What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
By Kate Williams, NP Division of Neurology June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, an ideal time to learn more about...
A lumbar puncture (also known as a spinal tap), is a procedure used to collect and examine the fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. A needle is carefully inserted into the spinal canal in the lumbar area to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Lumbar punctures are performed to find the cause of infections, inflammation, cancer or bleeding around the area surrounding the spinal cord or brain. It can also be used to diagnose certain diseases of the brain and spinal cord as well as deliver medications to the CSF. Lumbar punctures are also used to deliver a dye to the CSF to make the spinal cord and CSF more visible on X-rays (myelogram).
Electromyography (EMG) is a technique designed to evaluate and record the electrical activity of muscles. The test measures how well and how fast nerves can send electrical signals. It is performed using an instrument called an electromyograph, which produces a record known as an electromyogram. Measuring the electrical activity in nerves and muscles can help uncover diseases such as muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Tensilon is a trade name for edrophonium chloride, which is given intravenously. Tensilon blocks the action of acetylcholinesterase, an important neurotransmitter and help prolongs muscle stimulation. An increase in muscle strength during the test can be an indicator of myasthenia gravis or a similar neurological condition.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. During the test, electrical sensors are attached to the head of the patient and run by wires to a computer. The computer then records the brain’s electrical activity which can be seen on screen or printed on paper.
Patients who have chronic sleep problems are diagnosed in a Sleep Study, also known as a Polysomnogram (PSG). During a Sleep Study the patient is monitored during sleep and physiological data is electronically recorded. This data is carefully analyzed by a neurologist later. The test is usually performed in a Sleep Lab.