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Archive for December, 2011

ADVANCED EPILEPSY TREATMENT AND SEIZURE-FREEDOM CAN HELP MILLIONS OF PATIENTS IN MENA COUNTRIES

 

 

“The concept of seizure freedom has become the expectation instead of a hopeless dream.” – Deepak Madhavan, M.D.

 

People often ask Dr. Deepak Madhavan, Director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at the Nebraska Medical Center why he became an epileptologist, or what it is that makes him so very passionate about his work. “I think that the answers to these questions are similar. I feel that in doing my job, I can help make people better. Epilepsy is a disease that can be so crippling to a person’s life, leading to loss of driving privileges, missed work and school days, and just overall difficulties with some of the life activities that most people take for granted.”

It is estimated that seizures and epilepsy affect approximately 1% of the world’s population, making it one of the most common neurological disorders.  This means that in the Middle East and North African countries, with a population of about 381 million people, over 3.8 million people could suffer from seizures and epilepsy. With limited number of institutions offering the latest treatment options to their patients in some of these countries, many millions of patients are denied epilepsy treatment and seizure-free lives.

Advances in modern epilepsy treatment, both medical and surgical, have come a long way over the last several years. The concept of seizure-freedom has become the norm rather than a hopeless dream. “It is incredibly rewarding for me to see a person achieve seizure-freedom, and return to school, work or society with newfound confidence and security that their seizures are under control, “says Dr. Madhavan.

The Nebraska Medical Center (TNMC) in Omaha, Nebraska provides advanced treatment for patients and offers specialized training programs for international healthcare professionals to combat this serious ailment. At its Level- 4 epilepsy center, it offers the most advanced medical and surgical treatments and diagnostic measures for epilepsy, for both adults and children. Its well trained and dedicated team offers comprehensive epilepsy care for people with even the toughest seizure disorders. With advanced tools and technology such as Magnetoencephalography (MEG), they are able to noninvasively diagnose and localize many types of epilepsy that eluded treatment in previous eras.

TNMC provides epilepsy therapies to patients that were not available in the region even as recently as two years ago, with a large number of those involving multiple-stage approaches, where intracranial EEG electrodes are placed for the most precise localization and resection of epileptic tissue. They also provide other surgical services, including Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) implantation, and more traditional epilepsy surgeries such as Temporal Lobectomy.  Availability of implantable brain stimulators and drug delivery devices are on the horizon.

In addition to the advanced medical and surgical treatments for epilepsy, the experts at TNMC specifically focus on the effects of general wellness on seizure control. It may be surprising, but factors like diet, stress management and getting a good night’s sleep can be effective added therapies for the control of seizures.  Dr. Madhavan explains, “Our patients enjoy a comprehensive approach to their epilepsy, where their mood, sleep, and social situation are seen as critical factors in their overall well-being.  In essence, it is not enough for us to stop seizures, but we make it our mission to enhance a patient’s   self-worth in the society”.

“The Nebraska Medical Center treats patients from many countries and has a successful history of being an international resource for cancer-care and transplantation. For international patients with epilepsy, we prioritize the diagnostic and treatment methods to make their visits as effective and comprehensive as possible. We offer personalized care for patients and their families, with on-going accessibility to epilepsy center staff and personnel, as well as full-time Arabic-speaking staff to assist patients around the clock”, says Nizar Mamdani, Executive Director of the International Healthcare at TNMC.

TNMC has affiliations with 121 healthcare facilities in 44 countries and is well known for its personalized healthcare training programs for its international partners. “We offer outstanding customized training programs in epilepsy and seizures; cancer-care and transplantation; pathology and pharmacy and healthcare management programs for international healthcare professionals, so that they may in-turn, offer outstanding treatment options to their patients at their own hospitals. These training programs are offered both at our institution in Nebraska as well as at our international partner’s facilities”, explains Mamdani.  For additional information contact, nmamdani@nebraskamed.com and visit www.unmc.edu/international.

Program helps Saudi Arabian health professionals enhance skills

Program helps Saudi Arabian health professionals enhance skills

by Lisa Spellman, UNMC public relations

December 06, 2011

It’s the genuine kindness in the people she’s met since coming to UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center (TNMC) in January that impresses Nawar Alabdulqader the most.

“The people here are so nice, helpful and respectful,” said the medical technologist from King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

picture disc.
From left: Hisham Bukhamseen, training in pharmacy; Mohammed Alomar, Ph.D., assistant cultural attache for academic affairs with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission; Mai Alshamlan, training in pathology; Nawar Alabdulqader, training in pathology; Dana El-Hajjar, a molecular lab technologist training in pathology; and Farid Awanes Tashjian, senior adviser of medical residency programs for the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission.

From her shortened work hours during the month of August so Nawar could observe Ramadan, to colleagues who guided her step by step from the labs at the Munroe-Meyer Institute to the cafeteria, her colleagues helped her feel at home.

A special partnership

Nawar is one of 29 health care providers from Saudi Arabia who received training through a program developed by Nizar Mamdani, executive director of International Healthcare Services at The Nebraska Medical Center.

She was able to come to Omaha through the International Strategic Partnership training program. The program has helped more than 147 health care professionals learn from medical experts at The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC faculty.

Since January, Nawar has honed her skills in medical technology and molecular diagnostics. Before she leaves this month, Nawar will take the membership exam for the American Society of Pathology.

Program lauded

The success of the program was recognized at a recent luncheon where Mamdani signed a memorandum of understanding with representatives from the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, Mohammed A. Alomar, Ph.D., assistant cultural attache for academic affairs, and Farid Awanes Tashjian, senior adviser of medical residency programs.

The approach to customized international health care professional training and education is designed to give international organizations a competitive edge and improve patient outcomes at these institutions.

A new perspective

For Nawar the experience has not only enhanced her medical training, but given her new insight into American culture and Midwestern hospitality.

“Everything I’ve learned, the techniques, teamwork and exceptional quality, I will take back and pass along to others at my hospital,” she said.

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