One of the world's most complex and widespread neurological diseases, epilepsy affects more than 65 million people. The multidisciplinary team at UT Southwestern is at the forefront of solving the mysteries surrounding the disorder and making the kind of scientific and clinical breakthroughs that can change our patients’ lives on a daily basis.
UT Southwestern Medical Center offers people with epilepsy a comprehensive and personalized approach to care, from a comprehensive electroencephalography (EEG) evaluation to involvement in the latest clinical trials and brain-mapping methods for pinpointing and controlling seizures. We have one of the largest epilepsy teams in the country, specializing in care for a patients in North Texas and beyond.
The Department of Neurology supports the clinical programs in epilepsy across the UT Southwestern Health System, Parkland Hospital, and Children’s Health.
The National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) has designated each of the epilepsy programs at UT Southwestern, Parkland, and Children’s Health as Level 4 NAEC centers – the highest ranking possible. This means the clinical operations at our affiliated campuses provide the professional expertise and house the advanced facilities and technologies necessary to ensure the highest-level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
Adult patients are evaluated and treated in the outpatient setting either at the UT Southwestern Epilepsy Clinic at James W. Aston Ambulatory Care Clinic, or at the Parkland Epilepsy Clinic at Ron J. Anderson. Pediatric patients are evaluated by our partners at Children’s Health.
When seizures persist despite the administration of anti-seizure medications, or when brain surgery is being considered, patients are typically referred to our inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) for further evaluation and to optimize treatment. For patients with uncontrolled seizures, UT Southwestern offers a state-of-the-art, 12-bed EMU at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, a 12-bed EMU at Parkland Hospital, and a 10-bed pediatric EMU at Children’s Health. These units are dedicated to the specialized care needed for patients with seizures. Each room is private, and patients undergo a comprehensive evaluation using continuous digital EEG coupled with video recording by dual cameras in every room. This evaluation allows the patient’s provider to refine the seizure diagnosis and guide therapy, while partnering with our inpatient rapid-response team of trained epilepsy professionals to respond to a patient’s needs in real time.
Video: Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain’s electrical activity. Seizures can affect the brain in a variety of ways, but people with seizures may suffer from recurrent and sometimes unpredictable episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions.
Epilepsy experts at UT Southwestern offer diagnostic and treatment capabilities for every stage of seizure disorder, helping patients with:
- Diagnosis of spells, seizures, or similar events not yet diagnosed as epilepsy
- New-onset seizures, or recently diagnosed epilepsy
- Plans to become pregnant while taking medications for epilepsy, and care for pregnant women with epilepsy
- Uncontrollable or treatment-resistant seizures that have not responded to anti-seizure medications
- Complex health care needs related to epilepsy
Whether a patient is newly diagnosed with seizures or struggling with long-term pharmaco-resistant epilepsy, care at UT Southwestern begins with a comprehensive evaluation. Our diagnostic process helps our providers understand a person’s seizure disorder and recommend a treatment approach that can reduce or eradicate a patient’s seizure burden and improve quality of life.
UT Southwestern takes a team approach to epilepsy treatment. Neurologists trained in treating epilepsy lead care teams with specialists in Neurosurgery, Neuroradiology, and Neuropsychology, Psychiatry, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, along with our advanced practice providers, nurses, and EEG technologists.
Patients undergoing evaluation for epilepsy surgery at our UT Southwestern-affiliated sites benefit from built-in “second opinions” from the broad range of multi-disciplinary specialists who collaborate to evaluate treatment options for each patient. The team develops a personalized strategy that balances the latest developments in treatments to control seizures with quality-of-life considerations unique for each individual.
Epilepsy often can be controlled with medication. UT Southwestern offers a broad range of medications, including opportunities to participate in ground-breaking clinical trials with experimental pharmaceuticals, when appropriate.
For many patients with intractable epilepsy, surgery may be a viable treatment option when medications alone are not effective. Surgical options at UT Southwestern include the following:
- Intracranial EEG (including stereo-EEG and subdural grids and strips) to better define the region of the brain causing seizures, and to also allow brain mapping to identify eloquent cerebral regions to be spared
- UT Southwestern is also among the first and busiest hospitals in Texas to use the Robotized Stereotactic Assistant (ROSA®). This technology combines GPS-like mapping software with a robotic arm to provide accurate measurements and precise movements to assist the neurosurgeon in pinpointing brain targets during intracranial stereo-EEG implantation, and other neurosurgical procedures. Compared with the more traditional intracranial EEG evaluation using subdural grids and strip electrodes, this stereo-EEG technique reduces operating time, shortens recovery time, and improves overall patient safety and comfort.
- Surgical resection of the identified cerebral seizure focus
- Minimally invasive laser interstitial therapy for ablation of the seizure focus
- Neurostimulation using devices such as the responsive neurostimulation system, deep brain stimulation, and vagal nerve stimulation to reduce seizure burden
UT Southwestern neurologists are at the forefront of identifying and treating immunologic conditions that can lead to seizures, particularly in patients prone to autoimmune disorders with seizures that cannot be managed by typical anti-seizure medications. When seizures are determined to be related to an underlying immunological disorder, the Epilepsy team can partner with our experts in the UT Southwestern Neuroimmunology section to devise specialized immunomodulatory treatment plans that may include oral or infusible therapies.
UT Southwestern Medical Center offers magnetoencephalography (MEG), a state-of-the-art technology that maps brain function. We have the most advanced MEG technology currently available, and the only MEG scanner in Dallas. Our Neurology and Neuro-radiology clinicians and clinician-scientists perform this testing before neurosurgical procedures in patients with epilepsy. By analyzing the small magnetic fields produced by the brain’s innate electrical activity, this non-invasive test allows for the detection and analysis of abnormal brain regions that can cause seizures, as well identification of critically eloquent regions of the cerebral cortex.
- Ryan Hays, M.D. (Section Head)
- Mark Agostini, M.D.
- Sasha Alick-Lindstrom, M.D.
- Rohit Das, M.D.
- Hina Dave, M.D.
- Marisara Dieppa, M.D.
- Kan Ding, M.D.
- Alexander Doyle, M.D.
- Jay Harvey, D.O.
- Ghazala Perven, M.D.
- Irina Podkorytova, M.D.
- Rodrigo Zepeda, M.D.
UT Southwestern's physicians and clinician-scientists are advancing the field of epilepsy through a number of projects. We conduct clinical trials for advanced diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients with epilepsy, and share our results with the public and the scientific community in order to advance the field of care. We use advanced technologies such as MEG and stereo-EEG to improve epilepsy outcomes in patients undergoing surgery, offer the latest clinical trials for novel therapeutics patients who are otherwise not candidates for surgery, endeavoring to improve quality of life in our epilepsy patients.
UTSW Clinical Trials in Patients with Epilepsy:
A study to evaluate XEN1101 as Adjunctive Therapy in Focal Epilepsy
The XEN1101 Phase 2 clinical trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that will evaluate the clinical efficacy, safety, and tolerability of increasing doses of XEN1101 administered as adjunctive treatment in adult patients diagnosed with focal epilepsy.
UTSW - Study Finder (utswmed.org)
Publications: UTSW INFLUUENT
Click link above to see the most recent list of the scholarly work published by members of our team.
Epilepsy Research – Department of Neurology – UT Southwestern
UT Southwestern is committed to training the next generation of clinicians and clinician-scientists to improve the lives of our patients living with seizures. The Epilepsy section hosts medical students, residents, and fellows throughout their training. UT Southwestern sponsors ACGME-accredited training in Adult Clinical Neurophysiology and Adult Epilepsy fellowship programs, as well as in Pediatric Clinical Neurophysiology and Pediatric Epilepsy fellowships. An additional non-ACGME accredited Advanced Fellowship in Epilepsy and Electroencephalography is also available.