2016 Top Doctor: Jose (Joel) De Ocampo, M.D.

Written by Editorial Staff Category: Profiles Issue: April 2016
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Neurology/sleep medicine
Med School/Year Graduated: De La Salle College of Medicine, 1992

Years in Practice: 16

photography by Steve Craft; Jose (Joel) De Ocampo, M.D.Which neurological maladies do you treat most often?
I treat the full gamut of neurological disorders including stroke, multiple sclerosis, seizures, dementia and sleep apnea. I am also board-certified in treating neuromuscular disorders and headaches. Migraine patients are amongst the most challenging and rewarding patients to treat.

Do you suffer from any neurological or sleep issues yourself? Why did you choose this as your speciality?
I have occasionally struggled with insomnia myself. Neurology and sleep disorders are so intertwined. If you like figuring out problems like a medical detective, and if you are an observant person who likes little details, being a neurologist should be at the top of your list.

What’s the most unusual sleep disorder you’ve treated? Any extreme somnambulists?
There are a lot of fascinating sleep disorders ranging from REM behavior disorder (acting out dreams), sleep eating disorders (may become obese if untreated), and even sexsomnias (uncontrolled and unaware sexual behaviors during sleep). Extreme cases of somnambulism may be associated with violent behavior.

What are some of the latest breakthroughs in epilepsy treatment/medicines?
New and improved epilepsy medications have made seizure freedom attainable for most epilepsy patients. In my neurology clinic, we perform video EEGs (ambulatory brainwave studies) and NeuroStimulation (VNS) therapy to evaluate and treat patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.

How common are sleep disorders in children?
Sleep disorders in children and adolescents are common; even infants have sleep disorders. Not only do pediatric sleep problems affect child health, but they can impact family dynamics, parental or sibling sleep and cause functional impairment in school. Education on proper sleep hygiene is important.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to spend time with my family. We try to go to church every week. We enjoy traveling around the world and learning about cultural diversity. I also go to local fitness centers to participate in yoga, Pilates and spinning classes.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be...”
Likely unhappy. I once considered law, but am glad I chose medicine. I cannot imagine another career where the path is [this] clear-cut – med school, training, then a relatively guaranteed successful career practicing, teaching or researching, or some combination of the above.