Annual Newsletter 2015

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A Letter From Our Founder, Dr. Orrin Devinsky

FACES is all about the people we care for. Our community of doctors, nurses, neuropsychologists, technicians, and administrators at NYU Langone and our wider community of collaborators in epilepsy care around the world.

Our research program is robust and exciting. We are exploring new genetic therapies for epilepsy, novel compounds that work ‘outside the box’ of usual epilepsy medications - targeting immunological mechanisms underlying epilepsy and novel neuronal systems. Our pioneering research on the safety and efficacy of pure cannabidiol (CBD) in children and young adults with treatment resistant epilepsy has garnered national attention and we are now leading the first scientifically controlled trials of CBD in Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. Our surgical teams are developing novel methods to treat epilepsy and are attracting a larger and wider referral base of the most difficult-to-treat cases. Through the North American Sudden Death in Epilepsy Registry (SUDEP) collaboration with the NIH Center for SUDEP Research, and a new international program to study risk factors for SUDEP, we are intensely focused on reducing epilepsy-related mortality. Our collaboration with the Center For Healthful Behavior Change at NYU has led to work with the Centers for Disease Control to reduce disparities in epilepsy care for those who have less financial resources. There are so many new projects, like, improving memory through transcranial magnetic stimulation to unraveling the genetics of epilepsy and studying devices to detect seizures and alarm caregivers. Collaborations within the NYU Langone and Downtown campuses and with international colleagues have allowed us to focus deeply on specific projects while diversifying our research efforts.

We are also proud of our FACES program. The Annual Epilepsy Conference is one of the largest in the world. The annual newsletter and monthly e-newsletter are read by more than 12,000 people. Game Day at Chelsea Piers brings families together for fun and our Camp Scholarships bring the joy of friendship for campers and respite for parents. The College Scholarship program awards much needed funds to students with epilepsy. This is thanks to the incredible support we have received.

It is always worthwhile to reflect and look back. Reflecting fills me with a sense of honor to be part of this amazing community, and it fills me with a hunger to do more, since our goal of significant progress towards a cure for epilepsy remains far too elusive.