Restless Leg Syndrome: What Is It and Other Facts

Restless Leg Syndrome is a common chronic neurological disorder. Its main symptoms are an urgency to move the legs mainly at night. Typically, pain will lessen with movement, and worsen when not moving.

Restless Legs Syndrome affects approximately 5-10% of adults in the U.S.

Symptoms include:

  • An urge to move the legs, usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant leg sensations
  • Symptoms begin or worsen during periods of rest or inactivity such as lying or sitting
  • Symptoms are partially or totally relieved by movement, such as walking or stretching, at least as long as the activity continues.
  • Symptoms are worse or occur only in the evening or at night

How BSA ADC can help:

  • Discuss the symptoms you’re having
  • Tell your doctor about your medical history, and if anyone in your family has RLS
  • Tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter and prescription, as well as any herbal or vitamin supplements.

BSA ADC will help you diagnose what symptoms you are experiencing and based on the results what type of RLS you have. There are two types of RLS: primary RLS, a chronic condition that can be hereditary, and secondary RLS, caused by another condition (such as pregnancy or iron-deficiency) and may resolve once the underlying condition no longer exists. Your doctor will diagnose the type of RLS and provide appropriate treatment options.

Now that you know that RLS is a neurological condition, you should also know that there are treatment options that can help, including medications and non-medication options. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.

Advertisements

What To Expect From A Nerve Conduction Study

An electromyogram (EMG) measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction. Nerve conduction studies measure how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals. Nerves control the muscles in the body with electrical signals called impulses. These impulses make the muscles react in specific ways. Nerve and muscle problems cause the muscles to react in abnormal ways.

During NSC, mild electrical currents are applied to the skin on some parts of your body. This is done to see how quickly impulses travel between nerves. EMG assesses muscle function. To do this, a fine needle is placed under your skin into the muscle being tested. This is repeated on other muscles. The needle allows the electrical activity in your muscles to be measured. No electrical currents are applied with the needle.

During each test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on a screen or on paper. these lines show how well your nerves and muscles work. These waveforms help to determine your test results.

Before Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Shower or bathe, but don’t use powder, oil, or lotion. your skin should be clean and free of excess oil. Wear loose clothes. Be aware that you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. the entire test will take about 1 hour. Be sure to allow extra time to check in.

During Your Test

You will be asked to lie on an exam table with a blanket over you. You may have one or both of the following:

Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)

Small metal disks (electrodes) will be attached to your skin on the area of your body being tested. This will be done using water based gel or paste. A doctor or technologist will apply mind electrical currents to your skin. Your muscles will twitch. But the test won’t harm you. Currents may again be applied to the same area. Or, the test may continue on other parts of your body.

Electromyography (EMG)

Most of the electrodes will be removed for EMG. The doctor will clean the area being tested with alcohol. A fine needle will be inserted into the muscle in this region. When the needle is inserted, you may feel as if your skin is being pinched. Try to relax and do as instructed.

After Your Test

Before you leave, all electrodes will be removed. You can then get right back to your normal routine. If you feel tired or have some discomfort, take it easy. If you were told to stop taking any for your test, ask when you can start taking them again. Your doctor will let you know when your test results are ready.

For the safety and for the success of your test, tell the technologist if you have any bleeding problems or if you take blood thinners. You may also be asked questions about your overall health. Contact us to answer any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by Medicine Health).

Stay Sharp: Test Your Brain Wave Activity

ADC - Electroencephalography

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a test that measures your brain wave activity (brain function). Your doctor may order this test to check for seizures or other brain problems. For this test, small metal disks (electrodes) are attached to the scalp with glue, or with water-based gel or paste. During the test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on a screen or on paper. They will be studied to assess your brain function. In some people who are prone to seizures, parts of this test may slightly increase their chance of having a seizure. But the benefits of this test outweigh the risk.

Before Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Wash and dry your hair. But don’t use any hair styling products. Your scalp and hair should be clean and free of excess oil. Take your routine medications, unless told not to. You may be asked to sleeping during the EEG. To help you do this, you may be told to stay up all or part of the night before the test. Or, you may be given medication to help you sleep during the test. If so, someone will need to drive you home after the test. Your test will take about 90 minutes. But allow extra time to check in. Don’t forget to let your technologist know:

  • What medications you take
  • About any seizures you may have had in the past

During Your Test

You will sit in a reclining chair or lie down on an exam table in a softly lighted room. The technologist will measure certain points on your head He or she will use a special pencil to mark the spots where electrodes will be placed on your scalp. Your scalp will be rubbed with a mild abrasive, and electrodes will be attached. You will then be asked to do any of the following:

  • Relax, and open and close your eyes.
  • Breathe rapidly and deeply for a few minutes.
  • Sense a flashing light through your closed eyes.
  • Relax and go to sleep.

After Your Test

When your test is done, all of the electrodes will be removed. At home, wash your hair to remove any remaining glue, gel or paste. You can get right back to your normal routine. If you stopped taking any medications before the test, ask your doctor when you can start taking them again. Your doctor will let you know when your test results are ready.

Remember to avoid caffeine, but eat meals as usual. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

Electromyography: Testing Your Muscle And Nerve Function

exercise 2
Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) are tests that measure muscle and nerve function. In most cases, both tests are performed. NSC is most often done first.

What Are These Tests?

During NSC, mild electrical currents are applied to the skin on some parts of your body. This is done to see how quickly impulses travel between nerves. EMG assesses muscle function. To do this, a fine needle is placed under your skin into the muscle being tested. This is repeated on other muscles. The needle allows the electrical activity in your muscles to be measured. No electrical currents are applied with the needle.

During each test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on a screen or on paper. These lines show how well your nerves and muscles work. These waveforms help to determine your test results.

Before Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Shower or bathe, but don’t use powder, oil, or lotion. Your skin should be clean and free of excess oil. Wear loose clothes. Be aware that you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. The entire test will take about 1 hour. Be sure to allow extra time to check-in.

During Your Test

You will be asked to lie on an exam table with a blanket over you. You may have one or both of the following:

Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)

Small metal disks (electrodes) will be attached to your skin on the area of your body being tested. This will be done using water-based gel or paste. A doctor or technologist will apply mild electrical currents to your skin. Your muscles will twitch. But the test won’t harm you. Currents may again be applied to the same area. Or, the test may continue on other parts of your body.

Electromyography (EMG)

Most of the electrodes will be removed for EMG. The doctor will clean the area being tested with alcohol. A fine needle will be inserted into the muscles in this region. When he needle is inserted, you may feel as if your skin is being pinched. Try to relax and do as instructed.

After Your Test

Before you leave, all electrodes will be removed. You can then get right back into your normal routine. If you feel tired or have some discomfort, take it easy. If you were told to stop taking any medications for your test, ask when you can start taking them again. Your doctor will let you know when your test results are ready.

Make the safety and success of your test a priority. Contact us or schedule an appointment if you have any questions regarding electromyography.

What is Huntington’s Disease?

brain-illustration2

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a hereditary brain disorder that affects people of all races all over the world. It takes its name from Dr. George Huntington, a Long Island, NY physician who described what he called “hereditary chorea” in 1872. Chorea, from the Greek word fro dance, refers to the involuntary movements which are a common symptom of HD. In the United States, HD occurs in about 1 in 10,000 people. Currently about 30,000 people in the U.S. have HD and up to 200,000 are at risk.

In 1993, after a ten year search, scientists identified the gene that causes the disease. Since that breakthrough discovery, research has gained in momentum and much is now understood about HD and how it affects nerve cells in the brain. While researchers are actively looking for a treatment that can delay the onset or slow the progression of HD, medications are available that may help with some symptoms.

What is Huntington’s Disease?

HD is a “neurodegenerative disease,” which means that it causes the progressive death of nerve cells in the brain. Symptoms typically appear in mid-life, between the ages of 30 and 50, and progress for 10-25 years. However, the disease can also strike young children, adolescents and the elderly.

HD is a complicated disease that affects the body, the mind and the emotions. There are symptoms of HD that are easy to see, like chorea/involuntary movements, and there are those that are less visible, such as forgetfulness, impulsiveness or depression. Symptoms of HD vary widely from person to person, even within the same family. In addition, symptoms change over time as the disease progresses.

Symptoms appear gradually and people with HD can maintain their independence for years. As you will learn, HD affects all aspects of a person’s life and treating it requires a broad-based approach. Prolonging independence may call for a team of health care professionals that may include a primary care physician, neurologist, social worker, speech language pathologist,  nutritionist, occupational therapist and physical therapist, among others.

 

Inheritance

HD is a disease of families. Though everyone is born with the HD gene, the disease is caused by an abnormal copy of the gene that is passed from parent to child. It is not contagious in any way. Only a person who is born with the abnormal gene can ever get the illness or pass it on to their children. Every person who carries the abnormal copy of the gene will eventually develop symptoms, if they live long enough.

Every child born to an affected parent has a 50% chance of being born with the gene that causes the disease. Males and females have the same chance of inheriting the abnormal gene. Those who have not inherited the gene will not get eh disease and they cannot pass it on to their children. HD does not “skip generations.

 

Juvenile Huntington’s Disease (JHD)

In approximately 10% of cases, HD affects children or adolescents. The symptoms of JHD are somewhat different than adult onset HD and may include stiff or awkward walking, increased clumsiness or changes in speech. The ability to learn new information may decline and the child may lose skills they previously  had. JHD typically progresses more rapidly than adult onset HD.

 

Clinical Diagnosis

Although the abnormal gene is present from birth, a clinical diagnosis of HD indicates that symptoms have started. A diagnosis of HD can only be accomplished by a comprehensive neurological evaluation that is best performed by a specialist in HD or in neurological movement disorders. A genetic test may be used to help confirm or rule out a diagnosis, however, a positive test result indicating the presence of the HD gene, is not enough, by itself, to confirm a diagnosis of clinical HD.

For some, a diagnosis of HD can be a relief, providing an explanation for the changes in movements, thinking and emotions. Others find the news very upsetting. A state of “denial” is not uncommon when a diagnosis of HD is first made. Whatever the reaction, it is helpful to talk about the situation with an HD support group, a social worker, genetic counselor or therapist.

 

Stages of Huntington’s Disease

Although symptoms of HD vary from person to person, even within the same family, the progression of the disease can be roughly divided into three stages.

Early stage HD usually includes subtle changes in coordination, perhaps some involuntary movements (chorea), difficulty thinking through problems and often a depressed or irritable mood. Medications are often effective in treating depression or other emotional problems. The effects of the disease may make the person less able to work at their customary level and less functional in their regular activities at home.

In the middle stage, the movement disorder may become more of a problem. Medication fro chorea may be considered to provide relief from involuntary movements. Occupational and physical therapists may be needed to help maintain control of voluntary movements and to deal with changes in thinking and reasoning abilities. Diminished speech and difficulty swallowing may require help from a speech language pathologist. Ordinary activities will become harder to do.

In the late stage, the person with HD is totally dependent on others for their care. Choking becomes a major concern. Chorea may be severe or it may cease. At this stage, the person with HD can no longer walk and will be unable to speak. However, he or she is generally still able to comprehend language and retain an awareness of family and friends. When a person with HD dies, it is typically from complications of the disease, such as choking or infection and not from the disease itself.

In all stages o HD, weight loss can be an important complication that can correspond with worsening symptoms and should be countered by adjusting the diet and maintaining appetite.

 

Contact us today for more information on Huntington’s Disease or to schedule an appointment.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

644517_582792328422362_1905711018_n

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disesase (AD) is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility. It’s characterized by memory lapses, confusion, emotional instability and progressive loss of mental ability.

The disease is irreversible and progressively worsens over time. It deteriorates  memory and cognitive abilities, which eventually causes the simple tasks to become (near) impossible. Diagnoses most often occur among adults in their early 60’s.

The disease attacks the brain, causing plaques and tangles. This is the primary physical symptom of Alzheimer’s. The abnormalities will feature a loss of connecting neurons in the brain. These neurons are responsible for transmitting messages between different parts of the brain, then to muscles or organs in the body.

Treatment to help monitor and manage these symptoms are available for some people, but there is currently no known cure to treat this crippling disease.

How common is Alzheimer’s disease?

More than 5 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s, with 3 million more projected every year. Sadly, until the disease can be treated or prevented, numbers will continue to rise.

What are the stages and life expectancy of Alzheimer’s?

Early Stage

In the early stages, a person has the ability to function independently. They may still be a part of work and social activities, yet the person may experience minor memory lapses. During an extensive medical visit, a doctor may be able to detect problems in memory or concentration.

Middle Stage

The second stage is the longest stage and can last for many years. A person might confuse words, get frustrated or angry or act out of character. The damage inflicted in the brain can make it difficult to express thoughts and perform routine tasks.

Moderate Alzheimer’s is typically the longest stage and can last for many years. As the disease progresses, the person with Alzheimer’s will require a greater level of care.

You may notice the person with Alzheimer’s confusing words, getting frustrated or angry, or acting in unexpected ways, such as refusing to bathe. Damage to nerve cells in the brain can make it difficult to express thoughts and perform routine tasks.

Final Stage

The final stage of the disease will bring a need for full-time, around the clock assistance for personal care. Individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation, and eventually the ability to control movement. Although they may still say words and phrases, communicating pain becomes difficult. Since memory and cognitive skills continue to worsen, changes in personality become apparent.

In the final stage of this disease, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and, eventually, to control movement. They may still say words or phrases, but communicating pain becomes difficult. As memory and cognitive skills continue to worsen, personality changes may take place and individuals need extensive help with daily activities.

The stages can move along rapidly or slowly progress, which is the situation for most cases. Since the progression of Alzheimer’s varies, the time from diagnosis to death does as well. If the person is older than 80, the time can be anywhere from 3 to 4 years but as little as 10 or more years if the person is younger.

Currently, Alzheimer’s ranks in some studies as the sixth to as high as the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is edged out by only heart disease and cancer in deaths pertaining to older people.

 

 

If you think that you or someone you know may have Alzheimer’s, contact us today.

 

(Source: The National Institute on Aging)

ADC’s Dr. Sean Milligan (Neurology) Named Partner In MS Care

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society designated Dr. Sean Milligan, Neurologist, Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic, P.A. as Partner In MS Care

Congratulations Dr. Milligan!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Learn More:

 

Neurology Study: One Week of Therapy May Help Reorganize Brain, Reduce Stuttering

MINNEAPOLIS – Just one week of speech therapy may reorganize the brain, helping to reduce stuttering, according to a study published in the August 8, 2012, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The Chinese study gives researchers new insights into the role of different brain regions in stuttering, which affects about one percent of adults.

The study involved 28 people with stuttering and 13 people who did not stutter. Fifteen of the people with stuttering received a week of therapy with three sessions per day. The other stutterers and the controls received no therapy. Therapy involved the participants repeating two-syllable words that were spoken to them and then reading words presented to them visually. There was no time limit in either task. The average scores on stuttering tests and percent of stuttered syllables improved for those who received the therapy. There was no change in scores for the stutterers who did not receive therapy.

Brain scans were used to measure the thickness of the cerebral cortex in the brain for all participants at the beginning and end of the study. READ MORE:

 

Dr. Sean Milligan, Neurologist

One of the specialties at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is Neurology. The Neurology team is lead by Dr. Sean Milligan.

An example of a disease a neurologist would treat is Carpal Tunnel and the test used is a nerve conduction study. Watch as Dr. Milligan demonstrates a nerve conduction study in this video:

.

Other reasons you might need to see a neurologist are:

  • Parkinson’s Disease

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Dimentia

  • Neuropathy

  • Migraine Headaches

  • Epilepsy

Smells like nostalgia: Why do scents bring back memories?

By Meghan Holohan

NBCNews.com

The smell of chlorine wafts through the air. Suddenly, you recall childhood summers spent in a swimming pool. Or maybe it’s a whiff of apple pie, or the scent of the same perfume your mom used to wear. Our noses have a way of sniffing out nostalgia.

“I stepped into an elevator and a bunch of people piled in behind me. I was behind a woman with her back to me, her hair was in my nose, and I could smell the perfume, Shalimar, and I hadn’t smelled it in [years]. It seemed like I was transported back to high school,” says Howard Eichenbaum, director of the Laboratory of Cognitive Neurobiology at Boston University.

While all the senses are connected with memories, smell in particular sparks a flurry of emotional memories. Why?

After a smell enters the nose, it travels through the cranial nerve through the olfactory bulb, which helps the brain process smells. The olfactory bulb is part of the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain. As a member of the limbic system, the olfactory bulb can easily access the amygdala, which plays a role in emotional memories (it’s also where the “fight or flight” reflex comes from).

“Olfactory has a strong input into the amygdala, which process emotions. The kind of memories that it evokes are good and they are more powerful,” explains Eichenbaum.

This close relationship between the olfactory and the amygdala is one of the reason odors cause a spark of nostalgia.

“We don’t use emotional memory that much,” says Dr. Ron DeVere, director of the Taste and Smell Disorders Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center, in Austin, Texas, and member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). He adds that when people consciously attempt to remember something they focus on the details, not feelings.

“You have an odor, you may not identify the odor, but you are associating that with some memories. The first time you smelled apple pie you may have been at your grandmother’s house,” DeVere says.

Also at play is a relationship between the olfactory system and the hippocampus, which is critical to developing memories. Even though the olfactory system interacts with the emotion and memory centers in the brain, it does not connect with more developed regions.

“Smells do bring back memories,” says Dr. Ken Heilman, James E. Rooks Jr. Distinguished Professor Neurology and Health Psychology at the University of Florida and a member of AAN.

READ MORE: