Treating Movement Disorders: Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor and Dystonia

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 6, 2017

For some people with movement disorders, deep brain stimulation can offer an effective treatment for symptoms that don’t respond to medications. Above: Imaging in the AMIGO Suite at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Contributor: Michael T. Hayes, MD, is Neurological Director of the Functional Neurosurgery Program for Movement Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Movement disorders are a group of neurological conditions that cause abnormal voluntary or involuntary movements, or slow, reduced movements. These disorders can affect movements such as walking, and complex tasks like playing the piano or writing.

“No two patients with a movement disorder are alike, so treatment must be tailored to the individual. In order to achieve the best outcome each patient must be continually evaluated to decide the appropriate treatments, which may involve injections, medications, or in some cases surgery,” said Dr. Michael T. Hayes, the Neurological Director for Functional Neurosurgery at BWH. Read More »

Exploring Medical Mysteries Surrounding Famous Writers

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 5, 2013

Shakespearean tragedy: What ailed the Bard of Avon?

Looking for a good mystery? Look no further than the novels and poems of your favorite classical author or poet. As an undergraduate English major, Dr. John J. Ross, a hospitalist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), studied the works of William Shakespeare, John Milton, Jonathan Swift, and others. Now, he has combined his knowledge of literature and medicine to write a book about the medical mysteries surrounding the lives and deaths of famous authors. His book, Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough: Medical Lives of Famous Writers, was published in November 2012.

The book’s inspiration came twelve years ago while Dr. Ross was working at another Boston-area hospital during a syphilis outbreak. Thanks to the development of effective treatments, syphilis has become relatively rare in the U.S. However, its rarity meant that the diagnosis was overlooked in several patients. After the outbreak, Dr. Ross prepared a presentation on syphilis to update his colleagues.  To make things interesting, he included some quotes from Shakespeare, who often referred to the disease in his plays.

Intrigued by Shakespeare’s frequent references to syphilis, Dr. Ross decided to research Shakespeare’s health history while also re-reading his plays. “We don’t know much about Shakespeare’s health; the only thing we know medically about him is that his handwriting deteriorated to an impressive degree over the course of his life, especially for someone who died in his 50s,” notes Dr. Ross.

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