Farewell to Professor John R. Hughes

2022-03-15 12:08:50

On behalf of the EEG and Clinical Neuroscience Society (ECNS) we bid farewell to Professor John R. Hughes, MD, PhD, who passed away on Friday, 2/25/2022, at the age of 94. 

Despite his advanced age, he was still full of vitality and sharp intellect in the final years of his life. Throughout his professional life he was provocative, inquisitive yet caring, imparting an unparalleled enthusiasm to those he touched.

Dr. Hughes was a leading figure in the medical field of electrophysiology throughout his life, and a mentor for many of us. Although retired for many years, he continued to serve the fields of epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology for over 60 years and remained clinically active well into his 90’s as Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

While a Neurologist he also had significant interest in psychiatry and an abiding belief that psychiatric disorders are brain-based and that the electroencephalogram (EEG), as well as related fields like event-related potentials, polysomnography (sleep studies) and magnetoencephalography will all eventually play major roles in understanding the neuropathology underlying psychiatric disorders. 

After completion of medical school summa cum laude, he began practicing the art and science of clinical neurophysiology and rapidly became a world leading authority on EEG. Nationally and internationally recognized as a preeminent expert in EEG, he was the author of over 500 papers and chapters, and of numerous books.

For 28 years, he was Director of the Epilepsy Center, and of the Dept. of Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Illinois Medical Center. Among his many books, ‘EEG and Evoked Potentials in Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurology’ and ‘EEG in Clinical Practice’ influenced many clinicians worldwide and remain two of the most important references for EEG.  These include major contributions to the epileptiform patterns of seizures, developmental changes in EEG, traumatic brain injury, and behavioral disorders. 

In addition, he had numerous positions in professional organizations, including Editor of the Journal of Electroencephalography, Board of Directors and Editorial Board of Clinical EEG and was a recipient of numerous awards.

John Hughes was founding member of ECNS. After leading the American Medical EEG Society (AMEEGA) for decades, he, along with Norman Moore and Frank Duffy, catalyzed the merger of the American Psychiatric Electrophysiology Association (APEA) and the AMEEGA into current day ECNS. He was the quintessential clinical researcher as despite never seeking grant funding he was able to set up an active clinical practice where credible data was generated through everyday practice and resulted in an unparalleled scholarly productivity.

We lose a great leader and mentor in clinical electrophysiology and will always remember John Hughes as a brilliant clinician and researcher, as a great personality, and as a friend.

The executive board of ECNS
on behalf of the entire society