Archive for the ‘Neurology’ Category

Jesse Jensen’s Deep Brain Stimulation Story

February 16, 2011

When he was just five years old, Jesse Jensen of Missoula, Mont. began having tics, or involuntary movements, and was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. The tics were so violent they caused him intense neck pain and kept him out of regular school for 10 years. Last spring, Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon Kendall Lee, M.D., and his team performed deep brain stimulation on Jesse. His tics have stopped and he was able to cut back on the majority of his medications. His family says the surgery “gave Jesse a life free of Tourettes…a life we never thought was possible.” Jesse’s family put together the video below to tell Jesse’s story.

Jacob Harpel’s Thanksgiving Story

November 25, 2010

Eight-year-old Jacob Harpel from Glencoe, Minn., was diagnosed with a plum-sized brain tumor the day before Thanksgiving last year. He had aggressive brain surgery at Mayo Clinic in August to remove the tumor; with the surgery he had a 50% chance of losing his peripheral vision on one side and a 50% chance of speech and comprehension deficits. Within 24 hours of the surgery, Jacob was playing the piano at Saint Marys Hospital, and just three days later he went home tumor-free.

This week, exactly a year from the initial diagnosis, Jacob had follow-up appointments at Mayo Clinic — he’s still tumor-free, his vision is 20/20 including peripheral vision, he has no speech or comprehension deficits and he’s seizure-free. It’s quite a different Thanksgiving for the whole Harpel family.

View the videos below to hear the Harpel family tell their story, including their description of playing “Just Dance” on the Wii during Jacob’s video EEG, Jacob saying that the surgery was easy, “I just slept the whole time,” and the support of their family and friends. And as for their Mayo Clinic physicians? Jacob says about Dr. Nicholas Wetjen, his pediatric neurosurgeon – “I LOVE that man!”

Mayo Clinic & Minnesota Twins Team Up for Improved Health

October 12, 2010


Even though the New York Yankees ended the Minnesota Twins’ playoff hopes on Saturday night, the first season in Target Field was lined with attendance records and an American League Central Division Championship, not to mention a new relationship with Mayo Clinic to help improve the health of Twins fans.

Throughout the 2010 season, Mayo Clinic provided on-site health screenings for thousands of fans at Target Field — including blood pressure and cholesterol checks, Body Mass Index calculations, as well as orthopedic surgery and sports medicine screenings and education.

In-stadium signage at all Target Field games included health tips read by Twins players, and pregame radio interviews with Mayo Clinic physicians provided more in-depth information on health topics, including:

To learn more about the Mayo Clinic-Twins relationship, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/mntwins/. Details on events and activities for next season will be updated as it approaches!

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From Mascara to Medicine: A Mom on a Mission

September 2, 2010

When their daughter was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) in June 2008, the world turned upside down for cosmetics entrepreneur Victoria Jackson and infomercial pioneer Bill Guthy. The diagnosing physician told them, “you know, if this were my child, I’d be going to Mayo Clinic.” And that’s exactly what they did.

In the video below, Victoria describes their journey, including one of her first conversations with Mayo Clinic neurologist and NMO expert, Dr. Brian Weinshenker

We went to see Dr. Brian Weinshenker at Mayo Clinic, and he really was extraordinarily kind and patient. I said, “are you doing any work in this area?” And he said, “Well, yes.” I said, “Do you have a foundation and research?” He said, “I’m wanting to, and I’ve started…I’m doing some research.” And I said, “Well, you and I are going to be working together. I’ve got the checkbook and you’ve got the brains for this. We’re going to get together and do something — we’re going to find a cure for this.”

Today, the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation is dedicated to funding basic science research to find answers that will lead to the prevention, clinical trial treatment programs and a potential cure for NMO. Guthy-Jackson is currently funding several NMO studies at Mayo Clinic. For patients with NMO, the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation hosts an annual patient event and an online community called Spectrum.

Other videos of Mayo Clinic physicians discussing NMO and related topics are available as well.

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Neuromyelitis Optica Treatment at Mayo Clinic Restores Grace Jeffers’ Sight

July 16, 2010

In 2009, Grace Jeffers of Chicago was wheelchair-bound, having severe back pain and losing control of the left side of her body. She had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but when a blood test sent to Mayo Clinic in December showed that Jeffers actually suffered from neuromyelitis optica (NMO), her physician referred her to Mayo Clinic.

Prior to her appointment, as she watched the Super Bowl with her children and grandchildren, Jeffers realized she was beginning to lose her eyesight. Unable to read the score on the television screen, Jeffers had to ask her grandchildren to keep her updated. Her vision continued to deteriorate until she was essentially blind.

At Mayo Clinic, neurologist Brian Weinshenker, M.D. first prescribed her steroids, but when that didn’t have any effect, they turned to a plasma exchange. A plasma exchange is a procedure that involves removing some blood and mechanically separating the blood cells from the fluid (plasma), mixing it with replacement solution and returning it to the body. After her fourth plasma exchange treatment, Jeffers vision had returned, and she recalls it being “such a joy” to see the doctor who was helping her.

Today, Jeffers is out of the wheelchair. With her eyesight back, she is able to continue her passion for drawing and painting, as well as spending time with her children and grandchildren in her Chicago home.

“There is no other place like this,” says Jeffers. “When I come to Mayo, it’s like a different world. It was just amazing, the care … was just unparalleled.”

View the video below to hear Ms. Jeffers share her Mayo Clinic story.

Click here to read an article from the LakeForester newspaper.

This post was submitted by Natalie Zheng, a summer intern in the Mayo Clinic Department of Public Affairs in Rochester.

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Modifying your stroke risk

July 9, 2010

This post was written by Kristin Davies, a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.

As a nurse who works with stroke patients and their families at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, I am amazed by the control we can have over our bodies, despite their complexity. A stroke, in any form, can be a scary, debilitating prospect. However, basic awareness can offer a layer of protection that that many people are not aware of. While not all strokes can be prevented, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, limiting alcohol use, smoking cessation, and managing your stress level are all self-directed ways of protecting yourself from a stroke. Also, being aware of how your body feels and acts lets you know when something is not normal.

Whenever I have a patient who says they called 911 as soon as they realized something wasn’t right with their body, I just want to give that patient a prize – and a hug! Even if the patient didn’t know he/she was having a stroke, having the instinct to call 911 instead of saying “It will pass,” probably made the difference between a full recovery and a life-long debilitating condition.

I always tell my patients that they are the front line to their own medical care; if they aren’t aware of their body, then even the best doctor in the world can’t help fix their health problems.

Christina George’s Mayo Clinic Story – How the Ketogenic Diet Stopped Her Seizures

June 15, 2010

Larry and Paulette George had never seen a seizure before when their 7 month old daughter, Christina, began having more than 100 seizures a day. They tried medication after medication, but the seizures wouldn’t stop.

Paulette’s sister had heard something about a diet for seizures and mentioned it to them, but when they asked their physician, they were told that it was unsafe. Paulette and Larry were desperate to help Christina and after learning that the ketogenic diet was developed at Mayo Clinic, they flew 1,200 miles from their home in Texas to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, seeking answers and hope. They eventually moved to Wisconsin to be only a day’s drive from Mayo Clinic.

At 2 1/2 years old, Christina was autistic and didn’t speak. The ketogenic diet stopped the seizures and paved the way for her to have brain surgery at Mayo Clinic. She has not had a seizure since 2001. Today, Christina is a beautiful, healthy, smart and active 12 year old.

Here’s a video of Paulette describing their journey:

Paulette is passionate about sharing Christina’s story in order to help other families dealing with seizures and increase the awareness of the ketogenic diet. She recently released a book about their journey entitled, Good Morning, Beautiful: Winning the Battle Over Seizures. The book’s title refers to the song by Steve Holy — Christina sang the words to the chorus of that song as some of her very first words after the ketogenic diet had stopped her seizures.

Paulette will be at the Barnes & Noble near the Mayo Clinic campus in downtown Rochester, Minn. for a book signing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22. More information is available at http://www.paulettegeorge.net.