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9 Brain conditions not to be taken lightly

Your brain is constantly at work, on your behalf. Good brain function can be maintained by keeping both body and mind fit and reducing stress.

1.  Stroke- Be prepared

A stroke is one of the most common causes of death in people aged over 45. Stroke often occurs in patients diagnosed with diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, those who are heavy smokers, or whose family members have a history of stroke. Symptoms may include weakness in arms and legs, numbness of a limb on one side of the body, face or mouth becomes weak or paralyzed, slurred speech, vision on one side becomes blurry or there may be loss of vision, and acute headaches. If you experience a combination of these symptoms wait for symptoms to worsen. We recommend you visit a doctor within 3 hours for diagnosis and if required, immediate treatment. If you have ever experienced a combination of the above listed symptoms, it would be sensible to take an annual Carotid Duplex test, in order to assess circulation to the brain. It is recommended to take a Carotid Duplex test annually in order to assess circulation to the brain.

2. Cerebral Aneurysm

Cerebral Aneurysm can occur in people of all ages and sex; however it occurs most frequently in 40-60 year olds, and six times more frequently in women.  It can be found mostly in individuals with high blood pressure, who have chronic headaches, who smoke heavily, or has a relative with a history of Cerebral Aneurysm. Unfortunately, diagnosis is often only made retrospectively once an aneurysm has occurred. As a result, the patient will experience acute headaches, weakness around the facial area, and a in the arms and legs, and have difficulty balancing. For Cerebral Aneurysms the death rate is at 50%, paralysis 25%, and full recovery 25%. Early diagnosis, by way of using Magnetic Resonance Angiogram, MRA, Angiography, X0ray,and CTA in order to assess the brain’s blood circulation, plays a pivotal role in reducing the death and paralysis rate of Cerebral Aneurysm: the death rate drops to 2-3%, paralysis to 7%, and over 90% make a full recovery.

3. Alzheimer’s

Minor symptoms such as forgetfulness if left unchecked could be the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s, which can lead to severe brain deterioration.Symptoms that can indicate deterioration in cognitive function include: forgetfulness, inability to remember things day to day, inability to remember names, behavioral and emotional changes, withdrawal from work or social activities, insomnia, and difficulties in processing new information or learning new things. Currently there is no full cure for Alzheimer’s; however, early diagnosis can help to reduce the symptoms and slow progression. Although, there is no cure early detection (for example by way of PET scan) will help to diagnose the specific condition, giving the basis for an efficient treatment plan, which can help to slow progression.

4. Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is caused by dopamine deficiency and is most often found in patients over 60 as well as some middle-middle aged patients who has a family history ofParkinson’s. Symptoms usually begin to show with shaking/trembling arms and legs, jaw or face, tense muscles, slow movement, speech impediments, difficulty swallowing, and depression. Many people often mistake these for normal signs of aging, i.e. traits of being elderly. Although Parkinson’s is a chronic illness it can be controlled through the use of the PET Brain F-DOPA test to help diagnose the stage and progression and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy to improve movement, reduce medication needed, and assist the patient for daily activities.

5. Movement Disorder

Parkinson’s causes movement disorders that the patient will have no control over : shaking, facial spasms, eyes blinking or twitching involuntarily, inability to walk straight, neck or torso tightens, slow movements. Modern medicine has been able to develop methods of relaxing tightened muscles, such as injection of botulin toxin to treat spasms, hemi facial spasms and paralysis. After the injection, there will be 3-4 days of physical therapy to reduce the risk of accidents and falls. Our specialists will practice walking and other mobility skills with the patient.

6. Epilepsy

Although epilepsy can occur in people of ages and sex, it is most common in children or the elderly. Symptoms will not always include shaking and visible distress, thus some epilepsy patients do not even know that they have epilepsy until the brain has been damaged by subsequent episodes, which can lead to memory loss. Naturally, this can have a detrimental effect on a child’s cognitive development. For epilepsy diagnosis, the EEG simultaneous fMRI is effective in identifying where abnormal electrical activity is happening in the brain, allowing for accurate treatment.