Posts Tagged ‘Neurology’

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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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

ESCP (Edie’s Spinal Cord Problem)

April 20, 2010

I don’t even know how to begin to tell this story, but I know I have to write down what has happened in my life over the past few years. It has been a roller coaster ride with new situations and events like never before.

Edie and Noble

In April 2005, while camping with my husband Noble and our dog Sam and cat JoJo at Lincoln Rock State Park, I had a weird vertigo experience which passed quickly but then some slight dizziness reoccurred off and on for about a year. After seeing several doctors I was diagnosed with an inner ear virus which they said would go away and it did.


Head and shoulders above the rest

February 10, 2010

My 80-year old mother saw Dr. William Tatum in Neurology last week. She suffered a fall at home, resulting in several broken bones and a brain injury.

From the minute he walked in the door, Dr. Tatum was
positive, upbeat and professional. He spent time understanding her history and making prioritized recommendations for her care moving forward. She has Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease, and he took care to understand the device and make sure it was functioning as it should be.

While many of the caregivers we met were caring and professional, he stood head and shoulders above. Thanks!

This post was submitted by Rebecca H, whose mother is a patient at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

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Grateful Family Says Mayo Clinic Care and Ketogenic Diet Brought Their Son Back To Them

November 2, 2009

Less than a year ago, four-year-old Max Irvine was having hundreds of seizures a day … he couldn’t walk, talk or chew his food. A previously healthy and active preschooler, Max has epilepsy. The Irvines were told by one epilepsy specialist that their son would become mentally incompetent from his seizures. Thankfully, they refused to believe this devastating news.

Under the guidance of Mayo Clinic pediatric neurologist Elaine Wirrell, M.D., the Irvines say they experienced a miracle. They took Max off all his epilepsy medications and relied on the ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low-protein, non-carbohydrate diet, to inhibit his seizures. The day he took his last pill, he started to walk again — that evening he began talking again — and he hasn’t had another seizure since.

In the video below, Max’s parents, Troy and Kristine Irvine, tell their Mayo Clinic story.

Please note: If the ketogenic diet is effective, some, but not all, children may be safely weaned from their medications. This decision must be discussed with a neurologist prior to any attempt to withdraw medication.

This story was submitted by Elizabeth Rice, Mayo Clinic in Rochester communications consultant in Public Affairs.

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Garrison Keillor’s “Brush with Mortality”

September 16, 2009

Syndicated columnist and radio host Garrison Keillor shares his story of a recent stroke in his Chicago Tribune column, published today:

The doctor who saw me in the ER wrote in her report: “nice 67 y.o. male, flat affect, awake, alert and appropriate.” I had appeared with slurred speech and a balloon in my head, had driven myself to United Hospital in St. Paul, parked in No Parking, walked in and was triaged right in to a neurologist who trundled me into the MRI Space-Time Cyclotron for 50 minutes of banging and whanging which produced a picture of the stroke in the front of my brain, so off to the Mayo Clinic I went and the St. Mary’s Hospital Neurology ICU and was wired up to monitors. A large day in a nice 67 y.o. man’s life.

Read the rest of the column here.

Click here for options on how you can share your Mayo Clinic story.

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Finding Answers at Mayo Clinic

September 15, 2009

After seeing numerous medical professionals in her hometown for a stabbing pain in her face, Amy Abts was referred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. At Mayo Clinic, Amy saw a neurologist who diagnosed her with Trigeminal Neuralgia, a rare condition named for the three-part (trigeminal) nerve. It is this nerve that delivers sensations to the face.

To get the pain under control, her neurologist tried a couple different medications. When the medications did not work, her neurologist and a neurosurgeon determined the best option was a surgical procedure called a Microvascular Decompression. The surgical procedure consisted of separating the nerve and blood vessels and inserting a Teflon plate between them to alleviate the pressure.

In the following video, Amy talks about her visit to Mayo Clinic and her diagnosis and successful treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.

To learn more about Trigeminal Neuralgia, visit: