Skip to main content

Epilepsy Division

The Epilepsy Division works through the UC Epilepsy Center, of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute. Our 8 fellowship trained neurology physicians make up the center, designated as the only adult Level 4 rated center in the region by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers.

The Epilepsy Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute is one of the most experienced in the U.S., having performed epilepsy surgery for 30 years. Our physicians treat thousands of patients annually and are widely considered experts in diagnosing, treating and researching the disorder. 

Over 3 million people in the US have epilepsy and at least 1/3 of them will have seizures that are incompletely controlled with medication. Epilepsy centers have an enormous role in evaluation and treatment of people with epilepsy because an epilepsy center is where the expertise and technology to best help those with medication refractory epilepsy is concentrated. 

Academic Overview

For over 30 years, we have been a major training center for residents and fellows seeking advanced training in the evaluation and treatment of epilepsy. Many of our trainees lead epilepsy centers throughout the U.S. 

The Epilepsy Division offers one-year Epilepsy fellowship training program that is ACGME-accredited for residents who have completed a neurology residency program.  

Many of the Epilepsy Division members are national and international leaders in the field. Dr. Privitera served as President of the American Epilepsy Society in 2016. The AES is the largest organization in the world of professionals involved in epilepsy diagnosis, treatment and research. Dr. Ficker serves as the AES’ fellowship committee director and serves on the Professional Advisory Board of the national Epilepsy Foundation. Many faculty members have lectured throughout the US and the world. 

Areas of Expertise

Our clinical expertise is in the evaluation and treatment of seizures, whether medication resistant, new onset, or requiring advanced video/EEG monitoring or surgery. All our faculty have advanced training in epilepsy and EEG.  

The UCGNI Epilepsy Center provides advanced evaluation and coordinated medical and surgical treatment of epilepsy. The center has two inpatient epilepsy monitoring units: an eight-bed epilepsy monitoring unit at UC Medical Center and a new 4 bed unit at West Chester Hospital. These are the only adult epilepsy units in southwestern Ohio.

The unit combines expert neurological, neuropsychological and neurosurgical examination with 24-hour video recordings and EEG monitoring to discover the origin of seizures. Over 40 highly trained professionals form our epilepsy team. Over 5000 patients have been evaluated in our inpatient Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. Advanced strategies like stereo-EEG, ictal SPECT, and laser ablations for surgery have improved both the effectiveness and safety of epilepsy surgery. We can implant stimulation devices for epilepsy like vagus nerve stimulator, the NeuroPace Responsive NeuroStimulator, or the newly approved Deep Brain Stimulation for Epilepsy. All surgical cases are discussed in our multidisciplinary conference where experts in Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuroradiology, Nuclear Medicine and Neuropsychology all collaborate to provide our patients the best outcome.

We also provide continuous video/EEG recordings in all the intensive care units of the UC Medical Center and West Chester Hospital. This way any patient with altered consciousness can be rapidly evaluated and monitored for the development of seizures or life threatening status epilepticus. We were one of the first centers in the country to offer this service and our early publications on the topic are recognized as seminal work in the field.

The UC Epilepsy Center's New Onset Seizure Clinic provides rapid access to epilepsy specialists for anyone with new onset of seizures or suspected seizures. Our epilepsy specialists see people within a few days to perform a comprehensive evaluation, create a treatment plan and provide education about the disorder. We believe people with a serious problem like a seizure should have access to the top specialists and the best treatments right from the start. Multiple studies in the US show that people with epilepsy wait much too long before they are seen by experts at an epilepsy center.

Research Activity

The adult epilepsy research program, headed by Michael Privitera, MD, has spearheaded much of the testing of the new antiepileptic medication over the past 30 years. Our research has centered on bringing new treatments for epilepsy to our patients and we are world recognized for this outstanding work. Our faculty has published hundreds of scientific papers and written a textbook on seizure treatments. We have been awarded millions of dollars in research funding for a variety of studies. 

Recent research has focused on: 

  • Over 30 clinical trials of new antiepileptic drugs, including key research on the newly approved cannabidiol Epidiolex for epilepsy.
  • Effects of stress on seizures and how to block those effects. These clinical studies are supplemented by an active animal laboratories aiming to discover the basic mechanisms of stress and how those interact to trigger seizures.  
  • Differences between brand name and generic antiepileptic drugs; 
  • Effects of antiepileptic drugs on women during pregnancy and effects on their babies; 
  • EEG detection of seizures in the ICU;
  • Development of epilepsy after traumatic brain injury;
  • Strategies to predict seizure occurrence;
  • New antiepileptic drugs including newer cannabinoid preparations;
  • Identifying risk factors for sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP); 
  • Studies on cognitive function and epilepsy;
  • Integrative medicine approaches to epilepsy treatment 
  • Autonomic and cerebral blood flow changes with seizures
  • Effects of antiepileptic drugs on mood

The pediatric epilepsy program, headed by Tracy Glauser, MD, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has been a leader as well with advanced programs in epilepsy surgery, new drug development, genetics of epilepsy and brain imaging.

Directory Search

Contact Us

Department of
Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine

Stetson Building Suite 2300
260 Stetson Street
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0525

Mail Location: 0525
Phone: 513-558-2968
Fax: 513-558-4887

Clinical Phone: 513-475-8730
Clinical Fax: 513-475-8033