CIN 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 provides patients with state-of-the-art testing and evaluation, including 24-hour bedside monitoring, as well as the latest pharmacological interventions. The center also provides social and emotional support to patients and their families.
“Having a seizure disorder program as part of a neuroscience institute provides patients with a wide range of services and specialists,” said Erol Veznedaroglu, MD, a neurosurgeon and director of CIN. “We want to provide patients with optimal control of their seizures and improve their lives.”
The program’s director, Michelle Lynne Dougherty, MD, said many people with seizure disorders are not receiving optimal treatment; their symptoms could be reduced dramatically with the right evaluation and interventions.
“We can really change lives for the better,” said Dr. Dougherty. “We can help people who can not drive get their licenses back and return to work. We can bring significant seizure control to patients and help them live more normal lives. For many people with seizure disorders, especially those who are still taking older medications, there is just so much room for improvement.”
Dr. Dougherty said the seizure disorders program provides 24-hour-bedside observation 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.
Seizure disorders are relatively common, with as much as one percent of the population affected. That translates to about 90,000 people in New Jersey.
Dr. Dougherty is a neurologist who received specialized epilepsy and EEG post-graduate training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland and who has a special focus on women. She speaks widely on seizure disorders. Her topics include pregnancy and epilepsy as well as the link between hormones and epilepsy symptoms. The connection is 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. She was a faculty instructor as part of her residency at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, RI. She 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.
Dr. Doughtery’s 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 Capital Institute for Neurosciences.
“Dr. Dougherty brings incredible training and expertise as well as a personal commitment to her patients and research,” Dr. Veznedaroglu said. “She is a compassionate and valued leader in our epilepsy and seizure disorders program.”