Managing Epilepsy Well Network Logo Managing Epilepsy Well Home Page

Sandra L. Helmers, M.D., MPHSandra L. Helmers, MD, MPH

In memoriam



Sandra L. Helmers, MD, MPH,was Professor of Neurology and the Associate Director of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Neurology at Emory University. Her clinical practice emphasized both pediatric and adult epilepsies including seizures associated with autism spectrum disorders and Tuberous Sclerosis, and included the diagnosis of seizures, planning for epilepsy surgery, and treatment with epilepsy medications and vagus nerve stimulation. Her research interests were broad, and included investigational drug, device, and surgery trials for the treatment of medically-refractory epilepsy in children and adults, the neurogenetics of epilepsy, health outcomes in epilepsy treatments, and public health in epilepsy.

Sandy passed away on Sunday, March 13, 2016. A doctor, a researcher, a colleague, a tireless advocate for adults and children with epilepsy, a champion for epilepsy self-magement, and also a spouse, a mother and a generous friend: she is and will be dearly missed.

Selected publications

Frost M, Gates J, Helmers SL, Wheless JW, Levisohn P, Tardo C, Conry JA.(2001). Vagus nerve stimulation in children with refractory seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epilepsia 42(9):1148-1152.

Helmers SL, Wheless JW, Frost M, Gates J, Levisohn P, Tardo C, Conry JA, Yalnizoglu D, Madsen JR.(2001). Vagus nerve stimulation therapy in pediatric patients with refractory epilepsy:  Retrospective study.  J Child Neurol 16:843-848.

Heck C, Helmers SL, DeGiorgio CM.(2002).  Vagus nerve stimulation therapy, epilepsy, and device parameters: scientific basis and recommendations for use.  Neurology 59(suppl 4):s31-s37.

LaRoche SM, Helmers SL.(2004). The New Antiepileptic Drugs: Clinical Applications. JAMA 291(5):615-20.

Barela AJ, Waddy SP, Lickfett JG, Hunter J, Anido A, Helmers SL, Goldin AL, Escayg A.(2006) An Epilepsy Mutation in the Sodium Channel SCN1A that Decreases Channel Excitability. J. Neurosci 26(10):2714-23.

Tatum WO, Helmers SL.(2009). Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Magnet Use: Optimizing Benefits. Epilepsy & Behavior 15(3):299-302.

Labiner DM, Paradis PE, Manjunath R, Duh MS, Lafeuille M-H, Latremouille-Viau D, Lefebvre P, Helmers SL.(2010).  Generic antiepileptic drugs and associated medical resource utilization in the United States.  Neurology 74:1566-1574.

Helmers SL, Paradis PE, Manjunath R, Duh MS, Lafeuille M-H, Latremouille-Viau D, Lefebvre P, Labiner DM.  Economic burden associated with the use of generic antiepileptic drugs in the United States.  Epilepsy and Behavior 18:437-444.

Helmers SL, Phillips V, Esper GJ.(2010). Translational medicine in neurology:  the time is right.  Archives of Neurology 67(10):1263-1266.

Moreno-De-Luca A, Helmers SL, Mao H, Burns TG, Melton AMA, Schmidt K, Fernhoff PM, Ledbetter DH, Martin CL.  Adaptor Protein Complex-4 (AP-4) deficiency causes autosomal recessive cerebral palsy syndrome with microcephaly and intellectual disability.  J of Med Gen 48:141-144.

Helmers SL, Duh MS, Guerin A, Sarda SP, Samuelson TM, Bunker MT, Olin BD, Jackson SD, Faught E.(2011). Clinical and economic impact of vagus nerve stimulation therapy in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.  Epilepsy and Behavior 22:370-375.

Morrell MJ, RNS System in Epilepsy Study Group.(2011). Responsive cortical stimulation for the treatment of medically intractable partial epilepsy.  Neurology 77:1295-1304.

Helmers SL, Duh MS, Guerin A, Sarda SP, Samuelson TM, Bunker MT, Olin BD, Jackson SD, Faught E.(2012). Clinical outcomes, quality of life, and costs associated with implantation of vagus nerve stimulation therapy in pediatric patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.  European J Paediatric Neurol (in press).

Helmers SL, Begnaud J, Cowley A, Larsson PG, Sotero De Menezes M, Stefan H, Kostov H, Levisohn P, Edwards J, Corwin H, Holder DL, Labiner DM.(2012). Neurophysiology of vagus nerve stimulation:  rational understanding of parameter settings.  Acta Neurologica Scandinavia (in press).

Cui W, Zack MM, Kobau R, Helmers SL. (2015). Health behaviors among people with epilepsy—Results from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, Epilepsy & Behavior.44: 121-126.
doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.01.011.

Escoffery C, McGee RE, Bamps Y and Helmers SL. (2016).Differences in Epilepsy Self-ManagementBehaviors among Young and Older Adults. Austin J Neurol Disord Epilepsy, 3(1): 1015.

Related MEW publications:

Kobau R, Kadima NT, Helmers S, Zack M. (2013). Comorbidity in Adults with Epilepsy — United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, November 1, Vol. 62 / No. 43, 859-835.
Available online at:

Related MEW interviews and podcasts

Dr. Joseph Sirven, Professor of Neurology at Mayo Clinic Arizona and Editor-in-Chief of, interviews Sandra L. Helmers, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Emory University about WebEase, a tool for the self-management of epilepsy and seizures. Dr. Helmers presented about WebEase during the Shark Tank Competition at the Epilepsy Pipeline Conference 2014.

Listen to the Podcast


MEW Network