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Medical Science


Neurology

Brain Functions Brain Diseases There are neurons and nerves all over the body. They serve mainly as "highways" to relay messages (in the form of action potential) between the brain and various organs. It is the brain which issues command to initiate most of the actions and thus most neurological diseases are related to its malfunction. Figure 22a shows the functions perform by different parts of the brain. Figure 22b lists the four most prevalent mental diseases in the US. Table 05a describes some of the neurological diseases - prevalence and otherwise.

Figure 22a Brain Functions
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Figure 22b Brain Diseases
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Disease Symptom(s) Cause(s) Treatment(s)
Alzheimer's Disease (AD). See Marco-Molecular View of AD Forgetfulness, confusion, loss of recent memories, misinterpretion, trouble with speaking, writing, thinking, reasoning; changes in personality, behavior. (Ten Warning Signs) Combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that kill the brain cells by Amyloid plaque Medications, supportive environment, exercise
( see link)
Amnesia Unable to learn and recall, confusionb, false recollections Brain diseases, alcohol abuse, head injuries Medications, therapy
( see link)
Autism Impaired social interaction, verbal/non-verbal communication; restricted and repetitive behavior Highly heritable, environmental factors Treatment is tailored to the child's needs, medications
( see link)
Bipolar Disorder Extreme mood swings from emotional highs (mania or hypomania) to lows (depression) Inherited, imbalance neurotransmitters, physical changes in brain Medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy)
( see link)
Coma Prolonged state of unconsciousness - temporary or permanent Brain injury - external or internal Prompt medical attention, medications, intensive care unit
( see link)
Down syndrome Abnormal facial and body features Genetic disorder with extra or abnormal copies of chromosome 21 Team care and therapy by specialists ( see link)
Epilepsy Confusion, empty staring, uncontrollable jerking movements of limbs, loss of consciousness Genetic, brain injury (internal/external) - malfunction neuron cells Diet, medications, therapies, surgery ( see link)
Huntington's Disease Chorea, cognitive, and psychiatric disorders Inherited defect in the Huntingtin gene Medications, therapies
( see link)
Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS) Weakness in limb, difficulty walking/swallowing, fasciculations Lower motor neurons deteriorate gradually - many theories Medications, physical therapy
( see link)
Meningitis Fever, severe headache, stiff neck, pain, nausea, vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, seizure, coma Bacterial infection of the meninges from the upper respiratory tract Intravenous fluids, anticonvulsants for seizures, pain relievers ( see link)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Unusual sensations, bladder problems, muscle spasms blurred/double vision, thinking problems, clumsiness, weakness in an arm/leg Autoimmunity affects certain organs or a particular tissue Immuno-suppression medications ( see link)
Parkinson's Disease Slow movements, decreased facial expression, monotonous speech, shuffling gait, stooped posture, unsteady balance, stiffness in trunk/extremities, swallowing problems, lightheadedness Genetic, toxin, free radicals, or certain medication ~ progressive deterioration of neurons in Substantia nigra Medications, exercise, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
( see link
,
and new treatment)
Polio Fever, sore throat, headache, vomiting, fatigue, pains, Meningitis Poliovirus spreads primarily through the fecal-oral route, very contagious No cure, supportive treatments : rest, exercise, nutritious diet
( see link)
Rabies Fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, hyperactivity, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, hallucinations, insomnia, partial paralysis Deadly virus from the saliva of infected animals causing acute inflammation of the brain Rabies shots ( see link)
Shingles Pain, red rash, fluid-filled blisters, itching, fever, headache, fatigue Varicella-zoster virus travel along nerve pathways to skin at weak immunity No cure, lasting 2 - 6 weeks, medications to reduce risk of complications ( see link)
Schizophrenia False beliefs, confused thinking, auditory hallucinations, inactivity Genetics, psychological/social stress, drug use disorder Antipsychotic medication to suppresses dopamine receptor activity. ( see link)

Table 05a Neurological Diseases

A new treatment for Parkinson's disease is reported in 2015. It aims to revive the dysfunctional lysosomes in the neuron cell (Figure 23g),
Parkinson, New Treatment so that the garbage inside could be cleaned up again. The miracle drug is the "nilotinib". All 12 participants in the trial show drastic improvements. It is found that the tau, amyloid beta and alpha-synuclein proteins that accumulate and cause the disease, are either stabilized or lowered. At the same time, dopamine levels increased. Side effects is minimal if taken at low dosage. The drug is already approved to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia, and could be useful in treating Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. But it costs a whopping $10,000 a month and the effect doesn't seem to last once people stop taking it. Obviously more work has to be done before it can be approved for treating Parkinson's.

Figure 23g Parkinson, New Treatment [view large image]

See original article "Drug Reverses Parkinson's" in New Scientist, October 24-30, 2015.

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