturday on the epilepsy and autism conundrum, and a session on Tuesday on interventions for cognitive dysfunction on epilepsy.

Precision medecine is coming to epilepsy

The main theme ‘Precision Medicine in Epilepsy’ will be developed in an exciting main session on Tuesday. Sam Wiebe (Canada) will introduce the topic by discussing what precision medicine is, and what it is not; Jackie French (USA) will present evidence on how therapeutics can be improved through precise diagnosis; Holger Lerche (Germany) will explain how to implement precision therapy through genomics, and Parthasarthy Satischandra (India) will address targeted therapy through *omics and new horizons. The theme is developed further by a session on Monday on how precision medicine can be applied by harnessing the power of stem cells, and a debate on Tuesday on whether systematic genetic testing is a prerequisite for the application of precision medicine in epilepsy. Another exciting session on Saturday will discuss how advances in understanding microRNAs are improving our knowledge of epilepsy and permitting the identification of novel therapeutic targets.

Epileptic encephalopathies: Concept, treatment, and outcomes

Epileptic encephalopathies are the second main theme addressed on Tuesday. The session will discuss the latest concepts in our understanding of encephalopathies, and the use and misuse of the term (Rima Nabbout, France); the role of seizures and/or EEG discharges in influencing outcome ( Federico Vigevano, Italy); the importance of etiology for management and prognosis (Mitsuhiro Kato, Japan) and the present and future of individualized treatments (Dan Lowenstein, USA). Related sessions will focus on recent advances in searching for a cure in Lafora’s disease (Saturday), addressing the needs of people with rare epilepsies (Sunday), and state-of-the-art diagnosing and managing of infantile spasms (Tuesday).

Understanding the nature of seizures

The main session on Wednesday will be dedicated to the role of networks in seizure generation and propagation. Topics will include epileptogenic networks dynamics (Ralph Andrzejak, Spain); functional network analysis in epilepsy (Neils Focke, Germany); use of non-invasive techniques to characterize epileptic networks (Eduardo. M Castillo, USA) and the impact of epileptic networks on cognitive function (Vera Dinkelacker, France). This session will pair with the Neurobiology Symposium on Sunday, which is dedicated to ‘Understanding the Complexity of Networks of Epilepsies and their Comorbidities.’ A related session on Saturday will discuss recent advances in imaging epileptic networks.

Medical and surgical treatments

The Congress includes many sessions focused on epilepsy therapies. On Sunday, there will be separate sessions dedicated to Innovation in epilepsy surgery; State-of-the-art ketogenic therapies; and Managing epilepsies in resource-restricted settings. On Monday, immunotherapies will be discussed in a session focused on the role of autoimmunity and inflammation in epilepsy. On Tuesday, there will be sessions dedicated to interventions for cognitive dysfunction, and to the latest data on cannabinoids in epilepsy treatment.

Updates on status epilepticus

A session on Sunday will provide an update on the impact of the new definition and classification of status epilepticus on clinical management ( Eugen Trinka, Austria), rare causes of status epilepticus ( C.T. Tan, Malaysia), neuroimaging of status epilepticus (Giada Giovannini, Italy) and new drug treatments of status epilepticus (Simon Shorvon, UK).

Neonatal seizures from bench to incubator

A session on Monday will address the pathophysiology of neonatal seizures ( Mathieu Milh, France) and correlates of what is a seizure and what is not in mice pups (Aristea Galanopoulou, USA) and human neonates (Lucia Fusco, Italy). The session will close with a lecture by Akihisa Okumura, (Japan) on when, how and what to treat in neonates presenting with seizures.

Joining forces for epilepsy care and research

A session on Saturday will be dedicated to how the alliance between professional and lay organizations can be a game-changer in advancing epilepsy care and research. A key speaker in the session will be Brian Hayes, member of the European Parliament, who will give the EU view on how best to promote the epilepsy agenda not only in Europe, but across the world

Don't miss a wide range of exciting original contributions

The Organizing and Scientific Committee was pleased to receive a high number of top quality scientific abstracts summarizing exciting new data. To accommodate these submissions, an unprecedented number of platform presentations, in addition to over 1,000 poster presentations, have been incorporated in the congress program. Platform sessions are grouped according to main themes, including basic science, adult epileptology, pediatric epileptology, epidemiology, drug therapy, epilepsy surgery, neurophysiology, genetics, imaging, clinical trials, and social aspects.

… and a rich teaching programme, and much more!

The program will include series of Virepa teaching sessions/courses on EEG (basic and advanced), neuroimaging, sleep and epilepsy, Internet use, and the ILAE educational portal. There will also be case-oriented and/or special teaching sessions on many topics, including psychiatric and non-psychiatric comorbidities, epileptic encephalopathies, surgical cases, intellectual disability, managing epilepsy in resource-restricted settings, pediatric epilepsy surgery, clinical trials, and publishing in ILAE journals. Both in the mornings and in the afternoons there the program offers a broad range of interactive video-sessions. Delegates can also participate in ‘Ask the experts’ sessions, participate in Awards sessions, enjoy lively debates on controversial topics, or attend a rich program of Satellite Symposia. On the last day, a session will be dedicated to highlights of the most important contributions presented at the Congress. Not to be missed!

Congress Program | Register now

Discounts for IBE and ILAE Chapter members

We look forward to seeing you soon in beautiful Barcelona!

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