The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute features an inpatient Epilepsy Center at Sinai Hospital that allows doctors to observe and record the brain waves of patients experiencing seizures or seizure-like behaviors in a comfortable, relaxed setting. Patients stay in a private room equipped with minimally intrusive medical and video monitoring equipment. By observing the patient's episodes and pinpointing the source of the seizures, Sinai doctors can find better ways to treat patients who may not be responding to medical therapies.
Symptoms of epilepsy or related disorders may include the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Unusual movements in sleep
If you or someone you know exhibits any of these symptoms, you or the other person should be seen by a physician as soon as possible. In addition to epilepsy, conditions treated within the Epilepsy Center also include migraines, mini-strokes and non-epileptic seizures.
New Treatment Options
With current medication and treatment, most people can have their seizures relatively well controlled. In the last 15 years, researchers have developed promising new drugs for treating epilepsy. But finding the right drug for a patient can be problematic. Some drugs have harmful medical, cognitive and behavioral side effects and can even worsen some seizures. A proper diagnosis is a critical first step to developing a successful treatment plan. As a program of the Brain and Spine Institute, the Epilepsy Center's epileptologists work in tandem with other physicians, giving a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to health care.
Surgical Options Available
Surgical remedies often offer the best hope for controlling seizures when medications fail to stop seizure activity. If doctors can determine the precise location in the brain from which the seizures are originating, removal of the malfunctioning area can often control the seizures. Often, an approved surgical device called the Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) can effectively reduce the number of seizures and sometimes stop them altogether. The information obtained during a stay in the Epilepsy Center is essential in determining if a patient is candidate for one of these procedures.
About the Unit
Our faculty consists of highly skilled experts in neurological health and provides comprehensive neurophysiology services, including routine and video EEG for outpatients, evoked potentials, intraoperative monitoring and inpatient video EEG. In the video below, Francis G. Tirol, M.D., shares more about the unit:
Perry Jay Foreman, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Epilepsy Center. He earned his degree in medicine from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Dr. Foreman's special interests include epilepsy in elderly patients and advances in the genetics of epilepsy.
Francis G. Tirol, M.D., is a neurologist in the Epilepsy Center. After earning his medical degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Tirol completed a residency program in neurology at New York University Medical School and a fellowship in epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at the UCLA/David Geffen School of Medicine. His special interests include epilepsy surgery, intraoperative monitoring, and advances in neuroimaging.
Arash Foroughi, M.D., received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. After completing graduate work in public health and physiology at the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, he received his medical degree from St. George's University School of Medicine in Grenada.
S. Marc Testa, Ph.D., a state-licensed psychologist,
specializes in the areas of epilepsy, psychogenic seizures,
cerebrovascular disease, dementia, and traumatic brain injury in the
adult population. In addition to his clinical duties in the Division of
Neuropsychology at the Berman Brain & Spine Institute, he serves as
its clinical training director.
After earning a combined master’s degree in psychology and
neuroscience at the University of Hartford in West Hartford,
Connecticut, Dr. Testa earned a second master’s degree in clinical
psychology and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology with a focus on
neuropsychology at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. He
then completed an internship in clinical psychology at the VA Maryland
Health Care System/University of Maryland and a clinical neuropsychology
fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at
The Johns Hopkins University.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder in which nerve cells in the brain fire electrical impulses at a higher than normal rate, causing seizures that can last seconds or minutes. An estimated 2.7 million people live with epilepsy in the United States. Every year, 181,000 Americans will develop seizures and epilepsy for the first time. Family history, head injuries, alcohol withdrawal, infections and brain abnormalities are all possible causes. Unfortunately, doctors can find no cause in about half the cases. But new treatment options are allowing patients to live fuller, happier and seizure-free lives.
Watch a patient of The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute give her insights on epilepsy.
For more information about epilepsy and the Epilepsy Center you can view our brochures online: Epilepsy Center, Perry Jay Foreman, M.D., Ph.D., and Francis Tirol, M.D.