The scientific sessions form the main part of the congress. The program covers topics that are highly relevant within the North American region and further afield and provide a flavor of the latest research in the field of epilepsy. Sessions will feature presentations from leaders in the discipline, including lectures by world-renowned experts.

The Scientific and Organising Committee has endeavored to create an appealing and diverse program from the numerous proposals submitted by ILAE and IBE Chapters and other experts.

Sessions cover the following topics – full details of the sessions are in the sections below:

  • COVID-19 Town Hall
  • 50 Million Reasons: Advocates who improve care. Ways they raise their voices to influence policy and research.
  • Providing virtual care
  • Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures
  • Epilepsy: a personal and global perspective
  • Epileptic seizure prediction
  • The latest on the treatment of status epilepticus
  • Tuberous sclerosis complex: current state of knowledge and future prospective
  • The older adult with epilepsy
  • Withdrawing antiepileptic therapy – evidence and practice?
  • Novel mechanisms of epilepsy and intellectual disability
  • Epilepsy in North America: 15 years after the ILAE report
  • Critical appraisal of new investigative tools for epilepsy surgery
  • Metabolism-based treatments for epilepsy: current evidence and controversies
  • Ictal semiology
  • Women’s issues in epilepsy
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy failures
  • New approaches to integrated epilepsy care and research
  • Epilepsy connectomics: tracking disease severity, treatment outcomes and cognition
  • Epilepsy surgery: when is it sufficient to go after a lesion?

The Scientific and Organising Committee has created a program that represents the best regional and global epileptology.

Click on the link below to view the overview of the virtual program schedule. All times Eastern Time (EDT).


Epilepsy: A personal and global perspective 

Co-chairs: Solomon Moshe (USA) & Alla Guehkt (Russian Federation)o-chairs: é

  • Epidemiology and global burden of epilepsy – Nathalie JettĂ© (USA)
  • Improving epilepsy care and research – Samuel Wiebe (Canada)
  • Improving the social condition of people with epilepsy – Mary Secco (Canada)

Learning Objectives:

  • To be able to describe the main global initiatives in research and care in epilepsy
  • To be able to describe the epidemiology and burden of epilepsy globally
  • Participants will be able to identify the modifiable factors that impact the social condition of people with epilepsy.
  • Participants will be given strategies for incorporating social care into clinical care.

Epilepsy in North America: 15 years after the ILAE report

Co-chairs: Amza Ali (Jamaica) & William Theodore (USA)   C

  • What we found in 2006 – William Theodore (USA)
  • The USA: epilepsy after the affordable care act and the IOM report – Sheryl Haut (USA)
  • Providing community support and education in Jamaica – Amza Ali (Jamaica)
  • Epilepsy care in Canada: a model for the future? – Samuel Wiebe (Canada)

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the major findings of the 2010 ILAE. North America report
  • Discuss the current state of epilepsy care and disparities in the region
  • Explain the effects of the CoVID 19 epidemic on people with epilepsy in the North American region

Thursday 24 September

Throughout the day, IBE Chapters (USA, Canada, Jamaica, Guyana) share their programs that support families living with epilepsy in North America


COVID-19 Town Hall

Moderator: Elizabeth Donner (Canada)

  • Surviving COVID-19 from a psychological perspective – Gus Baker (United Kingdom)
  • Providing care – lessons learned from the frontline – Nathalie Jette (USA)
  • What we know about COVID-19 and epilepsy – J Helen Cross (United Kingdom)


50 Million Reasons:  Advocates who improve care. Ways they raise their voices to influence policy and research

Chair: Geoff Bob (Epilepsy Toronto, Canada)

  • Kelly Cervantes (USA) – Host of Seizing Life®, a CURE podcast and videocast to inspire empathy, offer helpful stories, and give hope as we search for a cure for epilepsy
  • Mark McAlister (Canada) – Senior Journalist, CityNews Toronto
  • Martin Brodie (Scotland) – IBE Team Spirit
  • Ann Little (Ireland), International Bureau for Epilepsy – “50 Million Steps – A Global Campaign”


Providing virtual care

Chair: Rosie Smith (Epilepsy Toronto, Canada)

  • Team-based virtual epilepsy care – Dr Evan Lewis and Stephanie Aniol (Epilepsy Toronto, Canada)
  • Accessible telehealth delivered self-management programs in epilepsy  – Dr Elaine Kiriakopoulos (USA)
  • Building capacity for digital health services: an e-mental health (e-MH) implementation toolkit for providers – Dr Danielle Impey (Canada)
  •  Strategies for delivering distance depression interventions – Susan Harrison (Canada)


Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures

Chair: Stephanie Aniol (Epilepsy Toronto, Canada)

  • Understanding PNES – Dr Curt LaFrance (USA)
  • PNES: the quintessential disorder requiring interprofessional clinicians and a multidisciplinary mindset – Dr G Scott Winder (USA)


Friday 25 September

Epileptic seizure prediction

Co-chairs: Dang Nguyen (Canada) & Brian Litt (USA)

  • Overview of seizure prediction algorithms over the last 30 years – Jean Gotman (Canada)
  • Seizure prediction in 2019: practical challenges of translating into clinical devices – Brian Litt (USA)
  • Technical considerations in modern seizure prediction approaches: electrode selection and feature engineering – Elie Bou Assi (Canada)

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the progress made in seizure prediction over the last 30 years
  • Identify current challenges for the translation of seizure prediction algorithms into clinical devices
  • Identify the technical aspects of designing seizure prediction algorithms


The latest on the treatment of status epilepticus

Co-chairs: Teneille Gofton (Canada) & Jaideep Kapur (USA)

  • Basic sciences principles underlying the treatment of status epilepticus  – Teneille Gofton (Canada)
  • Treatment of non-convulsive and convulsive status epilepticus – Jaideep Kapur (USA)
  • Treatment of refractory and super refractory epilepticus – Cecil Hahn (USA)

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the basic mechanisms leading to status epilepticus and subsequent pharmacoresistance
  • Describe the rationale for selection of pharmacological therapies in the treatment of status epileptics
  • Discuss the effect of status epilepticus on the developing brain
  • Choose evidence-based therapies for patients presenting with acute and refractory status epilepticus in adult and pediatric populations


Tuberous sclerosis complex: current state of knowledge and future perspectives

Co-chairs: Mary Connolly (Canada) & Philippe Major (USA)

  • Basic science about epilepsy in TSC using animal models – Peter Crino (USA)
  • Medical management of TSC – Elizabeth Thiele (USA)
  • Surgical management of TSC – George Ibrahim (Canada)

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize how animal models of TSC improve the understanding and management of the disease
  • Manage the clinical manifestations of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
  • Investigate and identify patients with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex who would benefit from surgery


The older adult with epilepsy

Co-chairs: Mark Keezer (Canada) & Colin Josephson (Canada)

  • Painting the clinical picture of the older adult with epilepsy – Colin Josephson (Canada)
  • Advances in the medical management of the older adult with epilepsy – Mark Keezer (Canada)
  • Advances in the surgical management of the older adult with epilepsy – Lara Jehi (USA)

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the overall epidemiology and comorbidity profile of older adults with epilepsy.
  • Describe the characteristics and determinants of health care use in this population of people with epilepsy.
  • Choose the most appropriate medical treatments for older adults with epilepsy.
  • Recognize the possible determinants of antiepileptic drug efficacy and tolerability in older adults with epilepsy, beyond their chronological age.
  • Elaborate on the evidence for resective epilepsy surgery in older patients.
  • Recognize the place for more recent and less-invasive procedures, and the utility of prognostic algorithms to help select surgical candidates, in older adults


Critical appraisal of investigative imaging tools for epilepsy surgery

Co-chairs: William Gaillard (USA) & Elysa Widjaja (Canada)

  • EEG-fMRI – Paolo Federico (Canada)
  • MRI Quantitative post processing techniques – Andrea Bernasconi (Canada)
  • Tractography – Eishi Asano (USA)

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize some of the newer non-invasive diagnostic tools that are available for the evaluation of epilepsy surgery
  • Learn how these diagnostic tools are currently applied in clinical practice
  • Recognize the strengths and limitations these additional tools in the evaluation of patients for epilepsy surgery
  • Identify the equipment, software’s and personnel that would be required to run these tools in clinical practice


Saturday 26 September

Epilepsy surgery: when is it sufficient to go after a lesion?

Co-chairs: Taylor Abel (USA) & David Steven (Canada) 

  • Hippocampal sclerosis – Dwaine Cooke (Jamaica)
  • Cortical dysplasia – Taylor Abel (USA)
  • Heterotopic nodule(s) – Francois Dubeau (Canada)

Learning Objectives

  • Identify situations which allow for direct surgery.
  • Demonstrate working knowledge on indications of intracranial electrode implantations.
  • Recognize advantages and limitations of techniques for pre-surgical evaluation.


Ictal semiology

Co-chairs: Jorge Burneo (Canada) & Sharon Whiting (Canada)

  • R Mark Sadler (Canada)
  • Dave Clarke (USA)
  • Juan Pablo Appendino (Canada)

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate how semiology may be used to localize seizure onset and propagation.
  • Demonstrate the clinical elements to reconstruct seizure onset and propagation pattern of ictal discharge.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Epileptologists, epilepsy surgeons, general neurologists, fellows, residents, medical students, allied health professionals


Women’s issues in epilepsy

Co-chairs: Page Pennell (USA) & Esther Bui (Canada)

  • North American pregnancy registry – update – Page Pennell (USA)
  • Fertility issues in women with epilepsy – Elizabeth Gerard (USA)
  • Evidence-based care for women with epilepsy – Esther Bui (Canada)

Learning Objectives

  • Identify issues of (in)fertility reported in women with epilepsy (WWE) and special considerations for use of different contraceptive agents and fertility treatments in WWE
  • Describe the most recent data from the North American AED Pregnancy Registry and in context of other registries around the globe
  • Apply evidence-based strategies in the medical management of women with epilepsy


Withdrawing antiepileptic therapy – evidence and practice?

Co-chairs: Martin Brodie (Scotland) & Roxanne Melborne Chambers (Jamaica)

  • Withdrawal of AED after successful medical therapy – Martin Brodie (Scotland)
  • Withdrawal of antiepileptic therapy – challenges in resource-poor settings – Roxanne Melborne Chambers (Jamaica)
  • Withdrawal of AED after epilepsy surgery – Jose Tellez-Zenteno (Canada)

Learning Objectives

  • Appraise the evidence for current recommendations on the discontinuation of antiepileptic drug therapy after successful introduction in surgical and medical paediatric and adult patients
  • Describe the challenges faced in translating the available evidence into clinical practice in both developed and resource limited settings
  • Plan and implement protocols for the safe discontinuation of antiepileptic drugs in their own clinical practice settings
  • Assess the need for further research to aid the development of newer and more useful clinical algorithms to guide the safe discontinuation of antiepileptic drugs


Novel mechanisms of epilepsy and intellectual disability

Co-chairs: Aylin Reid (Canada) & Danielle Andrade (Canada)

  • Blood-brain barrier dysfunction in epilepsy – Ellen Parker (Canada)
  • Genes in epilepsy and intellectual disability – an update – Danielle Andrade (Canada)
  • Effects of Syngap1 haploinsuffiency on progressive epilepsy and behavioural-state homeostasis investigated using qEEG – Shilpa D Kadam (USA)

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the basic structure and physiology of the blood-brain barrier;
  • Explain how blood-brain barrier dysfunction can lead to ictogenesis and epileptogenesis;
  • Describe genetic epilepsies associated with refractory seizures and severe intellectual disability;
  • Explain the role of AMPA receptors in the unsilencing of silent synapses early in development;
  • Describe the role of the AMPA receptor antagonist Perampanel on cortical circuit dysfunction related to gamma oscillations.


Sunday 27 September

Metabolism- and diet-based treatments for epilepsy: current evidence and controversies

Co-chairs: Jong Rho (USA) & Morris Scantlebury (Canada) 

  • Comparative efficacy of diets vs. newer drugs for epilepsy – J Helen Cross (UK)
  • Early challenges of implementing the ketogenic diet in the Caribbean – Beverly Anthony (Jamaica)
  • Alterations in gut microbiota – Jong Rho (USA)
  • Anti-epileptogenesis: the role of metabolism and epigenetics – Detlev Boison (USA)

Learning Objectives

  • To describe the ketogenic diet and its unique benefit to patients with intractable epilepsy in resource limited settings
  • Plan and implement ketogenic diet treatments in resource limited settings
  • To describe recent experience with implementing a Ketogenic diet program in the Caribbean
  • Discuss the role of the microbiome in brain health and disease
  • To discuss the role of the microbiome in the mechanism of action of the KD
  • To discuss the potential role of microbiome targeted treatments in the management of epilepsy
  • Discuss the mechanistic processes underlying epileptogenesis
  • Discuss the role of metabolism and epigenetics in epileptogenesis
  • Discuss future directions for the development of anti-epileptogenic (disease modifying) treatments for epilepsy


New approaches to integrated epilepsy care and research

Co-chairs: Christos Lisgaras (USA) & Samuel Wiebe (Canada)

  • Novel wearables and technologies for epilepsy care – Dang Nguyen (Canada)
  • E-learning health systems to improve clinical care – Zachary Grinspan (USA)
  • EpLink – an integrated interdisciplinary research program aimed at improving epilepsy care – W MacIntyre Burnham (Canada)

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate working knowledge of the novel wearable technologies available for epilepsy care
  • Recognize the benefits and caveats of e-learning health systems in epilepsy care
  • Describe how interdisciplinary research programmes can be used to improve epilepsy care


Epilepsy connectomics: tracking disease severity, treatment outcomes and cognition

Co-chairs: Boris Bernhardt (Canada) & Lorenzo Caciagli (USA)

  • From local to global: how epileptogenic lesions modulate macroscale network organization – Mary Pat McAndrews (Canada)
  • Network imaging biomarkers of secondary generalisation and surgical outcome – Xiaosong Xe (USA)
  • Dynamic cognitive fMRI and multi-scale connectome profiling: tracking cognitive dysfunction across epilepsies – Lorenzo Caciagli (USA)

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss techniques to derive information on brain networks non-invasively
  • Describe analytical techniques to assess network organization
  • Discuss innovative studies that apply network neuroscience approaches to understand clinical and cognitive dimensions of epilepsy


Hot topics session (ILAE-YES session)

Co-chairs: Taylor Abel (USA) & Kristen Ikeda (Canada) 

  • Autoimmunity and seizures – latest updates – Anusha Yeshokumar (USA)
  • Neuropsychology and epilepsy – what every clinician treating epilepsy should know in 2020 – Klajdi Puka (Canada)
  • COVID-19 – J Helen Cross (UK)

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the targets and mechanisms underlying autoimmune epilepsies.
  • Discuss the role and neuropsychological tests performed in the epilepsy surgery workup.
  • Discuss the effects of COVID-19 on the central nervous system and on epilepsy, in particular
  • Discuss COVID-19 signs, symptoms and impact in the brain
  • Discuss the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the care of people with epilepsy
  • Discuss the role of the ketogenic diet in the management of patients with COVID-19 and implications for epilepsy


Temporal lobe epilepsy failures

Co-chairs: Yahya Aghakhani (Canada)  & Alexander Weil (Canada) 

  • Insufficient resection of the epileptogenic zone in temporal lobe epilepsy – Alexander Weil (Canada)
  • Redos of temporal lobe epilepsy surgical failures – Chima Oluigbo (USA)
  • Extratemporal foci mimicking temporal lobe epilepsy – Dang Nguyen (Canada)

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the common causes of temporal lobe epilepsy surgeries.
  • Recognize extratemporal foci which can mimic temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Identify situations which require consideration of repeated surgery