Epilepsy Pioneer Penry Honored Posthumously
The Epilepsy Foundation recently named Dr. J. Kiffin Penry, former chief of the NINCDS (now NINDS) Epilepsy Branch and director of the Neurological Disorders Division, recipient of its 1999 Distinguished Achievement Award. Penry was posthumously honored at the foundation's annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Until his death in 1996, Penry stood at the forefront of virtually every battle in the war against epilepsy. He initiated and guided the epilepsy research program at NINDS from its beginning as a tiny section through its growth as the world-renowned Epilepsy Branch. He played a key role in the development of new epilepsy medicines that are just now becoming available for patients. He also pioneered electrical stimulation therapy, the newest form of epilepsy treatment. Today's successful diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy are largely due to Penry's contributions to research and clinical care. He was an early advocate for combined video/EEG monitoring a technology he used to document and verify seizure characteristics. To manage seizure control better, he worked to establish norms for measuring antiepileptic drug blood levels in patients. Shown at the ceremony are (from l) Jeanne Carpenter, foundation immediate past chair, Dr. Harvey Kupferberg of NINDS, Martin Penry, who accepted the award on behalf of his father, and Olympic Champion Evelyn Ashford.
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