CNNH Stories: Adam

“We are so thankful to have been referred to CNNH to help care for and finally treat our son Adam’s complex neurological issues!

Our journey started around the age of 3 when we began seeing a Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician due to hyper-activity and aggression. Starting around 5 ½, he began having both vocal and motor tics. As Adam became school age, we also began to further understand his learning disability and other issues related to his condition.

We began experimenting with medications under another doctor’s care, but considering the side effects, we were not seeing much improvement or benefit. This went on for more than four years, and about 15 different medications. We saw four different neurologists, three psychologists, psychiatrists, including going as far as Rochester, NY, which is 350 miles away from our home in hopes of finding a doctor that could help us. Finally, we were referred to CNNH.

The first visit with the CNNH Neurologist, he took saliva samples for several genetic tests, the goal being to “peel back the layers” to better understand Adam. The first test was to see what medications could be used, and the second was looking at genetic factors that could be causing some of our son’s behaviors.

After nearly two years under CNNH’s care, our son is much more stable and able to interact with our family and his peers! The CNNH Neurologist was not only a doctor with an amazing bedside manner, but a scientist using data to make decisions in our son’s treatment. They made our family so confident we are getting the best possible care, and while in the office with them, we feel like we are their only patient.

The entire staff at CNNH is excellent. Every call and every email is answered expediently and no request goes unanswered. The right care means so much to parents of children with disabilities, we are so grateful to be a part of CNNH’s community!”

Bruce and Dorothy R.

CNNH Stories: Julie

“For nearly a year my 16 yr old son has suffered from constant debilitating headaches. He’s been unable to attend school due to the pain and difficulty concentrating. We visited three different neurologists to find answers, and always ended up with the same recommendation: push through the pain. But that wasn’t an acceptable treatment plan for our family. We became more determined than ever to find answers.

After doing additional Internet research I learned CNNH treats headaches. I had previously thought CNNH just treated children with developmental disabilities and brain injuries. But I found out they also have a comprehensive headache program. After speaking with other medical professionals in the area, I learned that CNNH has a team of experts who might look deeper for underlying causes of my son’s symptoms. That was exactly what we’d hoped for.

The CNNH neurologist we met with spent nearly two hours with us discussing my son’s symptoms and medical history. He even brought in an adult neurologist working with the practice to collaborate. They listened carefully to all the details we shared. Both doctors asked relevant, yet ‘outside the box’ questions that renewed my confidence in the process.

My son’s doctor said that he would take a multi-pronged approach to find the cause of the headaches, rather than simply treat my son’s symptoms. He suggested possible causes, and he made both diagnostic and treatment recommendations that no other doctor had mentioned before. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like we finally had a solid plan for approaching the problem. That first visit renewed my hope that my son would find relief.

As we have embarked on our plan, I’ve also discovered that CNNH does not cut corners on quality, service or care. They have invested in top technology and professional, compassionate staff.

I finally found a partner in caring for my son and finding him relief. I am grateful to the team of professionals at CNNH for partnering with us on this journey, and I feel confident that together we will find the best course of action to help my son return to a happy, active life!”

-Julie W., Cherry Hill, NJ

CNNH Article: “What Does a Neurologist Do?”

Reprinted with permission from The Jewish Link of Bergen County…

When children catch a cold or need vaccinations, many parents may take them to a pediatrician. If children (or adults) break a bone, they might go to an orthopedic doctor. But, what kind of doctor should children and adults see after sustaining a concussion? What about the child who is struggling with homework, can’t settle down in the classroom or is feeling anxious about going to school? What about the child who exhibits challenging behaviors on a regular basis and recommended behavior strategies don’t help? These issues are all related to the brain so a doctor specializing in how the brain functions should evaluate and treat these issues: a neurologist.

A neurologist is a necessary and important medical professional for individuals with neurological, neurobehavioral, neuropsychiatric or neurodevelopmental symptoms or signs. That is, individuals who are struggling with daily functioning, learning or development.

What can a neurologist do to help improve an individual’s everyday functioning? A neurological evaluation is an important component in knowing if there is an underlying medical cause for a condition or illness. After learning about the presenting problems and concerns, and reviewing a patient’s medical and neuropsychiatric history and educational difficulties, a neurologist will complete a physical and neurological examination. Then, a neurologist will discuss clinical findings and diagnostic impressions and make suggestions for additional targeted diagnostic testing that can provide further insight for treatment recommendations.

A good neurologist is also a worthy investigator. Someone who is willing to “peel back the layers” of symptoms and look for the true cause is also most likely to find the most effective treatment. This is exactly what happened for Theresa and her son, Colin, after she had him evaluated by a neurologist at The Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health (CNNH).

Colin, a bright, perceptive third grade boy, was suffering academically in school and feeling very frustrated. “His self-esteem was taking a nosedive,” recalls his mother. “He would rip up his homework if he did not comprehend something. Many times I would break down myself because I felt helpless and fearful.” Colin’s mom did a lot of research online and felt that there may be a medical reason for his frustration, rather than simply being a learning disability, which she had been told. Her pediatrician recommended going to CNNH.

“Our first appointment included a thorough history and neurological examination. Then, we completed a High Density Electroencephalogram (HD-EEG).” HD-EEG is an advanced tool for detecting and localizing electrical abnormalities in the brain (“brain waves”) typically associated with autism, ADHD, epilepsy, concussion, brain injuries and other neurological disorders. HD-EEG provides an electrical “image” of brain activity, enabling improvements in diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. Theresa remembers, “The tests were painless for Colin and the process was so comprehensive, which gave me comfort.”

In Colin’s case, the neurologist discovered that Colin was having abnormal discharges known as “spikes” in some sections of his brain. These were called “subclinical spikes”, as Colin was not having any observable seizures. With this accurate and evidence-based diagnosis, Colin was able to receive the specific treatment he needed that targeted his biological causes rather than his external symptoms.

His mother proudly shares, “his teacher notes that Colin is notably more engaged, participative and confident. He even helps others in his class, now and his confidence is much improved. It is wonderful to see how proud he is of his accomplishments!”

“The brain is complex and each person’s situation can be different,” reminds Mark Mintz, M.D., CNNH’s president, CEO and founder. “As we know from Colin’s situation, it is important to investigate each unique patient’s symptoms comprehensively and individually. Whether it is a concussion, ADHD or even a headache, sometimes it’s a matter of asking the right question to get the correct answer. As a neurologist, it is our job to make those discoveries to provide a smarter approach to treating the brain.”

A Good Night’s Sleep is More than a Dream!

Sleep is an important contributor to overall brain health. Sleep disorders are linked to a variety of neurological and other health problems. If you suspect a sleep disorder, it is important to get an evaluation from a Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialist.

Read the Full Article Here >

Article Excerpt:
“Today’s youth are also at tremendous risk for long-term, sleep-related health impacts. Sleep-related disorders are on the rise, creeping upward among older workers and becoming staggeringly common in young adults. We’ve long known that sleep is crucial to good health: Bodies subjected to sleep deprivation undergo an ugly metamorphosis until they are in many ways fundamentally different from their sufficiently-slept counterparts. A study published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)showed that chronic sleep deprivation caused “shifts” in the expression levels of more than 700 genes. “Many of these [genes] are related to inflammation and immune and stress response, and overlap with the program of gene expression that is generally associated with high stress levels,” explains Malcolm von Schantz, a researcher at the University of Surrey who helped conduct the PNAS study.

Sleep loss has tremendous cognitive consequences: Dozens of studies have connected lack of sleep to deficits ranging from poor insight formation to diminished working memory. Chronic sleep deprivation is also associated with increased mortality and especially obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and impaired cognitive function, says von Schantz. REM sleep in particular is needed for maintaining brain cells: “Brain cells are some of the few cells in our bodies that we retain throughout our lives,” says Czeisler. “We store our memories, and through their complicated architecture, they are difficult to replace.” Sleep is when toxins accumulated by the body get flushed out of the brain—including big-name baddies like amyloid beta, the plaque that, if it builds up, eventually causes Alzheimer’s.”