FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the world’s largest organization of neurologists, is pledging to work with the entire epilepsy community to improve the quality of life for epilepsy patients in response to recent recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its report Epilepsy Across the Spectrum – Promoting Health and Understanding. The report contains two major recommendations that specifically encourage the American Academy of Neurology to join with the American Epilepsy Society in developing and validating screening tests for early identification of epilepsy in at-risk populations, establish and disseminate a standard screening protocol for co-existing conditions, and establish and disseminate a screening tool for early identification of patients who will benefit from earlier referrals to epilepsy specialists and centers. “Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurologic disorder in the United States, and we recognize that more work is needed to prevent epilepsy, improve the quality of life for epilepsy patients as well as the public’s understanding of epilepsy,” said Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN, President of the American Academy of Neurology. The report also asks the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society to collaborate with other relevant organizations to enhance the education of neurologists and other providers about essential epilepsy knowledge and skills; identify existing educational gaps; develop interactive materials and tools for integration into existing curricula; ensure that materials and programs optimally reflect current research, guidelines, and practices; to explore and promote the use of innovative interdisciplinary educational approaches such as simulation; and to disseminate the curriculum and tools widely. “One out of every 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime,” said Sigsbee. “The IOM report offers a comprehensive analysis of the various challenges facing the epilepsy community, ranging from valid assessments of epilepsy prevalence, defining quality measures in epilepsy care, access to appropriate health care and community services, treatment that focuses not only on controlling seizures but also the complex conditions that accompany epilepsy, and the need for improved education of providers, patients, and the public to raise awareness about epilepsy and reduce stigma.” A special educational session discussing the Institute of Medicine Report on Epilepsy will be held during the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans on Monday, April 23, 2012 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. CT at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
To learn more about epilepsy, visit www.aan.com/patients. The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 26,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.