Early Onset Alzheimer’s

Many people associate Alzheimer’s disease with older adults that are advanced in age. However, the disease can also affect people who are younger than the age of 65.  When this happens, the disease is referred to as younger-onset or early onset Alzheimer’s.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s has been found to mostly affect people in their forties and fifties.   Currently, experts are unsure why some people get the disease at an earlier age than others.  Research does point to genetics as a contributing factor in some cases.

The symptoms and signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s may differ with each person and can include:

  • Personality or mood changes
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Misplacing items on a regular basis
  • Frequently withdrawing from social situations
  • Difficulty finding the right words for specific items
  • Difficulty finishing a sentence
  • Losing track of locations, dates or times
  • Asking for the same information again and again
  • Difficulty learning new things

If you are experiencing symptoms or displaying signs of the disease on an ongoing basis, it is recommended that you consult a physician who specializes in treating Alzheimer’s.   In order to diagnose the disease, the physician may complete a comprehensive medical evaluation which can include cognitive tests, brain imaging, neurological and medical exams.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease can maximize the benefits received from treatment and may help you to maintain your independence longer.  Therefore, it is highly advised that you seek the assistance of a specialist immediately.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Bell’s Palsy ?

Bell’s palsy is a condition that causes the muscles on one side of the face to become very weak or even paralyzed. When this happens, the face droops on one side. The cause of this is usually damage to the seventh cranial nerve, known as the “facial nerve” . It is more common in people who have diabetes, are pregnant or who have recently had a viral infection, but it can happen to anyone. Bell’s palsy is usually only temporary with the symptoms disappearing within a few weeks to a few months.
Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy:
• Unable to blink on one side
• Facial droop
• Drooling
• Problem with chewing
• Loss of sense of taste
• Unable to close one eye
• Possible pain behind the ear or in the jaw
Diagnosing Bell’s palsy usually involves taking a detailed medical history as well as ruling out other causes of nerve damage to the face. These symptoms can also be caused by a stroke, Lyme disease and a stroke.  A physician may order a few tests to help with the diagnosis. This might include an MRI, a CT scan and an Electromyography (EMG).
Bell’s palsy often will start to resolve on its own after a few weeks. To relieve some of the symptoms, which can be very uncomfortable, a physician might prescribe corticosteroids which have an anti-inflammatory affect and also some physical therapy.  To relieve some pain, a mild pain reliever can be taken such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol.
If you have any symptoms of sudden facial drooping you should go to the nearest emergency room immediately. .

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.  During this month, the Alzheimer’s Association is asking healthcare providers to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5 million Americans and is fatal.  It is a progressive brain disease that currently has no cure.  Alzheimer’s is more than memory loss and can appear through a variety of signs and symptoms such as:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty planning and solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Difficulty determining time or place
  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Misplacing items often
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Personality and mood changes
  • Withdrawing from work and social events

Alzheimer’s, unlike Dementia (which is syndrome that affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning) causes the person to lose the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

Jamaica Hospital is committed to raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia through social media and providing medical services to those who are experiencing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

If you or a loved one has questions or concerns and would like to see a medical professional, call Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center for an appointment at 718-206-7001.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.act.alz.org

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tics- Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

imsis560-015At some point in our lives, we have all experienced some form of an uncontrollable muscle spasm or twitch. These “tics” as they are commonly referred to are normally harmless and don’t last long. In some cases however, they are the result of a child onset, neurodevelopmental condition known as a tic disorder.

Tics are involuntary, repetitive movements or vocalizations and are distinguished as either motor or vocal/phonic in nature

  • Motor tics are short-lasting, sudden movements that most often take place in the head and neck region. Simple motor tics include, but are not limited to, eye blinking, head bobbing, jaw movements, shoulder shrugging, and neck stretching.
  • Vocal or phonic tics produce a sound. Examples include, but are not limited to sniffing, throat clearing, grunting, hooting, and shouting. Complex vocal tics involve the usage of words or phrases and in rare cases, inappropriate language is used.

Those with tic disorders explain experiencing a tingling sensation that can only be relieved by performing the tic. They might be able to momentarily suppress a tic, but doing so only creates a level of discomfort that can only be relieved by performing the tic.

Approximately 25% of all children experience some type of tic disorder, with boys being far more likely to develop a disorder than girls. Tic disorders usually emerge develop in children between the ages of five and seven. They tend to increase in frequency between the ages of eight to twelve. Most children with tic disorders see their symptoms dissipate or totally resolve themselves during late adolescence.

Tic disorders are distinguished by the types of tics present and by the length of time that the tics have been present.

  • Transient tic disorder – This disorder most commonly appears in youth. It affects between 5% and 25% of school-age children. Transient tic disorder is characterized by the presence of one or more tics for at least one month but less than one year. The majority of tics seen in this disorder are motor tics, though vocal tics may also be present.
  • Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder – While transient tics disappear within a year, chronic tics can last for a year or more. Chronic tic disorder is characterized by the presence of one or more long-lasting tics. They may be either motor or vocal, but not both. Chronic tics occur in less than one in 100 children.
  • Tourette’s syndrome – This syndrome is the most severe tic disorder. It is characterized by the presence of both motor tics and vocal tics. The severity of Tourette’s syndrome often changes over time. There may be periods of reduced tic frequency followed by heightened tic activity. Fortunately, many people with Tourette’s syndrome find that their condition improves as they get older.

Doctors do not know what causes tics to occur, but stress and lack of sleep seem to play a role in the occurrence and severity of tics. Some medications are also thought to contribute to tics, but there is no evidence to confirm this theory.

Treatment for tic disorders depends on the severity of the condition. In many instances, no treatment is needed and the tics will resolve over time. In some instances, a doctor may suggest behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Behavioral therapy can help those with tic disorders learn how to manage their tic symptoms and reduce tic frequency. Medications are typically prescribed to reduce tic frequency and enhance a person’s daily life.

If you think your child has a tic disorder, discuss the condition with their pediatrician. If you do not have a pediatrician, Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center has many excellent doctors who can provide care. To make an appointment, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Rare but True: Sleeping Beauty or Kleine Levin Syndrome

sleeping -493503106Kleine Levin Syndrome (KLS) or Sleeping Beauty Syndrome is a rare neurological condition characterized by recurring periods of excess sleep.  It is estimated that 1000 people worldwide are diagnosed with the disorder.  Adolescent boys are primarily affected but a small percentage of adults and small children (male and female) are also known to suffer from this condition.

KLS symptoms occur in episodes that can last for days, weeks or months.  During each episode, an individual can sleep from 12 to 20 hours a day- only waking to eat and use the bathroom. A person can experience anywhere from two to 12 episodes per year.   Symptoms that occur during wakefulness include:

  • Mood changes
  • Hyper sexuality
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Child-like behavior
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Excessive eating
  • Hypersensitivity to noise and light

These symptoms prevent individuals from leading a normal life. Most are bed ridden and unable to attend work or school. The frequency of KLS episodes tend to decrease with age, there is a possibility that they can recur later in life.

The cause of KLS is unknown but it is believed that it may be the result of a malfunction of the hypothalamus and thalamus (the parts of the brain that regulates sleep, body temperature, sex drive and appetite).

There is no cure for KLS but treatment is available to alleviate symptoms.  Doctors may prescribe stimulants to reduce excessive sleepiness.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.