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Paul Crandall, Pioneer for Epilepsy, dies at 89

Paul Crandall, Pioneer for Epilepsy, dies at 89

Paul Crandall, epilespy researcher

Dr. Paul H. Crandall was an American neurosurgeon who pioneered now widely used techniques for diagnosing the source of epileptic seizures in the brain and removing the offending cells.

Dr. Paul H. Crandall, who co-founded the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery and pioneered surgical approaches to the treatment of temporal-lobe epilepsy, died March 15 from complications related to pneumonia. He was 89.

The youngest of seven children, Crandall was born to Arthur and Ellen Crandall on February l5, 1923, in Essex Junction, Vermont. He looked up to his siblings, who were businessmen, attorneys, a food editor of the Boston Globe and a doctor.

After starting college at the University of Vermont, Crandall enlisted in the Army for two years and then returned to Vermont to graduate, cum laude, in 1946. His older brother, a surgeon, encouraged him to train in neurosurgery, and Crandall completed his neurosurgical training at the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1952.
While in residency, Crandall met his wife, Barbara, now an emeritis professor of pediatrics and genetics at UCLA, who was in residency training at the same time. They were married in 1951.

A year later during the Korean War, Crandall enlisted again in the Army Medical Corps and was stationed for two years in Frankfurt, Germany, where he served as chief of neurosurgery at the military hospital.

In 1954, he joined the UCLA School of Medicine as one of three founding members of the neurosurgery division, which became the Department of Neurosurgery in 2008.

The Crandall family moved to the Huntington Palisades neighborhood in 1956, where Paul lived until his death.

While at UCLA, Crandall taught and conducted clinical research for 32 years, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1988. He launched UCLA’s first research program into the causes and surgical treatment of temporal-lobe epilepsy, a type of epilepsy that is often resistant to drug treatment.

His research was funded by ongoing grants from the National Institutes, and he performed or supervised surgeries on more than 300 patients, both children and adults.

From 1976-77, Crandall served on the U.S. Department of Health’s national commission for epilepsy, which recommended the establishment of specialized centers for epilepsy in all major urban centers.

He served as president of the American Epilepsy Society in 1979, and was presented with the William G. Lennox Award in for his groundbreaking work in 1991. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society Of Medicine in l99l and later received the University of Vermont’s Distinguished Alumnus award.

Paul is survived by his wife, Barbara; his four children, David (and wife Deanna of Laguna Nigel), Allan (Canoga Park), Anne (Tucson) and Sarah (Fallbrook); and three grandchildren, Ryan, Nathan and Laura.

In lieu of services, a memorial at UCLA is being planned.

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