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Epilepsy research and care at The Neuro

Published: 26 March 2018

The institute that developed the “Montreal Procedure” continues to be on the cutting edge

The Neuro is recognized worldwide as a leader in epilepsy research and treatment. From the beginning, Neuro founder, Dr. Wilder Penfield, made epilepsy a central focus. He and his colleagues developed a surgical treatment for epilepsy patients known as the “Montreal Procedure,” which today is in use throughout the world. The Neuro became a pioneer in studying epilepsy through the use of electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The Neuro’s Epilepsy Program employs a multi-disciplinary team of epileptologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, neuropsychologists, neuropsychiatrists, social workers, EEG technologists, nurse clinicians and case managers. The Epilepsy Clinic provides in-patient and out-patient services for about 3,000 patients annually.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by sudden, brief discharges in the brain, expressed as a seizure. According to Epilepsy Canada, approximately one per cent of Canadians have epilepsy. Thirty per cent of new Canadian cases are children. In about half of child cases, seizures eventually disappear.

Epilepsy is a result of different causes: malformations during brain development, a head injury that causes scarring to the brain tissue, high fever and prolonged convulsions during early childhood, trauma at birth, a stroke or tumour.

One out of three patients cannot control seizures solely by using available medications. For these patients, surgical removal of the brain tissue causing seizures is the only known effective treatment for controlling seizures and improving quality of life.

Seizures can be triggered by outside events such as strobe lights, or by a person’s state of health---fatigue, illness, hunger, emotional stress.  

To learn more about becoming an epilepsy patient at The Neuro, click here.

Neuro Epilepsy Experts


  • Eva Andermann – a clinician researcher focussing on the genetic factors that underlie epilepsy and its syndromes.
  • Andrea Bernasconi – a clinician specializing in neuroimaging of epilepsy.
  • Francois Dubeau – a neurologist treating patients with difficult epileptic syndromes.
  • Birgit Frauscher – a neurologist using electroencephalography to study epilepsy and sleep.
  • Eliane Kobayashi – a neurologist applying functional neuroimaging to study epileptic foci and epilepsy networks.


  • Jeffrey Hall – a neurosurgeon who is on the leading edge of exploring epileptic foci through the robotic insertion of intracranial electrodes.
  • André Olivier – the dean of Canadian epilepsy neurosurgeons and a pioneer in the development of the stereotactic frame for facilitating electrode placement used in epilepsy recording.


  • Massimo Avoli – a researcher examining neural networks to understand the mechanisms underlying seizures and to develop new anti-epileptic drugs. Winner of the 1995 Michael Prize, a major international award “for the best scientific and clinical research promoting further development in epileptology.”
  • Neda Ladbon-Bernasconi – a researcher using advanced MRI techniques to study the biological basis of epilepsy. Dr. Ladbon-Bernasconi co-founded the Neuroimaging of Epilepsy Laboratory (NOEL).
  • Boris Bernhardt – a researcher studying the links between brain structure and cognition. Winner of the 2017 Michael Prize, a major international award “for the best scientific and clinical research promoting the further development in epileptology.”
  • Jean Gotman – a researcher using combined functional imaging techniques and electroencephalography to study the sources of epileptic attacks in the brain.
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