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For Immediate Release:
June 29, 2011
LONDON, Ontario - Dr. Jorge Burneo, neurologist, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), and Dr. David Steven, neurosurgeon, LHSC, have returned from a recent trip to Lima, Peru where they trained physicians to diagnose and treat epilepsy.
Peru has close to 30 million people, with an incidence and prevalence of epilepsy that triples that of Canada. In Canada, the prevalence of epilepsy is 4-5 per 1,000 people, but in Latin America, 18 per 1,000 are affected. Despite the large population and the amount of people with epilepsy, Peru does not have a comprehensive epilepsy surgery program.
“Our goal was and continues to be to help build an epilepsy centre in Peru,” said Burneo. “They have the infrastructure, but we can share our logistical and surgical expertise.”
Steven joined Burneo on the trip to Peru to conduct workshops and deliver lectures at the National Institute of Neurological Sciences, to the Department of Neurosurgery at the Hospital Edgardo Rebagliati Marins, the largest hospital in Peru, and to the Peruvian Neurology and Neurosurgery Societies.
“At LHSC we treat approximately 6,000 patients with epilepsy a year, which is a tremendous amount of experience we can offer to physicians in Peru” said Steven. “A goal of ours is to train physicians in epilepsy surgery.”
Specifically, what Peru lacks is the surgical knowledge to help 30 per cent of all epilepsy patients that cannot be treated by medication. “This 30 per cent of patients have a poor quality of life,” said Burneo.
Burneo has been travelling to Peru since 2008 when he gave workshops to neurologists on video-EEG (electroencephalogram), which measures electrical activity along the scalp to help diagnose seizures. By the end of the following year, they were running their own video-EEG units. Physicians in Peru are now using the video-EEG units to identify surgical cases.
Five physicians have also travelled to LHSC for observerships, lasting as long as three months. Four more physicians are schedules to visit later this year and in early 2012.
Burneo and Steven plan to return to Lima next year to assess the progress being made on the epilepsy program. In the meantime, they are taking advantage of video conferencing to continue their mentorship and work in Peru.
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About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 135 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca
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