Sep 12, 2021

Warren Blume, MD

2012 J. Kiffin Penry Award

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Warren Blume, MD, (1934-2021) Founder and former Head of the Epilepsy Program at Western University in London, Ontario, CANADA, passed away on September 13th, 2021. A graduate from Princeton University, he completed Medical School at McGill University, and subsequently a Residency in Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. His fellowship training in EEG and Epilepsy was obtained at the Mayo Clinic, and he trained in neonatal EEG at the Hôpital Port Royal in Paris. Prof. Blume joined Western University (formerly known as University of Western Ontario) in 1972, where he remained until he retired in 2007.

A clear and visionary thinker, as well as a skilled epileptologist and electroencephalographer, Prof. Blume was highly influential in the development of epileptology in Canada, and also around the world. A prolific writer and, as he used to put it “an EEG and epilepsy buff” he wrote eight textbooks on EEG and epilepsy. His EEG atlases in particular have received international prominence and are considered essential reading in many epilepsy programs across the globe. His keen clinical observations and EEG acumen resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals. Prof Blume was an engaging and popular speaker at epilepsy meetings internationally. His accomplishments were recognized by seven Distinguished Lectureships, including the Lennox lecture (American Epilepsy Society-2006), the Gloor Lecture (Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation-2008), and the J Kifin Penry Lecture (American Epilepsy Society -2012). He also received major awards, including the Penfield Award from (Canadian league Against Epilepsy -1997), the commemorative Medal for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee (Canadian Medical Association -2003), the HOPE Award (London, Canada, 2005), the Ambassador for Epilepsy Award (International League Against Epilepsy-2009), The Herbert Jasper Award (American Clinical Neurophysiology Society -2012), and The J Kiffin Penry Award (American Epilepsy Society -2012). Prof. Blume was conferred The Order of Canada (The highest Canadian distinction to a civilian) in 2012.

Prof. Blume left an indelible mark in Canadian epileptology. In 1977, together with Prof. Juhn Wada, Fred Andermann and others, he founded the Canadian League Against Epilepsy (CLAE). He was also the co-founder of the first Epilepsy Program in Ontario, which was the second program to be established in Canada, after the Montreal Neurological Institute. This center continues to provide world-class care for epilepsy patients and to produce cutting-edge research. He also served as President of the Canadian Board of EEG Technologists, the Canadian Association of Child Neurology, the Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiologists, the Canadian League Against Epilepsy, and the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society. He served in numerous committees and task-forces of the International League Against Epilepsy, the American Epilepsy Society, and the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society. Notably, in the ILAE he was a member of the Glossary of Descriptive Terminology Committee, the Definitions Subcommittee, and the Seizure Classification Committee.

Prof. Blume had a passion for education and was known for his skill in teaching electroencephalography. His EEG reading sessions were legendary. He trained more than 30 electroencephalographers nationally and internationally, 13 of whom went on to lead epilepsy/EEG training programs.

An avid tennis player and erudite reader he was deeply loved by his family and friends.

His death is an extraordinary loss to Western University and to national and international epileptology.