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Epilepsy Women's Program in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

Dr. Olgica Laban-Grant is a seasoned epileptologist who earned her doctorate at the University of Belgrade School of Medicine, Belgrade.  She then went on to successfully complete her internship, residency and her fellowship in epilepsy at New York University.  She is certified in the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology as well as the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with special qualifications in Neurophysiology.  Her main research interest is in epilepsy in women.  She has been awarded The Best Doctors of America 2011-2012 and the 2012 Westchester Magazine "Top Doctor" recognitions.

We sat down with Dr. Laban-Grant to hear more about the Epilepsy in Women Program that she directs at the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group in NY, NJ and CT.

Is the Epilepsy in Women Program available in all Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group offices and hospital units or are there specific ones where these services geared to women are available?

Services for women with epilepsy are available in all of our different offices in the tri-state area and do not require admission to special hospital units. 

How does an epilepsy doctor obtain a specialty in women's epilepsy?

There is no special training or fellowship in neurological diseases in women, at least not yet. However, this may change soon as there has been growing awareness that some neurological diseases are preferentially affecting women, expressed differently in women, or require special consideration during women life cycle. This realization is leading to a growing number of neurologists that have developed a special interest and knowledge in the care of women related issues in neurology.  Through research and clinical practice, this is becoming a specialty for many epileptologists.

Do epileptologists who specialize in women work with other specialists (e.g. obstetricians, gynecologists, etc)?

While there is no requirement for special hospital units or equipment, close cooperation among all physicians involved in particular woman's care, especially obstetricians, gynecologists, family care physicians, and endocrinologists is crucial in addressing women specific issues in epilepsy. So, whenever this is needed in a specific case this becomes part of the patient care.

In what ways would treatment of women with epilepsy differ from the treatments of other patients with epilepsy?

There are complex interactions between the female hormones, seizures, and some of the medications used in the treatment of epilepsy. Therefore, the choice of treatment will be different in puberty, childbearing age, and menopause. Treatment may also have to be adjusted through the different periods in each menstrual cycle especially in women with catamenial epilepsy. Hormonal treatments such as birth control pills, hormonal replacement therapy or fertility drugs may affect the pattern of seizures and may require delicate adjustment in treatment. On the other hand fertility, sexuality, bone health, onset of menopause may all be affected by epilepsy and epilepsy treatment. All these issues become especially important during process of planning the pregnancy and during the pregnancy itself. Treatment of women with epilepsy is therefore tailored to fit issues specific to each patient.

Are there any research projects in which a woman with epilepsy might participate?  What might be some reasons for her to choose this?  How would she go about signing up?

The Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group is currently conducting a multi-site study on Epilepsy and Women's Health issues. The study is designed to collect information on the seizure patterns in women with epileptic seizures and women with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures through different stages in women’s life cycle and to examine its effect on women’s health. Women interested in participating may contact Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group Clinical Research Coordinator (Munazza Malik, MD at 201-343-6676 or email: or inquire about the details at the doctor’s office at the time of the visit.



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