1988 A device to help epileptics

1988
 

A device to help epileptics

J. Kiffin Penry, MD, a neurologist with the Medical Center, developed a national reputation by working tirelessly on treatments that would help epileptics control their disease. In the late 1970s, for example, he pushed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to speed approval of the drug valproate, which did a better job controlling seizures than other medicines.

In 1988, Penry led the Medical Center to become the first in the nation to implant a newly approved device, a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) placed under an epileptic’s skin. The electrical signals produced by the VNS travel along the vagus nerve in the neck to the brain at regular intervals, signaling the brain to help prevent the electrical bursts that cause seizures.

The surgery capped a nine-year research effort that led to approval of the device, which has since been implanted in tens of thousands of epilepsy patients across the country.

 

J. Kiffin Penry, MD

 
Back to timeline

 

Quick Reference

Important Numbers

Main 336-716-2011
Patient Info 336-713-0000
Media 336-716-4587
Jobs 336-716-4717

Ways to Give
Last Updated: 02-18-2013
USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.