It’s common knowledge that a good night’s sleep prepares us for a successful day, but I like to think of it the other way around: Good planning for sleep during the day can ensure successful sleep at night. As a neurologist who specializes in sleep, I tell my patients that what they eat during the day, how often they exercise, how they manage stress, and how much screen time they get ...

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Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy in which the body's immune system attacks peripheral nerves. Clinical and epidemiological evidence seems to indicate that most cases are preceded by an infection such as Campylobacter jejuni enteritis, but in many cases, no cause is identified. GBS is characterized by symmetrical muscle weakness that begins in the legs and ascends. The degree of weakness can vary from mild difficulty with ambulation ...

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The need for a refreshed perspective on life and practice, a renewed sense of the concerns of our patients, and an appreciation for the subject matter: This is what so many of us need while in residency training. There are rare moments in the midst of it all when a renewing of sorts takes place, is noticed, and makes a small difference. Let me share one of those moments with ...

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Recently, revelations indicated that the Iran missile strike on the U.S. base in Iraq actually did cause head injuries.  So why did the U.S. initially claim no “casualties”?   From the limited reports available, it appears that most of the soldiers’ symptoms were consistent with concussions.  Let’s define terms:  In the wars of the 20th century, our soldiers would have been labeled with “shell shock.”  In the past, diagnosing concussion required ...

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I know you want to. I know you would rather have anything other than dementia—even cancer. I know you are happy with your life and want it to continue as it is. If it has to change, I bet you’d like to slowly become more frail until one night you just die in your sleep. You do not want to slowly become more confused. You don’t want to live ...

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The chances that you or someone you love will be diagnosed with dementia are shockingly high. By age 65, your chances are already at 9 percent. Make it to age 85, and the chances go up to 33 percent. Of course, if you’re diagnosed with dementia, it will be a struggle for you to think clearly about your diagnosis. So, today, while all of your faculties are still intact, I’d ...

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As a relatively healthy Medicare patient, I do not visit doctors often. I have had digestive issues most of my life — probably from too many antibiotics when I was a child with recurring strep throat, or so I'm told. My husband and I had just returned from living out of state for two months while he was treated with proton therapy for cancer. My stress levels were high. I was not resting well ...

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“Let’s take a look together,” was the start of a virtual clinical assessment that led to a primary care provider and a neurologist diagnosing a patient with Parkinson’s Disease. As the neurologist in that conversation, I had the opportunity to play a meaningful role in delivering my expertise and, most importantly, making sure the patient received the highest level of appropriate care. With telemedicine’s support, both providers - and the ...

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At the age of three months, Charlotte Figi had her first seizure. She was later diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. Her seizures continued, increasing in both frequency and severity. In a CNN interview, Charlotte’s mother Paige said that at the age of three, Charlotte was having up to 300 seizures per week. They could last for up to four hours. After all other medical treatments had failed, ...

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Before direct-to-consumer ads, physicians tried to reassure patients they were probably fine. Today, drug ads and online symptom checkers do just the opposite. The most insidious are "unbranded" ads that scare people about a disease without mentioning the drug they are trying to sell. Notable unbranded disease campaigns sell the obscure exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, shift work sleep disorder, and non-24-hour, sleep-wake disorder. Unbranded advertising is designed to appear like a ...

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A 69-year-old man with a medical history of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity with a body mass index of 33 was admitted with altered mental status. He and his wife were returning from a 14-day Alaskan cruise. On their return, the wife started noticing that her husband was behaving strangely and acting forgetful and had short-term memory loss. This gradually progressed to generalized confusion and altered mental status leading him to ...

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Did you know, one in four people over 65 have abnormal memory impairment? This is the finding from screening with an objective test.  In half of those who test abnormal, there were common conditions - such as depression and medication interactions – which can be addressed and even reverse the memory problem.  But for the other half, the memory problem is a sign of mild cognitive impairment, which can be ...

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Five months ago, "little kids" started visiting my father-in-law, stealing things. The hallucinations and dementia progressed, and we were forced to move him to a memory care unit. Memory care unit is the polite term for a lockup unit for people with dementia. Walking through the locked doors for the first time triggered in me an intense urge to run away. First, you encounter the "dementia parking lot" with the "inmates" parked ...

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The availability of up to the minute information, presented 24/7/365, could assist a democratic society in making the best choices in determining its future. That was the promise of cable news. Unfortunately, cable news has fallen short of its potential and has led to the further polarization of America. More than that, it has changed the way your brain works. Not for the better!

The various cable ...

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Do teenagers know how to sleep? If you’re the parent of a teen, you might be laughing to yourself. That’s all they know how to do. In truth, teens (and their parents) might not know enough about how to sleep, when to sleep, and why. California recently became the first state to require most middle and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. As a neurologist specializing in sleep ...

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The National Institute of Aging (NIA) just announced $73 million over five years to fund two new research centers. "The Alzheimer Centers for the Discovery of New Medicines are designed to diversify and reinvigorate the Alzheimer's disease drug development pipeline," says the NIA online. The AlzForum.org has more details, quoting researchers saying they will change the direction away from amyloid-beta and tau (the presumed ...

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Awareness about concussions has never been greater among high school athletes and coaches, thanks to the spotlight shone on some former NFL players who’ve experienced problems later in life. But a downside to this heightened awareness is the fear it has sown among parents that their children who play sports like football, soccer, or hockey may end up the same way.

As a parent, I understand that fear. My ...

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At first, Dr. Robert Zorowitz thought his 83-year-old mother was confused. She couldn’t remember passwords to accounts on her computer. She would call and say programs had stopped working. But over time, Zorowitz realized his mother — a highly intelligent woman who was comfortable with technology ― was showing early signs of dementia. Increasingly, families will encounter similar concerns as older adults become reliant on computers, cellphones, and tablets: With cognitive impairment, ...

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To delay or prevent the onset of memory loss, talk to your doctor. It can really be that simple. Among the diseases that Americans fear most, Alzheimer’s and dementia consistently rank at the top of the list. What people don’t always realize is that many causes of memory loss are treatable and preventable, and the first line of defense is your primary care physician. I recently had the opportunity to present findings ...

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"90 percent of what you will learn over the next four years will be wrong in a couple of decades from now." Speaking to a lecture hall of 120 first-year medical students, our professor's prophecy seemed to fall on deaf ears. Looking around, I saw no concerned students, no diminishment of our collective enthusiasm. For me, however, his words of caution struck a chord on that first day of medical school. As ...

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