Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of being invited to Colombia with two of my colleagues from the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group to the XVth National Epilepsy Congress. I was asked to speak about psychogenic non –epileptic seizures and in today’s blog I would like to share the experience with you.
The congress was held in coffee farming land in Colombia-the land of Juan Valdez. The countryside is beautifully green and alive with nature including flurries of hummingbirds that can be seen going from one exotic flower to another all day long. The congress organizers-Dr. Orlando Carreno and Claudia Carreno as well as Neurocentro put together a wonderful program.
During my presentation on psychogenic non epileptic seizures, I spoke to a room of health professionals about how we diagnose PNES at the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group including the importance of Video-EEG monitoring. I also went over the battery of neuropsychological tests we use to measure memory, attention and concentration, language and emotional complaints. A lively discussion took place between one of the Colombian neurologists in the audience and myself. He shared that the main problem he faces (and that others face too) at this point is that there are not enough Video-EEG monitoring units where he works in Colombia. This is of course a huge obstacle that needs to be addressed first before much progress can be made with treatment options for psychogenic seizures.
Despite some of the limitations, we were very happy to meet a young neuropsychologist who had already started making arrangements to come to the US to observe Neuropsychology at work. Obviously, it made great sense to figure out how for part of his trip could involve coming by our offices in New York and New Jersey to observe testing and treatment options. This may not be the same as helping to finance video EEG monitoring equipment, but we’ll start with what we can and hopefully keep moving in the right direction.
We returned feeling energized and excited. It pleases us tremendously that we will have the chance to collaborate with other like-minded professionals. More updates on all of this will follow.