The Neurology Clinic at Valley's Neuroscience Institute features highly skilled practitioners and advanced technology to help diagnose and treat neurological conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord, and other systemic disorders or diseases that may affect central nervous system functioning. Our providers care about YOU.
The Neurology Clinic aims to provide the highest level of care to patients with a focus on obtaining and maintaining satisfactory functionality for the patient. Conditions we specialize in include brain injury, stroke, epilepsy/seizure disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis and headache.
Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies play a central role in the evaluation of patients with neuromuscular disorders. EMG/NCS are performed by testing the electrical activity of muscles and measure the conductivity of the nerves. These studies are most commonly used to diagnose disorders of the peripheral nervous system, in order to localize the nerve lesion, provide further information regarding the underlying nerve pathophysiology and assess the severity of the disorder. Disorders include those affecting motor neurons (e.g., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), nerve roots (e.g., sciatica), plexuses, peripheral nerves (e.g., carpal tunnel, tennis elbow), neuromuscular junctions (e.g., myasthenia gravis), and muscles (e.g., muscular dystrophy). The Institute’s outpatient clinic has the capability to perform up to 8 Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG/NCS) per day.
Neuroscience Institute neuropsychologists evaluate cognitive, behavioral and emotional functioning in patients with a variety of neurological conditions, including seizures, brain tumors, strokes, traumatic brain injury and dementia. They also conduct pre- and post-surgical evaluations of patients with epilepsy.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that occurs when nerve cells in the brain die and often results in the following:
Motor function is often preserved with Alzheimer’s disease.
An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and this number includes 5.1 million people who are over the age of 65. It also includes 200,000 to 500,000 people younger than 65 who have early-onset Alzheimer’s and other types of dementias.
Brains affected by Alzheimer’s disease often show presence of fiber tangles within nerve cells (neurofibrillary tangles) and clusters of degenerating nerve ending (neuritic plaques).
Alzheimer’s disease also causes the reduced production of certain brain chemicals necessary for communication between nerve cells, especially acetylcholine, as well as norepinephrine, serotonin and somatostatin.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
The cause of Alzheimer’s is not entirely known. But, suspected causes often include the following:
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Although each individual may experience them differently there are warning signs or symptoms of the disease.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Treatment for Alzheimer’s will be based on such factors as age, overall health, extent of the condition, medical history, etc. There is no cure and no way of slowing down the progression of the disease, nor any treatment available to reverse the deterioration of Alzheimer’s disease. However, there is new research findings and several drugs are being studied in clinical trials to determine if they can slow the progress of the disease or improve memory of a period of time.
There are some medications available to help manage some of the most troubling symptoms of the disease:
Rehabilitation for Alzheimer’s Disease
Every rehabilitation plan for Alzheimer’s will be specific to the individual and therefore different depending upon the patient’s symptoms, expression, and progression of the disease. Making a diagnosis of the disease is also very difficult.
It is important to remember that, although any skills lost will not be regained, the caregiving team must keep in mind the following considerations:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a terminal neurological disorder characterized by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. It is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease" after the famous baseball player who died from it. It is one of the most devastating of the disorders that affects the function of nerves and muscles.
There are different types of ALS:
Symptoms of ALS
Every individual may experience symptoms differently, but the following are some common signs of the disease:
Treatment for ALS
Your particular treatment for ALS will depend on certain factors specific to you including your age, overall health, medical history, extent of the illness, etc. There is no proven treatment for ALS. It is more a matter of managing the symptoms, which may include physical, occupational, speech, respiratory and nutritional therapies. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Rilutek®, which is the first drug that has prolonged the survival of persons with ALS.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the median nerve is compressed as it passes through an opening from the wrist to the hand called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is formed by the carpal bones on the bottom of the wrist and the transverse carpal ligament across the top of the wrist. This affects the thumb and three middle fingers. Women are more likely to get it than men and it usually occurs in adults.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
For most, there is no specific cause of the condition; however the following may serve as a contributing factor:
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Everyone may experience carpal tunnel syndrome differently, but the following are a list of common signs:
Always consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis as these symptoms may resemble other conditions.
Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Your particular treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome will depend on a number of factors specific to you including your age, overall health, medical history, extent of the condition etc. Aside from those factors there are some common treatments for the condition which may include:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke finds that the carpal tunnel release is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the U.S. It is generally performed in an outpatient location under local or general anesthesia.
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic disease of the central nervous system and is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. It affects individuals differently. Some may be mildly affected while others my lose their ability to write, speak, or walk- when communication between the brain and other parts of the body becomes disrupted.
MS is when the fatty tissue, called myelin, that surrounds and protects nerve fibers is lost in multiple areas and forms scar tissue called sclerosis. These areas are also called plaques or lesions. When they are damaged in this way, the nerves are unable to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain.
Causes of Multiple Sclerosis
There are many possible causes including:
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
MS symptoms are erratic. They can be mild or severe, of long duration or short. They may appear in various combinations, depending on the area of the nervous system affected. Although individuals may experience symptoms differently, common symptoms include:
The following are often initial symptoms of MS:
Other symptoms of multiple sclerosis:
Throughout the course of the illness, an individual may experience any/all of the following symptoms, to a varying degree:
Approximately 50 percent of all people with MS experience cognitive impairments related to their disease. The effects of these impairments may be mild, often detectable only after comprehensive testing, and may include difficulty with any/all of the following:
Myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular junctions) is a complex, autoimmune disorder in which antibodies destroy neuromuscular connections. This results in weakness of the skeletal muscles. MG affects the voluntary muscles of the body like the eyes, mouth, throat and limbs.
About 20 people in 100,000 are affected by MG in the United States, with women seeing an onset by age 20 to 30 and men most commonly by age 50. Males, more than females, are affected by the disorder.
Causes of Myasthenia Gravis
The disorder is acquired through immune proteins/antibodies to babies born to mothers with MG or it may develop spontaneously later in life. It is not inherited as a rare genetic disease nor is it contagious.
There are several types of MG:
Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis
Although each individual may experience MG differently, the following are common symptoms:
For a proper diagnosis always consult your doctor. Exacerbations and remissions may occur periodically during the course of MG, however remissions are only rarely permanent or complete.
Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis
Your particular treatment for MG will depend on a number of factors like your age, overall health, medical history, extent of the condition, etc. There is no cure for MG, but the symptoms can sometimes be controlled. It is a life-long condition with the key being to manage early detection. Treatment seeks to prevent respiratory problems and provide adequate nutritional care since the swallowing and breathing muscles are affected by MG.
Some common treatment may include:
The severity of the condition can vary and some may require a breathing machine to help the person breathe easier. Your Valley team of experts will help educate the family after hospitalization on how best to care for the person at home and will outline the problems that require immediate medical attention by the person’s physician.
MG crisis is a condition of extreme muscle weakness, particularly of the diaphragm and chest muscle that support breathing. MG crisis may be caused by a lack of medication or by other factors, such as a respiratory infection, emotional stress, surgery, or some other type of stressor. In a worst case scenario, a person might have to be put on a ventilator to assist breathing until muscle strength returns with treatment.
The following precautions can be taken to minimize the occurrence of MG crisis:
Parkinson’s is a motor system disorder that is a slowly progressing, degenerative disease that is usually associated with the following symptoms. All of these result from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells:
The substance dopamine is produced in the body which has many effects, including smooth and coordinated muscle movement.
About 60,000 Americans are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, with more than 1 million American affected at any one time. More people suffer from Parkinson’s disease than multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral disease combined.
Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
The cause is yet unknown, however medical experts think the symptoms are related to a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by brain-cell death. Parkinson’s is chronic and progressive disease. The disease may appear in young patients, but usually affects people in late middle age. It is not contagious.
The average age for the advancing onset is 60 years. Also, 50 percent more men are affected than women, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, but the reason is unclear.
Another important risk factor is family history. If you have a parent of sibling with the disease, you are two times as likely of developing Parkinson’s. Environmental and genetic factors are the cause of this increased risk most likely.
Being researched are environmental causes and the strong consistent findings are that rural living, exposure to well water, and exposure to agricultural pesticides and herbicides are related to Parkinson’s. However, these factors do not guarantee the development of Parkinson’s, nor does the absence prevent it. Having one or more relatives with Parkinson’s increases one’s rick of developing the disease, however, unless there is a known genetic mutation for PD present, the increased risk is only 2 to 5 percent.
Researchers currently believe that in most individuals the cause of Parkinson’s is a combination of genetics and environmental exposure.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Although each individual may experience them differently, the following are common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
Symptoms may appear slowly and in no particular order and early symptoms may be subtle and progress over many years before reaching a point where they interfere with normal daily activities.
The four major symptoms are Parkinson’s are listed above; other symptoms are divided into motor (movement related) and nonmotor symptoms.
For a proper diagnosis consult your doctor, as symptoms of Parkinson’s may resemble other medical conditions.
Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Your treatment for Parkinson’s disease will be based on a number of factors including your age, overall health, medical history, extent of the disease, etc. There is as of yet no cure for Parkinson’s. However, physicians will establish an appropriate treatment protocol based on the severity of the symptoms and medical profile. That may include:
Surgery may help with Parkinson’s symptoms, but it does not cure the disease or stop the progression of the disease.
Sciatica is also called lumbar radiculopathy and is a pain that originates along the sciatic nerve which runs from the back of the pelvis down the back of the thigh. It is the primary nerve of the leg and also the larges nerve in the body.
Causes of Sciatica
It is mostly caused by a herniated disk in the spine that presses on the sciatic nerve. There are other causes that may put pressure on the sciatic nerve. They include:
How do I know I have sciatica?
These are common symptoms; however each person may experience them differently:
These symptoms may resemble other conditions, so consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Treatment of Sciatica
Your treatment plan for sciatica will depend on a number of factors specific to you like your age, overall health, medical history, the extent of the injury, etc. Some common treatment options are as follows:
Tennis elbow is characterized by pain on the outside (lateral side) of the elbow.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
As the name implies, it is often cause by the force of the tennis racket hitting balls in the backhand position. In this case, the forearm muscles, which attach to the outside of the elbow, may become sore from excessive strain. In tennis, when making a backhand stroke, the tendons that roll over the end of the elbow can become damaged. The condition may be caused by the following:
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Each individual may experience them differently, but the following are common symptoms of tennis elbow:
Treatment of Tennis Elbow
Your specific treatment for tennis elbow will depend on a number of factors specific to you including your age, overall heath, medical history, extent of the condition etc. Treatment for the condition includes stopping the activity that produces the symptoms and also: