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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mold-induced seizures?

"Mold" is the common term for multicellular fungi that grow in a mat. Generally, they are not pathogenic to immunocompetent patients. Molds may negatively affect humans through developing the following processes: allergy, infection, and toxicity. Allergic response to indoor molds is mediated via production of specific molecules, called immunoglobulins, and is associated with development of atopic reactions, such as atopic asthma, rhinitis, and dermatitis. Other uncommon allergic reactions include bronchopulmonary aspergillosis and allergic sinusitis. Infections are potentially dangerous for individuals with weak immune system, such as cancer patients, AIDS, etc. In addition, molds are capable of producing mycotoxins. In fact, an inhalation exposure or eating moldy foods may adversely affect health. It is commonly referred as organic dust toxic syndrome which is characterized by a flu-like symptoms. Interestingly, sick building syndrome is a set of symptoms that seems to be linked to occupancy in a building. While specific causes of this syndrome remain unknown, some believe that mold contamination may be contributing factor. A critical review of literature, including a case-control study, did not show any significant correlation between exposure to mycotoxins and human disease. To address the indoor mold-induced seizure, a case control study would be needed.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A new hope for patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder

The U.S FDA gave its approval for Reclaim™ Deep Brain Stimulation under a Humanitarian Device Exemption. An Humanitarian use device is a device that is intended to benefit patients by treaing a disease that affects fewer than 4,000 individuals in the U.S. per year. 
OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors. The DBS of specific area of the brain, called ventral striatum,  may offer therapeutic promise for alleviating symptoms of OCD.
Dr Richter has  initiated approval process for performing this procedure at WJMC.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Neuromodulation for Dystonia

The U.S. Food and Drug administration approved a Humanitarian Device Exemption for Activa® Deep Brain Stimulation for Dystonia. Dr. Richter has received an approval for the clinical use of the device in Louisiana, West Jefferson Medical Center, in particular. The first patient with severe form of dystonia will undergo the procedure in the near future.

Dystonia is a disorder characterized by involuntary spasms and muscle contractions. It is estimated to affect approximately 250,000 Americans. Currently medical treatment and various surgical procedures are available to relieve symptoms. However, the cure has yet to be found. Deep brain stimualtion gives new hope to sufferers of dystonia. The procedure involves the implantation of an electrode that delivers electrical impulses to specific areas of the brain. With neuromodulation, abnormal signals from nerve cells go away.

If you are interested in getting more information about the procedure and would like to get an opinion as to whether you may potentially be a candidate fir surgery, just call our office and make an appointment with Dr. Erich Richter.