Capital Institute for Neurosciences Launches Comprehensive Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders Program

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The new program will include brain ‘pacemakers’, specialized women’s care, and in-patient monitoring.

Michelle Dougherty is the director of CIN's Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders Program.

We can really change lives for the better.

The Capital Institute for Neurosciences (CIN) today announced it has launched a new program to provide highly specialized care for patients with epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

The CIN Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders Program at Capital Health provides patients with state-of-the-art testing and evaluation, including 24-hour continuous bedside monitoring, as well as the latest interventions. The center also provides social and emotional support to patients and their families. Seizure disorders are relatively common, with as much as one percent of the population affected.

“Having a seizure disorders program as part of a neuroscience institute provides patients with a wide range of services and specialists,” said Dr. Erol Veznedaroglu, director of CIN and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Capital Health. “We want to provide patients with optimal control of their seizures and improve their lives.”

The program’s director, Dr. Michelle Dougherty, said many people with seizure disorders are not receiving optimal medications and treatments. With the right evaluation and interventions, their symptoms could be reduced dramatically.

“We can really change lives for the better,” said Dr. Dougherty. “We can help people who have not been permitted to drive get their licenses back and return to work. Bringing significant seizure control to patients helps them live more normal lives. For many people with seizure disorders, especially those who are still taking older medications, there is so much room for improvement.”

Dr. Dougherty explained that the seizure disorders program provides 24-hour bedside observation capability in an in-patient epilepsy-monitoring unit. The CIN program also provides Vagus Nerve Stimulation, in which a device implanted in the chest delivers intermittent electrical stimuli to prevent seizures. The device has been likened to a “pacemaker” for the brain.

Dr. Dougherty, a neurologist certified in Epilepsy by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, received specialized epilepsy and EEG post-graduate fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland. She has a special focus on women. She speaks on seizure disorders, and her topics include pregnancy and epilepsy as well as the link between hormones and epilepsy symptoms. The connections are quite complex. Dr. Dougherty noted, for instance, that epilepsy medications could affect the efficacy of birth control pills, while birth control pills could affect the efficacy of some epilepsy medications.

Dr. Dougherty received her medical degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia and was a faculty instructor as part of her residency at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, RI. Dr. Dougherty worked as director of the neurology residency program and director of the EEG lab and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit in the Department of Neurosensory Sciences at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

Her research has focused on measures to prevent seizures, non-epileptic seizures, and on medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy. She also has researched the side effects of Vagus Nerve Stimulation, and she will build on the established research program at the CIN.

“Dr. Dougherty brings impressive training and expertise as well as a personal commitment to her patients and research,” Dr. Veznedaroglu said. “She is a compassionate and valued leader, and we are pleased to have her leading our epilepsy and seizure disorders program.”

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Carol Ann Campbell
Jaffe Communications
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