The neurology unit of care hospitals handles all kinds of neurological problems, both acute and chronic. Patients with seizures, acute stroke, Guillain Barre Syndrome, brain/spinal cord infection and myasthenic crisis are some of the cases admitted for treatment.

Plasma exchange is being done for patients with Guillain Barre Syndrome, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and myasthenia gravis among others. They provide conventional machine plasma exchange which is a cost effective modality of treatment.

The hospital also has neuro rehabilitation programme, the state of art infrastructure and experienced team of physiotherapy specialists trained in rehabilitation of patients with neurological disability. It offers both outpatient and inpatient services. It is equipped with facilities for comprehensive stroke care (including thrombolytic therapy (for strokes less than 4.5 hrs), dedicated stroke ICU, etc).

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is cut off. Like all organs, the brain needs oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death. There are two main types of stroke. Ischaemic strokes: This happens when something blocks an artery that carries blood to the brain. Haemorrhagic strokes: This happens when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. By 2015, India reports 1.6 million cases of stroke annually, at least one-third of whom will be disabled. It is the second leading cause of death worldwide.

Strokes are sudden and have an immediate effect. A person may become numb, weak or paralysed on one side of the body. They may slur their speech and feel difficult to find words or understand speech. Some people lose their sight or have blurred vision, and others become confused or unsteady. A stroke is always a medical emergency. It is important to be able to recognise the symptoms of a stroke and to get help immediately. The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST: FaceArms-Speech-Time.

Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped? Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms?

Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? A seizure is a short episode of symptoms caused by a burst of abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Typically, a seizure lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. (Older words for seizures include convulsions and fits.) Time to call. The brain contains millions of nerve cells (neurons).

Normally, the nerve cells are constantly sending tiny electrical messages down nerves to all parts of the body. Different parts of the brain control different parts and functions of the body. Therefore, the symptoms that occur during a seizure depend on where the abnormal burst of electrical activity occurs. They can affect your muscles, sensations, behaviour, emotions, consciousness or a combination of these.

(The writer is MD (general medicine), DM (neurology), DNB (neurology), Christian Medical College, Vellore, MNAMS)