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DOHA: Qatar is planning to establish a Neurosciences Institute that will conduct studies and research on effective treatments for neurological and related conditions, the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has said.
The institute to be set up by the Academic Health System (AHS) of which HMC is a member, will work with epilepsy centres worldwide for exchange of knowledge and information to support research. The institute will offer several centres of excellence.
Among these will be a comprehensive epilepsy centre providing specialised care for people with the condition, as well as supporting education and research on this condition.
About 2,000 cases of epilepsy are treated yearly at HMC and the incidence of the condition is expected to increase significantly in the next 20 to 30 years, said Dr Boulenouar Mesraoua, Senior Consultant Neurologist at HMC.
He was speaking at a symposium on epilepsy held by HMC.
Inherited epilepsy constituted over 10 percent of the cases, while those with unknown cause accounted for between 40 and 50 percent. “There are also cases of symptomatic epilepsy which may be due to road accidents, infection or stroke and cardiovascular issues in elderly people,” he said.
There is limited data on the incidence of epilepsy available in the Middle East. There are plans for data gathering to support research. “We have an ongoing research study funded by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) that explores the non-convulsive form of status epilepticus, a potentially life-threatening condition in which the brain is in a state of persistent seizure.
“We also have plans for a large epidemiological study in Qatar,” said Dr Dirk Deleu, Senior Consultant Neurologist and head of Neurology and Neurophysiology at HMC.
“Epilepsy is a very common clinical condition that is unfortunately associated with social stigma. This stigma has made it difficult to identify all cases,” said Dr Ettore Beghi, an international expert clinician and researcher,
Dr Beghi said that with proper medication, epilepsy can be controlled and people with the condition can live normal lives. “An important message for people diagnosed with epilepsy is to be aware effective treatment is available and many patients who have received the right treatment are able to control the condition and lead full lives,” he said.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder characterised by recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is the third most common neurological condition worldwide. According to World Health Organisation, 65 million people are with the condition.