Chronic headaches, muscular disorders and brain tumors are just a few of the conditions experienced neurologists at Mount Nittany Health treat every day.
With highly specialized diagnostics, neurologists treat a variety of conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system, including:
- Headaches, migraines or other chronic head pain
- Spine and spinal cord disorders
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia
- Tumors of the brain and spinal cord
- Weakness, numbness and pain in limbs and muscles
- Myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disease resulting in muscle weakness)
- Movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease)
- Muscular dystrophy and other muscle disorders
Neurologists can order a number of different tests to diagnose problems with the brain, spinal cord or nervous system.
Electromyography tests (EMGs), used to see nerve function and diagnose certain muscle disorders, can be performed at the Sieg Neuroscience Center. EMGs monitor the electric transmissions of nerve cells to muscles. During the procedure, a needle electrode (about the size of a hypodermic needle) is inserted into a muscle to record electrical activity. Several tests will be used to evaluate electrical response: resting, slight flex and full flex.
Tell your physician if you're taking blood thinners, are highly susceptible to infections or bruising, have a pacemaker or have a history of hepatitis or AIDS virus infection. People with hemophilia, a tendency to bleed severely, or those who are unusually susceptible to infections may not be good candidates for an EMG.
Nerve Conduction Velocity Test
A nerve conduction velocity test (NCV), which monitors the speed at which electrical impulses travel through the peripheral nervous system, is often used in conjunction with an EMG.
During an NCV test, an electrode is taped to the skin. A stimulator then issues a tiny shock, which feels like a tingle and may make the muscles twitch. The time between the stimulation and muscle reaction is recorded.
MRI and CT Scans
An electroencephalogram (EEG) detects electrical impulses in the brain to help diagnose or monitor a variety of conditions, including:
- Brain tumors
- Brain injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Drug overdose
- Sleep disorders
- Herpes simplex
- Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
- Liver and kidney disease
- Brain death
- Post-surgery conditions
- Effectiveness of treatment
For this procedure, electrodes are attached to a patient's head in order to monitor electrical activity. Different types of waves can provide insight into malfunctions of the brain.
An EEG can vary for each individual patient. Sometimes a flashing light will be used for photic stimulation, or the patient may be asked to breathe quickly and deeply for a few minutes. Sometimes this procedure is performed while a patient sleeps. Most tests take about an hour to an hour and a half to complete.
Treatment for neurological conditions varies from case to case, but can include medication, physical therapy, spinal injections and surgery in some cases.
Health Break Article
You heard the saying “No brain, no pain.” Since I haven’t run into anyone who fits that description, I’ve devoted a lot of time trying to stop pain from reaching brains. One way of doing this is through a procedure known as spinal cord stimulation. If pain impulses do not reach the brain, then pain is not perceived, just like the impulse to move is not perceived by the brain of a paralyzed patient. In spinal cord stimulation therapy, electrical pulses block the nerve impulses responsible for pain from reaching the brain. The electrical impulses come from a special medical wire called a lead. The lead is placed between the spine and the spinal cord and connects to a power source that is implanted under the skin of the buttocks or abdomen....