MEDICAL MINDS: Dr. José Tellez-Zenteno     

Epilepsy strikes one percent of the population ~ about 10,000 people in Saskatchewan. Dr. José Tellez-Zenteno sees the most serious, hard-to-treat cases in his clinic at Royal University Hospital. Thanks to a generous donation to the Royal Care Campaign, he was awarded the Mudjatik Thyssen Mining Professorship in Neurosciences for research into this devastating condition.

Dedicated Research Time

Mudjatik Thyssen, a major mining contractor in northern Saskatchewan and across Canada, provided $250,000 over five years, affording Dr. Tellez-Zenteno dedicated time for his research, which includes:

~ Fitting adult patients with a portable electroencephalogram so they can be assessed from home, rather than at the hospital, to determine if they are candidates for brain surgery to control their epileptic seizures.

~ Studying the effectiveness of stopping anti-seizure medication “cold turkey” for one week, triggering the seizures so he can pinpoint the area of the brain responsible for causing them. This “cold turkey” method is unique in Canada.  

~ Helping to create a tool to assist family doctors and neurologists in assessing whether their epileptic patients are candidates for brain surgery. Dr. Tellez-Zenteno says many potential candidates are never referred to him at RUH.

International Reputation

He is also working with the World Health Organization and the International League Against Epilepsy to establish a medical program for epileptics in Tajikistan. “They don’t have anything in place so they need our help,” says Dr. Tellez-Zenteno.  

“Thanks to the funding from Royal Care, Dr. Tellez-Zenteno is giving hope to everyone in Saskatchewan who suffers from epilepsy, but his research is also helping to establish RUH as a respected partner in worldwide efforts in this field,” says Arla Gustafson, CEO of RUH Foundation.

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