Nearly two million Americans suffer from epilepsy--many of them children. It is the oldest known brain disorder and was mentioned in literature 2,000 years B.C. It is not considered a single disease; the recurrent seizures that mark its presence result from sudden, temporary disturbances in the normal operation of the brain’s electrical system that may result from different causes. Epilepsy takes many forms and its severity ranges from mild to completely debilitating.
Most people with epilepsy are successfully treated with antiepileptic drugs that provide partial or complete control over seizures. But approximately 250,000 people do not respond to medication. They may experience catastrophic epileptic seizures daily, making any semblance of a normal life impossible.
The Yale Epilepsy Surgery Program provides promising options for many of these adult and pediatric patients. Internationally known for clinical excellence and innovative research, this program was one of the nation’s first and has evolved into one of the most active and advanced in the world.
Dennis D. Spencer, M.D., is the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Surgery, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Yale Epilepsy Surgery Program. Dr. Spencer graduated from Washington University School of Medicine and completed his neurosurgical residency at Yale. He joined the faculty after completing his residency and became the chief of neurosurgery in 1987. He is a director of the American Board of Neurosurgery.
Dr. Spencer is internationally renowned for surgical treatment of the underlying neurological diseases that cause epilepsy and for developing a now commonly used surgical approach for patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. In addition to directing the surgical arm of one of the most established epilepsy centers in the world, Dr. Spencer has assembled investigators focused on studying the neurobiology of human epileptogenic tissue in an effort to discover the underlying causes of epilepsy.
An Environment for Research and Teaching
The Yale Medical School has an international reputation for academic excellence and innovative research. This atmosphere of academic inquiry and research enhances the program’s clinical mission and provides patients with the assurance they are receiving the most current and advanced treatment available.
Epilepsy Surgery Coordinator