Dr. Dennis Spencer’s journey from the cornfields of Iowa to chairmanship of the neurosurgery department at Yale is featured in a series of articles published in the journal The Lancet Neurology.
Spencer investigates intracranial networks in epilepsy, and proposes to link these with the psychiatric disorders so commonly seen as comorbidities in patients with epilepsy.
The journal profiles Spencer’s journey from the farm community of Bedford, Iowa to Yale School of Medicine, where his efforts to surgically repair devastating effects of focal epilepsy have led to new insights into the disorder afflicting nearly 50 million people worldwide. Also featured are his review articles on molecular links between epilepsy and psychiatric disorders such depression and anxiety.
People with epilepsy are at much greater risk of mental illness than the general population. “We argue that focal epilepsy is not focal but a network disorder which overlaps with other neuropsychiatric disorders,” Spencer said. “The hope is that someday we will be able to treat both simultaneously.”