Neurology Associates opened its new Mesa clinic on June 1 and soon will have it fully staffed for patient convenience.
Please note, the facility, at 3308 N. Higley Road, remains under construction while we build a duplicate of our Chandler clinic, complete with MRI exams, neuropsychological evaluations, counseling and more. Happily, with the return of Dr. Rebecca Jones to the practice, Neurology Associates decided to open its larger Mesa location a few months earlier than planned. Patients may hear some noise in the background but we are doing our best to mitigate any disruptions.
Neurology Associates Neuroscience Center is offering appointments with:
Throughout all these additions and upgrades, please rest assured that we continue to adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols to protect both staff and patients.
It’s all coming together so we may provide you with full-service neurology in the East Valley.
Relaxed Regulations Amid COVID-19 Make Extended Reach Possible
Isolation due to COVID-19 only adds to the stress of living with a chronic or undiagnosed neurological condition. People still need to see their doctors but may be too afraid, or otherwise unable, to visit even a controlled medical facility.
Neurology Associates now fills the gap through telehealth (video-audio) services – and not just for existing patients. Due to relaxed regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic, the practice also accepts many new, statewide, out-of-state and self-pay telehealth patients.
This comes as welcome news for snowbirds who have returned to their homes up north and want continuity of care, and for almost anyone else needing expert brain and spinal attention during COVID-19.
“Being able to help people regardless of their location is vital right now,” said Dr. Andrea An, head neurologist at Neurology Associates. “Many patients are isolated and struggling not just with physical health, but with mental health as well. Now more than ever, they need to know they have care and support.”
Uncovering and treating neurological disorders remains imperative during a pandemic; yet, the task becomes more difficult when patients cannot or will not leave their homes. Even though Neurology Associates has implemented a number of precautions – including spacing waiting room chairs at least six feet apart and installing sneezeguards at the front desk – patients need alternatives to in-person visits. Neurology Associates has responded by rolling out a very simple, secure video platform for telehealth appointments.
Most new patients will immediately be able to use telehealth. However, suspected or known Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and some other disorders require an initial in-person visit with a neurologist for hands-on examinations and observation. After that, though, the majority of patients may conduct follow-up appointments via telehealth.
All patients who see a Neurology Associates neurologist, whether in person or over video, have the opportunity to work with several other providers at the clinic, three of whom also offer telehealth services. Neurology Associates’ naturopathic physician and counselor, psychiatric nurse practitioner and physical therapist each are meeting with patients via video, as able. Other services, including infusions, diagnostic procedures, MRI exams, and neuropsychological evaluations, remain in-person.
Eligibility for telehealth visits depends on factors including neurological condition and insurance coverage. Neurology Associates also offers self-pay plans for telehealth appointments.
About Neurology Associates Neuroscience Center
Neurology Associates Neuroscience Center specializes in the conditions and disorders linked to brain and spinal abnormalities. Neurology Associates takes patient care beyond typical boundaries, incorporating a truly holistic approach that encompasses psychiatry, neuropsychology, physical therapy, naturopathic medicine, counseling, cognitive rehabilitation and more. Neurology Associates is staffed by neurologists with different areas of focus, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a doctor in physical therapy, naturopathic physicians and clinical psychologists. Neurology Associates has two Arizona locations, one in Chandler and another opening soon in northeast Mesa.
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At Neurology Associates, patient safety and well-being are always top priority. In addition to our routine protocols to keep patients safe, we have implemented -- and will continue to implement, as needed -- additional measures to guard against COVID-19. We are closely following CDC guidelines and recommendations.
Although we are not currently experiencing any imminent threat, please rest assured that we have a plan in place to keep Neurology Associates a safe facility for both our staff and patients. As of April 2020, we are only seeing patients at our Chandler clinic, which is a highly controlled environment. We will soon open a new Mesa location that will be just as controlled. Also, Neurology Associates now also offers telehealth video appointments with our neurologists, naturopathic physician/counselor, and psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Steps We Are Taking:
Please feel free to call us at 480 800 4890 with any questions about treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neurology Associates is doing its part to reduce patients’ exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Patients who request it may conduct their neurology, counseling and behavioral appointments with our neurologists, counselor and psychiatric nurse practitioner over audio-video. (Please note, depending on condition, some new patients may need to see their neurologist in-person for the first visit. Call 480 800 4890 for more information.)
We suggest patients who are more susceptible to the novel coronavirus, who are ill or think they may be ill, have family members who are ill, or who may be under quarantine, take advantage of this service if possible. Otherwise, you do not have to cancel your in-person appointment. The federal government has eased telehealth requirements as COVID-19 spreads.
The ability to meet with your doctor over telephone and video is most important for patients at risk of falling gravely ill from COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control, that population includes people, regardless of age, with underlying and/or chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, respiratory problems and more.
Neurology Associates strongly recommends susceptible patients, especially, take advantage of this service to protect yourself and your family. To date, there is no vaccine or herd immunity for COVID-19. The ability to use telemedicine during the COVID-19 outbreak also offers greater protection from the flu, which remains in full swing.
Please note that, unfortunately, we cannot take new telehealth neurology patients during this time. We continue to provide in-person appointments in a controlled environment.
Also, the cancelation policy for telehealth visits is the same as if you canceled an in-person visit. Canceling a telehealth visit with less than 24 hours’ notice will result in a $50 fee.
If you have questions and/or think a telehealth appointment may be the right option for you during COVID-19, call us at 480 800 4890. Many insurers are relaxing their telehealth requirements because of COVID-19. We work with a number of insurance companies so we cannot promise in this document that yours is covering telehealth, but we will check for you when you make or change your appointment. If we encounter any issues, we will call you.
Using telehealth video is simple. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer with video and audio capabilities, and an updated internet browser. Please be sure to enable your camera and audio settings to use this service.
Have you wondered whether you or a loved one with Parkinson’s or essential tremor might benefit from a Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) implant? April, which is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, is a great time to get some answers.
Dr. De Lima will discuss some of the signs that often qualify patients for DBS, which helps manage Parkinson’s and essential tremor symptoms in ways medication may not be able to do. She will also take questions from attendees.
There is no cost to attend – this event is free courtesy of Abbott. For registration information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many people with neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, epilepsy, dementia and multiple sclerosis, have reason to be concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak. That’s why it is critical to follow health officials' guidelines -- including social distancing, washing hands frequently, isolating or even quarantining at home -- and to take additional steps to ensure safety from this unprecedented virus. One of those extra steps entails self-education. As such, we have curated some information, below, from reliable sources about COVID-19 and specific neurological conditions.
Above all, please check in with your neurologist (which you may now do over a video-enabled phone, tablet, laptop or computer here at Neurology Associates) with any concerns. We want all our patients to stay as safe and healthy as possible during this global event.
The field of neurological research features so many developments it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest developments in three key areas of neurology: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and epilepsy. Note that this blog is intended as information only, not medical advice.
That’s the correlation at the heart of a new study published in the Jan. 13 Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
SciTechDaily reports that researchers found “significant” amounts of aluminum content in brain tissue from donors with familial Alzheimer’s.
In addition, the study uncovered an “unequivocal association” between the location of aluminum and amyloid-beta protein, which leads to early onset of Alzheimer’s, said lead investigator Christopher Exley, PhD, Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.
Exley went on to make a bold statement: “Within the normal lifespan of humans, there would not be any Alzheimer’s disease if there were no aluminum in the brain tissue. No aluminum, no Alzheimer’s disease.”
Science has suggested the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s for more than 40 years.
Simply put, it couldn’t hurt to reduce one’s exposure to aluminum, an element that features no known essential role in living systems, according to a June 2018 article from the National Institutes of Health.
The metal “is a recognized neurotoxin, which could cause neurodegeneration,” wrote the researchers, Elif Inan-Eroglu and Aylin Ayaz.
Dr. Marnie Whitley, naturopathic physician at Neurology Associates, agrees.
“Aluminum toxicity has been thought for some time to have an association with immune suppression, cognitive decline and dementia including Alzheimer’s,” she says. “As with most heavy metals, the level of exposure and the body’s ability (or rather lack of ability) to clear the metal are factors in health risks.”
There are some foods that may help clear aluminum but “the easiest factor to address is exposure,” Whitley says.
Because aluminum is one of the most abundant metals in the earth’s crust, avoiding it altogether is impossible, she adds. That means aluminum is naturally present in healthy foods such as spinach and that’s okay.
“Where we can best avoid exposure is in food additives, so look for additives containing sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate,” Whitley says. “Also look at cosmetics, deodorants, cookware, and pharmaceuticals for sources of exposure and avoid them if possible. For many of these products there are aluminum-free options. Don’t avoid your spinach because it has some aluminum – it has some protective nutrients as well.”
Aluminum is also prevalent in occupations including aluminum refining, publishing and printing, and the automotive sector.
Improving gut health could be key to slowing, or perhaps even reversing, Parkinson’s.
That’s according to a new study from researchers at the University of Edinburgh and University of Dundee, co-funded by Parkinson’s UK. Investigators identified good bacteria – Bacillus subtilis – that appears to prevent the buildup of a protein linked to Parkinson’s.
The scientists discovered that Bacillus subtilis in roundworms not only protected against the protein collecting but also cleared some already formed clumps.
Keep in mind these are just initial findings. They are promising but researchers need to do more work.
“The next steps are to confirm these results in mice, followed by fast-tracked clinical trials since the probiotic we tested is already commercially available,” said lead researcher, Dr. Maria Doitsidou, from the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.
Before rushing out for a probiotic, check in with your (or your loved one’s) neurologist.
Many patients with epilepsy struggle with memory as well.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai have pinpointed why this happens, and say that understanding the process could help doctors improve treatment.
The new study found that abnormal electrical pulses from specific brain cells in patients who report memory problems are associated with a temporary disruption called transient cognitive impairment.
"The unpredictability of seizures and memory impairment is a major stressor in people who have epilepsy," said Chrystal Reed, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Reed, and first author of the study.
As researchers uncover evidence that measuring eye tremors may help diagnose Parkinson’s disease earlier, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the RightEye Vision System the “Breakthrough Device” designation.
That means RightEye’s medical device will undergo a faster review process because it speaks to a major unmet need; expedited approvals could allow clinicians to add RightEye to their Parkinson’s assessment toolbox. In fact, doctors already can use the device for detecting vision disorders, they just can’t yet officially use it to diagnose Parkinson’s disease.
RightEye’s developers hope to reduce the amount of time and the number of evaluations required to diagnose Parkinson’s. RightEye identifies eye tremors, which often are detectable long before other Parkinson’s symptoms arise. The longer Parkinson’s goes untreated, the more debilitating and costly it becomes.
“In my experience, Parkinson’s patients often struggle for years, going from doctor to doctor trying to get a correct diagnosis,” George Gitchel, Ph.D., director of clinical research at the Southeast Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center, at the Richmond Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said in a Dec. 3 press release. “By providing quantitative, objective data to assist clinicians, I truly believe that RightEye will play a key role addressing this issue.”
In 2012, the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology published an article that discussed the link between eye tremors and Parkinson’s disease.
“All patients with [Parkinson’s disease] exhibited persistent ocular tremor that prevented stability during fixation,” the authors wrote. “The pervasiveness and specificity of this feature suggest that modern, precise oculomotor testing could provide a valuable early physiological biomarker for diagnosing [Parkinson’s disease].”
For now, doctors continue to rely on a variety of neurological exams to pin down a Parkinson’s diagnosis. There is no single method of confirming the disease. Adding a medical device such as RightEye to the list of tests, however, could help narrow down the time needed to determine the presence of Parkinson’s.
Not only would earlier detection bring about treatment much sooner, it could help reduce the amount of money families and the U.S. government spend on Parkinson’s disease. A recent study commissioned by the Michael J. Fox Foundation and several of its partners found that Parkinson’s costs $52 billion per year – more than double previous estimates.
“Earlier assessment, intervention and more accurate diagnoses are anticipated to reduce these costs, while also improving patient outcomes and quality of life,” said Adam Gross, co-founder and CEO at RightEye.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have Parkinson’s disease, make an appointment to meet with Dr. Marianne De Lima, board-certified neurologist and movement disorders specialist at the Neurology Associates Chandler clinic.
Researchers at West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute are looking for more Alzheimer’s patients to take part in clinical trials involving ultrasound and virtual reality.
Requirements for the ultrasound studies are more stringent and exclusive than those for the virtual reality, or magnetic stimulation, tests.
“We’re looking for early-stage Alzheimer’s patients, so there is very specific criteria,” Ali Rezai, M.D., neurosurgeon and director of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, told WVNews. “We’ve had many, many people who have contacted us for the ultrasound study, but only a few passed the initial screening criteria.”
The virtual reality study, on the other hand, features broader specifications, Rezai said, “so that one will be much easier to get into.”
About a year ago, the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute reported successful phase II ultrasound trial results. That’s when investigators opened the blood-brain barrier using technology from Israeli company INSIGHTEC. The procedure requires no incisions or pharmaceuticals because it relies on sound waves. It works when doctors inject microscopic bubbles into the patient’s bloodstream and expose those bubbles to focused ultrasound. The bubbles then temporarily open the blood-brain barrier in the brain area being targeted.
Researchers are hopeful the new treatment is leading the way toward treating Alzheimer’s, which so far has no known cure. They continue to evaluate whether focused ultrasound reduces the debilitating plaques and cognitive decline that signify Alzheimer’s. It will take several years before experts fully understand whether focused ultrasound will have a permanent place in Alzheimer’s therapy.
People interested in learning more about participating in the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute’s Alzheimer’s studies will want to call 304-293-5150 or email WVURNI@hsc.wvu.edu. Only the personnel directly involved with the research will be privy to patient information.