Patient Education Brochures

AAN patient education brochures offer newly diagnosed patients and their families a quality resource developed by experts in the field. Each brochure covers topics such as causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. The brochures also include tips on healthy living with the disorder and information on other AAN resources for patients and other patient organizations.

Understanding Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive degenerative disorder of the nervous system. It is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. While ALS can develop at any age, it generally occurs between the ages of 40 and 70. About 5,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year.

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a neurologic disorder that affects the brain. It causes dementia. Its earliest and main symptom is steadily increasing memory loss. Problems with getting lost, language, and emotional control are also common. These deficits may worsen over five to 20 years. Treatments can help maintain thinking, memory, and speaking skills. No treatments can currently change or reverse the disease. But, there are many ways to help maintain quality of life.

Understanding Brain Tumors

A brain tumor, like other tumors, is a collection of cells that multiply at a rapid rate. The tumor may cause damage by pressing on or spreading into healthy parts of the brain and interfering with function. Brain tumors can be benign or malignant. They can develop outside or inside the brain.

Understanding Concussion

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. It is a physical injury to the brain that disrupts normal functioning. A concussion can result from brain trauma caused by an impact or the sudden stopping of movement. A person does not need to lose consciousness, or pass out, to have a concussion. Because of this, many people are not aware that they have experienced a concussion. Concussions can involve a loss of consciousness for up to 30 minutes.

Understanding Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a medical condition where a person has recurring unprovoked seizures. Having a single seizure does not mean that a person has epilepsy. Many people have a single isolated seizure and don't go on to develop epilepsy. Seizures are short episodes when a person does not function normally because of abnormal electrical discharges in the brain.

Understanding Migraine

A migraine is a recurring moderate to severe headache. The pain usually occurs on one side of the head. It is typically a throbbing pain. Migraine is a biological disorder of the brain. While it is more common in women, it can affect anyone. It usually begins in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood.

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurologic disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). Although MS is a long-term and serious condition, many people live full, successful, and satisfying lives with the disorder. Most people with MS have a normal or near-normal life span. Many people with MS do not become severely physically disabled.

Understanding Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle weakness. It affects muscles that a person can usually control consciously. Muscles most commonly affected are those controlling the eyelids, eye movement, and breathing and swallowing, as well as the facial and shoulder muscles.

Understanding Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a movement disorder. In people with PD, a vital chemical in the brain called dopamine is gradually reduced. This brings on symptoms of tremor, slowness in movement, stiff limbs, and walking or balance problems.

Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder. It may cause numbness, tingling, and weakness. It can also cause pain. These symptoms usually start in the longest nerves in the body and so first affect the feet and later the hands. Most people who develop peripheral neuropathy are over age 55. But people can be affected at any age.

Understanding Sleep Disorders

Many sleep disorders are brain disorders that cause interruptions in sleep patterns. They prevent people from getting enough sleep. Most people require 7 to 10 hours of sleep per day. The brain regulates sleep and is the only organ known to require or benefit from sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect quality of life. Untreated sleep disorders can also cause serious safety problems and medical issues.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury usually occurs due to a traumatic blow to the spine. Part of the backbone pinches the spinal cord. This causes bruising or swelling. Sometimes the injury may tear the spinal cord or its nerve fibers. When this happens, the nerves from the point of the injury and below cannot send messages to and from the brain like they did before.

Understanding Stroke

A stroke is caused by the sudden loss of blood flow to the brain or bleeding in or around the brain. Either can cause brain cells to stop functioning or die. When nerve cells in the brain die, the function of body parts they control is harmed or lost. Depending on the part of the brain affected, people can lose speech, feeling, muscle strength, coordination, vision, or memory. Some people recover completely; others are seriously disabled or die.

Understanding Tremor

A tremor is the repetitive, involuntary, rhythmic trembling of one or more parts of the body. Tremor is characterized by the type of activity that produces the tremor. Tremor is a common symptom. But many people with tremor never seek medical care, even though most would benefit from treatment.

Working with Your Neurologist

A useful guide for new patients on how to prepare for your visit with your neurologist and resources available from the AAN.