Theme of 1st Latin American Epilepsy Summer School
Report by Elza Márcia Yacubian and Esper A Cavalheiro
Portuguese, Spanish, Portunhol and English. These official languages, listed in the scientific program, announced the informality of the encounter. These different phonetic sounds were heard together in the quiet retreat venue in Guarulhos, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by slums and a secluded forest where, in a very friendly atmosphere, basic scientists, medical doctors and professionals allied to medicine all met to discuss translational aspects of epileptology!
During morning sessions, attendants of the 1st Latin-American Summer School on Epilepsy (LASSE) were immersed in the 10-20 electrode system. In the afternoons, volumetric MRI medial temporal structures measurement on workstations was the focus. After dinner, the Racine’s classification of seizures in rat models of epilepsy followed dessert.
Believe it or not, these activities happened from February 4th-14th in São Paulo, Brazil, where 50 young epileptologists where locked away without contact with the outside world! Starting at eight o’clock in the morning and not finishing before ten at night, every day was received as a gift from on high by the participants, all linked to Latin American Health Services and Universities from North, Central and South America. Five other participants from Angola and Mozambique also joined the group as members of the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries.
These students were selected from 184 applications, on the expectation that they will be able to act as multipliers amongst their communities.
Having eminent basic and clinical epileptologists as teachers and tutors; having members of the ILAE Executive Committee as close colleagues; being able to invite expert opinion both inside and outside sessions; celebrating the foundation of the Academia Latino Americana de Epilepsia (ALADE) of the ILAE Commission on Latin American Affairs; all these activities served to make this a memorable event, an experience, as the students expressed, never to be forgotten.
During the last day of the Summer School, seven creative research projects where defended with passion. Many participants shed a few quiet tears at the close of the school when photographs taken during the seclusion period were randomly thrown onto the screen and Latin-American rhythms broke the silence of Santa Monica Hotel.
The LASSE is, from now on, an official annual program of the ALADE – a dream which has come true for our epileptological community, more than ever as a brotherhood aiming to improve the quality of life of people with epilepsy in Latin American countries, where the prevalence of epilepsy is 10 times greater than in the developed world.