Spring 2012
Faculty Focus

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Eric Farbman, M.D.

Eric Farbman, M.D., specializes in movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and tremors. Photo by Edgar Antonio Núñez

A passion for neurology

By Matt Lush

Following a desire for a professional transformation, Eric Farbman, M.D., moved to southern Nevada in 2007 and joined the University of Nevada School of Medicine the next year.

"I moved to a private practice in Henderson and was then asked to help revamp the neurology program at the School of Medicine," he said.

As a movement disorders internist, Farbman, who completed medical school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey followed by a neurology residency and a movement disorders fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh, knows firsthand the complexities of working with difficult medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome and Huntington's disease.

"Movement disorders in general are my biggest venture-they're my main interest within neurology. They are essentially any involuntary movements, like tremors-any movement other than seizures," he said.

Farbman's interest in neurology started in medical school.

"I was always a science person. I knew I was on the medical half of the world as opposed to surgery. I just seemed to like neurology cases and neuropathology and I found it interesting," he said.

Farbman, who has practiced neurology since 2006, says it is a specialty where diseases are not easily distinguishable.

"Movement disorders are a very critical thing. People can have different types of shaking, and it is essential to know how to differentiate between the many types of diseases and how to treat them. Movement disorders are much more of a clinical specialty, based on the patient's physical exams," he said.

Farbman is passionately involved in clinical research, and is looking for new ways to practice medicine efficiently.

"We currently have three active Parkinson's disease trials, and these focus on new medications or new formulations of old medicines. I am also a member of the Parkinson's study group and the Huntington's study group-those are quasi-academic organizations that form a consortium to conduct trials in a more academic way."

Having a faculty member as a part of these study groups allows the University of Nevada School of Medicine to be a site for patient trials that are ongoing under Farbman's direction.

In addition to seeing patients, Farbman works closely with medical students interested in neurology.

"I am very proud of them. I work so closely with students, and I am particularly happy about that," he said, adding that he develops unique relationships with each of them.

"Mostly, the students shadow me and see patients with me. Sometimes in between patients or over the lunch hour, I will give more of a formal lecture. The most exciting thing is seeing students getting excited about neurology."

When asked about the future of neurology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Farbman was positive.

"One of my dreams would be to have a comprehensive movement disorders center," he said.

"Now that we have some of the research in place here at the medical school, we can try to work toward that goal."