The contribution of Italian epileptologists to the advancement of the scientific knowledge in epilepsy is substantial. A MEDLINE search of the articles on epilepsy published by Italian scientists showed more than 4,000 titles. Italian researchers are actively involved in several commissions of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), and three of these researchers are also Associate Editors of Epilepsia.
The Italian chapter of the ILAE (which includes about 1,000 members) is very active and promotes each year several scientific epilepsy meetings at local, regional, and national levels. The national Epilepsy Congress, which is organized on an annual basis, is attended by no fewer than 500 neurologists, child neurologists, and neurosurgeons, many of them younger than 40 years of age. From these meetings, the best contributions have been selected periodically, and the authors are encouraged to prepare manuscripts for submission as a supplement of Epilepsia. The current supplement includes some of these original contributions from the 2010 and 2011 annual meetings. The selection was made in a two-step procedure. First, at each meeting, the best contributions presented as oral communications or posters were identified by the coordinators of each scientific session. Second, an ad hoc scientific commission, including basic scientists and clinicians with background and experience in various epilepsy fields, made selections from the initial set of nominated papers. In addition, as was the case in previous Epilepsia supplements from the Italian League, this supplement includes a number of practice guidelines on different topics.
The topics addressed in the following articles are varied, but an attempt has been made to select patient cohorts with rare epilepsy syndromes (for example, electrical status epilepticus during sleep [ESES]; early onset absence epilepsy; epilepsies with fixation-off sensitivity), representing poorly studied epileptogenic conditions (seizures and epilepsy in patients with brain tumors), or with inadequate assessment of seizure outcome and outcome predictors (epilepsy surgery in children). The practice guidelines included in this supplement cover epilepsy topics still deserving clarification, such as the use of vaccines in patients with epilepsy, the treatment of status epilepticus in children, and the discontinuation of antiepileptic drugs in patients with prolonged seizure freedom. Special attention has been dedicated to epilepsy surgery (two contributions), with one article in the format of a health technology assessment (HTA) document, and the other as an overview of the comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic management of epilepsy with surgical techniques in Italy.
We are confident that the scientific contributions included in this supplement are a useful reference for scientists and practicing physicians in Italy and in the rest of the world.