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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.

Join Dr. Marianne De Lima, board-certified neurologist and movement disorders expert at Neurology Associates Neuroscience Center, for a live video event on Friday, April 24, 2020, at noon.

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 media@neurologyassociates.com.

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.

Parkinson’s Disease

American Parkinson Disease Association

Parkinson’s News Today

Parkinson’s Foundation

Epilepsy

Epilepsy Foundation

Citizens United in Research for Epilepsy

Dementia

Alzheimer’s Association

Multiple Sclerosis

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Multiple Sclerosis International Federation

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.

Limiting Aluminum Exposure Essential to Reducing Alzheimer’s Risk

Could aluminum exposure increase the chances of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis?

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.

Scientists Link Specific Probiotic to Slowing Parkinson’s

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.

Researchers Tackling Memory Problems in Epilepsy Patients

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.

Scientists are still working out solutions; epilepsy patients will want to stay in touch with their neurologist to discuss traditional and holistic approaches to boost quality of life.

We’re looking for talented Neurologists to join our growing team.

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