Comprehensive Epilepsy Program
Approximately one percent of the U.S. population is affected by epilepsy. Prognosis and treatment is dependent on the cause of epilepsy and seizure type. Every case of epilepsy is different and the best results stem from individualized treatment plans and comprehensive care teams.
The Comprehensive Epilepsy Program (CEP) at Rhode Island Hospital treats patients with seizures and epilepsy through a multidisciplinary team approach, using the latest diagnostic and therapeutic methods. Our team of experts includes neurologists (epileptologists), neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, neuropsychiatrists, neuroradiologists, and specialized nursing and technical teams, who work together to provide integrated, expert care that is unique in our region. Ours is the only epilepsy program in southeastern New England offering comprehensive care in one location. We serve southeastern New England and treat thousands of adult and pediatric patients annually.
The Highest Level of Epileptic Care
Rhode Island Hospital's CEP is designated a Level 4 Epilepsy Center (the highest level) by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. This designation is earned by centers that provide the most comprehensive forms of intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring; most extensive medical, neuropsychological, and psychosocial treatments; and the complete range of surgical procedures for epilepsy.
Ours is the only center in Rhode Island that includes experts in the surgical treatment of epilepsy as well as long-term video-EEG monitoring. We have the latest technologies needed to evaluate adult and pediatric patients, including advanced neuroimaging (3T MRI, fMRI, PET and SPECT).
Pediatric patients with epilepsy receive evaluation and treatment that is carefully tailored to maximize seizure control and minimize impact on cognition, learning, and other developmental concerns.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a relatively common brain disorder impacting one in 26 people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. Epilepsy can cause recurring, unprovoked seizures. It is important to note that not everyone who has a seizure has epilepsy. To be diagnosed with epilepsy, a person needs to have at least two seizures at a minimum of 24 hours apart. What causes epilepsy is complicated. Some can link their disorder to a brain injury, a tumor in their brain, a stroke, or neurotransmitter chemical imbalance, but for many, the cause of epilepsy is unknown.
Can a Person Live a Normal Life With Epilepsy?
Many people with epilepsy can lead independent lives with support and treatments like those found at Lifespan’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Rhode Island Hospital. The program’s psychologists, neuropsychologists and neuropsychiatrists work together with each patient to create a plan based on their type of epilepsy and prognosis.
What Can Trigger Epileptic Seizures?
Epileptic seizures can be triggered by a wide range of factors from flashing lights to taking certain medicines. Triggers may include:
- lack of sleep
- being sick
- alcohol and drug use
- dehydration and not eating well
- missing medications
- herbal supplements and medicines
Can Epilepsy Be Cured Permanently?
Although there is no cure for epilepsy, patients can manage the disorder with a support system and comprehensive epilepsy treatment plans, like those developed by our specialists. Learn about treatments available through the comprehensive epilepsy program.
Epilepsy Research and Education
Rhode Island Hospital is the principal teaching hospital of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, where our physicians are faculty members. Many ongoing collaborative and multidisciplinary clinical research efforts concerning epilepsy are being conducted by our physicians and The Warren Alpert Medical School.
With our ongoing involvement in education and research, we seek to discern the mysteries of this complicated condition and free as many patients as possible of their debilitating seizures. We may offer patients the opportunity to participate in clinical research trials. The patient's physician will discuss participation in a trial if the patient is a potential candidate.
Wesley Gwaltney turned to the functional neurosurgery department at Rhode Island Hospital, part of the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute, to treat debilitating seizures caused by epilepsy. Now he works in a field that was once off-limits to him.