‘Treat epileptic patients like normal people’

Updated 14 April 2013

‘Treat epileptic patients like normal people’

The 7th annual Epilepsy Forum held at the Sofitel hotel in Alkhobar last week highlighted the issues related to the chronic neurological disorder in the presence of physicians, experts and the general public.
Organized by the King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Dammam in collaboration with the Saudi Epilepsy Society (SES), the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), the Saudi Chapter of Epilepsy, and the Commission of Eastern Mediterranean Affairs, the forum provided a platform for a fruitful discussion on the disorder as well as the current research being carried out on its various types.
Commenting on the forum, Dr. Raidah Al-Baradie, chairwoman of the epilepsy forum and an epilepsy consultant at the hospital, explained, “We cover a different theme every year and this time the discussion centered around Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (MTLE), its clinical characteristics and treatment.”
King Fahd Specialist Hospital has recently established a monitoring unit, the first of its kind in the Eastern Province, and has successfully performed surgery on many patients suffering from MTLE.
Moreover, the symposium aims to play a vital role in increasing public awareness about epilepsy so as to inform and educate people about its symptoms and implications as well as exchange the latest research with the community regarding this disorder.
“The second day of the forum focused on reaching out to the public and informing them about epilepsy in a tangible and easily accessible manner,” said Al-Baradie, adding, “A friend of mine, who is incidentally an actor, performed a scientific play for the audience to demonstrate to people that patients with epilepsy can lead normal lives and the stigma attached to the disorder needs to be abandoned. Unfortunately, many people including teachers still discriminate against patients and do not know what epileptic seizures are or how they should be handled.”

One of my main purposes of holding this forum was to bring this discussion to the mainstream so as to educate people here.”
The forum contributes to the global scientific debate and discussion on epilepsy through the exchange of medical expertise and research conducted at the hospital. However, the event’s most essential contribution remains the human message that epileptic patients especially children should be treated normally.
“Epileptic patients should be taught to be independent and involved in social and professional lives. The stigma attached to epilepsy is disheartening and that is what this forum tried to eradicate through education and information,” concluded Al-Baradie.

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!


What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.