Get the facts about neuropathy

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About 2-7% of people in the United States have neuropathy, which makes it one of the most common neurologic problems, right after headache. It increases in people who are over the age of 50 or 60, so the older we get, the more likely we are to have this medical condition.

Definition of neuropathy

When most people say “neuropathy,” they mean polyneuropathy or the neuropathy that affects people starting in their feet. People can also have neuropathy in their hands.

Signs and symptoms of neuropathy

People often describe numbness and tingling.

Pain is also a big symptom and it’s something that bothers people more than the other symptoms. It can be an electric pain, a burning pain or a sharp pain, and it’s usually located in a “stocking glove” pattern because it’s like stockings going up your leg and gloves on your hands.

Neuropathy can also cause weakness but that’s usually a much later symptom.  Continue reading

‘Creating the OR of the future’

U-M neurosurgeons continue to expand imaging technology

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It can be difficult to see everything necessary, and in great detail, during brain tumor surgery. Often, a neurosurgeon is choosing between breadth (microscope glasses known as “loupes”) and depth (a microscope sitting outside the surgical field) as the surgery goes on.

A new technology coming to our new operating rooms in July combines the two views into one, mounted on a robot. The whole surgical team will be able to see everything the surgeon sees, in high definition on a large monitor.

“This type of technology can change our perspective to further refine and improve how we do surgery,” says Karin Muraszko, M.D., chair of neurosurgery at U-M.

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Don’t cheat on good sleep during Super Bowl weekend

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Many of us will stay up late this Sunday night to watch the Super Bowl (It’s projected to end around 10:30 p.m.). Even though we’ll be cheering on the couch past the time we’re normally in our bed, those job, school, and family obligations will still require most of us to wake up early on Monday.

The good news: it’s possible to avoid cheating yourself on sleep while catching the big game.

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8 more therapies and treatments for Parkinson’s

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More_Parkinson_treatmentsMost neurologists treat people who have Parkinson’s disease with a medication called carbidopa/levodopa or Sinemet, as it is known by its brand name. We also offer several new FDA-approved therapies, surgery and other therapies that can greatly improve the quality of a patient’s life.

Recommendations will depend upon the course of the disease, the patient’s medical history and the neurologist’s estimation of which option is best for this particular patient.

New FDA-approved Parkinson’s therapies

Neurologists typically use these therapies in more advanced Parkinson’s disease or in special circumstances. Both therapies aim to increase “on” time, while reducing “off” time. “On” time refers to periods when Parkinson’s symptoms are adequately controlled. “Off” time refers to periods of the day when the medication is not working well, making symptoms worse.  Continue reading

Best medications for Parkinson’s

Senior women exercisingAccording to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, approximately 7 to 10 million people live with Parkinson’s disease. Naturally, patients and families want to learn more about the best medications and treatments for this life-changing illness. This article concerns medications that may help or control the poor motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s. These symptoms can include tremor, slow movement, stiffness, difficulty with gait and posture, and a feeling of weakness.

Best medicine: Exercise

It is a fact that the patients who exercise do so much better than those who don’t. Recent research has suggested that even simple daily activities, such as routine housework, can provide benefit in motor symptoms. This should be paired with exercise, as well.

I believe that all patients with Parkinson’s disease should be involved in scheduled, safe exercise. It’s as good as any medication we can provide.  Continue reading

Lewy Body Dementia experience inspires wife to further U-M’s offerings

The Rinne Lewy Body Dementia Initiative is underway

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Tamara Real and Carl Rinne enjoy a trip to Venice, Italy before his LBD diagnosis.

For more than two years Tamara Real and her husband, Carl Rinne, searched for reasons why Carl, a once vibrant man, was forgetful, had dizzy spells and was no longer interested in normal social activities.

Rinne was eventually diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) — a brain disease that impairs thinking and mobility. Unfortunately, knowing the cause of her former U-M professor husband’s decline didn’t bring Tamara Real much relief or understanding. Although LBD accounts for about 20 percent of all dementia cases in the United States, Real discovered that few people know anything about it.

“It’s very hard when no one understands what you’re going through,” she said. Continue reading