Neurology

Restless Legs Syndrome

Your legs may become uncomfortable when you are lying down or sitting. Some people describe it as a creeping, crawling, tingling, or burning sensation. Moving makes your legs feel better, but not for long. RLS can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. In most cases, there is no known cause for RLS. In other cases, RLS is caused by a disease or condition, such as anemia or pregnancy. Some medicines can also cause temporary RLS. Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol may make symptoms worse. Lifestyle changes, such as regular sleep habits, relaxation techniques, and moderate exercise during the day can help. If those don't work, medicines may reduce the symptoms of RLS. Most people with RLS also have a condition called periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). PLMD is a condition in which a person's legs twitch or jerk uncontrollably, usually during sleep. PLMD and RLS can also affect the arms. 

Essential Tremor

It has no identified cause. Involuntary means you shake without trying to do so and are not able to stop the shaking at will.  

Dystonia

These contractions result in twisting and repetitive movements. Sometimes they are painful. Dystonia can affect just one muscle, a group of muscles or all of your muscles. Symptoms can include tremors, voice problems or a dragging foot. Symptoms often start in childhood. They can also start in the late teens or early adulthood. Some cases worsen over time. Others are mild. Some people inherit dystonia. Others have it because of another disease. Researchers think that dystonia may be due to a problem in the part of the brain that handles messages about muscle contractions. There is no cure. Doctors use medicines, Botox injections, surgery, physical therapy, and other treatments to reduce or eliminate muscle spasms and pain.

Speech and Communication Disorders

Many disorders can affect our ability to speak and communicate. They range from saying sounds incorrectly to being completely unable to speak or understand speech. Causes include Hearing disorders and deafness Voice problems, such as dysphonia or those caused by cleft lip or palate Speech problems like stuttering Developmental disabilities Learning disorders Autism spectrum disorder Brain injury Stroke Some speech and communication problems may be genetic. Often, no one knows the causes. By first grade, about 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders. Speech and language therapy can help.

Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus. The virus lives in an infected person's throat and intestines. It is most often spread by contact with the stool of an infected person. You can also get it from droplets if an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can contaminate food and water if people do not wash their hands. Most people have no symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include fever, fatigue, nausea, headache, flu-like symptoms, stiff neck and back, and pain in the limbs. A few people will become paralyzed. There is no treatment to reverse the paralysis of polio. Some people who've had polio develop post-polio syndrome (PPS) years later. Symptoms include tiredness, new muscle weakness, and muscle and joint pain. There is no way to prevent or cure PPS. The polio vaccine has wiped out polio in the United States and most other countries.

Phenylketonuria

Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a type of amino acid metabolism disorder. It is inherited. If you have it, your body can't process part of a protein called phenylalanine (Phe). Phe is in almost all foods. If your Phe level gets too high, it can damage your brain and cause severe intellectual disability. All babies born in U.S. hospitals must now have a screening test for PKU. This makes it easier to diagnose and treat the problem early. The best treatment for PKU is a diet of low-protein foods. There are special formulas for newborns. For older children and adults, the diet includes many fruits and vegetables. It also includes some low-protein breads, pastas and cereals. Nutritional formulas provide the vitamins and minerals you can't get from their food. Babies who get on this special diet soon after they are born develop normally. Many have no symptoms of PKU. It is important to stay on the diet for the rest of your life.

Coma

A coma is a deep state of unconsciousness. An individual in a coma is alive but unable to move or respond to his or her environment. Coma may occur as a complication of an underlying illness, or as a result of injuries, such as brain injury. A coma rarely lasts more than 2 to 4 weeks. The outcome for coma depends on the cause, severity and site of the damage. People may come out of a coma with physical, intellectual, and psychological problems. Some people may remain in a coma for years or even decades. For those people, the most common cause of death is infection, such as pneumonia.

Peripheral Nerve Disorder

Your peripheral nerves are the ones outside your brain and spinal cord. Like static on a telephone line, peripheral nerve disorders distort or interrupt the messages between the brain and the rest of the body. There are more than 100 kinds of peripheral nerve disorders. They can affect one nerve or many nerves. Some are the result of other diseases, like diabetic nerve problems. Others, like Guillain-Barre syndrome, happen after a virus infection. Still others are from nerve compression, like carpal tunnel syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome. In some cases, like complex regional pain syndromeand brachial plexus injuries, the problem begins after an injury. Some people are born with peripheral nerve disorders.

Wilson Disease

Wilson disease is a rare inherited disorder that prevents your body from getting rid of extra copper. You need a small amount of copper from food to stay healthy. Too much copper is poisonous. Normally, your liver releases extra copper into bile, a digestive fluid. With Wilson disease, the copper builds up in your liver, and it releases the copper directly into your bloodstream. This can cause damage to your brain, kidneys, and eyes. Wilson disease is present at birth, but symptoms usually start between ages 5 and 35. It first attacks the liver, the central nervous system or both. The most characteristic sign is a rusty brown ring around the cornea of the eye. A physical exam and laboratory tests can diagnose it. Treatment is with drugs to remove the extra copper from your body. You need to take medicine and follow a low-copper diet for the rest of your life. Don't eat shellfish or liver, as these foods may contain high levels of copper. At the beginning of treatment, you'll also need to avoid chocolate, mushrooms, and nuts. Have your drinking water checked for copper content and don't take multivitamins that contain copper. With early detection and proper treatment, you can enjoy good health.

Tay-Sachs Disease

Tay-Sachs disease is a rare, inherited disease. It is a type of lipid metabolism disorder. It causes too much of a fatty substance to build up in the brain. This buildup destroys nerve cells, causing mental and physical problems. . Infants with Tay-Sachs disease appear to develop normally for the first few months of life. Then mental and physical abilities decline. The child becomes blind, deaf, and unable to swallow. Muscles begin to waste away and paralysis sets in. Even with the best of care, children with Tay-Sachs disease usually die by age 4. The cause is a gene mutation which is most common in Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews. To get the disease, both parents must have the gene. If they do, there is a 25% chance of the child having the disease. A blood test and prenatal tests can check for the gene or the disease. There is no cure. Medicines and good nutrition can help some symptoms. Some children need feeding tubes.