Swedish News Blog

What is ALS and why did it inspire ice bucket challenges at Swedish?

Michelle Scheff

Michelle Scheff
Speech Pathologist

Employees of Swedish Cherry Hill Outpatient Rehabilitation and Neurology Departments took the plunge and participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness of ALS and funding for ALS research.  (Click here to see their video on Facebook.)




Before the ALS clinic team takes the ice bucket challenge
 
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), most commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which affects the motor neurons responsible for voluntary movements and muscle power. As the disease progresses, individuals living with ALS may lose their ability to move and control the muscles of their extremities, torso, head and mouth which can make completion of basic activities such as walking, eating, talking and even breathing very difficult.

Unfortunately, the disease has no cure and only one medication has been approved for the treatment of ALS. Research is making strides towards understanding the underlying physiology and genetic makeup of the disease. Because of  ...

Treatment options for hemifacial spasm

Dean Hamilton, ARNP

Dean Hamilton, ARNP
ARNP, Swedish Cerebrovascular Center

Hemifacial spasm is the involuntary contractions of the muscles of the face, those innervated by the facial nerve (VII). The facial spasms are intermittent and occur on one side of the face only. Hemifacial spasm can involve the upper or lower half of the face and may progress to involve the entire half of the face. The intensity and frequency of these symptoms can increase over time and can persist even during sleep. Hemifacial spasm can be associated with vestibular dysfunction and cochlear dysfunction.
 
Hemifacial spasm is usually more common in women. The most common cause of hemifacial spasm is ...

KING 5 HealthLink Profiles Focused Ultrasound Research at Swedish

Swedish News

KING 5 TV’s HealthLink program recently aired a segment on a clinical trial being conducted at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute at its Cherry Hill hospital. The study is examining the use of a novel, noninvasive approach to treating brain disorders using focused ultrasound. The concept is appealing to clinicians, as it could provide patients with a less invasive treatment option.

The KING 5 story examines the technology’s application for the treatment of essential tremor, one of the most common movement disorders. Swedish Neuroscience Institute is also studying focused ultrasound for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors.

Watch the KING 5 HealthLink story here.

Swedish Launches Studies Examining Focused Ultrasound as a Potential Treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Brain Tumors

Swedish News

Swedish Neuroscience Institute leads national ultrasound technology research

 
News Release
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                          
 

Contact: Clay Holtzman, Swedish, (206) 998-5028, clay.holtzman@swedish.org

SEATTLE — July 30, 2014 — The Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) is expanding its study of focused ultrasound as a novel treatment for brain disorders with the opening of two clinical trials examining the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors. The new trials add to the institute’s ongoing study of focused ultrasound for a treatment of essential tremor (ET).
 
“SNI is one of the few locations in the world where focused ultrasound is being studied at this level. These efforts exemplify SNI’s ongoing mission to deliver leading edge treatment for brain and spinal conditions,” said David Newell, M.D., Chief of Neurosciences at SNI. “We are honored to be a pioneer in this field and are eager to produce translational results.”
 
These trials come after SNI launched a study last year examining focused ultrasound’s potential as a treatment for essential tremor, a common neurological disorder resulting in involuntary shaking. The original study was designed to determine viability and safety of ultrasound treatment in improving the quality of life for those affected. Together, these three studies place SNI at the forefront of clinical care providers studying focused ultrasound as a treatment approach.

Drug treatment and weight loss restores vision in a blinding disorder linked to obesity

Steven R. Hamilton, MD

Steven R. Hamilton, MD
Neuro-Ophthalmology at Swedish Neuroscience Institute

As many as 100,000 Americans suffer from a disorder called pseudotumor cerebri or idiopathic intracranial hypertension that can cause permanent blindness and chronic headaches. The disease primarily strikes obese women of reproductive age with symptoms of daily headaches, visual symptoms including transient blurring or blindness, double vision, and pulsating noises in one’s head. Up to 5-10% of these patients may have permanent visual loss due to optic nerve damage.
 
A recent national trial funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute has shown that a common water pill, acetazolamide, combined with a moderate but comprehensive dietary and lifestyle modification plan can restore and preserve vision in women with this disease. I was one of the local investigators for this trial along with Dr. Eugene May.
 
The symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri are thought to be due to high spinal fluid pressure around the optic nerves and brain due to impaired reabsorption of spinal fluid that is continuously being produced within the brain. This results in chronic headaches and swelling of the optic nerves that can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. Patients typically are ...

Supporting patients with Parkinson's Disease

Peggy Shortt, MN, ARNP

Peggy Shortt, MN, ARNP
Manager, Swedish Deep Brain Stimulation Program

On Saturday, May 17, Swedish was well represented at the Washington Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Annual Magic of Hope Dinner and Auction.  Several of our Swedish Neuroscience Institute providers, patients, caregivers, families, and distinguished community members attended the event, and contributed toward a successful fund raiser.  Swedish offered a generous donation to help sponsor the event, and Swedish patient and his wife David and Nancy Jones contributed a generous financial gift for programs and services for those living with Parkinson’s Disease in our communities.

Swedish is proud to partner with the APDA to support research, education, programs and services that stay in our community to benefit those living with Parkinson's Disease.

Weak link between epsilon toxin and MS

James D. Bowen, MD

A recent article has been published suggesting that MS may be caused by a bacterial toxin. The bacteria is Clostridium Perfringens, a common bacteria found in soil and a cause of food poisoning. This bacteria can produce a number of toxins, one of which is the epsilon toxin.

This study found that about 10% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) had antibodies to the epsilon toxin, compared to 1% of people without MS. In pathology specimens from mice, the epsilon toxin was found to bind to blood vessels in the retina of the eye, and to myelin in the brain. The authors also reported a single case of a woman with MS who was infected with Clostridium Perfringens and that was producing the epsilon toxin.

Though this study has been widely discussed online, I think that it is unlikely that this will be the answer to the MS problem. This study was primarily in pathology tissue, which found that the toxin was able to bind to myelin. Many more studies will be needed to determine whether this toxin is capable of causing damage to myelin of the type that is seen in MS. There are many other known toxins to myelin, but so far none seem to be the cause of MS.

They tried to show that ..

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