Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s Center for Neurosciences & Spine offers neurology services for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. Our neurology specialists are devoted to the highest level of neurology care. From advanced diagnostic tools to leading-edge treatments, we’re here to help you with your neurological condition so you can live life to the fullest.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) affects the parts of the nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the baseball player who had the disease, ALS causes motor neurons to die gradually and no longer signal the muscles to move. As a result, muscles atrophy and become progressively weaker.
ALS can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms may resemble other neurological disorders. A conclusive diagnosis is based on a careful medical history, a physical exam of the nervous system, and tests of nerve and muscle function.
Treatment for ALS
There's no known treatment for reversing the course of ALS. Therapies mainly work to slow the progression of symptoms and make patients more comfortable and independent. ALS symptoms treated include fatigue, muscle cramps, pain, excessive salivation and depression. Therapies include:
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the destruction of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. The destruction of neurons also reduces neurotransmitters, substances made by neurons responsible for message transmission in the brain. Because Alzheimer's causes both structural and chemical deficits, the disease interferes with the way parts of the brain work together. As a result, a person with Alzheimer’s has a steady loss of memory and other cognitive abilities.
Diagnosing Alzheimer's disease
While Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, diagnosing it requires ruling out other potential causes. Careful medical evaluation helps exclude other conditions linked to dementia, such as thyroid and vascular disorders, medications, untreated depression and hearing loss. The diagnostic process for Alzheimer's usually includes:
Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease
Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. The goals of treatment are to slow the progression of the disease and improve or stabilize symptoms. Therapies include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by numbness or tingling on the palm side of the thumb and fingers. The wrist may ache, with pain spreading to the fingers and the forearm. As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, numbness may worsen, and pinch and grip strength may weaken.
Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
Options may include:
Cerebrovascular disease is a group of conditions that affect blood flow to the brain, including stroke, cerebral arteriovenous malformation, brain aneurysm, carotid artery disease, cerebral cavernous malformations and transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Diagnosing cerebrovascular disease
Imaging tests, such as MRI and CT scan
Treatment for cerebrovascular disease
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder that involves inflammation of the peripheral nerves (those outside the brain and spinal cord). It’s characterized by the rapid onset of weakness and often paralysis of parts of the body, including the legs, arms, face and breathing muscles. The cause of GBS is unknown. Many cases, around 50%, occur shortly after a viral infection. Most patients recover, but many have long-term disabilities of varying severity.
Treatment for GBS
A movement disorder is a type of disease that affects the brain's ability to produce and control movement. These neurological conditions can cause the lack of spontaneous movement or involuntary movements, ranging from shaking or jerky movements to prolonged muscle contractions. Common movement disorders include dystonia, essential tremor, Huntington's disease, muscle spasticity, Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome.
Diagnosing movement disorders
Treatment for movement disorders
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disorder in which the body's immune system destroys the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers. This interferes with the communication between your brain and other parts of the body. Nerve impulses are not transmitted as quickly or efficiently, resulting in symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, unsteadiness, vision loss, double vision, fatigue, and partial or complete paralysis.
Treatment for MS
Seizure disorders like epilepsy are brain disorders in which a person has repeated seizures over time. This neurologic event is associated with episodes of uncontrolled and abnormal firing of brain cells that may cause changes in attention or behavior.
Diagnosing seizure disorders
Treatment for seizure disorders
Your Virginia Mason Franciscan Health team will use information from your physical exam and imaging tests to evaluate and diagnose:
For more information about neurological disorders or to schedule an appointment, connect with a neurologist who can guide you evaluation and treatment.