The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology

Obituary for Eli Goldensohn

Eli Goldensohn 

The epilepsy and neurology communities at large mourn the loss of our colleague, Dr. Eli S. Goldensohn who passed away on March 22nd at the age of 98.  During his long career, he was Professor of Neurology at the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University as well as at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He was President of the American Epilepsy Society, the American EEG Society, the Eastern EEG Society and Chair of the Professional Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Foundation of America.  He received many awards including the William G. Lennox Award from the American Epilepsy Society.

Dr Goldensohn was a physician-scientist who studied basic physiological mechanisms of epilepsy in the laboratory, and a pioneer in the development of video-EEG monitoring.  He emphasized the importance of interpreting EEGs based on physiological mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal EEG phenomena, not just pattern recognition which was the general approach at the time.  Dr. Goldensohn also initiated a series of key studies to understand the pathophysiology of an epileptic focus in animals, and the possible substrates of an epileptic discharge.  As a true translational researcher he combined his clinical acumen with his insatiable quest to improve the care of people with epilepsy.

Eli taught scores of clinicians and scientists on how to think about epilepsy.  His many disciples are spread throughout the world and continue his legacy in EEG, clinical epilepsy and basic science. He was able to transmit to all his colleagues and students an unbridled enthusiasm for epilepsy and EEG coupled with his keen dedication to improve the lives of people with epilepsy. An outstanding mentor, colleague and pioneer that helped form the current practice of epilepsy and EEG.

He is survived by his wife of 75 years, Betty, and two children, Marty and Ellen.  No one who worked with Dr. Goldensohn will ever forget him.

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