Patient Care

The clinical faculty is simultaneously engaged in teaching medical students, residents and fellows as well as conducting cutting-edge translational and clinical research. The close integration with the basic sciences creates a bench-to-bedside culture that values swift application of discovery to patient benefit.

We offer a full spectrum of medical, surgical, pharmacological and support therapies to diagnose, treat and relieve neurological problems. These range from prescription medicines — including experimental drugs — to biofeedback and physical therapy. We also provide genetic testing to identify and better understand brain malformations and diseases and neuropsychological evaluations to test cognitive and behavioral functions.

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Neurological and Neurosurgical Care

 

 

The University of Chicago Medicine Center for Comprehensive Care and Research on Memory Disorders, also known as the Memory Center, provides specialized, compassionate care for the most challenging memory problems.

Our highly trained team of neurologists, geriatricianspsychiatrists, neuropsychologists, social workers and nurses evaluates each patient to develop an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan. We provide primary care services and second opinions for patients with memory problems.

Our dedicated team members work closely with families and referring physicians to help guide the patient’s treatment over the long term. We can also assess and manage behavioral and psychiatric problems that often accompany memory disorders.

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Alzheimer's, Dementia and Memory Loss

Caregiver Support Group

Additional Resources

Open Alzheimer's Clinical Trials

The University of Chicago Medicine Ataxia Center provides comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and management of ataxias, a group of degenerative neurological diseases that affect a person’s ability to walk, talk and use fine motor skills.

Patients with falling, vertigo and many types of rare gait and balance disorders can benefit from our multidisciplinary, compassionate team of specialists.

Our team provides the most current genetic tests available to diagnose hereditary types of ataxia. We work with our patients to develop individualized treatment plans that can include physical therapy, orthotics, speech therapy and occupational therapy.

Our Ataxia Center is actively involved in research studies, and our patients have access to the latest clinical trials of emerging ataxia therapies. 

Meet the Ataxia Team

For more information visit: UChicago Medicine Ataxia Center

Open Ataxia Clinical Trials

The University of Chicago Medicine's Brain Tumor Center represents the forefront of groundbreaking care for tumors of the central nervous system (CNS), the part of the nervous system that consists of the brain and spinal cord. 

Our multidisciplinary team of neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and hematologist/oncologists work together to plan and deliver individualized care for patients with the most complex brain and spinal cord tumors.

Why Choose UChicago Medicine for your brain or spine tumor treatment?

  • UChicago Medicine surgeons perform hundreds of brain and spine tumor operations every year.
  • We offer definitive diagnostic assessments using the latest technology and minimally-invasive techniques to pinpoint even the most difficult-to-detect tumors.
  • Patients benefit from our full range of comprehensive treatment options for non-malignant and malignant brain and spinal cord tumors.

Leading the Advancement of Brain & Spinal Cord Tumor Treatment

At the Brain Tumor Center, our treatment strategies are guided by innovative research conducted at UChicago Medicine. Our scientists are helping build critical foundations for future advancements in the treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors. 

Through our basic research program, UChicago Medicine scientists investigate the underlying mechanisms involved in how brain and spinal cord tumors develop, survive and spread. Collaborative initiatives with the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center aim to substantially advance the treatment and prevention of brain and spinal cord metastases. This scientific research is supported by numerous grants, including a $90 million grant supporting the Ludwig Center for Metastases Research

Access to Innovative Clinical Trials

UChicago Medicine researchers are conducting clinical research focused on brain and spinal cord tumors. Our Comprehensive Cancer Center offers access to the entire range of Phase I, II, and III clinical trials supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for newly-diagnosed and progressive gliomas, as well as brain metastases. 

In addition to national trials supported by the NIH, we also conduct industry- and investigator-sponsored clinical trials. These studies involve a range of treatments including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted drugs, immunotherapy and vaccines. Your doctor can help you decide whether a clinical trial is right for you.

Meet our Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Team

Brain Tumor Clinical Trials

For more information visitUChicago Medicine Brain Tumor

Chiari malformation type 1 (CM1) is a congenital anomaly of the cerebellum — the part of brain located at the base of the skull. In CM1, the tissue in the lower part of the cerebellum protrudes into the spinal canal, which can obstruct cerebrospinal fluid from flowing into the spinal canal. This causes pressure on surrounding tissues. If it is not treated appropriately, Chiari malformation type 1 can impact virtually all functions of the brain.

The presentation of CM1 usually includes some kind of head pain — classically, a headache at the back of the head while coughing, sneezing or exerting. Other common symptoms can be diffuse numbness, tingling, pain or heaviness into the neck, trunk, arms and legs.

Signs and Symptoms

The list of less common symptoms is very long and can involve sensory and motor changes throughout the body. The presentation of CM1 in children and adults is similar, though younger children tend to have more brainstem dysfunction, while older children and adults have more sensory problems. Both children and adults may experience:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chiari dropping attacks or brief fainting spells
  • Swallowing difficulties 

In children, Chiari malformation occurs equally in boys and girls. In adults, it is three times more common in women than in men.

Causes and Treatments

While the cause of Chiari malformation in children and adults is unknown, it is thought to begin in the early stages of brainstem and spinal cord development. In some cases, it is related to the back of the skull being atypically small.

The treatment of CM1 and its associated symptoms generally involves decompression surgery at the base of the skull. In this procedure, specially trained neurosurgeons remove bone and enlarge the lining of the brain — often using the patient's own tissue — to create excess space for cerebrospinal fluid and to reestablish normal circulation of the fluid.

While recovery from the surgery can be challenging, most patients experience near complete resolution of their symptoms. Our experienced medical team will develop a personalized treatment plan that helps patients achieve the best possible outcome.

Chiari malformation type 1 sometimes is associated with the development of syringomyelia — a fluid-filled cyst in the spinal cord. The surgical treatment for CM1 usually also corrects the syringomyelia.

Advanced Expertise

At UChicago Medicine, children and adults with Chiari malformation are treated by neurosurgeons who are world-renowned for their expertise in these procedures. In most cases, the neurosurgeon has undergone significant pediatric training in the treatment of this malformation and related syndromes.

Meet our Congenital Anomalies Team

For More Information Visit:  UChicago Medicine Congenital Anomalies of the Nervous System

Craniosynostosis and other craniofacial syndromes usually are the result of a birth defect that causes one or more connections in the skull to close prematurely affecting normal brain and skull growth. Craniofacial anomalies also can occur in adulthood as a result of trauma or tumors.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Abnormal shape of head
  • Abnormal shape of face

Treatment

Craniofacial anomalies diagnosed in childhood are generally treated by surgical intervention early in life. Adults with craniofacial problems that were diagnosed and repaired in childhood may have ongoing needs as a result of late complications from surgery or the need for further corrective surgeries.

Trauma and tumors can lead to craniofacial abnormalities similar to those seen in children with craniosynostosis. Treatment typically involves surgical intervention, which could include multiple surgeries in a planned and staged fashion.

Transition of Care

At University of Chicago Medicine, the transition from pediatric to adult care is seamless. Our craniofacial team includes neurosurgeonsand plastic surgeons with advanced training in pediatric neurosurgery and craniofacial plastic surgery. This specialty trained team cares for both children and adults with these syndromes.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Russell Reid, MD, PhD., with Trish Lawson and her daughter Molly Lawson, 15 months old, at the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM)

Our Craniofacial Anomalies Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP), one of the largest in the region, provides a thorough, team-based approach for the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of children with craniosynostosis.

Learn more about our CAMP program

Meet our Craniosynostosis Team

For more information visit:  Uchicago Medicine Craniosynostosis

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at the University of Chicago Medicine is at the forefront of epilepsy care. Many of our patients come to us after trying a number of different medications and therapies with little success.

Leading Advancements in Epilepsy Care

Backed by the development of groundbreaking diagnostic techniques and a long history of research, our expert team has the experience to manage nearly all epilepsy-related problems from new onset seizures to rare and difficult-to-treat epileptic syndromes. With non-invasive technology and contemporary diagnostic techniques, we can pinpoint the origin of most seizures with precision. Having this advantage can significantly increase diagnostic accuracy and improve patient outcomes.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a chronic, non-communicable neurologic disorder defined by two or more unprovoked seizures. Provoked seizures result from some immediately recognizable stimulus (for example, low blood sugar in people with diabetes), while unprovoked seizures have no immediately recognizable cause. Provoked seizures are unlikely to recur if the provocations can be avoided; however, unprovoked seizures have the tendency to recur and are the hallmark of epilepsy. When someone has two or more seizures, doctors diagnose epilepsy.

Types of Epilepsy 

There are many types of epilepsy. Some types of epilepsy and epilepsy syndromes include:

  • Benign rolandic epilepsy
  • Childhood absence epilepsy
  • Doose syndrome (myoclonic astatic epilepsy of childhood) 
  • Frontal lobe epilepsy
  • Infantile spasms 
  • Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
  • Landau-Kleffner syndrome 
  • Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
  • Occipital lobe epilepsy
  • Parietal lobe epilepsy
  • Rasmussen's syndrome
  • Sturge-Weber syndrome
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy 
  • West syndrome

What is a Seizure?

A seizure is a sudden surge of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Electrical activity in the brain is normal. It’s how our brain works. Seizures occur when there is significant disruption of that normal electrical activity in the brain. The general symptoms of seizures may include changes in consciousness, sensation, movement or behavior.

Is a Seizure the Same Thing as Epilepsy?

No. Not all seizures are caused by epilepsy. Approximately 10 percent of the general population may experience a seizure during their lifetime, but only 1 percent of the population has epilepsy. A single seizure may or may not progress to a chronic and recurrent condition or epilepsy.

Although there are many types of seizures, those that people with epilepsy experience commonly fall into generalized and partial (or focal) seizures.

Generalized Seizures

Generalized seizures are characterized by widespread electrical discharges in both sides of the brain. You might think of it as a lightning storm in which the lightning seems to be coming from all areas of the sky at the same time.

Types of Seizures

There are six types of generalized seizures:

  • Absence seizures are also known as petit mal seizures. When people experience an absence seizure, they may seem to disconnect from the world, blank out or stare into space for at least a few seconds. Their eyes may roll as well. People who have absence seizures usually lose awareness for a short time and have no memory of the seizure afterward. This type of seizure usually begins between the ages of 4 and 14, and it can resemble daydreaming. Subtle body movement may accompany the seizure, but it’s not the jerking movements that occur with tonic-clonic or clonic seizures.
  • Atonic seizures, also known as drop attacks, drop seizures or akinetic epileptic drop attacks, may involve a sudden loss of muscle tone, a head drop or leg weakening. People suffering an atonic seizure may suddenly collapse. This type of seizure may also cause the person suffering it to drop objects.
  • Clonic seizures include jerking muscle movements that are more rhythmic than chaotic. The muscle spasms typically affect the face, neck and arms. They may last for several minutes.
  • Myoclonic seizures are typically short and involve uncontrollable jerking, usually of the arms and/or legs, and last for only a second or two
  • Tonic-clonic seizures, also known as grand mal seizures, are what most people think of when they imagine a seizure. They involve a loss of consciousness, stiffening of the body and shaking or jerking, sometimes followed by loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Tonic seizures include body stiffening, but do not include the clonic phase of uncontrolled jerking or spasms. Back, arm and leg muscles are affected most often. The seizure may cause a patient to fall or collapse.

Partial Seizures

Partial seizures, also known as focal seizures, begin in one side of the brain. They fall into one of two groups:

  • Simple partial seizures (also known as simple focal seizures) may only include the aura stage (see below). During this type of seizure, awareness, memory and consciousness remain intact. This type of seizure may alter emotions or change the way things look, smell, feel, taste or sound. It may also result in involuntary jerking of a body part, such as an arm or leg, or spontaneous sensory symptoms, such as tingling, dizziness and flashing lights.
  • Complex partial seizures (also known as psychomotor seizures) alter consciousness or responsiveness. The person having the seizure may appear to be staring into space or moving without purpose. Some common movements include hand rubbing, chewing, swallowing, and repetitive motion, such as bicycling leg movements or walking in a circle.

Stages of Seizures

Aura Stage

For some types of seizures, an aura happens before a seizure and may alert a person that a seizure may occur. Auras typically begin seconds before the seizure.

The symptoms that accompany an aura can vary depending on the type of seizure and the area of the brain affected. Some symptoms of aura include:

  • Abnormal sensations
  • Deja vu (familiar feelings) or jamais vu (unfamiliar feelings)
  • Distorted emotions, such as panic or fear
  • Forced thinking
  • Nausea
  • Perceived sounds, tastes, or smells (some people report smelling burning rubber, for example)
  • Physical sensations, like dizziness, headache, numbness, and lightheadedness
  • Unusual feelings 

At UChicago Medicine, we offer an advanced treatment designed to prevent seizures before they start and often before a patient feels the aura. The NeuroPace Responsive Neurostimulation System (RNS) is a tiny device that detects abnormal brain activity and responds in real time to deliver short bursts of electrical stimulation designed to reduce how often seizures happen.

Similarly, deep brain stimulation (DBS) prevents seizures to spread throughout the brain and stops them from becoming clinically relevant. Neuromodulation is just one of the several treatment options we provide, from the latest anti-epileptic drugs to Visualase MRI-guided laser thermal ablation. 

Ictus Stage

Ictus is another word for the seizure itself — the part of the seizure that outsiders can witness. It can be convulsive, commonly called “grand mal,” or non-convulsive, such as staring and inability to respond normally.

Postictal Stage

The postictal stage occurs after the ictus or active stage of the seizure. During the postictal stage, the body begins to relax and aftereffects may set in. The type and length of aftereffects will vary from person to person and may include:

  • Confusion and agitation
  • Fatigue and drowsinessHeadache
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Loss of consciousness or unresponsiveness
  • Numbness
  • Partial paralysis

Meet our EpilepsyTeam

Epilepsy Clinical Trial

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Epilepsy

Cerebrospinal fluid normally circulates sequentially through the four ventricles of the brain and then passes into the large veins on top of the brain where it is reabsorbed. Hydrocephalus occurs when there is too much cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles, resulting in excess pressure in the brain. 

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus vary depending on a patient's age and the underlying cause of the condition:

In newborns:

  • Large, growing head with a noticeably bulging fontanel (the soft spot on top of a newborn's head)
  • Pressure in brain, leading to changes in heart rate or breathing

In older children:

  • Balance changes
  • Cognitive decline
  • Headache
  • Inability to look upward with the eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting

In adults:

  • Balance changes 
  • Cognitive dulling with progression to headache
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea and vomiting

The situations in older children and adults described above are considered urgent and may require immediate intervention. If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.

Normal Pressure Hyrocephalus (NPH) in adults

Late-onset hydrocephalus in adults, or normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), occurs when patients cannot tolerate brain pressures considered “normal” as they age. The multidisciplinary team of experts at the University of Chicago Medicine specializes in advanced diagnostics for NPH. Classic symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus include:

  • Bladder incontinence (loss of bladder control) 
  • Gait disorder with difficulty walking and poor balance
  • Loss of cognitive function (short-term memory problems)

Causes and Treatments

hydrocephalus diagram

Absorptive Hydrocephalus

The most common type of hydrocephalus is "absorptive" hydrocephalus — defined as the inability of the brain to re-absorb the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that it is making. It occurs mainly from bleeding into the brain ventricles, though it also can occur after trauma or infection in the ventricles.

In many children, the bleeding occurs before birth (congenital) but it also can take place at any time up to adulthood. Bleeding associated with a brain aneurysm, or brain infections causing meningitis, can also cause this type of hydrocephalus.

Absorptive hydrocephalus is most commonly treated with a surgically implanted shunting device that carries excess spinal fluid away from the brain to an area of the body that can absorb the fluid. The shunting device — made of small silicone tubing — is often permanent and requires lifelong monitoring and maintenance. Yearly imaging of the brain and/or occasional X-rays of the device generally suffice until the patient experiences symptoms.

Obstructive Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is referred to as "obstructive" when a tumor, cyst or other mass causes a blockage and interferes with the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Sometimes, this obstruction has been in place for many years — possibly since birth — but does not cause symptoms until the patient reaches adulthood.

Treatment generally involves removal of the mass or placement of a shunting device to carry excess fluid out of the brain. In some cases, surgeons can create an internal bypass for excess fluid using a minimally invasive procedure called endoscopic third ventriculocisternostomy (ETV). Performed using an endoscope (a long tube with a camera lens at the tip), the surgeon makes a small opening in the floor of the third ventricle, allowing cerebrospinal fluid to be diverted from within the ventricles to an area outside of the brain.

Continuity of Care

At UChicago Medicine, pediatric neurosurgeons provide continuous care for patients with hydrocephalus as they transition from childhood to adulthood. Other members of the multispecialty team include adult and pediatric neurologists, rehabilitation specialists and primary care doctors.

Meet our Hydrocephalus Team

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Hydrocephalus

Cure HHT Center of Excellence

Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), also known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, is a rare genetic condition that causes bleeding due to blood vessels that did not develop correctly. HHT causes arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) — tangled connections between arteries and veins. AVMs can affect different organs, including the gastrointestinal system, skin, lungs, liver and brain. Complications from arteriovenous malformations range in severity from discoloration of the skin to bleeding and disruption of normal organ function.

Coordinated Care, Integrated Approach

Due to the complex nature of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, most patients require coordinated care by experts in many specialties. At the University of Chicago Medicine, we take an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of individuals with HHT. Whether a patient needs genetic screening or a complex procedure, our team of specialists have the resources and expertise to provide advanced and comprehensive care.

Signs and Symptoms

Nosebleeds during childhood are typically the first sign of HHT. Small, spider-like blood vessels on the lips, as well as on the skin of the nose and fingers also are common symptoms. Depending on which organs are affected, other symptoms may include: gastrointestinal bleeding (intestines), shortness of breath (lungs), internal bleeding (Iiver), and headaches, seizures or stroke (brain).

HHT is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder, meaning it takes only one parent with the gene to pass it on to a child. If a parent has HHT, there is a 50 percent chance that any of his or her children will inherit the disease. Multiple genes have been identified as having involvement in this disease, including a gene that also causes polyps in the colon or, potentially, colon cancer.

Diagnosis

An individual is considered to have HHT if three of the four following conditions are met:

  • Family history, including a first degree relative with HHT
  • Small dilated blood vessels (telangiectasia) at characteristic sites: lips, mouth, finger and nose
  • Spontaneous, recurrent nose bleeds (epistaxis)
  • Telangiectasia in the gastrointestinal tract and/or larger AVMs in the lungs, liver or brain

If two of the four above conditions are met, then HHT is considered a possible diagnosis.

The following diagnostic tests may be used to confirm HHT:

  • Advanced MRI and CT imaging
  • Cerebral angiography
  • Doppler ultrasound
  • Genetic testing
  • Liver biopsy
  • Pulmonary angiography

Treatment

While there is no cure for HHT, the symptoms can be treated. Our services include:

  • Laser treatment and other interventions to reduce the number of lesions on the skin
  • Endonasal coagulation and mucosal flaps for cases of recurrent nosebleeds
  • Endovascular embolization, a minimally invasive procedure performed to stop excessive nosebleeds or to block vascular malformations in the lungs, liver or brain
  • Neurovascular surgery to remove arteriovenous malformations from the brain and focused radiation (stereotactic radiosurgery) to promote blockage of arteriovenous malformations
  • Procoagulants to help control active bleeding and hormonal therapies that may stabilize blood vessels
  • Treatment for anemia resulting from recurrent bleeds

Some medications (to prevent new blood vessels from developing) are being investigated in clinical trials. The effectiveness of these medicines is not yet determined.

Preparing for your Appointment

Upon contacting us, you will be asked several questions related to your symptoms and prior treatment. Please have on hand the names and addresses of your current physicians as well as dates and results of any previous imaging scans, procedures and/or testing. Our medical director will review your case and decide which specialist will manage your care. If indicated, additional testing (such as CT and MRI scans) may be arranged at this time.

If you experience acute bleeding or other emergency, we will work with your local physician or emergency room to arrange urgent transfer to UChicago Medicine.

External Patient Resources/Support Group

HHT Foundation International, Inc.

The University of Chicago Medicine and Comer Children's Hospital provide links to other organizations as a service to our site visitors. We are not responsible for information or services provided on other websites.

Meet our HHT Team

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine HHT

In the University of Chicago Medicine Migraine Headache Clinic, patients learn how to modify their lifestyle and living environment to suppress migraine development. Richard P. Kraig, MD, PhD, director of the clinic, aims to empower patients by coaching them to:

  • Identify "triggers" that may initiate the onset of a migraine headache
  • Learn activities and behaviors that reduce their risk of experiencing a migraine
  • Anticipate an episode in time for prevention
  • Adopt coping methods for pain reduction when a migraine does occur

An expert in migraine care, Dr. Kraig conducts evaluations to determine the most appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan for each individual. He is an advocate for neuropreventative health education— teaching physical, mental and social activities that help the brain protect itself against neurological disorders. Dr. Kraig's individualized treatment plans may incorporate medication to supplement this approach. If needed, UChicago Medicine specialists in pain management and physical therapy may assist in treatment.

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Migraines

Neurologists at the University of Chicago Medicine Multiple Sclerosis Clinic are dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). We have a distinguished record of providing definitive diagnoses and comprehensive treatments to help patients manage their symptoms and limit flare-ups. Our multidisciplinary team collaborates to determine the best treatment for each individual patient.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. While the exact cause is not known, scientists do know that MS causes a person's white blood cells to attack their myelin (the insulator of nerve fibers), damaging the nerve impulses that travel to and from the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms — often unpredictable and erratic — range from mild to severe and vary by patient.

Some common symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision 
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness
  • Progressive leg weakness
  • Problems with bowel, bladder and sexual function
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes sudden, severe facial pain
  • Spastic movements

Multiple Sclerosis Research

Due to the complex and varying nature of MS, experience in treating and researching the disease is a key to determining the best treatments. Neurologists at UChicago Medicine have a long history of expert clinical care and research in multiple sclerosis. The physicians who treat multiple sclerosis patients are the same ones who research the causes and mechanisms of MS, develop effective treatments for the disease and proactively search for a cure.

Neurologists at UChicago Medicine are always studying new ways to diagnose and treat multiple sclerosis, and have consistently been at the forefront of advancements in autoimmune diseases. In 1993, our researchers helped develop and test interferon, the first FDA-approved treatment for multiple sclerosis. This disease-modifying therapy reduces exacerbations, improves function and memory and lowers death rates. In the past two decades, several new medications have been approved for relapsing and progressive disease. In addition to offering these therapies, our neurologists are directly involved in ongoing clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of the next generation of multiple sclerosis medications and diagnostic tools.

Translating MS Research from 'Bench to Bedside'

Our specialists are dedicated to translating biomedical discoveries from laboratory findings to innovative therapies. Because the physicians at the UChicago Medicine Multiple Sclerosis Clinic are the same research scientists leading the search for a cure, they bring a unique understanding of complex treatments to patient care. In addition to having access to the latest medications, they understand which treatment option is best for each course of MS and, through a personalized approach to care, can identify the best therapy for each patient.

See a list of our current multiple sclerosis clinical trials

Meet the MS Team

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Multiple Sclerosis

The Neurofibromatosis Program at the University of Chicago Medicine provides care for patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1), neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF-2) and scwhannomatosis, a related condition. Traditionally, most clinics for NF have focused on children with NF-1. Our program is one of the few in the country that treats both adults and children and has done so for more than 20 years. In treating adults with NF-1, we are able to treat other NF-related conditions that are primarily adult diseases.

NF-related disorders are chronic conditions that require long-term management and follow-up. UChicago Medicine is uniquely able to provide continuity of care as patients progress into adulthood.

Adults with NF-1 have concerns that differ from those in children, including changes in physical appearance, complications associated with the continual development of tumors, including an increased risk for malignant (cancerous) tumors, chronic pain and family planning.

NF-2 is a very different disorder causing multiple central nervous system tumors in the brain and spinal cord. Hearing loss, as well as neurological impairment and seizures occur in most patients. Treatment for this disorder is changing and what was once exclusively a surgically treated disorder now has the potential to be treated with chemotherapy.

Schwannomatosis is a condition defined by the presence of multiple benign, but painful tumors of the nerves. The same multidisciplinary team that treats the complications of NF-1 and NF-2 is well qualified to provide support for patients with schwannomatosis.

Comprehensive, Expert Care

Physicians in our Neurofibromatosis Program have extensive expertise managing and treating these complex disorders and are able to provide the most advanced care to their patients. Since NF-related disorders may affect the nerves, spinal cord, brain, skin, and other systems throughout the body, specialists in neurology,neurosurgery, medical genetics, orthopaedics, dermatology, oncology, plastic surgery, psychologypsychiatry, radiology, otolaryngology, audiology and ophthalmology work together to ensure patients receive comprehensive care.

Treatment

After an assessment of each patient’s needs, our experienced physicians develop a detailed care plan. Because of the variable nature of NF, some patients require no more than an annual neurological evaluation, blood pressure monitoring and imaging or hearing evaluations. Other patients may have persistent and complex medical issues.

Our Neurofibromatosis Program is made up of specialty physicians in a variety of disciplines. For example, UChicago Medicine has orthopaedic surgeons to help with the management of spinal deformities, radiologists who provide state-of-the art imaging, and neurologists and neurosurgeons who are skilled in the treatment of tumors affecting the nervous system and the timing of neurological surgery. Physicians at UChicago Medicine also have special expertise in the tumors that can cause unique complications in adults, including malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors and pheochromocytoma.

Advanced Medical, Surgical Expertise

The key to successful management of NF-related disorders is regular follow up, often with imaging and other testing to check for complications of NF before they become advanced. Having treated more than 1,300 patients with NF, the NF team is experienced in detecting many of the complications simply on the basis of careful physical exams. In some instances however, especially with NF-2, regular imaging and other testing is important and the NF team works with radiologists and other specialists to interpret testing results. Our NF clinic can direct patients to experienced physicians who provide additional subspecialty treatment as needed.

Our understanding of NF-related disorders is rapidly changing. Currently, treatments are primarily surgical. Drug treatments are being evaluated in clinical trials, so it is likely that chemotherapeutic approaches will be available in the future. The multi-disciplinary approach of our NF team is uniquely prepared to coordinate such care.

Education

A second key to the successful management of NF is education. Because we are actively involved in research and clinical trials, the NF team can keep you informed of changes in our understanding and treatment of these conditions. We also focus on trying to help patients understand their condition so they can be more knowledgeable participants in their own assessments and care. In addition, we work closely with both local and national support organizations to provide education and support to patients through regular teaching sessions.

Research into New Alternatives for Treatment

Our Neurofibromatosis Research Program is currently focused on development of new drugs for optic pathway tumors, plexiform neurofibromas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. Another focus is the neurocognitive disabilities caused by NF-1. Clinical trials are currently open for the treatment of learning disabilities, progressive plexiform neurofibroma and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. UChicago Medicine's program is part of a government-funded national consortium to develop treatments for NF-related disorders.

Find a Neurologist

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Neurofibromatosis

Without effective intervention and care, catastrophic brain injuries and neurological disorders can be disabling and life-threatening. At the University of Chicago Medicine, our neurointensive care experts have extensive training and experience in the management of critical neurological conditions, including stroke and status epilepticus (an acute, prolonged epileptic seizure condition). A thorough diagnostic evaluation, careful monitoring and innovative treatment techniques help our team ensure the best possible outcome for each patient. 

Our dedicated specialty critical care unit, located in the Center for Care and Discovery — Hyde Park, offers advanced monitoring and treatment for patients who require neurocritical care. 

In the NeuroICU, a multidisciplinary team of specially trained physicians, nurses, therapists and other professionals provides collaborative, coordinated and attentive care. At the bedside, nurses assess the patients’ vital functions, speech, movement and cranial nerve responses every hour, or more frequently if necessary. Physical and occupational therapists mobilize patients as early as possible, working with each individual to assess his or her ultimate rehabilitation needs. Highly trained speech-language pathologists evaluate swallowing functions, and experienced dietitians provide guidance on nutrition. Specially trained critical care pharmacists provide invaluable support to physicians and nurses in the NeuroICU.

The underlying philosophy of our program is patient-centered, patient-specific care. While treating patients with catastrophic brain and spinal cord injury or disease, our team builds relationships with family members and caretakers to determine the most appropriate goals for the patient's care. Treatment decisions are made by a multidisciplinary team comprised of neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, vascular surgeons and physicians in related subspecialties. In the NeuroICU, this advanced level of experienced, responsive and personalized care helps our patients recuperate, regain their strength and move forward to the next phase of recovery.

Our NeuroICU specialists have expertise in the management of many neurological disorders, including:

  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Brain infections (encephalitis and meningitis)Brain swelling
  • Brain tumors
  • Nerve and muscle problems that affect breathing, such as myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barré syndrome 
  • Status epilepticus
  • Stroke
  • Any catastrophic disorder affecting neurologic function

Find a Physician

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Neurocritical Care

Overview:

The University of Chicago Neuromuscular Program provides an outstanding opportunity for patients to benefit from cutting-edge treatments and for trainees to learn basic research and clinical details related to neuromuscular diseases. The Program has a menu of offerings including: specialized clinics, sophisticated neurophysiology laboratory testing, ground-breaking research, and clinical trials in neuromuscular diseases. Having trained more than 50 clinical and research fellows as well as many residents, the neuromuscular disease team is committed to mentoring the next generation of neuromuscular experts.  

Neuromuscular Clinics:
The University of Chicago Medical Center offers multidisciplinary care for a number of neuromuscular diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophies and other myopathies, inherited and acquired neuropathies (e.g. chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy- CIDP), myasthenia gravis and related disorders. The treatment team includes several neurologists with expertise in adult neuromuscular diseases (Raymond Roos, MD, Betty Soliven, MD, and Kourosh Rezania, MD), and a dedicated nurse (Alexandra Carmona). Appointments can be made by calling 773-702-6222.

A. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Clinic:  The clinic is designated an ALS Association (ALSA) Certified Treatment Center of Excellence (Director: Raymond Roos, MD; co-Director: Betty Soliven, MD). The Clinic achieved this designation by satisfying the rigorous requirements of the ALS Association Treatment Centers of Excellence Program®. The latter Program designs, implements, and monitors a national standard of best-practice care in the management of ALS. Certification is based on established requirements of the program, professionals’ skill sets, people living with ALS served, active involvement in ALS-related research, relationships with local Chapters, and access to care.  The ALS Clinic is dedicated to providing cutting-edge clinical care and the opportunity to participate in multi-center clinical trials, with Kourosh Rezania, MD serving as Principal Investigator. Of note, we have one of the world’s longest continuously running multidisciplinary ALS clinics, with an affiliation with the Greater Chicago Chapter of the ALS Association. Patients are seen by a team consisting of a Care Services Coordinator representing the Greater Chicago Chapter of the ALS Association, an orthotist, nutritionist, speech pathologist, social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, a psychiatrist, and palliative specialist. In addition, a University of Chicago Medical Center dedicated pulmonologist and gastroenterologist provide consultation and manage the respiratory care and GI /nutritional needs of our patients.

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B. Myasthenia Clinic: (Director: Betty Soliven, MD; co-Director: Kourosh Rezania, MD). Myasthenia gravis is a condition caused by antibodies against acetylcholine receptors or MuSK, resulting in fluctuating weakness. Our physicians and staff have extensive experience working with myasthenic patients. Dr. Soliven and Dr. Rezania also perform single fiber EMG, the most sensitive test for diagnosing myasthenia. Our team includes a dedicated pulmonologist and a thoracic surgeon.  Currently, we have initiated studies on mechanisms that trigger the worsening of myasthenia. Our clinic will be part of MGNet, a consortium dedicated to enhancing clinical trial readiness and the identification of predictive biomarkers in myasthenia.

C. Neuropathy Clinics: (Co-Directors: Raymond Roos, MD, and Betty Soliven, MD).  We see patients with inflammatory neuropathies (e.g. CIDP, Guillain Barré syndrome, vasculitic neuropathy), diabetic neuropathies, hereditary neuropathies (Charcot Marie Tooth disease), and other forms of neuropathy. We are committed to educating the public and healthcare providers about this disease, providing state-of-the-art care to neuropathy patients, and contributing to basic and clinical research in an effort to identify the causes and potential cures for these disorders.  The Neuropathy Clinic is part of The University of Chicago Center for Peripheral Neuropathy (Director: Brian Popko, PhD)

The University of Chicago has been designated a GBS/CIDP Foundation International Center of Excellence (Director: Betty Soliven, MD).  In addition, there is an Amyloid Neuropathy Center specializing in patients with acquired and hereditary amyloid neuropathy (Director: Kourosh Rezania, MD).

D. Muscle Disease Clinic: (Director: Kourosh Rezania, MD). We see patients with inflammatory myopathy such as polymyositis, inclusion body myositis, metabolic myopathy, myotonic disorders and muscular dystrophies.  

Neurophysiology Laboratory Testing:

The University of Chicago EMG Laboratory (Director: Betty Soliven, MD) provides an active electrodiagnostic service for approximately 1,400 patients per year. Other EMG attendings include Helene Rubeiz, MD, Kourosh Rezania, MD.  Additional personnel involved in the Neurophysiology Laboratory include: an EMG fellow, a combined EEG/EMG fellow, a resident rotating in the laboratory, and EMG technician/s. For appointments call (773) 702-1780.

Our neuromuscular pathology service is overseen by Peter Pytel, MD, who evaluates muscle and nerve biopsies from our patients and those sent from a large number of hospitals in Illinois and Midwest areas.

 Useful Links:

  1.  ALSA Chicago Chapter website: http://webchicago.alsa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=CHI_homepage
  2. Conquer MG website: https://www.myastheniagravis.org/
  3. GBS/CIDP Foundation International website: https://www.gbs-cidp.org/
  4. University of Chicago Center for Peripheral Neuropathy Website: http://peripheralneuropathycenter.uchicago.edu/  

Make a Gift

Charitable gifts to the Neuromuscular Disorders Program provide critical support for innovative research as well as new and advanced patient care and services. Your support enables us to advance promising new research and treatment programs, train future generations of physicians and scientists, expand vital support services and share our knowledge with the community.

If you would like to make a donation for this purpose, please make your check payable to:  University of Chicago and enclose a letter stating: "the donation is a gift to be used for the Neuromuscular Program at University of Chicago", or “the donation is a gift to be used for Dr.XXX’s research.

Please mail donations to:

The University of Chicago

Gift Administration and Business Data

5235 S. Harper Court, 4th Floor

Chicago, IL 60615

You may also make an online gift via our secure site:  

https://givetomedicine.uchicago.edu/give/ways-to-give

For questions about giving, please contact:
Phone: 773.702.6565
 

University of Chicago is a non-profit organization and gifts are tax deductible.

Our group is actively involved in clinical trials involving patients with ALS, neuropathy and myasthenia gravis, as well as basic research on neuromuscular disease.

Meet the Neuromuscular Team

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Neuromuscular Disease Clinic

Neurosurgery Experts

The Section of Neurosurgery at the University of Chicago Medicine is devoted to the evaluation and treatment of pediatric and adult diseases of the central nervous system. We use a full range of neuromedical and neurosurgical technologies to provide the most up-to-date and effective treatments for the entire spectrum of neurological disease.

Our patients are seen by a team of interdisciplinary specialists who are dedicated to the finest tradition of care.

Minimally Invasive Techniques

Our neurosurgery section offers the latest techniques in minimally invasive surgery, which results in shorter recovery times and fewer surgical risks than traditional surgery. These procedures include:

  • Endoscopic techniques to treat tumors, trigeminal neuralgia and many other problems. These procedures typically involve operating through a small incision using a thin catheter.
  • Implantation of electrical stimulators to help control Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and other disorders. Examples include vagal nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulation.
  • Radiosurgery, which uses focused radiation to treat brain and spinal tumors, aneurysms and blood vessel abnormalities. While called surgery, radiosurgery does not involve any incisions.
  • Sophisticated 3D computer-imaging — known as stereotactic technology — for surgical planning.

Full Range of Treatment Options

We offer the full range of conventional and complex open skull surgeries to treat tumors, pituitary problems, seizures, brain swelling and other conditions. We are experts in spinal neurosurgery for injuries and tumors of the spine and spinal cord, including:

  • Complex spinal surgery, such as the placement of metallic implants to stabilize the spine
  • Minimally invasive techniques for herniated lumbar disks
  • Removal of spinal cord tumor
  • Surgery for cervical, thoracic, and lumbar disc degeneration and protrusions

Pain Management

Our physicians are dedicated to the treatment and control of pain. We offer specialized pain management techniques, including:

  • Deep brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerve stimulation
  • Intraspinal pumps for drug delivery
  • Selected nerve interruption

For more information and to Meet our Team visit:  UChicago Medicine Neurosurgery

At the University of Chicago Medicine Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, our neurology experts understand that effective care is customized to the unique symptoms and needs of each patient. As an American Parkinson's Disease Association-certified center, we specialize in the treatment and management of complicated and rare movement disorders, as well as symptoms of progressive neurodegenerative diseases.

Our physician team uses advanced technology to diagnose neurological disorders that cause impaired or uncontrollable movement. We have demonstrated success in applying treatment techniques to control symptoms, enhancing our patients' quality of life.

Once we confirm the diagnosis, initial treatment often involves finding the correct balance of medications. However, when surgical treatment, such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), is needed, our patients are under the care of exceptionally skilled experts.

Also, with access to leading research at UChicago Medicine, we're often able to offer new treatments for complex movement disorders when conventional medicine fails.

Conditions We Treat

  • Ataxia 
  • Blepharospasm
  • Chorea
  • Cortical basal degeneration (CBD)
  • Dystonia
  • Dyskinesias
  • Essential tremor
  • Hemifacial spasm
  • Huntington's disease (HD)
  • Multiple system atrophy (MSA)
  • Myoclonus
  • Parkinson's disease (PD)
  • Parkinsonian syndrome
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
  • Tics
  • Tourette syndrome (TS)
  • Rett syndrome
  • Wilson's disease

Meet our Movement Disorder Team

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders

The University of Chicago Medicine Center for Peripheral Neuropathy provides state-of-the-art care for patients affected by various types of peripheral neuropathies, conditions that can result from damage to the peripheral nerve system. These patients experience numbness, prickling or tingling in the hands and feet, which may progress over time.

Our neurologists use the latest equipment to conduct a thorough neurological evaluation to accurately diagnose peripheral neuropathy. We also offer a range of treatment solutions to manage — and sometimes eliminate — symptoms of these nerve disorders. Treatments include medication, nerve blocks, transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS), plasmapheresis and alternative therapies.

Our team also contributes to basic and clinical research to identify the causes and potential new treatments for neuropathies.

For more information visit: UChicago Medicine Center for Peripheral Neuropathy

What is the Pituitary Gland?

The pituitary gland is a pea size organ that sits inside the sella, a bony structure located in the middle of the head, beneath the brain and behind the nose and sinuses. The pituitary gland is considered the “master endocrine gland” because it produces and releases a number of hormones that control other glands in the body to regulate many biological functions. These hormones include:

  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-stimulates the adrenal gland to make the hormone cortisol that is required for response to stress
  • Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)-regulates water balance in the body
  • Growth hormone (GH)-regulates growth
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-regulates production of egg and sperm
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)-stimulates release of estrogen in women and testosterone in men
  • Prolactin-stimulates breast milk production after pregnancy 
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)-stimulates the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone that is essential for regulation of metabolism, temperature and other bodily functions

Common Pituitary Conditions

Because of its location and role in regulating hormones within the body, any abnormality of the pituitary gland can be associated with a wide range of symptoms and disorders. For example, if the pituitary gland grows in size, this can cause pressure on the optic chiasm, a bundle of nerve fibers that communicates information from the eyes to the brain, which can lead to vision issues or headaches.

Pituitary tumors are one of the more common disorders involving the pituitary gland. While these tumors are nearly all benign (noncancerous), they can still lead to hormonal abnormalities, causing increased or decreased hormone production and impacting overall health. Not all tumors will have symptoms, but once they are discovered it is important that the patient undergo a comprehensive evaluation by an expert team to prevent the condition from worsening.

A list of the more common pituitary disorders include:

  • Functinal pituitary adenomas that result in overproduction of hormones
  • Prolactinoma
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Acromegaly
  • Non-functional pituitary adenomas
  • Pituitary apoplexy
  • Pituitary cysts, including Rathke’s cleft cysts
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Empty Sella Syndrome
  • Pituitary hormone deficiencies and panhypopituitarism
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Lymphocytic hypophysitis 
  • Sheehan’s syndrome

Symptoms

Patients with pituitary disorders can have variable symptoms depending on the cause of the disorder. Pituitary tumors, cysts or other growths can cause headaches or problems with vision or in severe cases nausea and vomiting. Low levels of pituitary hormones can cause many symptoms such as fatigue, sexual dysfunction and changes in body composition, appearance or weight.

Conditions that are associated with too much hormone production include:

  • Acromegaly caused by overproduction of growth hormone that can lead to enlargement of hands and feet among other symptoms
  • Cushing’s syndrome caused by overproduction of ACTH and subsequently cortisol that can lead to weight gain especially in the abdominal and trunk areas in addition to increased risk for fractures, diabetes, hypertension and other complications
  • Hyperprolactinemia that can lead to abnormal menses, infertility and sexual dysfunction

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of pituitary disorders involves a comprehensive approach that includes a hormonal evaluation by an endocrinologist as well as imaging studies such as MRI scans to evaluate for presence of pituitary gland abnormalities. Depending on the abnormality, patients may require formal evaluation of vision by a neuro-ophthalmologist. 

Treatment Options

Treatment of pituitary disorders often involves collaboration between endocrinologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-ophthalmologists, radiation oncologist and otolaryngologists (ENT). Treatments include surgical intervention, medications, hormone replacement in case of hormone deficiencies and at times radiation therapy. At UChicago Medicine, we are proud to offer minimally invasive, endoscopic surgical approaches.

Meet our Pituitary Team

For more information visit: UChicago Medicine Pituitary & Neuroendocrine Disorders

Our board-certified sleep medicine experts specialize in the assessment of respiratory and non-respiratory sleep disorders in adults and children. With locations downtown, in Hyde Park and in the south suburbs, the University of Chicago Medicine offers comprehensive testing, diagnosis and treatment for a broad range of sleep disorders.

Why is Sleep Important?

Sleep is more than just a “time-out” from our daily lives. A good night’s sleep is as necessary to health and wellbeing as diet and exercise. Unfortunately, for more than half of all Americans, a good night's sleep is difficult to obtain.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing, is increasingly associated with hypertension and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. What’s more, chronic problems like snoring, frequent nighttime awakenings and restless legs or arms can negatively impact your rest and affect your quality of life and abilities at work.

Our Multidisciplinary Approach

Some sleep disorders are caused by other medical or psychological conditions. This is why our experts work closely with physicians in other specialties, including neurologycardiologyendocrinologypsychiatryotolaryngologybariatric surgery, primary care and critical care. By working in multidisciplinary teams, we are able to effectively treat sleep disorders and the conditions that cause them.

Conditions We Treat

Our UChicago Medicine experts provide a full range of treatment options for sleep disorders, including:

We offer a number of noninvasive and minimally invasive treatments, including behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia and therapeutic treatments for narcolepsy, insomnia and restless legs syndrome.

Meet our Sleep Disorder's Team

For more information visit: UChicago Medicine Sleep Disorders

Spina bifida, also known as myelodysplasia, is the most common spine abnormality present at birth. Spina bifida occurs when the neural tube, which becomes the spine bones, and the spinal cord do not develop properly in infants before birth. Patients with this neurological condition may require ongoing care and treatment throughout their lives.

Interdisciplinary Care

The adult spina bifida team at University of Chicago Medicine includes pediatric neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons, urologists and rehabilitation specialists. These specialists work collaboratively to help patients relieve symptoms, preserve function and lead the fullest lives possible from childhood through their adult years.

There are three types of Spina bifida: spina bifida occulta, occult spinal dysraphism, and myelomeningocele.

Signs and Symptoms

Spina Bifida Occulta

Spina bifida occulta is a mild form in which the spinal cord is normal, but the spinal bones fail to form normally at one or more level. Between one in three and one in four people in the world, are born with this mild anomaly.

Occult Spinal Dysraphism

Occult spinal dysraphism (tethered cord syndrome) is a series of spinal and spinal cord abnormalities that comprise a continuum of severity. Though in all cases the skin of the spine is closed, a dimple, hairy patch, or reddish birthmark may be visible in the midline of the back. In the least severe forms, this syndrome can require a simple surgery that is curative. In the more severe forms, a child may need ongoing monitoring and intervention throughout their lives.

Adult patients with tethered cord syndrome may have skin abnormalities along the midline of their backs. They also can develop benign fatty collections or tumors (lipomyelomeningocele) in the spine, which can connect to the skin. Symptoms include back pain, leg weakness and/or change in bladder function.

Myelomeningocele

In this most severe form of spina bifida where the spinal cord is visible outside of the body at birth. All children with myelomeningocele require urgent surgery after birth and 90 percent of patients will require treatment for hydrocephalus — usually an implanted shunt — at some time in their lives.

Causes and Treatments

While the cause of spina bifida is not known, researchers are investigating genetic, nutritional and environmental factors.

Children with spina bifida and tethered cord syndrome undergo surgery soon after diagnosis. When these patients transition from childhood to adulthood, they often require ongoing care needs. These might include:

  • Management of shunting devices
  • Medical intervention for problems with cognitive, kidney, bowel and extremity function
  • Ongoing management of bladder dysfunction 
  • Surgery to untether the spinal cord if it was undiagnosed and not treated during childhood

Meet our Spina Bifida Team

For more information visit: UChicago Medicine Spina Bifida

Multispecialty Stroke & Neurovascular Care 

At the University of Chicago Medicine, we provide the most contemporary, innovative care for the full range of common and complex blood flow problems affecting the brain and spinal cord. Our collaborative, approach draws on the talents and internationally recognized expertise of leading clinicians in neurology, neurosurgery and neurointerventional surgery. Our team includes pioneering experts in these specialties, offering a depth and breadth of experience that enables us to help people with the most challenging neurovascular problems. Our team provides thorough and compassionate care at every level of illness and for patients at every age.

What We Treat

Our team provides emergency care and treatment for patients with the following emergent and less urgent neurovascular conditions:

Why Choose Us?

Regardless of which specialist a patient initially sees, our physicians review complex cases in a team meeting where we integrate the collective perspectives and recommendations of our dedicated experts. Our physicians meet directly with each patient to explain all treatment options, and to develop an understanding of personal concerns and priorities.

We recognize that some patients are best managed conservatively — without open surgery or neurointerventional procedures. In these cases, our team is confident providing monitoring and medical management.

From the simplest to the most complicated cases, we take the extra steps needed to determine the most appropriate treatment options for each individual. Whether the patient requires urgent treatment or is thinking about prevention, we use the same, thorough process for diagnosis, treatment and management of neurovascular disorders.

Interdisciplinary Team, Comprehensive Expertise

Sometimes, there is more than one way to help patients with neurovascular problems. Our patients benefit from having experts in multiple specialties collaborating to customize care, based on each individual's medical problems, history, and life perspective.

Our physician team is led by specialists in:

  • Stroke Neurology, offering the most state-of-the-art neurovascular guidance and care by stroke specialists in an award-winning Comprehensive Stroke Center
  • Neurocritical Care, offering advanced monitoring and treatment in our state-of-the-art Neurosciences Critical Care Unit (NeuroICU), which is run by a multidisciplinary team of neurocritical care experts
  • Neurovascular Surgery, providing expert diagnosis, management and surgical interventions
  • Neurointerventional Surgery, performing state-of-the-art imaging and endovascular procedures for diagnosis and treatment

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association recognize UChicago Medicine for consistently exceeding national standards to improve quality of patient care and outcomes.

We never stop looking for innovative ways to treat neurovascular conditions. Our physicians are members of national research groups, collaborating with experts from across the country to offer leading-edge treatments and promising clinical trials.

Clinical Trials

Meet our Stroke Team

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Stroke and Neurovascular Care

Syringomyelia (also known as hydromyelia and syringohydromyelia) occurs when fluid collects within the spinal cord and creates a cyst. This type of cyst, referred to as a syrinx, grows over time. It typically begins in the neck, but can extend down the length of the spinal cord. Without treatment, a syrinx can damage the center of the spinal cord, causing permanent injury.

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Syringomyelia

The University of Chicago Medicine is home to a unique tuberous sclerosis program, where pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons diagnose and manage this condition in patients of all ages. By including adults and children in one comprehensive clinic, our specialists are able to provide continuity of care as patients born with tuberous sclerosis transition into adulthood. In addition, our pediatric neurosurgeons have the knowledge and skill to treat children of all ages, as well as adult patients who were previously asymptomatic.

Tuberous Sclerosis

Tuberous sclerosis is a neurological disorder that can cause growths (called tubers) and tumors to develop inside vital organs, including the brain, kidneys, lungs, heart and skin. While the tumors typically are non-cancerous, they can cause serious health complications if left untreated. Some individuals with tuberous sclerosis experience developmental delays, mental retardation and/or seizures. Other individuals have milder symptoms, such as unusual patches of light-colored skin, red patches and/or rough growths around the nails.

Tuberous sclerosis is caused by a genetic mutation that either is inherited from a parent or acquired during development. A congenital condition, tuberous sclerosis is present at birth and often diagnosed during infancy, but also can remain undiagnosed in individuals with mild forms. It is a life-long disease that requires ongoing monitoring and management. At UChicago Medicine, our physicians understand that symptoms and health concerns change as patients grow. We provide personalized care for patients in all stages of life and with varying courses of tuberous sclerosis.

Advanced Diagnosis

Our neurologists use a variety of tools to diagnose this complex condition, including:

  • Computed tomography scan (CT scan), which produces detailed images of bones, muscles, fat and organs
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG), which records electrical activity in the brain
  • Eye examination to look for abnormal growths in the retina
  • Genetic testing to determine if the mutation associated with tuberous sclerosis is present. (Genetic counseling also can determine if tuberous sclerosis affects other members of the patient's family.)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provides information about brain and kidney lesions
  • Skin examination to look for abnormal lesions and light or red patches

Treatment Options

Although there currently is no cure for tuberous sclerosis, early intervention and comprehensive care can help patients manage their symptoms. The exact course of treatment will depend on a variety of factors, such as the patient's age, medical history and tolerance for certain medications, as well as the severity and projected course of the disease. Before recommending treatment, UChicago Medicine neurologists assess each individual's needs and create a detailed care plan. Some strategies that our physicians may suggest include:

  • Educational and/or occupational therapy to maximize the individuals' ability to perform everyday tasks
  • Medication to treat tumors, control seizures or manage related behavioral problems
  • Surgery to treat skin lesions or remove any tumors that affect vital organs
  • Vagus nerve stimulation, a minimally invasive surgical alternative for patients experiencing seizures

For more information visit:  UChicago Medicine Tuberous Sclerosis

Resources for Patients

Services

We offer a complete range of neurological tests, including:

  • Sophisticated diagnostic tests that are not widely available elsewhere, including high-quality electroencephalography (EEG) and single-fiber nerve conduction and electromyography (EMG)
  • A state-of-the-art neurophysiology lab that provides long-term video and EEG-monitoring, as well as 3D computer-imaging analysis to localize brain sources of epilepsy
  • Long-term computerized monitoring of adults and children with sleep problems and seizures
  • Transcranial Doppler imaging for advanced diagnosis of neurological and vascular problems
  • Nerve and muscle biopsies and neuropathological examination

We welcome the opportunity to provide a second opinion on your diagnosis or treatment plan. UChicago Medicine specialists are truly at the forefront of medicine and can offer options not widely available at most hospitals. Call us for a second opinion, at 1-888-824-0200.

Resources for Providers