Attending meetings is one of the most common of ways that physicians learn new things. Conferences such as the annual meetings of the American Epilepsy Society, American Academy of Neurology, and Child Neurology Society provide a means to communicate cutting-edge research and information. They also provide a unique place for neurologists to get together, share ideas, and collaborate on future projects. It is not unusual for great ideas and research to begin as hallway conversations at convention centers and hotels at these conferences.
Researchers and clinicians using the ketogenic diet have seen an enormous increase in the number of opportunities for collaboration in the past two years. Besides sessions and small symposia at the previously mentioned meetings, there have been several stand-alone conferences devoted to the ketogenic diet. Many have been sponsored in part by Nutricia, North America (SHS, Europe).
In 2005, a meeting of ketogenic diet researchers was held in the city of Pavia in northern Italy. This full-time conference was unique in its design and bringing together of basic and clinical scientists. Entitled “The ketogenic diet: from molecular mechanisms to clinical effects,” this conference had its proceedings published in a special article in Epilepsy Research in February 2006.
For the past several years, neurologists from Germany and the rest of the world have been meeting in Fulda (a city outside of Frankfurt) to discuss child neurology at the meeting “Focus on Neuropediatrics.” This conference has also provided ketogenic diet training at an annual, full-day, ketogenic diet training session, usually held the day before the conference starts. German and international physicians familiar with the ketogenic diet will meet (with German-English translation) and discuss the ketogenic diet.
Two large meetings were held in 2007. The first, in May 2007, was a ketogenic diet two-day meeting for dietitians specifically. This meeting, the first of its kind, was held in Boston.
Another meeting was held in November outside of London for the group Matthew’s Friends. In this well-attended conference, two days were designed for physicians and dietitians, whereas the final day (Saturday) was for parents to hear from many of these ketogenic diet experts. For more information about this meeting, and Matthew’s Friends, contact Emma Williams (www.matthewsfriends.org)
Perhaps the most revolutionary conference will be held in 2 months in Phoenix, Arizona and is titled “International Symposium on Dietary Therapies for Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders.” This five day conference from April 2-6 for physicians, researchers, and dietitians will be solely devoted to the ketogenic diet, with poster sessions, lectures, and roundtable discussions. The organizing committee consists of physicians from the United States, England, Germany, and South Korea. Information can be found at http://www.thebarrow.org/Education/Continuing_Education/index.htm