THE OZARK’S ONLY PRIVATE PRACTICE
Neurologist Dr. Ken Sharlin launched Sharlin Health and Neurology because he believes patients should not have to wait months to see a neurologist. As the Ozark’s only private neurology practice we are able to see patients in weeks not months. We accept nearly all major insurance providers and also offer a discounted self-pay option as well. Currently, we are offering self-referral or direct-referral; meaning you do not need your primary care physician to refer you. Patients must be 18 years old, we do not treat children. We also are not seeking patients looking for pain management. However, we are accepting patients seeking medical attention for the following conditions:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an injury or trauma to the head causes damage to the brain. TBI may cause a loss of consciousness, headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, behavioral changes, memory problems and more. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may eventually lead to permanent disability or death.
If you experience symptoms of traumatic brain injury, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Significant brain damage often cannot be reversed and needs to be treated as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage. TBI is treated by stabilizing the patient and making sure enough oxygen is supplied to the brain and the rest of the body. Later treatment includes physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as psychological and social support. A TBI often causes tragic changes to a person’s life and can affect their friends and family as well.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system which can gradually affect a patient’s vision, speech, walking, writing and memory. This condition involves a wearing away of the myelin sheath, the protective covering of the nerves, which causes nerve signals to slow and the nerves themselves to become damaged. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease that is most commonly diagnosed in women and men between the ages of 20 and 50.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary depending on which nerves are affected, but common symptoms include:
- Numbness or weakness in the limbs
- Loss of vision
- Double or blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
At Sharlin Health & Neurology our treatment for MS is a delicate balance of major lifestyle shifts and patient-specific medications which we closely monitor. Medications commonly used for treating MS include corticosteroids, interferon, glatiramer and natalizumab. Our in-house physical therapy can also help patients manage the side effects of multiple sclerosis.
Since MS is a debilitating disease, it is important for patients to do their best to maintain an active, normal life and keep themselves as healthy as possible, both physically and emotionally. Support from friends and family can also be helpful to living a happy and healthy life.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive disease that develops when the cells that produce dopamine are dead or severely damaged. Dopamine acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and helps control behavior, cognition, motor activity and several other actions. When these cells do not function properly, the brain often loses control of some bodily actions.
Parkinson’s disease often begins as a tremor in the hand that slowly spreads throughout the body, causing slowed voluntary motion, rigid muscles, stooped posture, loss of involuntary movements and speech changes. These symptoms usually occur gradually and can go undetected for months or years. At Sharlin Health & Neurology we have helped many patients with Parkinson’s disease dramatically improve their health. To learn more please contact us today.
Dementia is a series of age-related symptoms that involves a loss of mental skills and deteriorating brain function. Dementia literally translates to “deprived of mind”. Symptoms of dementia occur when nerve cells die or lose communication and slowly lose their ability to function.
The symptoms of dementia develop gradually and may not even be noticed by the patient until family and friends point it out. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty using or understanding words
- Difficulty planning things out
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Forgetting names, dates, etc.
- Unable to follow directions
- Neglecting personal safety and hygiene
Dementia in many cases can be managed though medication and cognitive training to improve functioning in everyday life. It is important to practice healthy habits such as exercising regularly and maintaining low blood pressure and low cholesterol in order to help prevent dementia from worsening.
A headache is a common symptom that involves aching or pain in one or more areas of the head or face. Over 45 million people are affected by headaches each year and many of these cases include chronic headaches that last for weeks or months with no relief.
Headaches can be associated with a wide range of conditions and causes, including coughing, sneezing, fever, arthritis, depression, or even environmental changes. There are many different types of headaches, classified by the cause, location and severity of the pain. The most common types of headaches include:
- Tension headaches – Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are often caused by stress, anxiety and depression in middle to older aged people.
- Cluster headaches – Cluster headaches last for a period of weeks or months and then go away for a while. They often return during the same season in the following year.
- Migraines – Migraines cause throbbing pain often on one side of the head and are often so severe that they can lead to nausea, vomiting, depression and sleep disruption.
At Sharlin Health & Neurology we have had great results treating the root-cause of headaches and chronic migraines by relieving stress and anxiety and other life changes can also help reduce the root-symptoms of headaches. At Sharlin Health we are not a prescription-first medical practice.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes certain nerve cells in the brain to send abnormal signals that result in strange body behaviors. These behaviors, known as seizures, can range in frequency, type and severity for each individual patient. Some of the indicators associated with seizures are loss of consciousness, muscle spasms, convulsions and more.
Epileptic seizures are unprovoked and have occurred at least twice in order to properly diagnose the condition. Epilepsy is a chronic condition with no cure. However, most cases can be effectively managed through medication and surgery if necessary. It is important to begin treatment as soon as possible and take medication as directed in order to minimize the frequency of symptoms. Some patients experience complete relief from their symptoms over time.
- Vagal Nerve Stimulator
- Deep Brain Stimulator
- BOTOX Injections
- Skin Biopsy
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Evoked Responses
Vagal nerve stimulation is long-term treatment for epilepsy commonly used on patients who have not had successful results from anti-seizure medication and other more conservative treatment methods. This treatment involves implanting a generator device that is similar to a pacemaker in order to send regular pulses of electrical activity to the vagus nerve, located in the neck.
The vagus is one of twelve cranial nerves in the brain, and serves to provide function to the larynx, diaphragm, stomach, heart and sensory functions within the ears and tongue. Most patients with epilepsy experience a significant reduction in the number and frequency of seizures with this treatment.
Although we do not implant your device, they will monitor, maintain and reprogram your implant during your office visits with them.
Procedure The stimulation generator is implanted into the upper left area of the chest during a procedure performed under general anesthesia. An incision is made in the chest to implant the device and a connecting wire that runs under the skin to the vagus nerve in the neck. This procedure usually takes one to two hours to perform.
Results After the procedure, the generator will stimulate the vagus nerve at regular intervals determined by your doctor. If a seizure occurs in between these intervals, the patient can activate the stimulator manually. Most patients are not aware that the device is active and do not experience any unordinary sensations during stimulation.
Risks While the implantation procedure is considered safe for most patients, there is a risk of injury to the vagus nerve, carotid artery and jugular vein. Injury to these structures may cause coughing, hoarseness, swallowing difficulties and a tingling sensation in the neck. Infection and bleeding are also possible complications from any surgical procedure.
Patients can reduce their risk of these complications by choosing an experienced doctor to perform their procedure, and by following their doctor’s instructions after surgery.
At Sharlin Health and Neurology we monitor DBS after it has been implanted. So what is Deep brain stimulation? DBS is a surgical procedure used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease for patients who do not respond to medication. This treatment option inactivates the parts of the brain that trigger the disease without destroying nearby brain tissue.
During the DBS procedure, a small device called a neurostimulator is implanted under the skin of the chest. This battery-operated device is similar to a pacemaker for the heart and is designed to deliver electrical stimulation to the areas of the brain that control movement in order to prevent tremors and other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The device is connected to electrodes that are placed in the brain in order to directly deliver the electrical signals.
The areas in the brain where electrodes are to be placed are targeted before the procedure with the use of MRI or CT scanning. For most patients, the electrodes will be placed on the thalamus, subthalamic nucleus and globus pallidus.
After the DBS procedure has been performed, most patients experience significant symptom relief, but may still need to take medication to treat the disease, although dosage can be reduced. Dosage reduction also helps reduce the occurrence of side effects and can lead to an overall higher quality of life for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox, can be used to block nerve signals for treatment of a wide range of conditions. Botox injections offer an effective therapeutic treatment for many medical conditions, including migraines, muscle spasms, cervical dystonia and other neurological disorders.
Botox injections are administered directly into the affected muscle with no need for anesthesia. The injection effectively blocks nerve signals sent to the muscle to prevent it from contracting and reduce pain.
The results of treatment are often last for up to three months. Results can be maintained through routine follow-up injections.
Skin biopsy is a safe, minimally invasive, painless and cheap tool for providing diagnostic information on small nerve fibers, which are invisible to routine neurophysiological tests. Skin biopsy is proving to be a reliable diagnostic tool in patients complaining of symptoms consistent with small-fiber neuropathy, a condition that has been underdiagnosed in the past.
Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic exam that evaluates the health of the muscles and the nerves that control them by measuring muscle electrical activity. This test is most commonly performed to determine the cause of muscle weakness and identify cases that are caused by neurologic disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy and others rather than primary muscle conditions.
During the EMG exam, thin needle electrodes are inserted through the skin and into the muscle, where they detect electrical activity while the muscle is at rest and contracting. Patients may experience mild pain when the electrodes are inserted, but this is tolerable for most. This test is usually performed in conjunction with a nerve conduction velocity test.
Normal results of an EMG test indicate muscles that do not produce any electrical activity while at rest and progressively increases with contraction. After the test, patients may experience feelings of tenderness or bruising on the affected muscle.
An evoked response study is a diagnostic procedure that measures electrical activity in the brain as it responds to signals from the sight, sound and touch senses. This allows doctors to assess hearing or sight (especially useful when performed on infants), diagnose optic nerve disorders or detect tumors within the brain or spinal cord.
There are several different types of evoked response studies available that can test for different problems. The three major tests include:
- Visual Evoked Response (VER) Test – This test diagnoses problems within the optic nerve by placing electrodes on the scalp as the patient watches patterns appear on a screen. The electrical responses are then recorded.
- Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) Test – The BAER test detects a patient’s ability to hear and is also effective in detecting brain stem tumors and diagnosing multiple sclerosis. During this test, electrodes are placed on the scalp and earlobes and subtle noises are delivered to one ear.
- Somatosensory Evoked Response (SSER) Test – This test detects abnormalities within the spinal cord by attaching electrodes to the wrist, knee and other locations. A mild electrical signal is then sent to these areas and the brain’s response is recorded.
While these tests are effective in detecting abnormalities within the sensory functions, they often cannot determine the cause of the abnormality, so additional testing may be required.
These procedures are considered safe for most patients and are not associated with any serious complications.