Elizabeth Gerard, MD: Considering Genetic Testing for Adult Epileptics

February 19, 2020

The associate professor of neurology and director of the Women With Epilepsy Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine discussed the reasons an adult with epilepsy may seek genetic testing and what benefits it can provide.

“If we can find a genetic answer for them, it can give closure and it can give a reason, and I think for a lot of patients that can be really helpful. Also, having a genetic diagnosis helps them connect with other individuals who may have the same genetic diagnosis.”

Many adults with epilepsy have never been able to receive a full explanation from their physicians as to why they are faced with their condition. This can provide them with closure about what drives their disease, as well as a number of other benefits outside of simply a better understanding of their condition.

Elizabeth Gerard, MD, associate professor of neurology, and director, Women With Epilepsy Program, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told NeurologyLive that this is also important from a support perspective. She detailed that a number of patients are able to join and form support communities with others who share their diagnosis, which in turn can give them a better outlook on the situation.

Additionally, advances in genetic testing have allowed for physicians to provide a number of other answers to epileptics, including informing women of the risk of passing on a genetic diagnosis to their child, as well as the risks of family members to develop similar conditions. To find out more about this process what it can help physicians bring about, NeurologyLive inquired further with Gerard.