Medical students win awards for their research
Cook Children's Neurosciences Research Center frequently offers opportunities to medical students interested in pursuing research through a variety of ongoing projects. Recently, two students were awarded prestigious honors for work completed with our program. Both students utilized data from the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium Epilepsy Surgery Database project led by M. Scott Perry M.D., Head of Neurosciences at the Jane and John Justin Institute for Mind Health. This project collects prospective data from 23 pediatric epilepsy centers across the nation on every child referred for an evaluation for epilepsy surgery. To date, nearly 2,000 patients have enrolled in this initiative.
Grace Newell, a fourth year medical student at the Anne Burnett Marion School of Medicine at TCU, received first place honors in the Texas Pediatric Society Medical Student, Resident and Fellow Electronic Poster Exhibit contest. She presented findings from her project titled, “Factors Leading to >2 Antiseizure Medication Trials Prior to Referral for Epilepsy Surgery in Children.” She found that children delayed for surgical evaluations were often younger in age at seizure onset, had more frequent seizures, abnormal neurological exams, and longer durations until surgery was performed. Recognizing characteristics that delay referral may help shorten the duration for epilepsy surgery, which is a modifiable risk factor to improve chances of a seizure-free outcome.
Dani Esteban, a fourth year medical student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Osteopathic Medicine, was recently presented with a Grass Foundation Award from the American Epilepsy Society for her project titled, “The Impact of Presurgical Diagnostic Testing on Surgical Decision Making in Pediatric MRI-negative Drug-Resistant Epilepsy.” In this study of 352 children with MRI-negative epilepsy, she demonstrated that the likelihood of undergoing surgical treatment increased with each additional ancillary imaging test during the presurgical workup. The number of tests did not influence the chances of achieving seizure freedom or avoiding invasive EEG monitoring. This project was selected from over 1,300 abstracts submitted and awarded one of only eight Grass Awards.
The Neurosciences Research Center team congratulates these young medical students on their achievements. We look forward to continuing our work together as they both pursue careers in pediatric neurology through post-graduate training.
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