Faculty Profile: W. Curt LaFrance Jr., MD, MPH

W. Curt LaFrance Jr.
W. Curt LaFrance Jr., MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Neurology (Research)
Psychiatry & Human Behavior and Neurology
Work: +1 401-444-3534
W. Curt LaFrance, Jr. conducts clinical research in brain/behavior disorders, focusing on the neuropsychiatry of epilepsy, nonepileptic seizures, psychogenic movement disorders, somatoform disorders and traumatic brain injury.


Biographical Sketch 2013

W. Curt LaFrance, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., is the Director of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurology at Rhode Island Hospital (RIH) and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology (Research) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and of Clinical Neurosciences at Brown Medical School. He is the neuropsychiatrist for the RIH Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Staff Physician at the Providence VAMC and a faculty member of the Brown Institute for Brain Science. He is the Director of the combined neurology/psychiatry residency at Brown University, where he teaches and mentors undergraduates, medical students, residents and fellows in research and clinical practice.

Dr. LaFrance received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Wake Forest University and his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He completed the combined residency in neurology and psychiatry at Brown Medical School, and he is boarded in both neurology and in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. After residency, he completed a Clinical Research Fellowship in Combined Treatments at Brown University with an institutional NIH T-32 national research service award. He obtained his master of public health from Brown University in 2007.

Dr. LaFrance received a 5 year K23 award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to conduct clinical trials for patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (NES). He was awarded the 2003 Career Development Award by the American Neuropsychiatric Association (ANPA) and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2013 Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award. His biography is included in Marquis Who's Who in the World. He was appointed to the Governor's Permanent Advisory Commission on Traumatic Brain Injury. His academic society memberships include AAN (Fellow), ANPA (Fellow), American Psychiatric Association (Distinguished Fellow), American Epilepsy Society (AES), and Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

Dr. LaFrance serves on the ANPA Committee on Research, has served on the Editorial Boards for Epilepsy & Behavior and Epilepsia, the Review Board of the Journal of Pediatric Neurology, and he is an invited reviewer for Neurology, Brain, American Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Clinical Neurology & Neurosurgery, Epilepsy Research, Seizure, Movement Disorders and the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. He chaired the 2005 NINDS/NIMH/AES sponsored NES treatment workshop. This international workshop brought neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and allied health members together to set the direction for future NES research. He received an International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Visiting Professorship in Chile, partnering with epilepsy centers in Latin America, and he is a Srinivasan Neuroscience Conclave participant in India addressing Global Epilepsy in Low and Middle Income Countries. He serves on the Epilepsy Foundation (EF) Professional Advisory Board. He is a steward for the NINDS Epilepsy Benchmarks, and he serves on the ILAE's Neuropsychiatry Commission, chairing the NES Task Force. He is co-chair of the AES's NES Task Force. He was an Advisor for the DSM-5 Somatoform Disorders Work Group and is a member of the ABPN Certification Exam Committee. He is an affiliate member of the Managing Epilepsy Well Network. He served on the Neuroethics interdisciplinary panel for the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and as a reviewer for NINDS, EF, Institute for Mental Health Research, Brainwave Irish Epilepsy Foundation, and The Wellcome Trust's Neuroscience and Mental Health Funding Committee.

His research interests include neuropsychiatric aspects of epilepsy, nonepileptic seizures, psychogenic movement disorders (PMD), somatoform disorders, traumatic brain injury and biomarkers. His research has been funded by the NINDS, AES, EF and Siravo Foundation. He was PI on an AES-EF funded pilot multi-center treatment trial for NES and is studying neuroimaging in TBI and in epilepsy and depression. He has written on and given invited lectures regionally, nationally and internationally on topics in neuropsychiatry, including epilepsy co-morbidities, somatoform disorders, NES, PMD, TBI, integrative medicine, causation and consciousness. He has published in Neurology, American Journal of Psychiatry, Brain, Archives of Neurology, Epilepsia, Epilepsy & Behavior, Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Current Opinion in Neurology, Seminars in Neurology, International Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, and Current Psychiatry. He is co-editor of the 3rd edition of Gates and Rowan's Nonepileptic Seizures, Cambridge University Press.



Research Description

Dr. LaFrance conducts clinical research in brain/behavior disorders, focusing on the neuropsychiatry of epilepsy, nonepileptic seizures (NES), psychogenic movement disorders, conversion disorders and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Rhode Island Hospital Division of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurology conducts clinical trials for patients with NES, including pharmacologic and cognitive behavioral treatments.

The neuropsychiatric aspects of epilepsy studies include collaboration with neuropsychology, neuroimaging, and neuropathology for the evaluation of biomarkers, cognitive, mood, environmental and psychosocial influences in patients with refractory and well controlled seizure disorders.

The TBI research examines contributors of precursors and biomarkers for sypmtoms following brain injury.

Grants and Awards


MAP International -- Reader's Digest International Fellowship, HIV/Tropical Disease Medical Elective Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand, 1995

Award for Outstanding Performance in Neurology, Medical College of Georgia, Department of Neurology, 1995

American Academy of Neurology Annual Resident Scholarship, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1999

Psychiatry Resident Award of Excellence, Janssen Research Foundation, New Orleans, LA., 2001

American Psychiatric Assoc. (APA) Research Colloquium Scholarship for Junior Investigators, New Orleans, LA, 2001

National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), Summer Research Institute Participant, San Diego, Calif., 2001

American Neuropsychiatric Association, Career Development Award, Honolulu, Hawaii, (2003-4)

Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award, K-23, National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), 2003-8

APA Research Colloquium Scholarship for Advanced Junior Investigators, New York, NY, 2004

Marquis Who's Who Among Future Leaders, 2007-

Marquis Who's Who in the World, 2007-

Visiting Professorship, International League Against Epilepsy, 2009

Professional Advisory Board, Epilepsy Foundation, 2010-

Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, 2011-

Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, 2012-

Fellow of the American Neuropsychiatric Association, 2012-

American Academy of Neurology Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award, 2013


Christian Medical and Dental Associations 1992-

American Academy of Neurology, 1994-
Fellow, 2011-

American Psychiatric Association, 1994-
Distinguished Fellow, 2012-

American Neuropsychiatric Association, 1997-
Fellow, 2012-

American Epilepsy Society, 2003-

Funded Research

Brown Diagnostic Imaging 1/1/12-12/31/12
DDI Research Seed Grant Concussions in High School and College Athletes: Predictors for Recovery and Outcome
P.I. Rogg, Jeff

NIH NIMH K23 7/15/11-4/30/2016
1 K23 MH092735 Psychogenic Tremor: Functional Magnetic Resonance Study on Emotional Processing
P.I. Espay, Alberto

Epilepsy Foundation (EF) 7/1/11-6/30/12
925120 Risk Factors in Pediatric Nonepileptic Seizures
P.I. Plioplys, Sigita

Epilepsy Foundation 7/1/11-6/30/12
213382 Brain MRI Quantification in Epilepsy and Depression
co-P.I.s Davis, Jennifer; LaFrance, Jr, W Curt

American Epilepsy Society January 2010-December 2011
Research Infrastructure Award Multi-site pilot RCT for PNES
P.I. LaFrance, Jr., W Curt

Epilepsy Foundation January 2009-December 2010
122982 Treatment Trial for Psychogenic NES
P.I. LaFrance, Jr., W Curt

Rhode Island Hospital July 2008-June 2009
Infrastructure Research Grant Randomized Trial for Psychogenic NES
P.I. LaFrance, Jr, W Curt

Siravo Foundation October 2008-September 2009
Medical Research Advisory Board A lab test differentiating epilepsy from NES
P.I. LaFrance, Jr., W Curt

National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) 1K23 NS45902-01 July 2003 – June 2009
Treatments for Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures.
P.I. LaFrance, Jr., W. Curt.

Lifespan March 2007-February 2008
Pilot Study of the Genetics of Psychogenic Movement Disorder and Nonepileptic Seizures
LaFrance, Jr., W. Curt.

Epilepsy Foundation July 2006-June 2007
Targeted Research Initiative in Mood Mood and Executive Function in Epilepsy.
Co-P.I.s Davis, Jennifer; LaFrance, Jr., W. Curt.

NIH National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 5T32 MH19987-04 Institutional NRSA June 2001-June 2003
Research Training in Combined Treatment Modalities.
P.I. Shea, Tracie.

Teaching Experience

Introduction to Neuropsychiatry
The Neuropsychiatric Exam
Neuropsychiatric Aspects of Epilepsy
Traumatic Brain Injury
Somatoform Disorders

Dr. LaFrance also supervises undergraduate and medical students and residents conducting neuropsychiatric research.

Courses Taught

  • Directed Research in Biology (BI1950)
  • Directed Research in Biology (BI1960)
  • Neuropathophysiology (NS0262)

Selected Publications

  • LaFrance WC Jr, Deluca M, Machan JT, Fava JL. Traumatic brain injury and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures yield worse outcomes. Epilepsia. 2013;54(4):718-25. (2013)
  • Tremont G, Smith MM, Bauer L, Alosco ML, Davis JD, Blum AS, LaFrance WC Jr. Comparison of Personality Characteristics on the Bear-Fedio Inventory Between Patients with Epilepsy and Non-Epileptic Seizures. J Neuropsych Clin Neurosc. 2012;24(1):47-52. (2012)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Alosco ML, Davis JD, Tremont G, Ryan CE, Keitner GI, Miller IW, Blum AS. Impact of family functioning on quality of life in patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures versus epilepsy. Epilepsia 2011;52(2):292-300. (2011)
  • Syed TU, LaFrance WC, Jr., Kahriman ES, Hasan SN, Rajasekaran V, Gulati D, et al. Can semiology predict psychogenic nonepileptic seizures? A prospective study. Ann Neurol 2011;69(6):997-1004. (2011)
  • Kerr MP, Mensah S, Besag F, de Toffol B, Ettinger A, Kanemoto K, Kanner A, Kemp S, Krishnamoorthy E, LaFrance Jr WC, Mula M, Schmitz B, van Elst LT, Trollor J, Wilson SJ. International consensus clinical practice statements for the treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions associated with epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2011; 52(11):2133-2138. PMID:21955156 (2011)
  • Schachter SC, LaFrance Jr WC, Eds. Gates and Rowan's Nonepileptic Seizures. 3rd Edition. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press; 2010. (2010)
  • Voon V, Brezing C, Gallea C, Ameli R, Roelofs K, LaFrance Jr WC, Hallett M. Emotional stimuli and motor conversion disorder. Brain. 2010;133(5):1526-1536. (2010)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Keitner GI, Papandonatos GD, Blum AS, Machan JT, Ryan CE, et al. Pilot pharmacologic randomized controlled trial for psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Neurology 2010;75(13):1166-73. (2010)
  • Voon V, Brezing C, Gallea C, Ameli R, Roelofs K, LaFrance WC Jr, Hallett M. Emotional stimuli and motor conversion disorder. Brain 2010;133(5):1526-1536. (2010)
  • LaFrance Jr WC. Psychogenic nonepileptic "seizures" or "attacks"?: It's not just semantics: Seizures. Neurology 2010;75(1):87-8. (2010)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Leaver KE, Stopa E, Papandonatos GD, Blum AS. Decreased serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor in patients with epileptic and nonepileptic seizures. Neurology 2010;75(14):1285-1291. (2010)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Miller IW, Ryan CE, Blum AS, Solomon DA, Kelley JE, et al. Cognitive behavioral therapy for psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Epilepsy Behav 2009;14(4):591-596. (2009)
  • LaFrance Jr WC. Somatoform disorders. Semin Neurol 2009;29(3):234-246. (2009)
  • Nicholl JS, LaFrance Jr WC. Neuropsychiatric Sequelae of Traumatic Brain Injury. Semin Neurol 2009;29(3):247-255. (2009)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Syc S. Depression and symptoms affect quality of life in psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Neurology 2009;73(5):366-371. (2009)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Friedman JH. Cognitive behavioral therapy for psychogenic movement disorder. Mov Disord 2009;24(12):1856-1857. (2009)
  • Benbadis SR, LaFrance Jr WC, Papandonatos GD, Korabathina K, Lin K, Kraemer HC. Interrater reliability of EEG-video monitoring. Neurology 2009;73(11):843-846. (2009)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Self JA. Do bus accidents cause nonepileptic seizures?: Complex issues of medicolegal causation. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 2008;36(2):227-233. (2008)
  • LaFrance Jr WC. Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Current Opinion in Neurology. 2008;21:195-201. (2008)
  • LaFrance Jr WC. Diagnosing conversion weakness with the Spinal Injuries Center test: When Hoover doesn't help. Neurology. 2008;71(19):e57. (2008)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Blum AS, Miller IW, Ryan CE, Keitner GI. Methodologic Issues in Conducting Treatment Trials for Psychological Nonepileptic Seizures. J Neuropsych Clin Neurosc 2007;19(4):391-398. (2007)
  • LaFrance Jr WC. Treating patients with functional symptoms: One size does not fit all. J Psychosom Res 2007;63(6):633-5. (2007)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Kanner AM. Epilepsy. In: Friedman J, Jeste DV, editors. Current Clinical Neurology: Psychiatry for Neurologists. New Jersey: Humana Press, Inc.; 2006. p. 191-208. (2006)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Alper K, Babcock D, Barry JJ, Benbadis S, Caplan R, Gates J, Jacobs M, Kanner A, Martin R, Rundhaugen L, Stewart R, Vert C. Nonepileptic seizures treatment workshop summary. Epilepsy & Behavior. 2006;8(3):451-461. (2006)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Benbadis SR. Avoiding the costs of unrecognized psychological nonepileptic seizures. Neurology. 2006;66(11):1620-1621. (2006)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Barry JJ. Invited review: Update on treatments for psychological nonepileptic seizures. Epilepsy & Behavior. 2005;7(3):364-374. (2005)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Devinsky O. The treatment of nonepileptic seizures: Historical perspectives and future directions. Epilepsia 2004;45(Suppl.2):15-21. (2004)
  • LaFrance Jr WC. Psychiatric aspects of seizures: review questions. Hospital Physician. Self-Assessment in Psychiatry Series. 2003;39(1):37-38. (2003)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Devinsky O. Treatment of nonepileptic seizures. Epilepsy and Behavior, 2002;3(5 Supplement 1);S19-23. (2002)
  • Royall DR, Lauterbach EC, Cummings JL, Reeve A, Rummans TA, Kaufer DI, LaFrance Jr WC, Coffey CE. Executive Control Function: A review of its promise and challenges for clinical research. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. Fall 2002;14(4):377-405. (2002)
  • LaFrance WC. How many patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures also have epilepsy? Neurology. 2002;58:990-991. (2002)
  • LaFrance Jr WC, Lauterbach EC, Coffey CE, Salloway SP, Kaufer DI, Reeve A, Royall DR, et al. The use of herbal alternative medicines in neuropsychiatry. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 2000;12(2):177-92. (2000)
  • Salloway S, Harrington C, Orr D, LaFrance Jr WC. Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementias. In Stoudemire A, Fogel BS and Greenberg D, Eds. Psychiatric Care of the Medical Patient. 2nd Ed., 1999, New York: Oxford University Press. (1999)
  • Rausch JL, LaFrance C, Stahl SM. Serotonin receptor-specific mediation of antidepressant treatment effects in depressed patients. International Review of Psychiatry. 1995;7(1):85-98. (1995)