Promoting Education and Attainment of the Highest Level of Knowledge and Understanding of Clinical Neurophysiology

The International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology (IFCN) has member societies in 62 countries. The IFCN mission is to promote best practice in clinical neurophysiology through education and research throughout the world. And our vision is to improve healthcare worldwide by understanding the nervous system and optimizing the diagnosis and treatment of its disorders through clinical neurophysiology.

Welcome Message from the IFCN President

Dear Colleagues,  

The new Executive Committee (ExCo) of the IFCN took office at the ICCN in Washington (May 2018) for the next four years. I very much appreciate all the efforts of the past ExCo for having paved the way for future developments in world-wide clinical neurophysiology!

In addition to achievements in science, education and many other areas, a new ExCo structure was implemented. In addition to Mark Hallett (Past President), Renato Verdugo (Secretary), Aatif Husain (Treasurer), Ulf Ziemann (Editor-in-Chief Clinical Neurophysiology), and David Burke (Editor-in-Chief Clinical Neurophysiology Practice), one designated member of each of our four chapters is now a member of the new ExCo. This will have an immediate impact on future strategic decisions for our 62 member societies worldwide. The Asian-Oceanian Chapter is represented by Ryusuke Kakigi, the European Chapter by Jonathan Cole, the Latin American Chapter by Jorge Gutierrez and the North American Chapter by Donald Sanders.

What needs to be done in the next four years?

Clinical neurophysiology is developing in a rapidly evolving, competitive scientific environment with fields such as neurology, psychiatry and others. Sophisticated imaging methods are providing additional information, thereby supplementing, and in some cases supplanting, traditional diagnostic tools. Examples include patients with peripheral neuropathies or myositis, where additional antibody information contributes vitally to the diagnosis. We have to face new these developments and integrate continuously changing and improving multidisciplinary information into our diagnostic clinical pathways. Clinical neurophysiology is also increasingly being used as a therapeutic technique; in some areas deep brain stimulation is being supplemented by transcranial brain stimulation. Many of our traditional tools remain time consuming, and administrative demands for economic efficacy continue to restrict our resources both in patient care and research.

Despite threats Clinical Neurophysiology remains strong because of our core mission and because of a continuous necessity for optimal patient care in our specialities. Strategically we have to define the scientific and clinical areas at the core of our interests. Many of these, such as epilepsy or neuromuscular diseases, are covered by disease specific societies. Other societies focus on techniques, such as brain mapping. We have to develop a plan and clearly specify which areas we will focus our scientific and clinical efforts.

We therefore must develop a strategic plan for the next 4 and 10 years. New core areas need to be defined, while our current areas of focus, including epilepsy, peripheral neurophysiology, consciousness, brain stimulation, intraoperative monitoring and brain mapping, will continue to be developed. 

In the next four years we will continue to push forward and to define new goals, such as:

  • Organize specialists in Special Interest Groups (SIGs), e.g. in EEG/MEG connectivity, transcranial brain stimulation, young clinical neurophysiologists and others.

  • Development of standardized education worldwide making use of increasing possibilities of web-based information in Clinical Neurophysiology
  • Standardisation of educational and clinical pathways and guidelines, many of them already published in our journal Clinical Neurophysiology

  • Establishment and/or maintenance of collaborations with international and national societies, governmental organizations, professional associations and other groups with interests in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology. We have already started alliances with the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) and are engaged in mutual projects with them. 

  • Updating and reorganizing the IFCN webpage (this work was started by the previous ExCo). Prof. Verdugo is the ExCo member in charge for this task. We will post up-to-date scientific information (provided by our journal editors) and educational material (organized by our Chapter Representatives and coordinated by Jonathan Cole). Our social media campaign, including our footprint on FaceBook and Twitter will continue and expand. The impact of all this depends on interesting, up-to-date information warranting the effort to follow the IFCN! Any input is welcome! If you want to work with us, please contact Stephanie Stevenson, at info@ifcn.info.

    In order to bring all this together, focus on standardized education at the society level across chapters and in order to increase corporate identity I will push forward the concept for international biannual meetings in the future, chapter meetings performed in between. This will allow us to coordinate teaching by our best specialists. And last but not least we will work on promotion of female clinicians and scientists in clinical neurophysiology.

We are always happy to hear from you about new ideas or concerns. 

Best wishes

Walter Paulus

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