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Frequently Asked Questions

Neurological conditions

What is stroke?

A stroke is when there is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain, which can have an immediate effect on the body, depending on which blood vessel has been affected.

Our brains control how we function, including how we move our arms and legs, communicate, learn, think and feel. A stroke can affect one or some of these different areas.

There are two main causes of stroke:

  • An ischaemic stroke (blockage) when a clot blocks an artery in the brain, or
  • A haemorrhagic stroke (bleed) where a blood vessel bursts causing bleeding in the brain.

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis affects the way the signals from the brain communicate with the spinal cord. This is due to an insulating substance, called myelin, within the nerve becoming damaged. This can occur anywhere within the central nervous system, for example brain or spinal cord. No one is completely clear why this happens but it is known that the body’s own immune system attacks the myelin causing the disruption in communication.

Multiple sclerosis may affect your balance, and cause dizziness, fatigue, and problems with vision, sensation, bladder, memory, thinking, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, mood, emotions, tremor, speech or swallowing.

What is head injury?

A head injury usually refers to trauma of the head which may have been caused by either a fall, a motor vehicle accident or an assault. Due to this impact nerve fibres and/or blood vessels may become damaged.

This type of brain injury may result in one or more of the following: muscle weakness, memory problems, fatigue, headaches, visual problems, sensation, speech, thinking and understanding, emotions or spasticity.

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease affects the way cells communicate within the area of the brain called the Basal Ganglia, which allows our body to maintain normal posture and movement.
When these messages are interrupted it may produce difficulties with movement, posture, balance, walking, stiffness or rigidity of muscles, tremor, speech and swallowing difficulties.

What is spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injury occurs when there has been damage to the nerve fibres within the spinal cord. This may have either been due to trauma such as sport injuries, motor vehicle accident or domestic and work related accidents. It can also occur through non-traumatic injury such as infections, tumours or cysts.
Depending on where the level of injury is and whether the spinal cord is either completely or partially damaged will result in how much functional loss is involved. Spinal cord injury may affect your muscle strength, sensation, bladder and bowel control, muscle spasms, pain or breathing difficulties.

Other neurological conditions

  • Ataxia - where people have difficulties with their co-ordination. This is because the nervous system that normally controls balance and co-ordination is affected.
  • Brain tumour - where cells grow in an abnormal, uncontrollable way and may prevent an area of the brain from functioning properly.
  • Encephalitis - a rare brain inflammation caused by a virus
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome - an acute disease of the peripheral nervous system in which the nerves in the arms and legs become inflamed and stop working. This causes sudden weakness leading to limb paralysis, and a loss of sensation, sometimes with pain
  • Transverse myelitis - A neurological disorder caused by inflammation to the spinal cord.

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