Elinor Ben-Menachem, MD, PhD, has joined the Board of Directors of the American Epilepsy Society, a medical and scientific society with 4,400 members. Dr. Ben-Menachem assumed her new position at the end of the society's recent annual meeting in New Orleans.
Dr. Ben-Menachem currently serves as a professor at the University of Goteborg, Sahlgren Academy and Hospital in Sweden. Dr. Ben-Menachem was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and received her Bachelor of Arts from UCLA. After a year of working in UCLA's Brain Research Institute, she received an opportunity to study abroad with the California State International Program in Uppsala, Sweden. She stayed on at Uppsala University, completed medical school at the University of Goteborg, followed by an Internship in Internal Medicine-General Practice at Molndal Central Hospital, Molndal, Sweden, then completed her Residency in Neurology at Sahlgren Hospital, with the University of Goteborg. Dr. Ben-Menachem obtained a Fellowship in Epilepsy at the VA/UCLA where she received her California Medical License which she maintains. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Goteborg, Sahlgren Academy and Hospital.
Dr. Ben-Menachem's thesis was on the topic "Vigabatrin in Epilepsy - An irreversible GABA-transaminase inhibitor. Studies of the effects on selected neurotransmitters in the CSF, pharmacokinetics, efficacy and tolerability" continues of current importance, regularly cited on understanding the neuromodulator of GABA, how to treat patients, and what to expect in the way of side effects. Her work on CSF and the transport of drugs through the blood brain barrier and its effects on neurotransmitters and proteins has continued. Also involved in animal studies dealing with mechanisms of actions, she has developed a successful clinical research program with the goal of trying to find therapies that will help refractory epilepsy patients who are not candidates for resective epilepsy surgery. She collaborates with basic science colleagues leading to the development of successful studies focused on her hypothesis that most antiseizure drugs and neuromodulators possess more than just one mechanism of action. She was awarded the Lifetime Accelerator Award from the Epilepsy Foundation of America in 2017.
Dr. Ben-Menachem has been active in AES for 35 years—it is her primary professional society. She currently serves as Past Chair of the Council on Education; She served as Chair of the Annual Meeting Committee and Ex-Officio member of the Board of Directors, the Governance Committee, the Education & Professional Development Committee, and Q-PULSE Committee; and has served as a member of the Translational Research Committee, the AES Service Award, and an Editor for Epilepsy Currents. During her tenure as Chair of the Council on Education, she oversaw the society's efforts to earn ACCME Accreditation with Commendation. addition, Dr. Ben-Menachem has served as Chief Editor of Acta Neurologica Scandinavica since 2001.