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Sara SwansonSara J. Swanson, PhD, ABPP

Professor of Neurology
Division Chief, Neuropsychology
Director, Neuropsychological Services in Adult Epileps

Specialty: Neuropsychology


  • Adult Neuropsychology
  • Epilepsy
  • Head Trauma
  • Memory Disorders
  • Hydrocephalus 
  • Adult Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Huntington's Disease


  • PhD, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 1989


  • Internship, Clinical Psychology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, 1989
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Clinical Neuropsychology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1990


1983 Association of Research Professors Undergraduate Research Award, Washington State University.
1984 Women of Achievement Award.
1989 Member, American Psychological Association.
1990 Member, Wisconsin Psychological Association.
1990 Member, Midwest Neuropsychology Group.
1991 Member, Division 40 Clinical Neuropsychology.
1992 Member, International Neuropsychological Society.
1995 Board Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology (ABPP-CN).
1995 Elected, American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology.
1998 Scientific Program Chair, Midwest Neuropsychology Group.
1999 Member, American Epilepsy Society.
1999 Elected Committee Member, American Epilepsy Society, Clinical Investigators Committee.
2003-2007 Director, Neuropsychology Special Interest Group, American Epilepsy Society
2004 International League Against Epilepsy, Diagnostic Methods Neuropsychology Submission
2004 American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology Board of Directors
2007 American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, Oral Examiner
2009 MCW’s Outstanding Teachers for 2008-2009
2011 American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology Board of Directors


Brief Clinical/Research Interest Statement:

Sara J. Swanson, Ph.D. is a Professor of Neurology and Division Chief of Neuropsychology. She is board certified in Clinical Neuropsychology (American Board of Professional Psychology). She specializes in the clinical evaluation of adults with neurobehavioral disorders, epilepsy, head trauma, memory disorders, and ADHD.  She conducts intracarotid sodium amobarbital testing and functional MRI for language mapping. Her research interests involve predictors of cognitive outcome after temporal lobectomy, functional MRI, and the neuropsychology of epilepsy.  She has published in these areas, received a Junior Investigator Award from the Epilepsy Foundation of America, and been a co-investigator on NIH studies using fMRI for language mapping.

Sara Swanson is associated with the Center for Imaging Research and the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin here.


Selected peer-reviewed publications

  1. Stewart, Christopher C., Swanson, Sara J. Sabsevitz, David S., Rozman, Megan E., Janecek, Julie K., & Binder, Jeffrey R. (2014). Predictors  of Language Lateralization in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.  Neuropsychologia, 60, 93-102.
  2. Janecek JK, Swanson SJ, Sabsevitz DS, Hammeke TA, Raghavan M, Mueller W, Binder JR. Naming outcome prediction in patients with discordant Wada and fMRI language lateralization. Epilepsy Behav 2013 May;27(2):399-403 PMID 23541860
  3. Klaue K, Kaliyaperumal K, Swanson SA, Low WC. Central Calcaneal Osteotomy for Correction of Flexible Pes Planovalgus Deformity. Foot Ankle Int 2013 Mar 26: PMID 23532798
  4. Janecek JK, Swanson SJ, Sabsevitz DS, Hammeke TA, Raghavan M, E Rozman M, Binder JR. Language lateralization by fMRI and Wada testing in 229 patients with epilepsy: rates and predictors of discordance. Epilepsia 2013 Feb;54(2):314-22 PMID 23294162
  5. Binder JR et al.. Determination of language dominance using functional MRI: A comparison with the Wada test. Neurology 2011 Apr 12;76(15):1337 PMID 8780076
  6. Jones-Gotman M, Smith ML, Risse GL, Westerveld M, Swanson SJ, Giovagnoli AR, Lee T, Mader-Joaquim MJ, Piazzini A. The contribution of neuropsychology to diagnostic assessment in epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 2010 May;18(1-2):3-12 PMID 20471914
  7. Stieglitz Ham H, Bartolo A, Corley M, Rajendran G, Szabo A, Swanson .)Exploring the relationship between gestural recognition and imitation: evidence of dyspraxia in autism spectrum disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 2011 Jan;41(1):1-12 PMID 20407815
  8. Binder JR, Swanson SJ, Sabsevitz DS, Hammeke TA, Raghavan M, Mueller WM. A comparison of two fMRI methods for predicting verbal memory decline after left temporal lobectomy: language lateralization versus hippocampal activation asymmetry. Epilepsia 2010 Apr;51(4):618-26 PMID 19817807
  9. Ham HS, Bartolo A, Corley M, Swanson S, Rajendran G. Case report: selective deficit in the production of intransitive gestures in an individual with autism. Cortex 2010 Mar;46(3):407-9 PMID 19615678
  10. Binder JR, Swanson SJ, Hammeke TA, Sabsevitz DS. A comparison of five fMRI protocols for mapping speech comprehension systems. Epilepsia 2008 Dec;49(12):1980-97 PMID 18513352
  11. Lee D, Swanson SJ, Sabsevitz DS, Hammeke TA, Scott Winstanley F, Possing ET, Binder JR. Functional MRI and Wada studies in patients with interhemispheric dissociation of language functions. Epilepsy Behav 2008 Aug;13(2):350-6 PMID 18504162
  12. Binder JR, Sabsevitz DS, Swanson SJ, Hammeke TA, Raghavan M, Mueller WM. Use of preoperative functional MRI to predict verbal memory decline after temporal lobe epilepsy surgery. Epilepsia 2008 Aug;49(8):1377-94 PMID 18435753
  13. Swanson SJ, Sabsevitz DS, Hammeke TA, Binder JR. Functional magnetic resonance imaging of language in epilepsy. Neuropsychol Rev 2007 Dec;17(4):491-504 PMID 18058239
  14. Stieglitz Ham H, Corley M, Rajendran G, Carletta J, Swanson S. Brief report: imitation of meaningless gestures in individuals with Asperger syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 2008 Mar;38(3):569-73 PMID 17665296
  15. Ruff IM, Swanson SJ, Hammeke TA, Sabsevitz D, Mueller WM, Morris GL. Predictors of naming decline after dominant temporal lobectomy: age at onset of epilepsy and age of word acquisition. Epilepsy Behav 2007 Mar;10(2):272-7 PMID 17270499
  16. Moran M, Seidenberg M, Sabsevitz D, Swanson S, Hermann B. The acquisition of face and person identity information following anterior temporal lobectomy. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2005 May;11(3):237-48 PMID 15892900
  17. Sabsevitz DS, Swanson SJ, Hammeke TA, Spanaki MV, Possing ET, Morris GL 3rd, Mueller WM, Binder JR. Use of preoperative functional neuroimaging to predict language deficits from epilepsy surgery. Neurology 2003 Jun 10;60(11):1788-92 PMID 12796532
  18. Sabsevitz DS, Swanson SJ, Morris GL, Mueller WM, Seidenberg M. Memory outcome after left anterior temporal lobectomy in patients with expected and reversed Wada memory asymmetry scores. Epilepsia 2001 Nov;42(11):1408-15 PMID 11879343
  19. Reynolds NC Jr, Hellman RS, Tikofsky RS, Prost RW, Mark LP, Elejalde BR, Lebel R, Hamsher KS, Swanson S, Benezra EE. Single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) in detecting neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease. Nucl Med Commun 2002 Jan;23(1):13-8 PMID 11748433
  20. Seidenberg M, Griffith R, Sabsevitz D, Moran M, Haltiner A, Bell B, Swanson S, Hammeke T, Hermann B. Recognition and identification of famous faces in patients with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy. Neuropsychologia 2002;40(4):446-56 PMID 11684177
  21. Alsaadi TM, Ulmer JL, Mitchell MJ, Morris GL, Swanson SJ, Mueller WM. Magnetic resonance analysis of postsurgical temporal lobectomy. J Neuroimaging 2001 Jul;11(3):243-7 PMID 11462289
  22. Springer JA, Binder JR, Hammeke TA, Swanson SJ, Frost JA, Bellgowan PS, Brewer CC, Perry HM, Morris GL, Mueller WM. Language dominance in neurologically normal and epilepsy subjects: a functional MRI study. Brain 1999 Nov;122 ( Pt 11):2033-46 PMID 10545389
  23. Benbadis SR, Binder JR, Swanson SJ, Fischer M, Hammeke TA, Morris GL, Frost JA, Springer JA. Is speech arrest during wada testing a valid method for determining hemispheric representation of language? Brain Lang 1998 Dec;65(3):441-6 PMID 9843613
  24. Bellgowan PS, Binder JR, Swanson SJ, Hammeke TA, Springer JA, Frost JA, Mueller WM, Morris GL. Side of seizure focus predicts left medial temporal lobe activation during verbal encoding. Neurology 1998 Aug;51(2):479-84 PMID 9710022
  25. Yetkin FZ, Swanson S, Fischer M, Akansel G, Morris G, Mueller W, Haughton V. Functional MR of frontal lobe activation: comparison with Wada language results. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 1998 Jun-Jul;19(6):1095-8 PMID 9672017
  26. Mueller WM, Yetkin FZ, Hammeke TA, Morris GL 3rd, Swanson SJ, Reichert K, Cox R, Haughton VM. Functional magnetic resonance imaging mapping of the motor cortex in patients with cerebral tumors. Neurosurgery 1996 Sep;39(3):515-20; discussion 520-1 PMID 8875481
  27. Arnett PA, Rao SM, Hussain M, Swanson SJ, Hammeke TA. Conduction aphasia in multiple sclerosis: a case report with MRI findings. Neurology 1996 Aug;47(2):576-8 PMID 8757043
  28. Benbadis SR, Lancman ME, King LM, Swanson SJ. Preictal pseudosleep: a new finding in psychogenic seizures. Neurology 1996 Jul;47(1):63-7 PMID 8710126
  29. Binder JR, Swanson SJ, Hammeke TA, Morris GL, Mueller WM, Fischer M, Benbadis S, Frost JA, Rao SM, Haughton VM. Determination of language dominance using functional MRI: a comparison with the Wada test. Neurology 1996 Apr;46(4):978-84 PMID 8780076
  30. Yetkin FZ, Hammeke TA, Swanson SJ, Morris GL, Mueller WM, McAuliffe TL, Haughton VM) AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 1995 May;16(5):1087-92 PMID 7639132
  31. Morris GL 3rd, Mueller WM, Yetkin FZ, Haughton VM, Hammeke TA, Swanson S, Rao SM, Jesmanowicz A, Estkowski LD, Bandettini PA. Functional magnetic resonance imaging in partial epilepsy. Epilepsia 1994 Nov-Dec;35(6):1194-8 PMID 7988510
  32. Swanson SJ, Dengerink HA. Changes in pure-tone thresholds and temporary threshold shifts as a function of menstrual cycle and oral contraceptives. J Speech Hear Res 1988 Dec;31(4):569-74 PMID 3230886
  33. Swanson SJ, Dengerink HA, Kondrick P, Miller CL. The influence of subjective factors on temporary threshold shifts after exposure to music and noise of equal energy. Ear Hear 1987 Oct;8(5):288-91 PMID 3678643
  34. Dengerink JE, Dengerink HA, Swanson S, Thompson P, Chermak GD. Gender and oral contraceptive effects on temporary auditory effects of noise. Audiology 1984;23(4):411-25 PMID 6466203


Chapters and Reviews

  1. Swanson, S. J., Springer, J. A., Morris, G. L., Benbadis, S. R. (1999). Cognitive and psychological correlates of non-epileptic seizures. In J. R. Gates & A. J. Rowan (Eds.) Non-Epileptic Seizures, Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.
  2. Swanson, S. J. & Stein E. A. (1999). The limbic system. In M. Wong-Riley (Ed.) Neuroscience Secrets. Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, Inc.
  3. Rao, S. M., & Swanson, S. J. (2003). Neuropsychological Assessment. In B. S. Fogel, R. B. Schiffer, S. M. Rao (Eds.) Neuropsychiatry. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  4. Swanson S. J., Sabsevitz DS, Hammeke, TA, Binder JR. (2005). Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Epilepsy. Division of Clinical Neuropsychology Newsletter 40 2005;23: 7-8, 19-23.
  5. Swanson, S. J. (2006). Neuropsychological testing is of Limited Value for Predicting the Epileptogenic Zone. In JW Miller & DL Silbergeld (Eds.) Controversies in Epilepsy Surgery. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
  6. Swanson, S. J. Fatigue in Neurological, Psychiatric, and Medical Conditions. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 2006;12:441-444
  7. Swanson, S. J., Euler, M., Raghavan, M. Baillet, S., Binder, J. R. (In Press).  Clinical Applications of FMRI and MEG in Epilepsy Surgery Candidates. In W. Barr & C. Morrison (Eds.) Handbook on the Neuropsychology of Epilepsy.
  8. Swanson, S. J., Chapin, J., Janecek, J. (2014). The Neuropsychology of Epilepsy. In Michael W. Parsons and Thomas A. Hammeke (Editors). Clinical Neuropsychology: A Pocket Handbook for Assessment.

  9. Swanson, S. J., Euler, M., Raghavan, M. Baillet, S., Binder, J. R. (In Press). Clinical Applications of FMRI and MEG in Epilepsy Surgery Candidates. In W. Barr & C. Morrison (Eds.) Handbook on the Neuropsychology of Epilepsy.

Ongoing Research

Currently Funded Grants:
Title: FMRI in Anterior Temporal Epilepsy Surgery
Source: National Institutes of Health,
Role: Co-Investigator
Dates: 2011-2016
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 09/22/2014