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What is Epilepsy and How to Treat It?

Epilepsy is a disease of the central nervous system when an excitation focus appears in the cerebral cortex and causes convulsive activity. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain, manifested in people all over the world. The disease is characterized by repeated seizures manifested in the form of short-term involuntary convulsions in any part of the body (partial seizures) or throughout the body (generalized convulsions). What may cause epilepsy? The most common type, characteristic for 6 out of 10 people suffering from this disorder, is idiopathic epilepsy, which has…

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Brain Imaging Studies in College Football Players

In a report in the May 14th edition of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) researchers noted that the longer football players played this sport, the more likely they were to have changes in MRI.  Specifically, they noted that the hippocampus (an area in the temporal lobe important to memory) of college football players displayed smaller volume on MRI scan regardless of whether there was a documented history of concussion.  That study also noted a relationship between years of football played and reaction time as measured by cognitive testing.  The lead author…

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New Hope for Migraine Treatment

Several years ago a chemical called “CGRP” was identified as a target for treatment in migraine headaches.  CGRP (Calcitonin Gene Related Peptide) was found to induce migraine when injected into migraine patients despite the fact that it does not enter the brain. When the chemical is injected into non-migraine patients, migraine does not occur.  Over the past few years there have been several attempts at developing CGRP antagonists (chemicals that block the effect of CGRP).  These have all been found very effective in the treatment of migraine but they have…

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Sleep and Dementia

It has been known for some time that there is a correlation between sleep and dementia.  In an article published in Science on October 18, 2013, researchers found an interesting potential explanation for this association.  We know that amyloid beta accumulates in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.  The study performed at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York discovered that during sleep the brain doubles the rate at which it removes metabolic debris including amyloid beta.  Other research has reported an inverse relationship between sleep and…

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) results from compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel in the wrist.  This results in symptoms of numbness and tingling, pain and weakness.  Patients often complain of their hands falling asleep and dropping objects.  Nighttime symptoms that wake the individual are quite common.  The pain can sometimes be quite severe and can radiate not only into the hand and fingers but up into the forearm and even shoulder and neck area.  This can sometimes create confusion as to the diagnosis. The first line investigation…

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Generic versus Brand Name Medications

If generic medicines are the same chemical as brand name medicine and less expensive, why would you prescribe brand name for my seizures? The answer lies in how the FDA defines generic. While the chemical is the same, the amount your body absorbs is different.  The law states that a generic medicine should be between 80% and 120% the potency of brand name.  In other words, if you take 100 mg of brand name medicine, the generic equivalent is between 80 mg and 120 mg of that same chemical.  This…

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Associates in Neurology Sleep Lab in Valparaiso Receives Program Accreditation

VALPARAISO, IN – September 17, 2012 – Associates in Neurology Sleep Lab in Valparaiso recently received program accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine congratulates Associates in Neurology Sleep Lab on fulfilling the high standards required for receiving accreditation as a sleep disorders center,” said Dr. Sam Fleishman, AASM president. “Associates in Neurology Sleep Lab is a significant resource to the local medical community and will provide academic and scientific value in addition to the highest quality care for patients suffering from…

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What is the Difference Between Alzheimers and Dementia?

Dementia is a broad category of degenerative diseases characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive function in more than one of the following areas: (Recent memory). (Aphasia) Speech change. Apraxia) Inability to perform motor tasks despite normal muscle strength. (Agnosia) Inability to comprehend sensory information, i.e., vision. (Executive function) Planning, organization, sequencing, abstracting. Loss of recent memory is the initial symptom in Alzheimer’s disease but memory loss alone is not adequate to make the diagnosis which requires difficulty in at least one of the other domains. Alzheimer’s disease is the…

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Sleep and Dementia By James W. Kozelka

The timing of sleep (known as circadian rhythm) is under the control of the hypothalamus (a part of the brain about the size of a dime directly behind the eyes and above the pituitary). The most important input to this “biological clock” is light information from the retina. In newborn infants our biological clock has not yet been set and the pattern of sleep is somewhat random (known as irregular circadian rhythm). Over the first several weeks of life light input from the retina eventually sets the biological clock and…

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Frequently Asked Questions: What are the Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Age is the primary risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Genetic factors may influence the development at a very early age. However, the etiology is unknown in the majority of patients and is likely due to a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. Only approximately 2% of Alzheimer’s cases are due to classical autosomal dominant genetic transmission. Three genes have been identified. These genes share a common biochemical pathway that leads to abnormal production of amyloid beta (a protein that accumulates in the brain of Alzheimer’s…

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