Elizabeth Gerard, MD: Advantages of Genetic Testing in Adult Epileptics

February 14, 2020

The associate professor of neurology and director of the Women With Epilepsy Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine discussed the use of genetic testing in the adult epilepsy population.

“A lot of these patients have had epilepsy their whole life—or they have a new diagnosis—and they want to know why. To have an answer other than, ‘Well, you’ll have to deal with this,’ can be meaningful.”

There are many reasons for patients with epilepsy to be genetically screened to determine if their epilepsy is genetic. For many patients, this can impact treatment approaches and other facets of their care. And as the field of genetics improves and interest in research and development in the field increases, it has grown in interest among adult patients.

This is particularly true for adult patients who may have had epilepsy for quite some time or those who are diagnosed later in life. As Elizabeth Gerard, MD, associate professor of neurology, and director, Women With Epilepsy Program, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, pointed out in a conversation with NeurologyLive, there are a number of reasons these patients would ask for genetic screening.

To find out more about the reasons as to why patients might request this testing and how it can be helpful not just to pediatric patients, NeurologyLive spoke with Gerrard at length.