Dr. Linda Pao offers a wide array of neurological and treatment options. Dr. Linda Pao is compassionately here to help patients, whether you or a loved one are dealing with a first time diagnosis, seeking a second opinion or searching for a health care partner to help you maximize life to your fullest potential.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder. It is a progressive, deterioration of the brain. The primary symptoms are progressive memory loss with loss of language skills, comprehension, judgement, and as well as behavioral changes.
There is no test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. History, neurological evaluation, comprehensive neuropsychological testing, imaging of the brain, and blood tests are all helpful in making the diagnosis.
Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, however it is possible to slow the progression of disease and manage the symptoms with some available treatments. It is important to seek medical guidance if symptoms of Alzheimer’s are experienced. It is best to start treatment as early on as possible.
Ataxia affects a person’s coordination. People with ataxia will lose muscle control in their arms and legs. With time, these symptoms will lead to loss of balance and trouble walking. Ataxia can affect the fingers, hands, arms, legs, body, speech, and even eye movements. It is commonly an inherited disease but there are acquired forms and neurodegenerative forms of ataxia. Ataxia can also be a symptom of stroke, brain tumor, brain aneurysm, metabolic disorder, or head trauma.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compressive disorder of the median nerve. There is pressure on the nerve as it passes thru the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The most common symptoms include numbness and tingling of the fingers, pain in the wrist and fingers, and weakness in your hand. It is commonly caused from overuse of the wrist. Symptoms can occur when using the hand or wrist. Symptoms also commonly occur at night and awakens the person while sleeping. Diagnosis is usually made by careful, history and examination. It is confirmed by EMG. Treatment is decompression of the nerve by using a splint, medication, injection or surgery.
Bad headaches or migraines affect about 30 percent of the population. It is the number one cause for decreased productivity in the United States. Frequent headaches are not normal and medical advances give partial to total relief to many people who suffer from these conditions.
The cause of the headache needs to be determined. It very concerning if the headache is more severe than usual, more frequent than usual, or new onset. Then medical evaluation is necessary as soon as possible. Headaches can be caused from vascular disease such as a brain aneurysm, brain vascular malformation, vascular inflammation such as arteritis or vasculitis, or brain tumor can be life threatening.
If chronic headaches occur, more than 15 days of headaches lasting four or more hours, there are new treatments for chronic migraines. Botox has been approved since 2010 for use in preventing chronic migraine headaches. Cefaly is a external trigeminal nerve stimulator. It was FDA approved for prevention of migraines in 2014. It uses an electrical impulse to stimulate the upper trigeminal nerve. It is worn for 20 minutes a day. There are new ongoing studies using medications that affect the immune system to prevent headaches. These trials are showing very promising results.
Back pain can be anything from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain in the upper or lower back. Often back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most back pain goes away on its own, however rest and mild pain relievers can help. Treatment for back pain depends on the cause and severity of pain. Some treatment methods may include hot or cold packs, exercise, physical therapy, medicines, injections, and sometimes surgery. Back pain is considered to be chronic if it lasts for more than three months.
Multiple sclerosis is a condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is an autoimmune disorder. Early symptoms include weakness, tingling, numbness, and blurred vision. Other signs are muscle stiffness, thinking problems, and urinary problems.
Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive, immune mediated disorder of the central nervous system. There are multiple forms of multiple sclerosis. The most common form is relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis. Symptoms occur slowly over time, plateau, and then improve. This occurs even without treatment. Treatment early on improve the symptoms quicker and prevents less disability. There is treatment to prevent relapses, slow progression, and improve function.
Muscular dystrophy are inherited diseases that causes muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue. Symptoms of weakness, muscle cramping, atrophy or pseudohypertrophy can start in infancy thru adulthood. It is a progressive disorder that can affect walking, balance, swallowing, breathing. Very few muscle dystrophies are curable. Symptoms can be treated and improved.
Vertigo is a medical condition where a person feels as if they or the environment around them are moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking. Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is the most common cause of vertigo. It is caused by crystals being dislodged in the inner ear canal. Meniere’s disease is another common cause of vertigo and is associated with tinnitus and hearing loss. Vertigo can be a sign of stroke or brain lesion. For these conditions, vertigo is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as face weakness, imbalance, slurred speech, or change in sensation.
Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US. It is caused when the blood supply to brain tissue is disrupted. It occurs when the blood vessel in the brain is blocked or ruptures. This causes brain cell death. Transient ischemic attack or TIA is when symptoms are less than 24 hours. There is no injury to the brain. Stroke and TIA are medical emergencies. There are many treatments that can decrease the brain injury. This includes use of rTpa, clot buster, and embolectomy. After a stroke or TIA, secondary prevention is the main focus of treatment. This includes controlling blood pressure, lowering lipids, decreasing blood glucose, smoking cessation, weight loss and exercise.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder resulting in abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The abnormal activity can cause a seizure. Most seizures are provoked and may not recur. Epilepsy is recurrent seizures that are unprovoked. Provoking factors include high fever, low glucose, electrolyte changes, lack of sleep, alcohol withdrawal, and medications. There are epileptic seizures and nonepileptic seizures, which can cause the same types of feelings, movements, and other behaviors. EEG can diagnosis the type of seizure and localize where it begins in the brain. Medications, surgery, ultrasound, or electronic device may control the seizure. Sometimes epilepsy can be outgrown.
PERIPHERAL NERVE DISORDERS
Neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nerves, or nerves that extend from the spinal cord to the rest of the body. There are many different types of peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves are used in motor function, sensation, and autonomic nerve control. Neuropathy can involve motor nerve sensory nerve or autonomic nerve damage. Neuropathy causes different symptoms depending on which nerves are involved. Symptoms can include numbness, tingling, weakness, imbalance, poor control of sweating, poor control of blood pressure or heart rhythm, poor control of bowel or bladder. Treatment is based on finding the cause of neuropathy. Treatment is also aimed at improving function and lessening pain.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects motor control. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. On average, the age at onset is 62, however younger people can also develop the disease. The most common symptoms include tremor, rigidity and stiffness, imbalance, shuffling, and poor posture. It is a treatable disease without a cure. Treatments include medications, exercise, surgery, deep brain stimulator, and ultrasound.
MG is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that causes weakness in the muscles that the body uses to move. It can occur in both men and women of various ages. The exact cause is unknown. Weakness of the eye muscle is usually one of the first noticeable symptoms. Other symptoms include fatigue, facial paralysis, and difficulty chewing and/or breathing.