Health System Takes Steps to Educate Medical Professionals on Often Misdiagnosed Brain Condition

The Greenville Health System hosts a symposium on Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus with the support of the Hydrocephalus Association

The Greenville Health System (GHS) Neurological Institute will host a symposium on normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), a condition that has come to be known as the treatable dementia. An estimated 80% of the 700,000 Americans with NPH still suffer through this devastating but treatable condition because they have been unable to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. With a generous donation from Craig and Vicki Brown in partnership with the Hydrocephalus Association, GHS takes bold steps forward to raise awareness and knowledge about NPH to the medical professionals serving as the first line of defense for early and proper diagnosis.

Normal pressure hydrocephalus is a chronic neurological disorder where an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) causes the fluid-filled ventricles in the brain to gradually enlarge, sometimes with little or no increase in intracranial pressure. While NPH can occur in adults of any age, it disproportionately appears in older individuals, and is accompanied by some or all of a triad of symptoms that include gait disturbances, dementia, and impaired bladder control. Left untreated, NPH can cause an individual to degenerate into what appears to be dementia and is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases, or remains undiagnosed because symptoms are thought to be part of the aging process. This degeneration puts an incredible burden on family caregivers and may lead to unnecessary institutionalization when patients who could continue normal activities of daily living if they are viable candidates for treatment, are placed in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

“We are excited to support this event that will bring together leading practitioners and researchers on normal pressure hydrocephalus to raise awareness with the medical professionals directly serving this patient population,” stated Diana Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Hydrocephalus Association. “This is an opportunity to begin to address the critical need for early diagnosis of NPH and the first of many similar events we hope to support around the country.”

“Is It Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)?” will be held Saturday, Jan. 16 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Robert E. Coleman Medical Staff Auditorium at Greenville Memorial Hospital. The symposium will focus on approaches and challenges in diagnosing and treating normal pressure hydrocephalus.

The symposium’s speakers include:

Dr. Alberto Espay, associate professor and endowed chair of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the University of Cincinnati. He has published more than 100 articles and book chapters as well as three books, including “Common Movement Disorders Pitfalls.”

Dr. Mark G. Hamilton, director of the Adult Hydrocephalus Program and Surgical Neuro-Oncology Program and Pediatric Neurosurgery Program at the University of Calgary.  Dr. Hamilton established the University of Calgary Adult Hydrocephalus Program in 2008 and started the Calgary Adult Hydrocephalus Clinic, which will have over 1,000 patient visits in 2015. Dr. Hamilton helped establish the Adult Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network, of which he is the chair, with the support of Hydrocephalus Association. His main clinical and research interests are the diagnosis and management of hydrocephalus in adults. He is a member of the Hydrocephalus Association Board of Directors and Medical Advisory Board.

Sheldon Herring, Ph.D, serves as the clinical director of the Outpatient Traumatic Brain Injury and Young Stroke Programs of the GHS Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital. He also serves on the board of directors for the Brain Injury Association of America. He conducts workshops on neurological rehabilitation around the country.

Dr. Michael Williams is a professor of neurology and neurological surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Williams is an internationally recognized expert in the field of adult hydrocephalus, and he co-chaired the first National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Workshop on hydrocephalus, helped to create the International Society for Hydrocephalus and CSF Disorders (ISHCSF), hosted its first scientific conference, and served as president of the society. He is a Principal Investigator for the Adult Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network and a member of the Hydrocephalus Association Board of Directors and Medical Advisory Board.

Learn more about the event and register by clicking here.