Neurological Conditions

Neurological Conditions

The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system. Together they control all the workings of the body. When something goes wrong with a part of your nervous system, you can have trouble moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing, or learning. You can also have problems with your memory, senses, or mood.

Overview

There are more than 600 neurologic diseases. Major types include:

  • Diseases caused by faulty genes, such as Huntington's disease and muscular dystrophy.
  • Problems with the way the nervous system develops, such as spina bifida.
  • Degenerative diseases, where nerve cells are damaged or die, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain, such as stroke.
  • Injuries to the spinal cord and brain.
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy.
  • Cancer, such as brain tumors.
  • infections, such as meningitis.

Some of these can be treated with infusion therapy.

Symptoms

The signs of neurological disorders can vary significantly, depending upon the type of disorder as well as the specific area of the body that is affected. In some instances, you might experience emotional symptoms while in other cases physical symptoms may be the result. Some of the symptoms include:

Emotional - mood swings or sudden outbursts. Individuals who suffer from neurological problems may also experience depression or delusions.

Physical -

  • Partial or complete paralysis.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Partial or complete loss of sensation.
  • Seizures.
  • Difficulty reading and writing.
  • Poor cognitive abilities.
  • Unexplained pain.
  • Decreased alertness.

Causes

The causes of neurological dysfunction can be quite diverse. Both the spinal cord and brain are insulated by numerous membranes that can be vulnerable to force and pressure. The peripheral nerves located deep under the skin can also be vulnerable to damage. Neurological disorders can affect an entire neurological pathway or a single neuron. Even a small disturbance to a neuron’s structural pathway can result in dysfunction. As a result, neurological disorders can result from a number of causes, including:

  • Lifestyle related causes.
  • Infections.
  • Genetics.
  • Nutrition-related causes.
  • Environmental influences.
  • Physical injuries.

Diagnosis

Apart from a physical and physiological test, there are specialized tests that can be done diagnostically.

  • CT or CAT scan - A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) - A procedure that records the brain's continuous electrical activity through electrodes attached to the scalp.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
  • Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) - Studies that evaluate and diagnose disorders of the muscles and motor neurons. Electrodes are inserted into the muscle, or placed on the skin overlying a muscle or muscle group, and electrical activity and muscle response are recorded.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) - In nuclear medicine, a procedure that measures the metabolic activity of cells.
  • Arteriogram (also called an angiogram) - An X-ray of the arteries and veins to detect blockage or narrowing of the vessels.
  • Spinal tap (also known as lumbar puncture) - A special needle is placed into the lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord. The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured. A small amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems. CSF is the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
  • Evoked potentials - Procedures that record the brain's electrical response to visual, auditory, and sensory stimuli.
  • Myelogram - A procedure that uses dye injected into the spinal canal to make the structure clearly visible on X-rays.
  • Neurosonography - A procedure that uses ultra high-frequency sound waves that enable the healthcare provider to analyze blood flow in cases of possible stroke.
  • Ultrasound Imaging - A diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs.

Treatment

Apart from the issue of a cure, sometimes patients with neurological issues can be placed in rehabilitation as part of an effort to restore some lost function. This is usually a hopeful sign, as it’s rare to find a patient assigned to therapy when there’s little to no hope of at least a partial recovery. Therapies for neurological disorders may often consist of:

  • Lifestyle changes to either prevent or minimize the impact of such conditions.
  • Physiotherapy to manage the symptoms and restore some function.
  • Pain management, as many impairments can be associated with considerable discomfort.
  • Medication to either restore function or prevent a worsening of the patient’s condition.

Medication

These may range from medications such as the neuroleptics (haloperidol and chlorpromazine) used to treat organic disorders of the brain such as schizophrenia, to comparatively simple analgesics, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and opiates to treat the painful effects of many neurological ailments.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord  (The central nervous system).
 
Multiple sclerosis has different symptoms and they depend mainly on the amount of the nerve damage. It can affect the ability to walk independently or it can also be in remission over a period of time without any symptoms. 
 
There's no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms.
 

Causes 

1) Immune system.
2) Genetics.
3) Environment.
4) Infections.
 
Other Causes include:
  • Sex - Women are more prone to develop a relapsing - remitting - multiple sclerosis (RRMS) than men.
  • Age - RRMS usually affects people between the ages of 20 and 50. PPMS usually occurs approximately 10 years later than other forms.
  • Ethnicity - People of northern European descent are at highest risk of developing MS.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary greatly from person to person incase of multiple sclerosis.
 
  1. Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or the legs and trunk.
  2. Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward .
  3.  Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait.

 

Vision problems are also common, including:

  • Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain. during eye movement.
  • Prolonged double vision.
  • Blurry vision.

 

Multiple sclerosis symptoms may also include:

  • Slurred speech.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dizziness.
  • Tingling or pain in parts of your body.
  • Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function.

Treatment

There is no complete cure for Multiple Sclerosis. The most common treatment category is corticosteroids, such as oral prednisone (prednisone intensol, rayos) and intravenous methylprednisolone. These drugs reduce nerve inflammation.

Medication

As said , there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatment focusses on progression and recovery and managing the symptoms. 
 
Medicines used are:

TYSABRI
OCREVUS
SOLUMEDROL

NUEROPATHY

NEUROPATHY

What is neuropathy ?

Neuropathy is a common complication of different medical conditions and it involves automatic nerves, the motor nerves and the sensory nerves.

Overview

Neuropathy affects either a single nerve or a nerve set. People with diabetes are at high risk of neuropathy. Physical trauma, repetitive injury and metabolic problems could also be possible causes for neuropathy.

Types

There are two types of neuropathy and the symptoms vary :

  • Sensory neuropathy.
  • Motor neuropathy.

Symptoms

  • Muscle weakness, leading to unsteadiness and difficulty performing small movements, such as buttoning a shirt.
  • Muscle twitching and cramps and muscle wasting.
  • Muscle paralysis.
  • There could be problems with sweating, heat intolerance and bladder problems, and changes in BP leading to dizziness.

Treatment

  • Wearing fabrics that do not irritate, such as cotton.
  • Covering sensitive areas with a plastic wound dressing or cling film.
  • Using warm or cold packs, unless the problem is worsened by heat or cold.

Stress-relief and other complementary therapies include meditation, relaxation techniques, massage, and acupuncture.

Some people find that using a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine helps. This device interrupts nerve messages by delivering a small electric current. Its effectiveness has not been confirmed by research.

Medication

Infusion treatment medications include:

GUILLAIN-BARRE SYNDROME

GUILLAIN-BARRE SYNDROME

Guillain - Barre Syndrome

This is a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves. This weakens your nerves and gives a tingling sensation in the affected areas. Symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatments are explained as follows.

Overview

This is a rare disorder and it requires immediate attention and treatment. There's no cure yet for Guillain - Barre Syndrome, but several treatments can ease symptoms and reduce the duration of illness. Most people recover from it but they also have some lingering effects like numbness, fatigue and weaknesses.

Symptoms

Guillain-Barré syndrome often begins with tingling and weakness starting in your feet and legs and spreading to your upper body and arms. In about half of people with the disorder, symptoms begin in the arms or face. As Guillain-Barré syndrome progresses, muscle weakness can evolve into paralysis.

Signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome may include:

  • Prickling, pins and needles sensations in your fingers, toes, ankles or wrists.
  • Weakness in your legs that spreads to your upper body.
  • Unsteady walking or inability to walk or climb stairs.
  • Difficulty with eye or facial movements, including speaking, chewing or swallowing.
  • Severe pain that may feel achy or cramp like and may be worse at night.
  • Difficulty with bladder control or bowel function.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Low or high blood pressure.
  • Difficulty breathing.

Causes

The exact cause is unknown. But the disorder appears days or weeks after a respiratory or digestive tract infection. A recent surgery or immunization can sometimes trigger this syndrome.

What happens in this syndrome ?

The immune system which usually attacks the invading organisms begins to attack the nerves and the nerves protecting sheath gets damaged. This prevents the nerves to transmit signals to your brain and causes weaknesses, numbness and paralysis.

Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms are close and similar to other neurological disorders and it varies from person to person.
 
Few diagnostic methods are:
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture) - A small amount of fluid is withdrawn from the spinal canal in your lower back. The fluid is tested for a type of change that commonly occurs in people who have Guillain-Barré syndrome.
  • Electromyograph - Thin-needle electrodes are inserted into the muscles your doctor wants to study. The electrodes measure nerve activity in the muscles.
  • Nerve conduction studies - Electrodes are taped to the skin above your nerves. A small shock is passed through the nerve to measure the speed of nerve signals.

Treatment

There's no cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome. But two types of treatments can speed recovery and reduce the severity of the illness:
 
Plasma exchange or plasmapheresis - The liquid portion is removed and separated from the blood cells and then again put back into the body to manufacture more plasma and to make up for what was removed. This helps  in riding the plasma or certain antibodies that contribute to the immune system's attack on the peripheral nerves.
 
Immunoglobulin therapy - Immunoglobulin containing healthy antibodies from blood donors is given through a vein (intravenously). High doses of immunoglobulin can block the damaging antibodies that may  contribute to Guillain-Barré syndrome.
 
You also are likely to be given medication to:
  • Relieve pain, which can be severe.
  • Prevent blood clots, which can develop while you're immobile.

Medication

Immunoglobulin Infusion Therapy (IVIG)

RITUXAN

Intravenous Solumedrol