Greeting from the Newly Elected President
Presidential remarks from Japan Epilepsy Society
Epilepsy is one of the most prevalent neurological disorders, affecting individuals of all age groups. Its incidence rate ranges from 0.5% to 1%, with approximately 50 million patients worldwide. Epileptic seizures are characterized by abnormal electrical firing of groups of neurons in the brain, resulting in various neurological symptoms depending on the specific brain regions involved. Epilepsy as a condition refers to a state where the brain acquires a propensity to recurrent seizures.
The causes of epilepsy vary, including brain lesions visible through imaging and microscopic examinations, genetic factors, infections, metabolic abnormalities, and autoimmune factors. Epilepsy not only imposes direct burdens through seizures but can also affect psychomotor development, cognitive function, psychological well-being, and social life. However, epilepsy can be managed through accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Approximately 70% of patients can prevent seizures by consistently taking suitable antiepileptic drugs. For some patients, surgery can eliminate or reduce seizures.
Nevertheless, there is a recognized global issue regarding the inadequate access to proper diagnosis, treatment, and information about epilepsy, and Japan is no exception. In May 2022, the World Health Organization adopted the Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders (IGAP 2022-2031) during its general assembly. The primary objective is to address the treatment gap, where individuals do not receive the appropriate care they should. In the following decade, countries worldwide are expected to promote and report on epilepsy initiatives as a crucial issue in healthcare.
The Japan Epilepsy Society, as a nonprofit academic organization, has been dedicated to epilepsy initiatives for approximately 50 years. In addition to academic activities related to the condition, the society has been involved in the training and certification of epilepsy specialists, the publication of clinical practice guidelines, and the certification of specialized epilepsy training facilities. Since 2021, the society has also begun certifying comprehensive epilepsy specialist medical facilities. This certification focuses purely on the content of medical care, without limiting the number of facilities per prefecture, aiming to provide state-of-the-art advanced care in all areas related to epilepsy.
Promoting the exchange of information on contemporary epilepsy research and facilitating the development of research is one of the most important tasks for academic organizations. The Japan Epilepsy Society plays a crucial role in supporting research that can be disseminated worldwide and ensuring the smooth introduction of cutting-edge medical technologies developed abroad. Moreover, in addition to ensuring access to appropriate antiepileptic drugs and surgical treatments, the society is actively involved in establishing comprehensive epilepsy care systems, including the accurate diagnosis of epilepsy and differential diagnoses with other conditions. Collaborations with the national Regional Epilepsy Healthcare Collaboration Promotion Project and the Japan Epilepsy Association, a patient advocacy group, are ongoing efforts in this regard.
The Japan Epilepsy Society will continue its steady activities to advance and improve epilepsy studies, epilepsy healthcare, and comprehensive epilepsy care. We kindly request your cooperation and understanding.
President of Japan Epilepsy Society