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Neuroscience (SNI) Blog

'SNI' Neuroscience (SNI) posts

Study Makes Waves in Treating Essential Tremor

The treatment of neurologic disease took a major step forward this past week with the publication of a clinical trial that used ultrasound waves to treat Essential Tremor.  Essential tremor affects about 10 million people in the USA and can be extremely disabling. For patients that fail medical therapy invasive surgical options are considered, including deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS surgeries involve drilling a hole in the skull and implanting an electrode into structures deep in the brain to turn off the unwanted signals that cause the tremor.

A study of 15 patients lead by Dr. Jeff Elias (University of Virginia) was published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week and describes how researchers used ultrasound waves to effectively treat Essential tremor non-invasively – no cutting or drilling:

 

New considerations given about when to refer for Deep Brain Stimulation

Every year in the fall, our Swedish DBS Team has a table in the exhibit area at the Hope Conference for Parkinson's Disease. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people in the PD community, and spend time chatting with our other neuroscience colleagues from centers in the area.

I am always surprised by the numbers of people who come by and say, “I am not ready, my disease is not bad enough, I am too young, or I haven't had PD long enough”...

Vision Problems and Pituitary Tumors

Nearly everyone notices vision problems, especially as you get older. In the great majority of cases, this is simply due to changes in the focusing capacity of the lens, and the solution is wearing glasses. However, it isn’t safe to assume that this is always the case. It’s important to have your eyes examined by a trained professional to determine whether something more serious is affecting the eye or the vision nerve. 

In the video below you’ll learn about something I commonly see in my practice – vision loss from a tumor of the pituitary gland that is putting pressure on the vision nerves. This type of vision loss typically reduces the peripheral vision to either side. This can be diagnosed by a test at the eye doctor called Visual Fields. As in this case, a relatively simple operation can reverse the vision problem before it becomes permanent. The key is early diagnosis. If you notice that your peripheral vision is affected, ask your eye doctor to check visual fields.

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SNI Research Aims to Expand Cerebral Palsy Therapy Options

Before they learn to crawl or walk, about 10,000 babies every year in the United States will develop a condition that will change how they will do just that. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition caused by a brain injury before birth, during delivery or before a child’s second birthday. An estimated 800,000 Americans live with CP.

The most common symptom in CP is spasticity, an increase in muscle tension that impairs proper movement. Abnormal postures or movements, weakness or loss of muscle control and rigidity are also part of the constellation of CP signs and symptoms. While physical therapy remains the cornerstone for treatment, new medications and therapies for CP are being developed to help improve and manage symptoms.

Currently, Swedish Neuroscience Institute is participating in a study to determine the safety and tolerability of one such medication. Dalfampridine (AMPYRA ®) is a medication currently used to help improve walking speed in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. This phase I clinical trial aims to evaluate AMPYRA’s® safety, tolerability and its effect on sensorimotor function of adults with CP. The study will look at how single and multiple doses of the medication have on CP patients, including:

  • Hand strength
  • Manual dexterity
  • Walking speed
  • Gait

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. Therapies for CP ...

Swedish Contributes to New Treatment Option for Multiple Sclerosis

 On September 12, 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved teriflunomide for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Teriflunomide (AUBAGIO) is a once-daily pill for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS. Led by Dr. Lily Jung Henson, the Swedish Neuroscience Institute was among several clinical sites that tested the drug. Results of the research showed that teriflunomide can lessen MS disease activity. Specifically, it behaves similarly to injectable therapies by slowing MS relapse frequency, the rate of disability and MRI activity.

The safety profile, however, is more challenging than ....

Using Ultrasound for Treatment of Brain Hemorrhage

In September, I co-authored this cover article in the Journal of Neurosurgery on the results of a study using ultrasound for the treatment of brain hemorrhage. The study involved 33 patients with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage who were screened for inclusion in a SNI clinical study known as “SLEUTH” (Safety of Lysis with Ultrasound in the Treatment of Intracerebral and Intraventricular Hemorrhage). You can the abstract and full text of the article or see background information on the study, and watch a related video on WebMD.

How do you know if you're having a stroke?

Hopefully, you won't have a stroke. But if you do, do you know what to do? Why is it important that you get to an emergency room quickly? Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke could help save your life or the life of a loved one. How do you lessen your risk of having another stroke? Is your family at increased risk? Dr. William Likosky, director of Swedish Stroke and Telestroke programs, explains.

(Click here to see the entire playlist and other questions answered about stroke, including why follow up care is so important.)

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