Events & News


Seizure Star: Dr. Marcelo Lancman, Medical Director of the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group

Epilepsy Star: Dr. Marcelo Lancman, M.D.

Dr. Lancman has been chosen this issue's Epilepsy Star because of all the work and dedication he has shown to epilepsy and seizure disorders for the last three decades. Dr. Lancman has been the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group's Medical Director since 1998 where he leads an impressive group of professionals that specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients living with epilepsy and their family and loved ones. Under his auspices, the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group has also created a one-of-a-kind psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) treatment program. It is for these reasons that he has been chosen to receive the Epilepsy Star recognition this quarter.

Tell us about how you became an epileptologist. What interested you about epilepsy and seizures? 

I studied medicine in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Early on in my studies, I became intrigued by neurophysiology (the study of how the nervous system functions, how it receives and sends information). From an intellectual perspective, I was fascinated with understanding how the brain worked. From a personal level, once I began to treat those who experienced seizures/epilepsy and their families, my focus shifted to the human experience of epilepsy. I saw day after day how challenging it can be to live with epilepsy, how it can impact the individuals physically and mentally and disrupt their life unexpectedly, and how hard it is for family and loved ones. It is frustrating when seizures break through, it can be scary and dangerous when seizures are violent, cause injuries or occur at night unobserved. The experiences my patients have shared with me is what drives me to do everything possible to combat seizures. This is why we have recruited to our program some of the best doctors from around the US, we have specialty clinics (e.g., Dravet's syndrome, tuberous sclerosis clinic, etc.), research programs testing experimental/novel medications, a state-of-the-art surgical program that now has at its disposal one of the only MEGs (a highly sophisticated machine used to record brain waves (through magnetic fields) and used to localize the origin of the seizures) in the East Coast, the ROSA (a robotic device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that can be used to perform minimally invasive neurosurgical procedures), and many other resources. 

What are some issues that concern you and that you feel still need to be targeted to improve the lives of those living with epilepsy?

My primary concern continues to be how can we stop someone from having seizures, period. Many other important issues improve if we achieve that. My other concern is what can we do to help make the lives of persons with epilepsy better with or without seizures? For this purpose, I was a member of the NJ Epilepsy Task Force, a board member of several epilepsy foundations, alliances and societies, and our medical group sponsors epilepsy awareness and fundraising events (most recently, the Glow Walk and Run). For years, our group has also vigorously worked to educate the public about epilepsy through patient education conferences and online programs held throughout New York and New Jersey. My team and I have also participated in several epilepsy walks in NY and NJ over the years and I even did a bike-a-thon once raising funds for epilepsy.

As an epileptologist who has dedicated your life to treating persons with epilepsy, what would you like to see in the future?

I would like to see epilepsy cured completely. I would also like to make sure that those who live with epilepsy don't experience mistreatment, stigma, abuse and instead receive the respect and care they deserve.


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