by Tim von Oertzen
In December European Academy of Neurology and European Stroke Organization organized in collaboration with Lupin Pharmaceuticals the 9th Knowledge Exchange Programme Conference in Mumbai. The conference “Brain 2018” covered four sessions on topics of Epilepsy, Migraine, Stroke and Pain. Speakers for EAN and ESO were Prof Urs Fischer (Bern, Switzerland, Stroke), Prof Peter Sandor (Baden, Switzerland, Migraine), Prof Troels Staehelin Jensen (Aerhus, Denmark, Pain), and myself for epilepsy. Programme director was Dr Ramish Patankar. The Indian faculty included several prominent Indian neurologists across the country.
Each of the topics included update of the last year, as well as talks on state of the art development. Interactive sessions on challenging cases in epilepsy, tricky headache cases, real word cases on NOAC’s and challenging cases in chronic pain were well perceived by the audience. The grant debate was on the question if first AD should be a new or conventional antiepileptic drug. Prof Manjari Tripathi and Prof Lakshami Naraimjan delivered excellent arguments for both sites. The audience turned the opinion during the debate being more towards conventional antiepileptic drugs in the beginning to a small majority for the new antiepileptic drugs at the end.
The programme was well perceived by the audience of proximately 300 participants. Lively discussion on the newest developments during the coffee breaks and after the presentations illustrated the interests of the Indian colleagues on those hot topics. The European speakers got an impression of the high level of medical knowledge in India paired with limited resources, particularly in the public sector. It was an honour for the European speakers to be part of the traditional inauguration ceremony “lighting of the lamp”.
Additionally I had the pleasure to visit the Neurology Department of the Sir JJ Group of Government Hospitals in Sandhurst, Mumbai, which is associated with the Grant Medical College. We had a warm welcome by Prof Kamlesh Jigyasi, head of Neurology, who was accompanied by several neurologists and junior doctors and many students. After discussion of general management of epilepsy surgery and status epilepticus, as well as antiepileptic drugs we had a pleasure to have a few case discussion including a ward round. I was impressed by the medical knowledge and lively discussion of differential diagnosis for the very challenging cases presented. One of the many problems is that the patients attend for medical care fairly late. As an example, one child discussed suffered around 50 seizures per day and was untreated with no medical attention for the first three years of the disease.
Most diagnostic tools are available although the capacities are much lower than in European health systems. Strikingly different was the hygienic standard of the wards compared to European hospitals. The hospital visit lasted much longer than anticipated, I fully enjoyed the visit and the conference. The Mumbai experience did clearly what it was supposed to be, to transfer knowledge between both sides – a very worthy investment, which was well perceived by our hosts.
Dr Tim von Oertzen is Web-Editor in Chief and Ch-Chair of EAN Pages. He is head of the Department of Neurology 1 at Kepler Universitätsklinikum Linz, Austria and serves on the Scientific Panel on Epilepsy.