November 9, 2018

Yale center marks 50 years of epilepsy breakthroughs

Photo Contributed
Photo Contributed
At the 50th anniversary celebration of the Yale Comprehensive Epilepsy Center on Thursday: (l-r) Robert Duckrow, M.D., associate professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery; Lawrence Hirsch, M.D.; chief, Division of Epilepsy and EEG and co-director of the Yale Comprehensive Epilepsy Center; Richard Mattson, M.D., professor emeritus of Neurology; Dennis Spencer, M.D., chief of Epilepsy Surgery; Susan Levy, M.D., clinical professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, and Hal Blumenfeld, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Neurology, Neuroscience and Neurosurgery and director of the Yale Clinical Neuroscience Imaging Center.
Co-Director Lawrence Hirsch, M.D., at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Yale Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

Yale New Haven Health and Yale Medicine celebrated 50 years of cutting-edge research and treatment for epilepsy patients with an event and a display on the history of the Yale Comprehensive Epilepsy Center on Thursday at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Richard Mattson, M.D., professor emeritus of neurology, was honored for his 50 years at Yale and pioneering work in the treatment of the neurological disorder, estimated to impact 50 million people worldwide. Begun a half-century ago, Mattson's research helped to establish the university as leader in research and treatment, said Lawrence Hirsch, M.D., co-director of the Yale Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

Thanks to pioneering work by Mattson and others on the effectiveness of anti-epileptic drugs, "Yale has been a leader in developing epilepsy programs and research for 50 years now," Hirsch said. "Yale's always been on the cutting edge of trying to figure out why seizures occur, when they occur and the best treatments."

Current work at Yale focuses on surgical treatments for epilepsy, appropriate in about one-third of patients whose seizures aren't controlled by drugs. Yale doctors have developed surgically implanted devices like responsive neurostimulators to help these patients, Hirsch said. Other research focuses on the effects of a ketogenic diet on epilepsy in adult patients.

About 4,000 patients a year are treated at Yale's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, the only facility with the highest Level 4 designation in Connecticut.

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