Aline Herlopian, MD, is a neurologist who specializes in treating patients with epilepsy, a brain disorder characterized by seizures. She became fascinated by the condition after learning how dynamic neural networks in the brain can communicate abnormally, sometimes resulting in seizures. “Epilepsy is basically a misfiring set of interconnected circuits and hubs” Dr. Herlopian says. “I usually explain to patients that the brain is like a network of interstate roads. A seizure might begin at one exit, and then it uses a main road to spread throughout the brain.”
In her daily work, Dr. Herlopian enjoys combining her clinical research work with patient care. Her main interest is caring for patients with catastrophic epilepsies, and seizures that fail to respond to seizure medications. She explores various treatments such as brain stimulation, laser therapy, and surgical resection in patients who did not respond to seizure medications with the aim of improving their quality of life. When she sees patients, Dr. Herlopian enjoys taking time to help them fully understand their medical condition, using analogies to break down the complexity of the brain. “I reassure them that there’s nothing to be ashamed of with epilepsy—that it is a chronic disease just like high blood pressure or diabetes,” Dr. Herlopian says.
At Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Herlopian is an assistant professor of neurology.