Motor neurone disease (MND), as discussed in previous posts, is not a disease of pure motor symptoms. MND can also affect one’s ability to perform complex judgments (e.g. financial decision-making) and leads to changes in behaviour (e.g. a person once very active and driven can become apathetic). These non-motor symptoms and behavioural changes often go unrecognised and underdiagnosed. In a recent study we investigated how these symptoms affect carers when compared to the more well-known motor symptoms of MND. Continue reading
Life is full of things that are not necessarily what they seem to be, and the same applies when diseases mimic each other and make diagnosis difficult. This is particularly true for different dementias, which often show similar and overlapping symptoms. Continue reading
You are preparing to leave your house when you look out the window. You see dark clouds rolling towards you and thunder is echoing in the distance. It looks like rain. You pick up your umbrella and walk outside, prepared for the downpour. Continue reading
You know the word…it’s right there…on the tip of your tongue…and…it’s gone again. Argh!
Struggling to think of a certain word is something everyone encounters. For a specific group of dementia patients, however, this is a daily battle and often involves words for common household objects previously well remembered (e.g kettle). Semantic dementia is a disease that attacks language in people in their 50s to 60s while other cognitive skills like attention and memory remain good. Continue reading
Getting lost in shopping malls, leaving doors unlocked and difficulty remembering what you ate last night are situations that caregivers and patients with Alzheimer’s disease know well and have to deal with every day. Yet, what would you think, if instead of getting lost, someone had trouble finding the right word? Would you still call this Alzheimer’s disease? Continue reading
No two strokes are the same. How a person is affected by a stroke is dependent on a range of factors such as the type of stroke, the part of the brain damaged, and their health before the stroke.
Many stroke survivors have trouble manipulating and holding objects, and the way people hold and manipulate objects is something NeuRA’s Dr Ingvars Birznieks is an expert in. Dr Birznieks studies tactile receptors (features in our skin that respond to touch) in the fingers and the way the brain controls our hands. Continue reading
Evolution is the gradual development of something into a more complex or better form. I witness this everyday as a paediatric neurologist: A newborn is vulnerable and fully dependent on its parents and during childhood movements become smooth and an infant learns to stand, walk and then run. Compared to development in other species, human children take a long time to grow up. Continue reading
Did you know that the brain contains its own set of chemicals that act like chemicals found in cannabis? You may have heard of endorphins (not to be confused with the Australian electronic musician), opiate-like chemicals made by our bodies that help us control pain and feel good after exercise. Well, the body also makes its own cannabis-like chemicals, called endocannabinoids, that help us with everyday functions such as memory and appetite. Continue reading
We are all exposed to environmental sources of lead, particularly from the combustion of lead-based fuels, manufacture of lead-acid batteries, crushing and smelting of lead, and the rapidly expanding technology industry. And as the culturally-inclined are aware, the use of lead-based pigments facilitated the most inspiring paintwork during the renaissance era. Continue reading
Why are adolescent males at the highest risk for schizophrenia onset? And what is it about adolescence that makes male brains more vulnerable? Continue reading