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Neurology & Neurosurgery Archive

November 12th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Restoring Mobility and Hope After Traumatic Motorcycle Crash

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Troy Chroniger enjoys time with his daughters after brachial plexus surgery.

Troy Chroniger enjoyed a busy, if hectic, life in Orlando, Florida, as a construction estimator and dad to three daughters. To relax, Troy, age 43, enjoyed sports and an occasional motorcycle ride with friends. Life changed dramatically one Saturday in November 2011, when he was out for a ride, hit a rough patch of road, veered and collided with a guardrail. He was rushed to a hospital in Orlando, where doctors diagnosed him with a debilitating brachial plexus injury.

"It was one of the worst the doctor said he'd seen," Troy recalls the physician saying. Of the five nerves that make up the brachial plexus in the shoulder, Troy suffered a complete nerve evulsion injury. His doctor referred him to Mayo Clinic, which performs hundreds of brachial plexus procedures annually.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: brachial Plexus, Dr Peter Murray, Florida Campus, neurosurgery, Orthopedics

October 5th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Lifetime of Seeking an Answer Finally Rewarded With a Diagnosis

By uthangaraj uthangaraj

Stacy Carlson with familyStacy Carlson was born with congenital myasthenic syndrome, and although she received a number of opinions throughout her life, it wasn’t until age 44 that she received a definitive diagnosis. It was after her local physician referred her to Andrew Engel, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, that DNA testing confirmed a particular gene fault responsible for Stacy's ills.

Stacy would learn that she had congenital myasthenic syndrome, an inherited neuromuscular disorder caused by defects of several types at the neuromuscular junction. It was a long road getting to that diagnosis.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: congenital myasthenic syndrome, Dr Andrew Engel, Scoliosis

August 26th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Experimental Nerve Graft Puts Former Green Beret Back on his Feet

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Kevin Flike with his daughter, Lilah. Others might have panicked, but former U.S. Special Forces Engineer Kevin Flike kept his wits about him when he was shot in the abdomen during a firefight in Afghanistan four years ago. Through the worst pain of his life, the Green Beret pushed forward. He radioed his injury to teammates and began assessing the wound, which appeared mortal to his unit’s medic.

“I wanted to remain calm because I knew if I wasn’t, it was going to make the situation worse,” says Kevin, who, at 27, was one of the senior members in his unit. As it was, the situation was bad. The bullet tore through his lower abdomen, breaking his hip, damaging his colon, and ripping apart his left femoral nerve.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Robert Spinner, Dr Scott Zietlow, nerve graft, neurosurgery, Peripheral Nerve Injury

August 5th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Turning off the Tremors — Deep Brain Stimulation Helps Patient Enjoy Little Things Again

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Mary Daugherty is now able to enjoy the little things like flying a kite after a deep brain stimulation procedure to stop her tremor. Mary Daugherty just wanted to sit still. For nearly four decades, the 73-year-old experienced tremors in her hands, arms and head. In 2014, she decided to do something about it.

Mary’s journey began when she was in her mid-30s and started to notice a slight trembling in her upper extremities. “I thought I just got excited or nervous, scared or tired,” she says. “When others started remarking on my tremors, I decided to seek a medical explanation.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Deep Brain Stimulation, Dr Kendall Lee, Essential Tremor, neurosurgery

June 12th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Spina Bifida Won’t Slow Down Ty Wiberg

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Ty Wiberg received his black belt in karate this past spring, despite mobility challenges caused by spina bifida. If everyone else can do it, why can’t I?

If Ty Wiberg, a 13-year-old from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, has one guiding principle in life, that might be the one.

The Chippewa Falls Middle School student has undergone 16 surgeries, walks with braces and uses a wheelchair for distance. Ty was born with spina bifida, a spinal cord malformation. He also suffers from hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain for which a tube-like shunt drains excess fluid. And he has limited sensation from the knees down, among other issues.

Not that any of that is slowing him down.

Ty mono-skis, distance races with his wheelchair, scuba dives, plays wheelchair basketball, swims and does karate. This past winter, he spent a week at a downhill ski camp in Colorado for kids with disabilities and injured veterans. This spring, he recently received his black belt in karate.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Jane Byrd, Dr Sherilyn Driscoll, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spina Bifida, Spina Bifida Clinic

May 11th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Brain Hemorrhage Can’t Keep Cyclist From Pedaling On

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Donnie continues to recover from a brain hemorrhage that caused a stroke.

At age 42, Donnie DeWitt was the picture of health. A former Marine, he loved to run, surf and was an avid cyclist. But three years ago, while on a bike ride near his home in St. Augustine, Florida, Donnie collapsed. He’d suffered a massive brain hemorrhage that led to a stroke.

He was brought to Mayo Clinic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center in Jacksonville, where physicians said the damage was so extensive that Donnie had less than a five percent chance of survival.

“We didn’t know if he was going to live, what the outcome would be,” says Belinda, Donnie’s wife. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: brain hemorrhage, Florida Campus, stroke, Comprehensive Stroke Center, Dr Ronald Reimer

May 4th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Young Stroke Survivor Raises Awareness and Educates

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Young stroke survivor Amy Edmunds and Dr. David Miller, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida

Young stroke survivor Amy Edmunds and David Miller, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus.

Editor's Note: This guest post is written by Amy Edmunds, founder of YoungStroke.

In 2002, I was a daily commuter to Capitol Hill who worked in sales management. Never did I think I would someday return to testify as a patient advocate at Congressional hearings on behalf of young stroke survivors. But then again, never did I expect to be a stroke survivor at age 45.

On Jan. 11, 2002, with no identified risk factors and no family history, I had an ischemic stroke. Initially, my mother observed my repeating phrases during conversation. Next, she witnessed my temporary blindness. Today, I have no recollection of these events. And my resulting deficit remains some long-term memory loss.

Like many, I mistakenly assumed stroke was an affliction of the elderly. As I attempted to learn more about my own experience, I learned approximately 30 percent of people who suffer a stroke each year are under age 65. And women are at an increased risk for stroke. So, too, are African American individuals – many of whom have significant aftereffects.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: stroke, Dr David Miller, Comprehensive Stroke Center, Florida Campus

April 23rd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

A Long Journey to a Seizure-Free Life

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Kate Seifert send her neurologist a photo from Kilimanjaro to show him that she'd gotten her life back.In December 2014, Gregory Cascino, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, received a photo of a former patient. Kate Seifert was standing at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, almost 20,000 feet above sea level, at the mountain’s Uhuru Peak. The photo was accompanied by a note from Seifert’s mother.

“We will be forever grateful for the miracle you and everyone at Mayo Clinic gave to Kate and our family,” wrote Karen Seifert.

The story of that miracle begins 20 years earlier, when Kate, then a high school student in Appleton, Wisconsin, began having seizures. “I had my first complex seizure in the middle of a basketball game,” she says. “I was on my way back to the bench and fell on the ground shaking.” After a visit to the emergency department and an appointment with her primary care physician, Kate was referred to a neurologist. She was diagnosed with epilepsy.

Initially, the diagnosis had seemed to come without warning. But as Kate learned more about the condition, she realized she had been having partial seizures for several months.

“I’d have episodes where I’d feel like someone else was controlling my thoughts, or times where the corners or a wall would look huge, but the rest of the wall would look normal,” Kate says. “My mom had wanted to take me to a psychiatrist.” As the family’s epilepsy education began, they realized these episodes were sensory seizures. Soon, Kate would be having those seizures daily.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr. Gregory Cascino, Dr. Richard Marsh, Epilepsy, Neurology & Neurosurgery, seizures

March 13th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Stopping the Seizures

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Xander Torres shows off the scar from his brain surgery. After brain surgery at Mayo Clinic, Xander Torres is a healthy, happy kid

"My hand is wiggly." When 4-year-old Xander Torres said these words to his mother, Sarah, she had no idea the long journey they would begin. "To be honest, I didn't think much about it at first," she says.

Several weeks went by when Xander's hand was occasionally "wiggly." Then during a stint as ring-bearer in a family wedding, he had what looked to his parents like a seizure. Frightened and confused, they took Xander to several physicians in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Unable to learn what was causing the problem, and with his seizures growing more frequent and severe, the Torres family decided to travel to Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota, in hope of finding answers.

After evaluation and several months of other therapies, young Xander eventually underwent brain surgery to relieve his seizures. The results have been life-changing. Today, with his seizures well-controlled, Xander is a little-league baseball player who loves science and intends to be a brain surgeon when he grows up.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Elain Wirrell, Dr Nicolas Wetjen, Neurology & Neurosurgery, seizures

February 27th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Perfume Maker Gets Her Sense of Smell Back  

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Kim Spadaro at work in her perfume studio. Kim Spadaro tells stories through scent. She travels the world capturing unique olfactory experiences and bottling them for others to share. "My experience [in these places] is really what turns it into a fragrance," she says. "I can tell you how something smells in a story."

That, of course, requires a keen sense of smell.

Kim used her talent and refined sense of smell to found Spadaro Luxury Fragrances and make a living capturing scents from around the world. Medical issues nearly derailed that and put an end to her perfuming days.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Brain Tumor, Dr Robert Wharen, neurosurgery