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BIDMC neurologist Bernard Chang, M.D., receives award for epilepsy research

BOSTON Bernard Chang, MD, a member of the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, received the Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held recently in Honolulu, HI.

Established in 2001, the award recognizes physicians in the early stages of their careers who have made an independent contribution to epilepsy research. Former BIDMC neurologist Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD, was the award's first recipient.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that is estimated to affect nearly 3 million individuals in the U.S., at a cost of more than $15 billion a year. Despite advances in drug therapy and surgical procedures, a significant number of individuals continue to experience uncontrolled seizures.

Chang joined the BIDMC faculty in 2002. His research focuses on malformations of cortical development, human brain disorders that are present from birth and are among the most common causes of difficult-to-control epilepsy, accounting for 15 to 20 percent of all cases. In recent years, Chang's laboratory has been studying subjects with periventricular nodular heterotopia, a unique cortical malformation that causes patients to suffer from both dyslexia and epilepsy.

"Dr. Chang's work is helping to shed light on the genetic basis of cerebral development," says Clifford Saper, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Neurology at BIDMC. "This, in turn, will help lead to more precise diagnoses and prognoses for both children and adults affected by seizure disorders."

"The overall goal of our research is to better understand the ways in which epilepsy develops in the human brain," adds Chang. "In this way, we can then work to develop new therapies that can prevent seizures, minimize the risks and side effects of therapy, and improve patients' productivity and quality of life."

A graduate of Harvard College, Chang received his M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine and an M.M.Sc. in clinical investigation from Harvard Medical School. He completed residency and fellowship training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center before joining the faculty in 2002. Chang is a clinical neurologist seeing adult patients in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at BIDMC, and is the recipient of numerous teaching awards from both Harvard Medical School and the American Academy of Neurology.


Contact: Bonnie Prescott
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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