Since the early 1970s, epilepsy was recognized by the national health system of Italy as a “socially important disease,” due to its burden on patients, their families, and society. This recognition has provided improved funding and prompted the development of a network of epilepsy services, including many centers of clinical excellence, according to regional needs. Epilepsy centers have since benefited from the inputs of multidisciplinary teams including child and adult neurologists, neurophysiologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons, psychologists, and social workers. Some services are academically based and others are not, but they all provide specialized expertise for the diagnosis and management of people with epilepsy throughout the country, and many take an active role in research and educational activities at the national and international levels. The Lega Italiana contro l’Epilessia (LICE), the Italian ILAE chapter, has more than 1,000 members and has traditionally played a key role in these activities by promoting the advance and dissemination of knowledge on epilepsy and by providing a forum for interaction among the many professions involved.
The ‘LICE’ Annual National Congress is the major event for the implementation of the chapter’s educational activities, for reporting the work of problem-oriented commissions and study groups, and for the presentation of original research contributions. Most of these activities, including official position papers and abstracts/short communications of presentations, have been and will continue to be reported in the chapter’s official journal, the ‘Bollettino LICE.’ However, since 2004, the LICE Executive Council felt that in order to favor more direct international communication of the scientific activities of the society and stimulate the participation of young research active members, the most relevant contributions will have been published in Epilepsia, the official journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). Thanks to Epilepsia, in 2006 the first issue of a supplement entirely devoted to the work of the Italian chapter became internationally accessible.
This supplement of Epilepsia, the second issue of selected contributions by the LICE, contains 10 articles, which provide an overview of the many activities taking place within the society and the numerous centers involved in clinical and basic epilepsy research in Italy. The first two articles in this volume represent position papers produced by LICE Working Groups—the recommendations for the management of “febrile seizures” and those arising from the “Italian Consensus Conference on Epilepsy and Pregnancy, Labour and Puerperium.” These contributions are followed by eight articles devoted to clinical and basic research on different topics. They have been selected from among the best contributions presented at the LICE Annual National Congresses held in June 2006 in Pisa and in May 2007 in Reggio Calabria, but their contents have been updated to June 2008.
Publication of this supplement was made possible by an unrestricted educational grant to LICE by Eisai s.r.l., San Donato Milanese, Italy, which is gratefully acknowledged. We hope that the contents of this volume will be of interest to the readers of Epilepsia worldwide, and will contribute to the common goal of advancing the quality of care for people with epilepsy.