Dr. Ian Purcell is chief neurologist of the Senta Clinic, located on the Alvarado Hospital medical campus. He holds both an MD and PhD in vestibular neurophysiology, and he has experience with NASA. This combination makes Dr. Purcell uniquely qualified as an otoneurologist able to treat patients with debilitating headaches and intractable dizziness.
Dr. Purcell has received numerous honors, including the prestigious Golden Neuron Award, which he earned while completing a graduate extension program at the University of California, San Diego. He then enrolled in the combined MD/PhD program in neurosciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
A tribute to his level of expertise, Dr. Purcell received funding from NASA and the Texas Space Consortium for six years as principal investigator. He worked directly with NASA scientists at the Vestibular Research Facility and gained valuable insight into design, treatments and alternative surgical techniques. Being a neurophysiologist, aviator, and Russian jet warbird enthusiast, this experience enhanced his deep interest in providing insight as to how sensory information related to gravity is encoded and processed by the vestibular system to control reflexes.
Today, Dr. Purcell is considered an innovative leader in his filed. He currently heads the division of balance research at the Center for Neurologic Study, which has collaborated with pharmaceutical and biotech companies for years to develop cutting-edge therapies for neurological disorders. He designed and built his own larger, faster version of the Epley chair, which is used to treat more complex forms of vertigo, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Dr. Purcell also has created multiple, complex devices for testing, diagnosing, monitoring and treating patients’ symptoms.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Purcell has been invited to lecture internationally and teach other medical professionals at conferences. His works have been published in peer-reviewed journals including the cover of the Journal of Neurophysiology. He is a member of Texas Neurological Society, Society for Neuroscience, Sigma Xi Scientific Society, and Southwestern Science Society. He also actively participates in the community, advocating fall prevention, patient education, and therapy-based treatment versus medication.
Celebrities and athletes, as well as the young and the elderly travel to San Diego from around the world to be treated by the “Dizzy Doc,” as he is often jokingly referred to for his expertise in treating vertigo. “My patients are dizzy, not crazy,” says Dr. Purcell. “They should be able to live a normal life and have answers for their disorder.”