Tag Archives: Multiple sclerosis

Lhermitte’s phenomenon

Alternative Name: Barber Chair phenomenon

Definition:

Lhermitte’s phenomenon  is an electrical sensation that runs down the back and into the limbs. In many patients, it is elicited by bending the head forward. It can also be evoked when a practitioner pounds on the posterior cervical spine while the neck is flexed; caused by involvement of the posterior columns

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The Lhermitte’s sign is a symptom rather than a sign as it describes a subjective sensation rather than an objective finding. To add more confusion, it is not attributed to its discoverer. It was first described by Pierre Marie and Chatelin in 1917. Jean Lhermitte did not publish his first report until 1920. However, in 1924 he did publish the seminal article on the subject which resulted in it becoming well known

It’s usually triggered by flexing the neck – that is, bending your head down, chin towards chest. The sensation is short-lived, usually no more than a second.

How often the symptom occurs, and what other symptoms develop along with it, depends on the underlying cause, of which there are several.

Causes:
L’hermitte’s phenomenon is a sign that something may be damaging the spinal cord (especially in the part of it that’s composed of white matter, at the back of the cord). This damage is usually in the neck or region of the spine known as the cervical spine. But the symptom is very non-specific and says nothing about exactly where in the spinal cord the problem is, or what is damaging it.

The most common cause is arthritis of the small joints of the vertebra in that part of the spine, also known as cervical spondylosis. This can cause abnormal pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves coming out of it.

Other causes include:

•Multiple sclerosis
•Vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anaemia)
•Tumours
•Compression of the discs in the cervical spine following trauma
•Radiotherapy to the neck

But in many cases a specific cause for Lhermitte’s phenomenon can’t be found.

Treatment:
It’s important that L’hermitte’s phenomenon is investigated by a specialist to pick up and treat any identifiable cause if possible, and limit or prevent further damage. But in many cases the tests (which may include X-ray of the cervical spine, MRI scans of the brain and cervical spinal cord, lumbar puncture and nerve signal tests known as visual evoked potentials) all come back negative.

When this happens, you should keep an eye on the problem and ask your doctor to repeat the tests if necessary or if symptoms worsen.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lhermitte’s_sign
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/lhermittes.shtml

http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm/fuseaction/show/pageid/755

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illu_vertebral_column.jpg

NEW Research Explains 61% of Multiple Sclerosis Cases

 

New research shows that low levels of sunlight, coupled with glandular fever, could increase your risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). This could be one reason that MS tends to be more common away from the equator.

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The study suggested that low levels of sunlight could affect how your body responds to infection. Vitamin D deficiency could be another possible link.

BBC News reports:
“The researchers found that by just analyzing sunlight, they could explain 61 percent of the variation in the number of MS cases across England. However when they combined the effect of sunlight and glandular fever, 72 percent of the variation in MS cases could be explained.”

REMEMBER: When the American Cancer Society, or dermatologists, tell you that you should be avoiding the sun at all costs, they are dead wrong.

You may click to see :
*Harvard study finds high vitamin D intake may cut multiple sclerosis risk
*Multiple Sclerosis: blaming the sunshine :
*Too Little Sunshine Raises Risk of MS :http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2011/04/21/too-little-sunshine-raises-risk-of-ms/

Resources:
BBC News April 19, 2011
Neurology April 19, 2011;76(16):1410-4

The HealthAGE April.19,2011

Posted By Dr. Mercola

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This Simple Habit May Actually Reduce Cancer and Diabetes by 50%

It is Vitamin D that influences more than 200 genes. This includes genes related to cancer and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D affects your DNA through the vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which bind to specific locations of the human genome.

Reuters reports:

Vitamin D deficiency is a well-known risk factor for rickets, and some evidence suggests it may increase susceptibility to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, as well as certain cancers and even dementia.”

Resources:
Reuters August 23, 2010

Genome Research August 23, 2010; [Epub ahead of print]

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Shakes and Tremors

Definition:
A shake or a tremor can be described as any involuntary out of the ordinary movement of the body usually due to some kind of neurological dysfunction. The most common shakes of this kind are the tremors typically associated with Parkinson’s Disease. The shakes like those that occur from Parkinson’s disease are what are referred to as at rest tremors because they come on for no apparent reason, and not as the result of any specific movement or stimulation. Other types of shakes are called positional or postural tremors. These are the kinds of shakes that occur during a movement of a body part, like when an arm is over stressed from weightlifting and begins to shake, or any body part shakes or quivers in response to certain stimuli, such as fear, cold or sudden loud sound etc.

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Most of us occasionally experience a tremor or multiple waves of tremors in various parts of our body. Such tremors can be described as a muscle twitch or barely perceptive shaking/trembling of the body parts such as the finger or the hand. Some people perceive tremors as the difficulty to hold onto objects such as pencils, glasses, and papers. Medically defined, a tremor is a rhythmic muscle movement that produces a back-and-forth motion in a hand or limb. While most tremors occur in the hands, they can also affect vocal cords, legs, facial muscles, as well as head movements…..click & see the videos

In some cases, a tremor may be a symptom of a neurological disorder; however, it also occurs very commonly in healthy people. In some cases, the tendency to exhibit tremors is genetic and may run in families. The severity of tremors may range from mild to moderate. More often that not, tremors are not generally a cause for concern until they begin to interrupt day-to-day activities. In addition, long-term alcoholism as well as sudden alcohol withdrawal may destroy nerve cells that can result in tremors, especially in the hand. Sometimes, a tremor may be caused due to an overactive thyroid gland, and may also be caused due to the use of various prescribed and over-the-counter medications.

Most tremors are felt and experienced by middle-aged people and senior citizens, although anyone may be susceptible to them. In some cases, extreme stress or emotional episodes may cause intermittent tremor symptoms in children, teenagers, as well as young adults. There are more than 20different types of tremors, and each may affect a different area of the body.

Some tremors produce a nodding type of movement; while others may produce a side-to-side type of ‘twitching’ movement. One of the most expressive tremors is the condition that is caused by the Parkinson’s disease. Such tremors are caused by damage to areas within the brain that control movement. Parkinson’s disease causes involuntary muscle contractions that produce twisting motions. The person may also have difficulty in attaining a comfortable posture or position.

Causes:.
Shaking is part of the body’s normal response as a defense mechanism or reaction to certain stimulation. In fact one type of uncontrollable shakes are due to this mechanism. These are so called Physiological Shakes. Physiological Shakes are shaking disorders that would be the result of physiological causes, such as a response to cold, to stress, to fever, or as a reaction to certain drugs.

However most uncontrollable shakes are the result of some kind of neurological, not physical problem. There are well over 20 different types of shakes caused by neurological or nervous disorders. Only a neurologist can properly identify which type you may have, and recommend an apropos treatment plan. Neurological shakes are broken down into several categories including:
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Essential Tremor
– Is the shaking of the hands and/or head, that is most often associated with old age. It is a condition whose onset usually occurs over the age of 40. It is believed to be genetic, though no specific gene defect has yet to be identified that causes the condition. However if your parents suffer from essential tremor, there is more than a 50% likelihood that you will as well.

Parkinsonian Tremors – Are those tremors associated with and are often, but not always a precursor to, Parkinson’s Disease. The Parkinsonian tremor is a resting tremor. It is the result of damage to the parts of the brain that control movement. Parkinsonian shakes typically effect the hands, feet, legs, and can also effect the face, chin and lips. Emotional stress increases Parkinsonian shakes.

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Cerebellar Tremor Are shakes that occur upon a targeted movement, such as when reaching ones arm out to press a button. Cerebellar shakes are the result of lesions to the brain. The brain damage to the centers that coordinate body movement is due to congenital defect, disease conditions such as multiple sclerosis, or trauma such as from head injury or stroke.

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There are literally dozens of other types of shakes with different causes. Again only a neurologist can properly evaluate the cause for your shaking disorder and recommend treatment options.

Symptoms:
Tremors are a symptom of a neurological disorder. They could indicate hyperthyroidism or Parkinson’s disease. Alcoholism or sudden alcohol withdrawal could also result in tremors. If tremors affect the day to day activities, then they require medical assistance.

Treatments:-

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a unit of the United StatesDepartment of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health, is one of the world’s leaders in researching the neurological disorders such as tremors. Today, there is no cure for most types of tremors; however, studies are in progress.

Certain drugs may relieve some tremors, while others may be alleviated through the reduction of caffeine or other stimulants from a person’s diet. For some, physical therapy helps to reduce the severity of tremors and also helps to improve muscle control.

While most tremors are not life threatening, they do cause decreased quality of living skills, and prevent many people from enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle. In addition, such tremors may have a severe effect on the psychological well-being of any person who is experiencing them. For those suffering from unexplained tremors, diagnosis, which includes the identification of the cause as well as suggested treatments may help to provide some relief.
Tremors are one of the most difficult symptoms of MS to treat. To date, there have been no reports of consistently effective drugs to treat tremors. Varying degrees of success have been reported with agents such as the anti-tuberculosis agent, isoniazid (INH); the antihistamines Atarax and Vistaril; the beta-blocker Inderal; the anticonvulsive Mysoline; a diuretic Diamox; and anti-anxiety drugs Buspar and Klonopin.

Psychological Impact of Tremors
Tremors can have a tremendous emotional and social impact on a person. Unfortunately, people with severe tremors tend to isolate themselves to avoid embarrassment. Isolation can lead to depression and further psychological problems. A psychologist or counselor may be able to help a person with MS deal with these issues and become more comfortable in public. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble coping with tremors.

Regardless of the cause there is no cure for body shakes. However most of the time involuntary shaking can be controlled to varying degrees. For instance treating the underlying cause can control physiological tremors. For the various types of neurological tremors there are many medications available that can reduce the shakes. Different families of drugs are used to treat the different types of tremors. Your doctor will prescribe the best one for you based on your diagnosis. In addition to medications lifestyle changes will be recommended and are often effective in reducing the shakes. Lifestyle changes can include:

*Elimination of caffeine, alcohol, or any other foods that can stimulate the shakes

*Physical therapy to strengthen muscles and enhance muscle control

*Stress management techniques such as deep breathing and yoga

*Finally in some cases of severe shaking there are surgical interventions available that can often curb the severity of the symptoms. These range from finding and excising the areas of the brain responsible for the shakes, to newer techniques that include the implantation of Deep Brain Stimulation devices. Your medical professional can discuss all surgical options that may be applicable to your particular case.

Uncontrollable shakes and tremors are not only embarrassing in social situations. In the most extreme cases shakes can have an extremely debilitating effect on lifestyle. Simple everyday tasks such as pouring a cup of tea can become impossible.

You may click to see-> Questions related to tremors & answers:

Twitches, Shakes and Tremors: What’s Causing Your Symptoms or Side Effects :

New Discovery On Cause Of Tremor

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.embarrassingissues.co.uk/Shakes.html
http://www.symptomfind.com/symptoms/.
http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/guide/managing-related-tremors

http://www.symptomfind.com/symptoms/tremor/

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New Discovery On Cause Of Tremor

 

In a new discovery, UK scientists have found a mechanism in the spine that counteracts the brain waves that produce tremor: they suggest the discovery could help around 1 million people in the UK who suffer from shakes and tremors.

A paper on the research that led to the discovery, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust, and conducted by scientists at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, was published online ahead of print in the 1 June issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Most healthy individuals have experienced mild tremor, it is not uncommon when we feel tired, hungry or nervous, but more severe forms can be a symptom of neurological disease, including Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and also Essential Tremor which is usually a disease of old age but it can also affect young people and it often leaves patients unable to walk unaided.

Dr Stuart Baker, professor of movement neuroscience at Newcastle, told the media that:

“We don’t fully understand the brain systems causing these tremors but they can really have a massive impact on someone’s quality of life. They lose their independence and can’t do something as simple as make a cup of tea.”

Baker explained the approach they took in their research: instead of looking at why people have tremors, they decided to investigate why most people don’t have them.

He said that the part of the brain that controls movement produces brain waves the work at 10 cycles per second, so in theory everyone should have tremors that have that frequency.

In fact we do, said Baker, but the tremor is so smal that we don’t notice it. So he and his team wondered if there was another process at work, one that countered the effect of the 10 cycles per second.

For their study, Baker and colleagues used macaque monkeys: they taught them how to move their index finger backwards and forwards very slowly, which exacerbated the natural minor tremor that we humans and our primate relatives have in common.

They then recorded nerve cell activity in the brain and spinal cord as the animals performed their slow finger movements.

The results showed that not only was the rhythm of nerve cell activity in the brain and spinal cord oscillating at around the same frequency as the tremor, but that the spinal cord was exactly out of phase with the brain, effectively cancelling out its oscillations and thus reducing the size of the tremor.

The researchers wrote that:

Convergence of antiphase oscillations from the SC [spinal cord] with cortical and subcortical descending inputs will lead to cancellation of approximately 10 Hz oscillations at the motoneuronal level.”

They concluded that:

“This could appreciably limit drive to muscle at this frequency, thereby reducing tremor and improving movement precision. ”

Baker said there are many types of disease associated with tremor, and perhaps in some of these the controller in the spine malfunctions and that is what actually leads to tremor.

In other diseases, he said, we already know the cause of tremor is a problem in brain regions that produce abnormally high oscillations.

“But even then, the spinal system we have discovered will reduce tremors, making the symptoms much less severe than they would otherwise be,” he added.

The researchers suggested that the more we understand about how the spinal controller works, the better chance we have of developing treatments that adjust it to work better and thereby reduce the levels of tremor that patients experience and improve their quality of life.

“Spinal interneuron circuits reduce approximately 10-Hz movement discontinuities by phase cancellation.”

Source: Medical News Today.Jun 2. 2010

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