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[Registration Closed] (Webinar) The 123rd HGPI Seminar – The Current Situation and Future Prospects for Epilepsy in Japan and Around the World (March 6, 2024)

[Registration Closed] (Webinar) The 123rd HGPI Seminar – The Current Situation and Future Prospects for Epilepsy in Japan and Around the World (March 6, 2024)

Epilepsy is estimated to affect approximately 1 million people in Japan, it has a high prevalence among cranial nerve diseases, and is well-known among the public. However, much of the information about epilepsy is mistaken, meaning it is often misunderstood. There are various underlying causes of epilepsy, but it can be broadly classified into two subtypes: idiopathic and symptomatic. In idiopathic epilepsy, there is no clear cause in the brain. Symptomatic epilepsy is caused by a malformation in the brain or follows an injury to the brain. Epilepsy is characterized by spontaneous and repeated epileptic seizures, which are its key symptom. While epilepsy can sometimes interfere with daily life, most cases improve with modern treatments. Such treatments have made it possible to prevent epileptic seizures. In Japan, various efforts from industry, Government, and academia are driving progress in this area. These include efforts from academic societies to train specialist physicians, Government projects for promoting the creation of collaborative regional care systems, and the development of new pharmaceuticals. However, human and financial resources are still insufficient and many are calling for policies to be revamped based on feedback from people in the frontlines of care.

As a health policy topic, epilepsy is also the subject of growing attention at the global level. There are many countries and regions where access to epilepsy treatment is not as robust as Japan. Two patient groups called the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) are now working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to elevate global awareness and advance policies for epilepsy in each country. Their partnership is called the Global Campaign Against Epilepsy (GCAE), which launched a campaign called “Out of the Shadows” in 1997. The IBE and ILAE have also recognized the second Monday of February as International Epilepsy Day starting in 2015. That same year, in 2015, a resolution on epilepsy calling on the WHO Secretariat to support countries in undertaking public awareness campaigns as well as in strengthening medical and social services for epilepsy was approved at the World Health Assembly. Later, at the WHO’s World Health Assembly in 2022, the Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders (IGAP) was adopted for a ten-year period lasting until 2031. IGAP goals include addressing stigmas and social burdens of epilepsy and other neurological disorders and improving quality of life for patients, long-term care providers, and families. Furthermore, to achieve these goals, IGAP also encourages countries around the world to take steps toward reinforcing prevention, treatment, and care for epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

In this manner, epilepsy is attracting attention as a topic in domestic and global health policy, and Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) views epilepsy as a theme to address moving forward. For the upcoming 123rd HGPI Seminar, we will host Professor Kensuke Kawai, President of the Japan Epilepsy Society. Professor Kawai will discuss current circumstances surrounding epilepsy in Japan and overseas as well as take a look at past developments in and future prospects for epilepsy policy. Together with all participants, we would like to take this opportunity to consider the current situation and future challenges in this area.

*Please note that this seminar is available in Japanese only. An English report of this event will be published in due course.


[Event Overview]

  • Speaker: Prof. Kensuke Kawai (Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Jichi Medical University; President, The Japan Epilepsy Society)
  • Date & time: Wednesday, March 6, 2024; From 18:30 to 19:45 JST
  • Format: Online (Zoom Webinars)
  • Language: Japanese
  • Participation fee: Free
  • Capacity: 500 participants

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■Speaker profile:

Prof. Kensuke Kawai (Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Jichi Medical University; President, The Japan Epilepsy Society)

Professor Kensuke Kawai is a neurosurgeon specializing in epilepsy and conducts research on brain function. He previously served at Tokyo Metropolitan Neurological Hospital, the University of Tokyo, and NTT Medical Center Tokyo before assuming his current position at Jichi Medical University in 2016. In addition to improving epilepsy treatment in Japan in his capacity as President of the Japan Epilepsy Society, he has worked to expand community epilepsy care as Director of the Jichi Medical University Hospital Epilepsy Center, which is a collaborative center for epilepsy care in Tochigi Prefecture. Professor Kawai also served as Board Member at the Asia and Oceania chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy, where he chaired the Epilepsy Surgery Task Force. Recently, he has been working to support efforts to establish an epilepsy care system providing epilepsy surgery in Mongolia.


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