Mark S Freedman

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (174)1200.86 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: No treatments have been approved for primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Fingolimod, an oral sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator, is effective in relapse-onset multiple sclerosis, but has not been assessed in primary progressive multiple sclerosis. We assessed the safety and efficacy of fingolimod in patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · The Lancet
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    ABSTRACT: Background : The Canadian GILENYA® Go ProgramTM provides education and support to people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis during fingolimod treatment. Methods : Data were collected and analyzed from the time of the first individual enrolled in March 2011 to March 31, 2014. Individuals were excluded if they withdrew from the program prior to receiving the first dose, or had not completed the first dose observation (FDO) at the time of data cut-off. Reports of adverse effects were validated with a database of adverse events reported to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. Results : A total of 2,399 individuals had completed FDO at the end of the three-year observation period. Mean age was 41.2 years; 75.2% were female. The most recent prior therapies reported were interferon-β agents (50.2%), glatiramer acetate (31.1%), natalizumab (14.2%), no prior therapy (3.3%), and other agent (1.1%). Reasons for switching to fingolimod were lack of efficacy (34.9%), side effects (34.6%), and dissatisfaction with injections/infusion (30.4%). Continuation rates with fingolimod at 12, 24 and 30 months were 80.7%, 76.6% and 76.0%, respectively. The discontinuation rate due to reported lack of efficacy during the three-year period was 1.3%. There was 94.4% adherence to the scheduled ophthalmic examination. Conclusions: The GILENYA® Go ProgramTM captures data for virtually all fingolimod-treated patients in Canada, enabling the evaluation of fingolimod use in routine practice. Ongoing patient support and reminders to take the medication, in conjunction with physicians’ and/or patients’ perception of the efficacy and tolerability of fingolimod, resulted in a high rate of continuation during longer-term therapy.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · The Canadian journal of neurological sciences. Le journal canadien des sciences neurologiques
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    ABSTRACT: Given the high prevalence of cognitive dysfunction in people with multiple sclerosis (PWMS) and the lack of availability of specialized neuropsychological services in most MS Clinics, there is a need for a brief cognitive monitoring tool that can be easily administered by MS clinic staff.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Background: 'No evidence of disease activity' (NEDA), defined as absence of magnetic resonance imaging activity (T2 and/or gadolinium-enhanced T1 lesions), relapses and disability progression ('NEDA-3'), is used as a comprehensive measure of treatment response in relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS), but is weighted towards inflammatory activity. Accelerated brain volume loss (BVL) occurs in RMS and is an objective measure of disease worsening and progression. Objective: To assess the contribution of individual components of NEDA-3 and the impact of adding BVL to NEDA-3 ('NEDA-4') METHODS: We analysed data pooled from two placebo-controlled phase 3 fingolimod trials in RMS and assessed NEDA-4 using different annual BVL mean rate thresholds (0.2%-1.2%). Results: At 2 years, 31.0% (217/700) of patients receiving fingolimod 0.5 mg achieved NEDA-3 versus 9.9% (71/715) on placebo (odds ratio (OR) 4.07; p < 0.0001). Adding BVL (threshold of 0.4%), the respective proportions of patients achieving NEDA-4 were 19.7% (139/706) and 5.3% (38/721; OR 4.41; p < 0.0001). NEDA-4 status favoured fingolimod across all BVL thresholds tested (OR 4.01-4.41; p < 0.0001). Conclusion: NEDA-4 has the potential to capture the impact of therapies on both inflammation and neurodegeneration, and deserves further evaluation across different compounds and in long-term studies.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Multiple Sclerosis
  • Mark S Freedman

    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Multiple Sclerosis
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Teriflunomide is an immunomodulator known to decrease the proliferation of stimulated lymphocytes via inhibition of dihydro-orotate dehydrogenase. Lymphocyte/neutrophil counts were assessed in pooled data from one phase 2 and three phase 3 (TEMSO, TOWER, and TOPIC) placebo-controlled studies. Methods Patients were randomized to receive once-daily teriflunomide 14mg (n=1002), 7mg (n=1045), or placebo (n=997). Blood samples were collected throughout the studies. Results Mean baseline lymphocyte and neutrophil counts were similar across groups. Small decreases in mean lymphocyte and neutrophil counts occurred within the first 12 weeks (lymphocytes) or 6 weeks (neutrophils) of treatment, and stabilized within the normal range for most patients thereafter. Patients with neutrophil counts <1×10^9^/L were to discontinue treatment; 11 (1.1%; 14 mg), 8 (0.8%; 7 mg), and 1 (0.1%; placebo) patients discontinued due to neutropenia or neutrophil count decrease as per protocol requirements. Neutropenia was reported as a serious adverse event (SAE) in 7 (0.7%; 14 mg), 2 (0.2%; 7 mg), and 3 (0.3%; placebo) patients; there were no lymphopenia SAEs. No link between neutrophil or lymphocyte count decreases and infection was observed. Conclusions These data demonstrate that teriflunomide has small, reversible effects on lymphocyte/neutrophil counts, with no increase in infection risk observed. (Study supported by Genzyme, a Sanofi company).
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Teriflunomide, approved for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, has a well-characterized safety profile based on individual clinical studies. We report pooled safety and tolerability data from four, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of teriflunomide. Post-approval updates on hair thinning and pregnancy outcomes, sometimes concerns for patients initiating teriflunomide, are reported. Methods Data were pooled from phase 2 (NCT01487096) and phase 3 TEMSO (NCT00134563), TOWER (NCT00751881), and TOPIC (NCT00622700) studies. Patients were randomized to receive teriflunomide 14 mg, 7 mg, or placebo. Safety analyses were performed for all patients exposed to teriflunomide. Results The pooled dataset included 3044 patients. Commonly reported adverse events (AEs) were in accordance with individual clinical studies, most being transient and mild-to-moderate in intensity. Incidence of hepatic AEs was higher in teriflunomide groups; however, serious hepatic AEs were similar across groups (∼2–3%). Hair thinning was higher in teriflunomide than placebo groups, but typically resolved on treatment without intervention and led to discontinuation in <2% of patients. No structural or functional abnormalities were reported in 42 newborns from teriflunomide-exposed parents. Conclusions These data from >6800 patient-years of teriflunomide exposure were consistent with individual studies and no new, unexpected safety signals were observed. (Study supported by Genzyme, a Sanofi company).
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: Teriflunomide, a once-daily oral immunomodulator for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, has demonstrated consistent efficacy on clinical and MRI parameters in clinical trials.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To evaluate whether Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody levels or tobacco use were associated with conversion to multiple sclerosis (MS) or MS progression/activity in patients presenting with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). Methods: In this prospective, longitudinal study, we measured EBV IgG antibody and cotinine (biomarker of tobacco use) levels at up to 4 time points (baseline, months 6, 12, and 24) among 468 participants with CIS enrolled in the BENEFIT (Betaferon/Betaseron in Newly Emerging Multiple Sclerosis for Initial Treatment) clinical trial. Outcomes included time to conversion to clinically definite or McDonald MS, number of relapses, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) changes, brain and T2 lesion volume changes, and number of new active lesions over 5 years. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, treatment allocation, baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level, number of T2 lesions, body mass index, EDSS, steroid treatment, and CIS onset type. Results: We found no associations between any EBV IgG antibody or cotinine levels with conversion from CIS to MS or MS progression as measured by EDSS or activity clinically or on MRI. The relative risk of conversion from CIS to clinically definite MS was 1.14 (95% confidence interval 0.76-1.72) for the highest vs the lowest quintile of EBNA-1 IgG levels, and 0.96 (95% confidence interval 0.71-1.31) for cotinine levels >25 ng/mL vs <10. Conclusions: Neither increased levels of EBV IgG antibodies, including against EBNA-1, nor elevated cotinine levels indicative of tobacco use, were associated with an increased risk of CIS conversion to MS, or MS activity or progression over a 5-year follow-up.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Neurology
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    Full-text · Poster · Oct 2015
  • Mohammad Abdoli · Mark S. Freedman
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    ABSTRACT: Tumefactive demyelinating lesions (TDLs) are not an uncommon manifestation of demyelinating disease but can pose diagnostic challenges in patients without a pre-existing diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) as well as in known MS patients. Brain tumours can also arise in MS patients and can be seen in chronic MS patients as co-morbidities. Delayed diagnosis or unnecessary intervention or treatment will affect the ultimate prognosis of these patients. In this article, we will review some typical cases illustrating the dilemma and review the information that helps to differentiate the two conditions.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
  • Carolina A Rush · Heather J MacLean · Mark S Freedman
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a CNS disorder characterized by inflammation, demyelination and neurodegeneration, and is the most common cause of acquired nontraumatic neurological disability in young adults. The course of the disease varies between individuals: some patients accumulate minimal disability over their lives, whereas others experience a rapidly disabling disease course. This latter subset of patients, whose MS is marked by the rampant progression of disability over a short time period, is often referred to as having 'aggressive' MS. Treatment of patients with aggressive MS is challenging, and optimal strategies have yet to be defined. It is important to identify patients who are at risk of aggressive MS as early as possible and implement an effective treatment strategy. Early intervention might protect patients from irreversible damage and disability, and prevent the development of a secondary progressive course, which thus far lacks effective therapy.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Nature Reviews Neurology
  • Moeber Mahzari · Amel Arnaout · Mark S Freedman
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    ABSTRACT: Alemtuzumab, an anti-CD52 monoclonal antibody, was recently approved for treatment of MS in Canada, having shown to significantly reduce relapses and disability in patients, particularly those who relapsed despite first line treatment. Offsetting its benefit however, is the development of novel secondary autoimmune disease, particularly affecting the thyroid gland in up to 36% of patients. The incidence of Alemtuzumab induced thyroid dysfunction (AITD) will likely rise as alemtuzumab becomes more widely used for treating MS. We review the clinical and investigational cues that help delineate the aetiology and management of thyrotoxicosis and hypothyroidism in ATID. AITD can be easily managed and we present a simple approach for its evaluation and management by neurologists that should be implemented prior to considering a referral to an internist or endocrinologist for further opinion or treatment.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · The Canadian journal of neurological sciences. Le journal canadien des sciences neurologiques
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    ABSTRACT: A definitive diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), as distinct from a clinically isolated syndrome, requires one of two conditions: a second clinical attack or particular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings as defined by the McDonald criteria. MRI is also important after a diagnosis is made as a means of monitoring subclinical disease activity. While a standardized protocol for diagnostic and follow-up MRI has been developed by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres, acceptance and implementation in Canada have been suboptimal. To improve diagnosis, monitoring, and management of a clinically isolated syndrome and MS, a Canadian expert panel created consensus recommendations about the appropriate application of the 2010 McDonald criteria in routine practice, strategies to improve adherence to the standardized Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres MRI protocol, and methods for ensuring effective communication among health care practitioners, in particular referring physicians, neurologists, and radiologists. This article presents eight consensus statements developed by the expert panel, along with the rationale underlying the recommendations and commentaries on how to prioritize resource use within the Canadian healthcare system. The expert panel calls on neurologists and radiologists in Canada to incorporate the McDonald criteria, the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres MRI protocol, and other guidance given in this consensus presentation into their practices. By improving communication and general awareness of best practices for MRI use in MS diagnosis and monitoring, we can improve patient care across Canada by providing timely diagnosis, informed management decisions, and better continuity of care.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · The Canadian journal of neurological sciences. Le journal canadien des sciences neurologiques
  • Mark S Freedman · Mohammad Abdoli
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the broadening range of available treatments, the response of multiple sclerosis patients to disease-modifying therapies remains quite heterogeneous, thus a scheme is required in order to flag individuals achieving a suboptimal treatment response, so that they may switch to a different, possibly more effective disease-modifying therapy. There are several treatment outcomes that can be defined as surrogate markers for continued treatment efficacy and can be used for optimizing disease-modifying therapy. As no single marker is validated, we must make use of all available potential surrogates to help predict the future course of the disease. Only by putting all of the outcome measures together can a true picture be derived that will indicate an optimal response to treatment.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Anti–John Cunningham (JCV) antibodies have been detected in approximately 50% to 60% of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Age, sex, and geographic location have been associated with seroprevalence differences. We describe anti-JCV antibody prevalence in the Canadian cohort of patients enrolled in the JCV Epidemiology in MS study. Methods: This cross-sectional multicenter study evaluated the effects of demographic and disease characteristics on anti-JCV antibody seroprevalence in MS patients irrespective of disease type and treatment. A single blood sample was collected for analysis of anti-JCV antibodies using a two-step enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Chi-square and logistic regression tests were used to determine significance. Results: A total of 4198 Canadian MS patients participated in the study; the overall anti-JCV antibody prevalence was 56.3% (95% confidence interval: 54.8% to 57.8%). Seroprevalence was significantly associated with age (increasing from 45% in young to 61% in those >60 years), sex, and region (p<0.0001 for age and sex; p=0.005 for region). No significant differences in anti-JCV antibody prevalence were associated with race, MS disease type and duration, or number and duration of treatments. Immunosuppressant use was associated with a higher seroprevalence rate (63.4%) compared with no immunosuppressant use (55.9%; p=0.040). Conclusions: Canadian MS patients had an overall anti-JCV antibody seroprevalence that was consistent with previous studies using the two-step ELISA. Significant associations of anti-JCV antibody positivity were found with age, sex, region, and immunosuppressant therapy, whereas seroprevalence was not associated with race, MS type, MS duration, or number or duration of MS treatments.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2014 · The Canadian journal of neurological sciences. Le journal canadien des sciences neurologiques
  • Mark S Freedman
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    ABSTRACT: The BEtaferon®/BEtaseron® in Newly Emerging MS For Initial Treatment (BENEFIT) trial assessed the efficacy of early versus delayed treatment with interferon beta-1b for patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). Patients were randomly assigned to receive either interferon beta-1b 250 μg every other day (early treatment, n = 292) or placebo (delayed treatment, n = 176) for 2 years or until progression to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. Clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) outcomes were assessed after 2 years (at the end of the placebo-controlled phase) and then again at 3, 5, and 8 years post randomization. MRI assessments were made after 2, 3, and 5 years. The results showed a consistent advantage of early treatment across most clinical and MRI variables, although median Expanded Disability Status Scale scores remained consistently low, with no differences between groups. These findings suggest that early treatment with interferon beta-1b improves long-term outcomes for patients presenting with CIS.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders
  • Jason Berard · Lisa Walker · Andra Smith · Mark Freedman

    No preview · Article · Oct 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Background Teriflunomide is a once-daily oral immunomodulator approved for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of teriflunomide in patients with a first clinical episode suggestive of multiple sclerosis. Methods In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study, we enrolled patients aged 18–55 years with clinically isolated syndrome (defined as a neurological event consistent with demyelination, starting within 90 days of randomisation, and two or more T2-weighted MRI lesions ≥3 mm in diameter) from 112 centres (mostly hospitals) in 20 countries. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1) in a double-blind manner (by an interactive voice response system) to once-daily oral teriflunomide 14 mg, teriflunomide 7 mg, or placebo, for up to 108 weeks. Patients, staff administering the interventions, and outcome assessors were masked to treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was time to relapse (a new neurological abnormality separated by ≥30 days from a preceding clinical event, present for ≥24 h in the absence of fever or known infection), which defined conversion to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. The key secondary endpoint was time to relapse or new gadolinium-enhancing or T2 lesions on MRI, whichever occurred first. The primary outcome was analysed for the modified intention-to-treat population; safety analyses included all randomised patients who were exposed to the study drug, as treated. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00622700. Findings Between Feb 13, 2008, and Aug 22, 2012, 618 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to teriflunomide 14 mg (n=216), teriflunomide 7 mg (n=205), or placebo (n=197). Two patients in each of the teriflunomide groups did not receive the study drug, so the modified intention-to-treat population comprised 214 patients in the teriflunomide 14 mg group, 203 in the teriflunomide 7 mg group, and 197 in the placebo group. Compared with placebo, teriflunomide significantly reduced the risk of relapse defining clinically definite multiple sclerosis at the 14 mg dose (hazard ratio [HR] 0·574 [95% CI 0·379–0·869]; p=0·0087) and at the 7 mg dose (0·628 [0·416–0·949]; p=0·0271). Teriflunomide reduced the risk of relapse or a new MRI lesion compared with placebo at the 14 mg dose (HR 0·651 [95% CI 0·515–0·822]; p=0·0003) and at the 7 mg dose (0·686 [0·540–0·871]; p=0·0020). During the study, six patients who were randomly assigned to placebo accidently also received teriflunomide at some point: four received 7 mg and two received 14 mg. Therefore, the safety population comprised 216 patients on teriflunomide 14 mg, 207 on teriflunomide 7 mg, and 191 on placebo. Adverse events that occurred in at least 10% of patients in either teriflunomide group and with an incidence that was at least 2% higher than that with placebo were increased alanine aminotransferase (40 [19%] of 216 patients in the 14 mg group, 36 [17%] of 207 in the 7 mg group vs 27 [14%] of 191 in the placebo group), hair thinning (25 [12%] and 12 [6%] vs 15 [8%]), diarrhoea (23 [11%] and 28 [14%] vs 12 [6%]), paraesthesia (22 [10%] and 11 [5%] vs 10 [5%]), and upper respiratory tract infection (20 [9%] and 23 [11%] vs 14 [7%]). The most common serious adverse event was an increase in alanine aminotransferase (four [2%] and five [2%] vs three [2%]). Interpretation TOPIC is to our knowledge the first study to report benefits of an available oral disease-modifying therapy in patients with early multiple sclerosis. These results extend the stages of multiple sclerosis in which teriflunomide shows a beneficial effect. Funding Genzyme, a Sanofi company.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · The Lancet Neurology
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    ABSTRACT: In pivotal phase 3 studies, fingolimod treatment initiation was associated with a transient reduction in heart rate (HR). Atrioventricular (AV) conduction delays, which were typically asymptomatic, were detected in a small minority of patients. We report the first-dose effects of fingolimod in patients who switched from injectable therapies during the Evaluate Patient OutComes (EPOC) study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01216072). This was a phase 4, 6-month, randomized, active-comparator, open-label, multicenter study. It included over 900 fingolimod-treated patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis, with subgroups of individuals who were receiving common concomitant HR-lowering medications or had pre-existing cardiac conditions (PCCs). Vital signs were recorded hourly for 6h post-dose. A 12-lead electrocardiogram was obtained at baseline and at 6h post-dose. A transient decrease in mean HR and blood pressure occurred within 6h of the first fingolimod dose. The incidence of symptomatic bradycardia was low (1%); eight patients reported dizziness and there was one case each of fatigue, palpitations, dyspnea, cardiac discomfort, and gait disturbance. These symptomatic events were typically mild or moderate in severity and all resolved spontaneously, without intervention or fingolimod discontinuation. First-dose effects in patients with PCCs and in those receiving concomitant HR-lowering medications were consistent with effects observed in the overall study population and with results from previous clinical trials. The EPOC study provides additional data demonstrating the transient and generally benign nature of fingolimod first-dose effects on HR and AV conduction in a large population that is more representative of patients encountered in routine clinical practice than in the pivotal trials. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders

Publication Stats

6k Citations
1,200.86 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013-2015
    • Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 1997-2015
    • University of Ottawa
      • • Department of Radiology
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
      • • Division of Medical Oncology
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    • Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto
      • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 1994-2015
    • The Ottawa Hospital
      • Department of Neurology
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2014
    • Università degli Studi di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2011-2014
    • Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2012
    • University of Milan
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2009-2011
    • The Ottawa Hospital
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2008
    • Collateral Analytics
      Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
  • 2007
    • VU University Amsterdam
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2006
    • Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía
      Tlalpam, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 1989-1993
    • McGill University
      • Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1990
    • Université de Montréal
      • Department of Medicine
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada