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Neurosciences Faqs

Prashanth Web Banner – Neuroscience

What is neurosurgery ?

Neurosurgery is the surgical treatment of the nervous system and its coverings. That is, neurosurgeons operate on the brain, spinal cord, the skull and scalp, and the spine (bony vertebral column). This specialty includes many different types of disorders, including epilepsy, tumors, vascular disorders (disorders of blood vessels) and spine tumors, among many others.

What is the difference between a neurologist and a neurosurgeon ?

A neurologist and a neurosurgeon are similar to a cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon; the neurosurgeon employs surgical means to treat neurological disorders, while the neurologist identifies neurological disorders through diagnostic testing and uses medical (pharmacologic) means to treat them.

What is epilepsy ?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder involving recurrent seizures or temporary alteration in one or more brain functions. As an example approximately 2.3 million Americans suffer from epilepsy, according to the Epilepsy Foundation of America. An adult with uncontrolled epilepsy may not be able to work or drive a car. In children, epilepsy can interfere with learning and other cognitive functions. Epilepsy begins anywhere between the ages of 3 and 14 years and continues indefinitely.

What are seizures ?

A seizure, or convulsion, can be a sudden, violent, uncontrollable contraction of a group of muscles caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. A seizure can also be more subtle, consisting of only a brief “loss of contact” (victim seems to be daydreaming) or a repetitive body movement. Epileptic seizures can be classified into two broad groups—generalized and partial. Generalized seizures affect the whole body, causing a loss of consciousness, and may arise over a wide area of the brain. Partial seizures, during which consciousness may be retained, are usually caused by damage to a more limited area of the brain. Seizures can be treated with anticonvulsant medications or surgery.

Is epilepsy the only cause of seizures ?

There are number of common causes of seizures which include:

++ Injury or trauma to the head

++ Infection

++ Brain tumor (30 to 40 percent of patients with brain tumors have a seizure)

++ High fever or heatstroke

++ Diabetes (seizures can occur when blood sugar level is too low)

There may be other causes of seizures, including unlikely diseases and medications. Furthermore, the causes may vary based on age and gender of the affected person, as well as on the specific characteristics of the symptom such as quality, time course, aggravating factors, relieving factors and associated complaints. It is important to see a doctor for a thorough evaluation to determine a seizure’s cause.

What is a stroke ?

A stroke, most often called “ Brain Attack “ occurs when the blood flow to the brain stops as a result of a clot. When this happens, the brain cells in the immediate area begin to die.

The two types of stokes are

(i) Ischemic – which is a blockage of a blood vessel supplying to the brain and

(ii) Hemorrhagic – when bleeding occurs in or around the brain.

What are the symptoms of a stroke ?

The symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body ; sudden confusion or trouble with speech, sudden vision problem, trouble with walking, dizziness or loss of coordination or severe headache with no known cause.

Why is it necessary to act fast during a stroke ?

Ischemic stroke, the most common stroke can be treated with medication which dissolves artery obstructing clots. However, like the GOLDEN HOUR, the patients needs to get to the hospital within 60 minutes since it has to be evaluated and then treated.

What are the risk factors for stroke ?

• High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke four to six times

• Heart disease specially Atrial Fibrillation can double the risk

• If you a smoker / have diabetes / high cholesterol or family history of stroke

What is the treatment for stroke ?

The three stages in the treatment of strokes is :

• Prevention

• Therapy immediately after the stroke by dissolving the blood clot or stopping the bleeding

• Post Stroke Rehabilitation

What is the prognosis for a stroke ?

TA common disability that results from stroke is complete paralysis on one side of the body. It can cause problems with the thinking, awareness, attention, learning and memory. Stroke survivors often hav problems understanding or forming speech.

What can you do to reduce your risk of stroke ?

• Monitor your blood pressure

• Track your cholesterol level

• Stop smoking

• Exercise regularly

Is the Deep Brain Stimulation procedure a cure for Parkinson disease ?

Deep Brain Stimulation is not a cure for Parkinson disease. It improves the quality of life, improves tremor, stiffness, freezing and drug-induced dyskinesia associated with the disease. After Deep Brain Surgery the requirement of medications reduces by 40-50%. We expect 60-70% improvement in his quality of life. This therapy is reversible, programmable and does not preclude new therapies in future.

At what time in the stage of the disease Parkinson surgery is indicated ?

In advanced stage of Parkinson disease when patient has developed drug induced side effects like dyskinesia, hallucinations and when despite adequate medications a person is incapacitated for performing his day to day activity, parkinson disease surgery is indicated.

What are the other diseases where Deep Brain Stimulation therapy is effective ?

Other than Parkinson disease and Essential tremor this therapy is effective in hemidystonia, idiopathic congenital dystonia and for lower limb pain and bladder dysfunction where spinal cord stimulation and sacral nerve root stimulation is performed. Future use of this therapy will be for Epilepsy and various other neurological disorders.

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Prashanth Hospitals-Multispeciality Hospital in Chennai, Best Hospital in Chennai