Cesare Lombroso

d. 2013

Cesare T. Lombroso, MD, PhD

A dedicated physician and AES leader will be missed.

Dr Lombroso was a dedicated physician who trained many doctors in his over 50 year career in medicine and was renowned for his ability to handle the most difficult cases of epilepsy. Dr Lombroso passed away peacefully on October 19, 2013 at his home surrounded by family.

Dr Lombroso was born in Rome, Italy, to a distinguished family that included numerous scientists and authors, many of whom achieved international recognition for their work. He received his M.D. degree in 1946 from the University of Genoa and then, in 1950, his PhD degree from the University of Rome. Later that year, Dr Lombroso began his long association with Harvard and The Children’s Hospital.

In 1962, he succeeded Dr William G. Lennox as Chief of the Seizure Unit and EEG Laboratory at Children’s Hospital, positions he held until he retired from the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1988. Believing, as did Dr Lennox, that children with seizures do best when they are treated in a center that can address simultaneously the multiple interacting medical, psychosocial, behavioral and family issues that impact on their lives, Dr Lombroso succeeded in making the Seizure Unit at Children’s Hospital a preeminent center for both treatment and clinical investigation.

There is scarcely an area of pediatric epileptology that has not been influenced by Dr Lombroso's contributions. He pioneered the concept that febrile seizures are usually benign and often do not require treatment. His studies of infantile spasms and other epileptic encephalopathies, breathholding spells and infantile syncope, idiopathic partial seizures, and neonatal seizures were major original contributions that remain classics in the field.

In electroencephalography, Dr Lombroso's work has hardly been less important. He helped define the normal paroxysmal changes that occur during drowsiness in children, clarified normal variants of EEG patterns that had previously been considered abnormal, and carried out systematic studies of EEG activity in newborns that helped make the EEG an indispensable diagnostic tool in hospital nurseries.

Dr Lombroso received the Ambassador for Epilepsy award from the International League against Epilepsy in 1981. He was the president of AES in 1986-87. He received the Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award given by the Milken Family Foundation in 1990. He was one of the original founders of the William G. Lennox Fund in 1962 which was combined with assets of his own trust in 2007. As a dedicated member of AES, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the Society for over 50 years. He was an ex-officio member of the board until recently. He will be greatly missed by both patients and professionals.

Dr Lombroso was the beloved husband of the late Irena (Kister) Lombroso, devoted father of Claudia G.C. Lombroso of Newton, MA, Anna C. Lombroso and her husband William Glynn of Sherborn, MA, and Paul Lombroso and his wife Janice Naegele of North Haven, CT. He was the grandfather of Andrew and Amy Glynn, Christopher, Adam and Sonia Lombroso.

A Memorial Service is being planned for November 23 at Noon at Harvard University-The Memorial Church.  Updated information will appear on the AES website, when available. 

AES is accepting contributions, in memory of Dr Cesare T. Lombroso, to support critical epilepsy research: 

Lennox and Lombroso Trust for Research & Training
c/o The American Epilepsy Society (AES) 
342 North Main Street Ste #301
West Hartford, CT 06117-2507