Ms. Alexandra Panicucci

Honours BSc, MHScTR, Honours BSc, MHScTR

Affiliations: Think Research

Research Interests:

Psychiatry, Mental health, Addictions

Brief Bio:

Alex completed her master’s degree (MHSc) in the Institute of Medical Sciences where she studied Translational Research. For her graduate degree, she conducted a qualitative needs assessment of healthcare providers and caregivers administering the ketogenic diet to children with epilepsy. Alex conducted a nationwide healthcare provider survey and patient/caregiver–focused interviews. The survey gathered data on current practices and protocols in ketogenic diet clinics across Canada. The interviews were semi-structured and discussed various aspects of the caregivers’ process and experience with the ketogenic diet such as the initiation process, sources of information and ongoing support, financial impact, and impact on daily life. Additionally, Alex has always had a defined interest in patient-centered approaches, healthcare development and impactful technology. Currently, she works at a company called Think Research where she uses her passion for medical innovation and meaningful clinical impact everyday.

Capstone Project:

In Canada, the delivery of the ketogenic diet for epilepsy patients is inefficient and labor-intensive for registered dietitians, neurologist, and epilepsy specialists. This limits the number and geographical range of patients that can receive the therapy.

The Ketogenic diet has been used since 1921 to treat certain forms of childhood epilepsy that do not respond to medication 1. More recently, it has also been used effectively in the treatment of adult epilepsy 2. Many world-renowned medical institutions have implemented diet clinics and administrative protocols specializing in the ketogenic diet (for example, Johns Hopkins, UHN, SickKids Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital). Although this diet has been implemented in the treatment of epilepsy for decades, to date there have been no nationwide studies to identify challenges and boundaries met by administering diet clinics. There is a need to identify gaps and hurdles faced by healthcare providers, patients, and families using ketogenic therapy in Canada. For instance, established clinics generally require inpatient initiation of the diet as well as continual monitoring and follow-ups by registered dietitians 3. The existing process limits the number of patients that can benefit from this dietary therapy. Given current technological and digital advancement in-home monitoring systems and diagnostic tools, more efficient use of existing healthcare resources in that field would help expand the number and geographical distribution of patients benefiting from this dietary therapy.

he Ketogenic diet has been used since 1921 to treat certain forms of childhood epilepsy that do not respond to medication 1. More recently, it has also been used effectively in the treatment of adult epilepsy 2. Many world-renowned medical institutions have implemented diet clinics and administrative protocols specializing in the ketogenic diet (for example, Johns Hopkins, UHN, SickKids Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital). Although this diet has been implemented in the treatment of epilepsy for decades, to date there have been no nationwide studies to identify challenges and boundaries met by administering diet clinics. There is a need to identify gaps and hurdles faced by healthcare providers, patients, and families using ketogenic therapy in Canada. For instance, established clinics generally require inpatient initiation of the diet as well as continual monitoring and follow-ups by registered dietitians 3. The existing process limits the number of patients that can benefit from this dietary therapy. Given current technological and digital advancement in-home monitoring systems and diagnostic tools, more efficient use of existing healthcare resources in that field would help expand the number and geographical distribution of patients benefiting from this dietary therapy.

Twitter Handle:

Linkedin:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-panicucci-2b9b04b6/

Site URL:

https://www.glse.utoronto.ca/alumni/alexandra-panicucci-translational-research-program