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

Venice happiness_B

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

Stroke and sleep apnea: Strange bed partners

Stroke and sleep apnea manStroke researchers now know that sleep apnea is very common after stroke. We have found that about 75% of stroke patients have sleep apnea. This is important because sleep apnea has wide-ranging consequences for stroke patients.

Why it’s important for sleep apnea to be diagnosed in stroke patients

Sleep apnea is a predictor of poor outcomes following stroke, such as greater disability and higher mortality. The exact reasons for this are unknown at this time and warrant further study.

In addition, it is possible that sleep apnea contributes to increased stroke risk by promoting atherosclerosis, hyper coagulability (an abnormally increased tendency for the blood to clot) and adverse effects on cerebral hemodynamics (the forces involved in the circulation of blood in the brain).  Continue reading

‘A small timetable to get healthy’

Off-the-track concussion brings Olympic hopeful athlete to Michigan NeuroSport

Neuro_Medsport_061_BLOGShe’s no stranger to sports injuries, but hurdler and Olympic hopeful Candice Price had no idea what to do next when she was hurt in a bad car crash this fall. Price found herself with a concussion, and then debilitating headaches and some trouble keeping her balance.

“This has been one of the most challenging injuries,” Price says, “and there’s nothing visual I can point out to people, it’s just an injury to my brain.”

Price, an Ann Arbor-area native, visited sports neurologist Andrea Almeida, M.D., at the Michigan NeuroSport clinic right away to figure out how to improve her symptoms and get back to preparing for Rio de Janeiro this summer for the 2016 Olympics.

Continue reading

Why we can’t diagnose you with CTE

Repetitive head injury is a large concern, but a CTE diagnosis is a postmortem one

FootballCROPFORBLOGIt’s hard to miss all the news articles about CTE, the degenerative disease found in some former NFL players’ brains. Although it’s great that awareness of the dangers of repeated head trauma is up, we can’t diagnose you with CTE in our clinic. No other neurologist can, either.

That’s because CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is pathologically diagnosed, not clinically. Translation: you can’t get a diagnosis while you’re still alive. Pathologists had to examine the brains of deceased former athletes to diagnose them with CTE.

So what happens in our clinic, Michigan NeuroSport, if you’re worried about possible long term consequences of repeated head injury and wonder if you have something you saw in the Will Smith movie “Concussion”? Continue reading