The research of Elson So, M.D., involves diagnostic tests and treatment approaches for the management of patients with seizure disorders.
Recently, his research has focused on the development of advanced imaging techniques for localizing the seizure focus for epilepsy surgery.
- Subtraction Ictal SPECT Co-Registered to MRI (SISCOM). The SISCOM technique improves both the detection of seizure focus and the outcome of subsequent epilepsy surgery. Continuing research in this area utilizes advanced statistical methods, such as statistical parametric mapping, to increase the yield of SPECT studies in epilepsy.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG). Dr. So studies the usefulness of EEG, with or without video recording, in differentiating different types of spells and accurately pinpointing the source of seizures. His laboratory is heavily involved in research that uses both clinically available tests and advanced investigative tools in detecting EEG signatures of seizure activity.
- Epilepsy morbidity and mortality. Dr. So is interested in morbidity and mortality in people with epilepsy, especially injuries due to seizures and the phenomenon of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
Significance to patient care
Other than EEG recording, SISCOM is the only technique available for assessing the effect and location of seizure attacks. In more than half of patients, EEG is insufficient in showing the location of seizure onset. Therefore, SISCOM and its advancements have become very important and essential in helping to pinpoint where seizures begin in a patient so that surgery may be considered to eliminate or improve the seizures.
Because of the phenomenon of SUDEP, people with uncontrolled severe epilepsy are at risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly during sleep. The causes of SUDEP are still unknown. This devastating tragedy is more likely to strike young adults than children or late adults. It's imperative that the causes of SUDEP be found so that preventive measures can be developed to prevent deaths.
- Editorial Board — Epilepsia, Epilepsy Research and Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology; present
- President, American Epilepsy Society, 2013-present
- Chair, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke SUDEP Workshop, National Institutes of Health, 2008
- Chair, Joint SUDEP Task Force, American Epilepsy Society and the Epilepsy Foundation, 2007
- Chair, Section of Clinical Neurophysiology, American Academy of Neurology, 2004-2006