Posted on February 22, 2015

Neurologists and other healthcare professionals recently gathered at the 10th Qatar Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis Symposium to discuss the latest knowledge on the management of these conditions with the aim of promoting excellence in neurology care and research in Qatar.

“The symposium supports the ongoing development of regional knowledge and expertise in the neurological sciences, and promotes HMC’s agenda of providing patient care that is rooted in the most advanced research. We are pleased to be able to host a local and international panel of speakers, including world-leading clinicians and neuroscientists,” said Dr. Boulenouar Mesraoua, Symposium Chairman and Senior Consultant Neurologist at HMC as well as Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar.

“Epilepsy and multiple sclerosis are very prevalent medical conditions which need urgent attention. Multiple sclerosis is a disabling illness and treatment in the early stage is essential. Similarly, epilepsy is also a disabling condition which carries a potential risk of mortality as well as high morbidity. Proper diagnosis and management is crucial to prevent or reduce disability and improve the quality of life of people living with these conditions,” said Dr. Dirk Deleu, Symposium Co-Chairman and Head of HMC’s Neurology Department.

Epilepsy is a non-communicable disorder of the nervous system that causes recurrent seizures. The condition affects about 65 million people worldwide and about one percent of Qatar’s population or 20,000 per two million populations. “Multiple sclerosis affects about 64 people out of every 100,000 in the Qatari population, a prevalence which is likely to be slightly higher for the expatriates,” said Dr. Deleu. Recently, HMC has also celebrated International Epilepsy Day with activities aimed at raising awareness of epilepsy and encouraging people with this condition to seek professional medical care.

HMC hosts 10th Qatar Symposium 2 [].jpg“People with epilepsy are fully capable of living normal lives as long as they receive proper medical care and take certain precautions to reduce health risks. At HMC, we are becoming increasingly specialized as part of efforts to provide patient-centered care,” said Dr. Hassan Al Hail, President of the Qatar Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy, and Co-Chairman of the Symposium. “This means a patient with epilepsy, for example, will be cared for by a dedicated multidisciplinary team experienced in epilepsy care and research. This helps to ensure that our patients will get the best care possible.”

According to Dr. Deleu, HMC’s Neurology Department has completed a research study on the patterns, causes and effects of epilepsy in the population. The results of the study are being analyzed and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology in April this year. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy nerve tissue, resulting in nerve damage that affects the whole body and causes problems such as vision, hearing, speech, breathing, and balance and coordination issues. There is no cure for this condition, but treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, manage symptoms, and slow the progression of the disease.

The symposium was a key initiative contributing to the Neuroscience Institute which is being developed in line with the Academic Health System strategy. Networked across various departments of HMC, the Institute aims to provide excellence in patient care, education and research through a multidisciplinary approach. The Institute is headed by Professor Ashfaq Shuaib, a world leader in stroke care, who was also one of the speakers at the symposium.