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Neurology Chair

Dane Chetkovich, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chairman
of Neurology

Faculty By Divisions

Bassel W. Abou-Khalil, M.D.

Professor of Neurology and Director of the Epilepsy Center.


Dr. Abou-Khalil earned both his B.S. and his medical degree (1978) at the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon. He completed an internship and one year of residency in Internal Medicine at the American University Medical Center in Beirut. He began a Neurology residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY, which he completed at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, MI, from 1980-82. He completed a fellowship in EEG and Epilepsy at the University of Michigan Medical Center from 1983-85, and then was a post-doctoral fellow in Clinical Neurophysiology at the Montreal Neurologic Institute in Montreal, Quebec from April to September 1986.

Dr. Abou-Khalil is board certified in both Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology. He is founder and Director of the Vanderbilt Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and Clinical Epilepsy Program, and was the founding director of the Vanderbilt Clinical Neurophysiology Training Program, which was accredited by ACGME in 1996. Dr. Abou-Khalil is a member of the American Neurological Association, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (Epilepsy Section), a member of the American Epilepsy Society, and a fellow of the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society.


My research interests are predominantly in the area of clinical epilepsy, including epilepsy surgery, development of new therapies for epilepsy, and clinical epilepsy genetics.

With respect to epilepsy surgery, I am interested in the analysis of seizure signs and their localizing and lateralizing significance, the localization of language and memory functions in the brain before surgery, and the use of new imaging methods, such as functional MRI, to help localize the epileptogenic zone and brain functions to be preserved during surgery.

I have conducted numerous trials of experimental and new antiepileptic drugs in various forms of epilepsy. Drugs being investigated include esclicarbazepine and brivaracetam for refractory partial-onset seizures, and intranasal midazolam for seizure clusters.

I am the Vanderbilt Co-principal investigator in the epilepsy phenome genome project, recruiting sibling pairs as well as parent-child pairs with epilepsy.


Peer reviewed articles:

Abou-Khalil BW, Siegel GJ, Sackellares JC, Gilman S, Hichwa R, Marshall R: Positron Emission Tomography Studies of Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Patients with Chronic Partial Epilepsy. Ann Neurol 1987;22:480-486.
Abou-Khalil B, Andermann E, Andermann F, Olivier A, Quesney LF: Temporal Lobe Epilepsy with Antecedent Prolonged Febrile Convulsions: Excellent Outcome Following Surgical Treatment. Epilepsia 1993;34:878-883.
Abou-Khalil B, Welch L, Blumenkopf B, Newman N, Whetsell WO. Global aphasia with seizure onset in the dominant basal temporal region. Epilepsia, 1994;35:1079-1084.
Abou-Khalil B, Fakhoury T, Jennings M, Moots P, Warner J, Kessler R. Inhibitory motor seizures: correlation with centroparietal structural and functional abnormalities. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 1995;91:103-108.
Fakhoury T, Abou-Khalil B. Association of ipsilateral head turning and dystonia in temporal lobe seizures. Epilepsia 1995;36:1065-1070.
Abou-Khalil B, Fakhoury T. Significance of head turn sequences in temporal lobe onset seizures. Epilepsy Research, 1996:23:245-250.
Hamati-Haddad A, Abou-Khalil B. Epilepsy diagnosis and localization in patients with antecedent childhood febrile convulsions. Neurology 1998;50:917-921.
Laowattana S, Abou-Khalil B, Fakhoury T, Ashmead D. Antiepileptic drug withdrawal and reinstitution prolongs the interval to the next seizure in patients with intractable epilepsy. Neurology 1999;53:1736-41.
Niaz FE, Abou-Khalil B, Fakhoury T. The generalized tonic clonic seizure in partial versus generalized epilepsy: semiologic differences. Epilepsia 1999;40:1664-6.
Fakhoury T, Abou-Khalil B. Generalized absence seizures with 10-15 Hz fast discharges. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 1999;110:1029-35.
Hughes TS, Abou-Khalil B, Lavin PJM, Fakhoury T, Blumenkopf B, Donahue SP. Visual field defects after temporal lobe resection: a prospective quantitative analysis. Neurology 1999;53:167-72.
Cereghino JJ, Biton V, Abou-Khalil B, Gauer LJ, Leppik I. Levetiracetam for partial seizures: results of a double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Neurology 2000;55:236-42.
Mayville C, Fakhoury T, Abou-Khalil B. Absence seizures with evolution into generalized tonic-clonic activity: clinical and EEG features. Epilepsia 2000;41:391-394.
Gilliam F, Steinhoff BJ, Bitterman HJ, Kuzniecky R, Faught E, Abou-Khalil B. Adult myoclonic epilepsy: A distinct syndrome of idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Neurology 2000 55:1030-1033.
Thirumalai S, Abou-Khalil B, Fakhoury T, Suresh G. Video-EEG in the diagnosis of paroxysmal events in children with mental retardation and in children with normal intelligence. Dev Med Child Neurol 2001;43:731-4.Abou-Khalil B,
Ge Q, Desai R, Ryther R, Bazyk A, Bailey R, Haines JL, Sutcliffe JS, George AL. Partial Epilepsy and Generalized Epilepsy with Febrile Seizures Plus and a Novel SCN1A Mutation. Neurology, 2001;57:2265-2272.
Abou-Khalil B, Hemdal P, Privitera MD. An open-label study of levetiracetam at individualised doses between 1000 and 3000 mg day in adult patients with refractory epilepsy. Seizure 2003;12:141-9.
Abou-Khalil B*, Schaich L. Long-term efficacy of levetiracetam for partial seizures. Seizure 2005;14:577-85.
Tayah TF, Abou-Khalil B, Gilliam FG, Knowlton RC, Wushensky CA, Gallagher MJ. Musicogenic Seizures Can Arise from Multiple Temporal Lobe Foci: Intracranial EEG Analyses of Three Patients. Epilepsia 2006;47:1402-6.
Hedera P, Ma S, Blair MA, Taylor KA, Hamati A, Bradford Y, Abou-Khalil B, Haines JL. Identification of novel locus for febrile seizures on chromosome 21q22. Epilepsia. 2006;47:1622-8.
Lee GR, Arain A, Lim N, Lagrange A, Singh P, Abou-Khalil B. Rhythmic ictal nonclonic hand (RINCH) motions: a distinct contralateral sign in temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2006;47:2189-92.
Abou-Khalil B, Krei L, Lazenby B, Harris PA, Haines JL, Hedera P. Familial Genetic Predisposition, Epilepsy Localization and Antecedent Febrile Seizures. Epilepsy Res 2007;73:104-10.
Abou-Khalil B. An Update on Determination of Language Dominance in Screening for Epilepsy Surgery: The Wada Test and Newer Alternatives. Epilepsia 2007;48:442-55.
Al-Kaylani M, Konrad P, Lazenby B, Blumenkopf B, Abou-Khalil B. Seizure freedom off antiepileptic drugs after temporal lobe epilepsy surgery. Seizure 2007;16:95-8.
Morgan VL, Li Y, Abou-Khalil B, Gore JC. Development of 2dTCA for the detection of irregular, transient bold activity. Hum Brain Mapp. 2008 Jan;29(1):57-69.
Hedera P, Blair M, Andermann E, Andermann F, D’Agostino D, Taylor K, Chahine L, Pandolfo M, Bradford Y, Haines JL, Abou-Khalil B. Familial mesial temporal lobe epilepsy maps to chromosome 4q 13.2-q21.3. Neurology 2007;68:2107-12.
Recio MV, Gallagher MJ, McLean MJ, Abou-Khalil B*. Clinical features of epilepsy in patients with cerebellar structural abnormalities in a referral center. Epilepsy Res. 2007 Aug;76(1):1-5.
Azar NJ, Tayah TF, Wang L, Song Y, Abou-Khalil BW*. Postictal Breathing Pattern Distinguishes Epileptic from Nonepileptic Convulsive Seizures. Epilepsia. 2008 Jan;49(1):132-7.
Morgan VL, Gore JC, Abou-Khalil B. Cluster analysis detection of functional MRI activity in temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy Res. 2007 Aug;76(1):22-33.
Arain AM, Hamadani AM, Islam S, Abou-Khalil BW. Predictors of early seizure remission after diagnosis of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Epilepsy and Behavior, 2007 Nov;11(3):409-12.
Azar N, Wright AT, Wang L, Song Y, Abou-Khalil B. Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures after Acute Oxcarbazepine Withdrawal. Neurology, 2008 May 27;70(22 Pt 2):2187-8.


Bassel Abou-Khalil, M.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
A-0118 MCN 
1161 21st Avenue South
Nashville, Tennessee 37232
Tel: 615-936-0060