David King-Stephens, MD, is a neurologist who specializes in epilepsy treatment, including newly diagnosed patients and those with seizures that are difficult to control.
His patient care and research focuses on surgical treatment of intractable epilepsy, intracranial EEG (electroencephalogram, a test to detect electrical activity in the brain using electrodes attached to the scalp), and neuromodulation (a series of techniques that can act directly on the nervous system).
Dr. King-Stephens has served as principal investigator in several clinical trials using anticonvulsant medications and devices to treat patients with refractory epilepsy. He also has expertise in responsive neurostimulation, which is a device implanted in the skull.
“It’s like a miniaturized EEG machine that keeps track of brain activity all the time, and it’s trained to recognize when a seizure starts and give electric stimulation to treat it,” Dr. King-Stephens explains. “We are looking at ways we can forecast when someone will have a seizure and to adjust the treatment so that it is more effective. It’s become a personalized way of treating epilepsy.”
Dr. King-Stephens says he first became interested in neurology when he was a high school biology student in Mexico City. “I was always fascinated by how the brain worked and when I went to medical school, I was drawn to epilepsy and the fact that surgery could cure some people,” he says. “Unlike some other neurological specialties, the treatment for epilepsy is quite good and you can improve the quality of life of the majority of patients.”
He says he finds working with patients with epilepsy rewarding. “My patients are so appreciative, especially when we can find a treatment that controls the seizures, as this can be a very disabling condition,” Dr. King-Stephens says.
Plus, it’s an exciting time in the field of epilepsy, he adds. “When I was in training, there were seven medications for epilepsy. Now there are 25, and we are always looking for newer, better options,” he says.