Epilepsy Researcher Receives Top Award
MADISON - Epilepsy researcher Thomas Sutula, MD, PhD, has been named the recipient of the William G. Lennox Award for 2009 for pioneering research into mechanisms underlying seizure activity in the brain.
Sutula, Detling professor and chair of neurology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, received the lifetime achievement award during the December annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES) in Boston.
The award recognizes Sutula for his contributions to brain research, including groundbreaking work in neuronal plasticity, that has attracted international attention. His work showed that repeated seizures modify hippocampal neurons and circuitry and increase seizure susceptibility, leading to eventual spontaneous seizures. His research has also shown that neuronal loss induced by brief repeated seizures is accompanied by progressive permanent memory loss, and that the development of memory dysfunction is tightly correlated with the number of seizures.
Sutula is also co-discoverer of the anticonvulant properties of 2-deoxy-D-glucose, a chemical compound used for many years as an imaging agent. The substance, known as 2DG, is beginning the second stage of clinical trials to see if it can mimic the effects of a no-sugar or ketogenic diet in preventing seizures in epilepsy patients. In another study, Sutula is assessing 2DG's protective effect against traumatic brain injury and subsequent development of epilepsy in an animal model.
Sutula is co-founder and chief technical officer of NeuroGenomeX, Inc., a company that patented 2DG for its use against epilepsy in collaboration with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
Established in 1966, the William G. Lennox Award is given annually to a senior AES member who has a record of lifetime contributions and accomplishments related to epilepsy.
Epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder after Alzheimer's disease and stroke. It affects 50 million people worldwide, including three million in the United States.
Date Published: 12/28/2009