5 Ways to Protect Your Memory

Many middle-aged adults are concerned about developing memory loss later in life. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent memory loss, researchers are finding out more and more about how the brain works and how to keep it healthy. Here are five important steps you can take to maintain a healthy brain:

It's important to interact with others.

People are good for our brain.

  1. Eat right

Choose vegetables, fish, eggs, legumes (lentils, beans), nuts, olive oil and fruits. Limit red meat, alcohol and sugar. Avoid processed and packaged food as much as possible. A healthful diet will also reduce the risk for diabetes, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Exercise

We can’t stress enough the importance of all types of exercise. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start by walking. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Talk with your doctor before you pursue any formal exercise program.  Continue reading

New Hope For Stroke Treatment

A new specialty called neurointervention is helping to make huge strides in stroke diagnosis, treatment and care. We spoke with neurointerventional radiologist Neeraj Chaudhary, MD, MRCS, FRCR, an assistant professor of radiology and neurosurgery, to help us understand this new specialty that is proving extremely successful in treating stroke patients. Dr. Chaudhary works with a team consisting of neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, emergency physicians, vascular surgeons, physiatrists, neurointensivists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists to provide the most comprehensive and the best possible stroke treatment and care.

Dr. Neeraj Chaudhary looks over brain scans in the regions first neurointerventional radiology suite.

Dr. Neeraj Chaudhary looks over brain scans in the region’s first neurointerventional radiology suite.

What is neurointervention and how are neurointerventional procedures performed?

Neurointervention is the treatment of neurological disorders in the brain and spinal cord from within the blood vessels themselves.

These are minimally invasive procedures in which the neurointerventional radiologist or neurosurgeon enters the arterial system through a small incision and then pushes a catheter through the blood vessel to the precise point of the clot or rupture. Through this catheter, the neurointerventionist has many options that can help save the patient’s life and limit the amount of disability the patient will have after the stroke. Continue reading

Concussions not a death sentence for athletes

UM expert to present insight at SXSW festival

Every March, the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas becomes the epicenter of hip. At first glance, a neurology presentation doesn’t fit alongside the bands, innovative documentaries, and showcases of transformational technologies. Actually, at second glance it doesn’t either!Dejected

This is exactly why I’m partnering with Super Bowl champion and brain trauma patient advocate Ben Utecht to bring some sports neurology to SXSW. Ben is an accomplished musician and entertainer as well, so I’m hoping he can bring the hip.

Ben and I will be joined by New York Times sports contributor and Michigan State University sports journalism professor, Joanne Gerstner. Together, we hope to use the incredible social reach of SXSW to bring a well-measured, yet passionate, conversation about sports concussion to the masses. Our panel discussion “Does Playing Sports Equal Brain Damage” will be Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m. CT.

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Essential Tremor and Deep Brain Stimulation

A personal journey

I grew up hearing about essential tremor (ET). An aunt (my father’s sister) had it, as well as my grandfather, and apparently I’ve had it all my life. It explained why, even though I was a good student, I could never get a good grade in handwriting.

Patient Margaret Sammons talks of her experience with essential tremor and DBS

Patient Margaret Sammons talks of her experience with essential tremor and DBS

Problem realized

As an adult, I had a slight tremor in my hands, but I was used to it, and didn’t think much about it, although occasionally someone would ask me if I was nervous. As time went on, however, it got worse.

I’m an Episcopal priest, and the tipping point came when I was leading a funeral. At the end of the service, a relative of the person I had just buried came up to me and said, “This is what you need.” It turned out that he was a physician and he handed me a prescription for a beta-blocker. That was when I realized two things: the kindness and forbearance of the people I served and the fact that I really needed help.

I then saw a neurologist who tried several medications. Each had side effects—the most successful one caused me to lose a dangerous amount of weight.  Continue reading

New treatment for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis on horizon

U-M leads worldwide MS clinical trial

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a major autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the insulating
membranes (myelin) that surround the nerves within the central nervous system. MS onset is generally at the prime of life, between ages of 15 and 45. More than 500,000 people in the U.S. have MS, and there are 10,000 new cases every year. The University of Michigan Health System is actively involved in finding newer, better treatments for MS—and its related diseases.xray blog

As a physician and researcher in the area of multiple sclerosis (MS), I am often asked if there are new treatments and medications on the horizon. Thanks to years of research, the answer is yes, and I’m pleased to say that the University of Michigan is a major leader in some of the most important issues surrounding MS today. We’re trying to find the links between MS and other autoimmune diseases. We’re also conducting a new clinical trial and mechanistic study that may uncover a new treatment for secondary progressive MS. Approximately 85% of patients with newly diagnosed MS have relapsing-remitting MS . About 10-15 years after diagnosis, 50% of these patients will develop secondary-progressive MS , which is associated with significant disability. Finding a new treatment for this large group of people will make a significant impact on people’s lives. We’ve recently been given the tools to combat a disease that is a leading disabler of young adults.

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Preparing for daylight saving time

How to avoid feeling sleep deprived come Monday morning

clock blogThis week is National Sleep Awareness Week, which concludes on Sunday, March 8, the same day we will “spring forward” for daylight saving time and lose one hour of precious sleep. The week is not just intended to talk about how to make the daylight saving transition smoother, but also to highlight the importance of sleep and the damaging effects of sleep deprivation.

It may sound trite to be concerned about losing just one hour of sleep, but with so many Americans juggling a full schedule and a growing dependence on technology that keeps us up late, many people are already struggling to get the full seven to nine hours we need. When we lose that extra hour, we put ourselves at risk of sleep deprivation, which can impair our daytime performance and have consequences like increased weight gain and improper glucose utilization.

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