Congratulations to Professor Raili Riikonen from Finland who will be awarded honorary EPNS membership during the EPNS Congress networking event in Athens which is due to take place on the evening of Thursday 19 September 2019.  EPNS honorary members are described in our constitution as ‘persons the society wishes to honour for outstanding distinction in the field of paediatric neurology.’

Biographical and achievement details:

Date and place of birth  23.11.1941 Kuopio, Finland

Undergraduate and postgraduate training: University of Basel, Switzerland, licenciate / Fellowship of ediatrics, University of Helsinki, Finland /  Fellowship of Child Neurology, University of Helsinki / Specialist of Pediatrics, University of Helsinki / Specialist of Child Neurology, University of Helsinki / Specialist of Health Administration, University of Tampere, Finland

Present appointments – Affiliation: Senior Clinical Researcher, Children`s Hospital, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland , Professor Emerita of Child Neurology, Children`s Hospital, Eastern University of Finland, Kuopio, Senior Clinical Researcher , Clinical consult abroad U.K. and U.S. , See also Sarnat H. “Academic activity after retirement” Neurology 2018: 91:36-40.

Major contributions to Paediatric Neurology

My major research interests: epilepsy (especially infantile spasms), nerve growth factors, autism Rett syndrome, fetal alcoholic syndrome, multiple sclerosis and stroke. I have worked as a clinician for my whole carrier. That is why I have a vast experience in clinical work. This has led me to observations on various pediatric neurology diseases which in turn have led to research and publications. .An inspirational and unique teacher, Professor Märta Donner, University of Helsinki, has played a critical role in my carrier as my mentor and friend, I have published 150 peer-reviewed papers in international journals (in most as first or last author), and a couple Finnish publications. My main contributions to the literature have been in the field of infantile spasms. I have followed personally 214 patients with infantile spasms from birth up to 50 years, with detailed clinical data including associated etiological factors, predicting factors, and treatments, co-morbidities (autism etc.). My final goal has been to find the best therapy for epilepsy and cognitive outcome. Actions of steroids at molecular basis, risk/ benefit ratio of the treatment (steroids and vigabatrin), possible mechanisms leading to pathogenesis of infantile spasms, and neuroprotection have been my further research goals. I have written 51 originals and 19 book chapters or reviewers on infantile spasms. During my last years I have concentrated to evaluate the role of nerve growth factors in different neurological disorders of childhood. I have been National Advisor of EPNS 2002-2006 (5 years), EPNS board member 2010-2018 (8 years) and ICNA board member 2002-2014 (12 years).. My teaching activity (of 40 years) is in based on my great clinical interest in child neurology: teaching for students, pediatricians and child neurologists at different levels: at public health care, central hospitals and three University hospitals: Turku, Helsinki and Kuopio (where I have acted in all hospitals as head of the department and professor of child neurology at the university).We  have received Certificate for best teaching in the Kuopio University; Pediatrics and Child Neurology. I have been the main teacher of child neurology. I have been the examinator of child neurology in whole Finland since early sixties. Teaching abroad has happened as a visiting professor at British Columbian Hospital, Vancouver for a short period, as a speaker in about 30 countries thereby enhancing communications in the field of pediatric neurology. In ICNA activity I have been in the Organizing Committee of international congresses.

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