These are questions with answers that are most commonly asked. Many of these questions have been submitted through to and answered by Dr Simcock, a neurologist and the Neurological Foundation’s Medical Advisor.

  • Can you tell me what are pain-less migraines?

    Migraine is a condition with three parts - headache, aura and nausea/vomiting. Recurrent episodes of typical migrainous aura (most commonly a visual distubance) occurs most commonly after menopause, particularly in the 60's. Recurrent episodes of nausea/vomiting (bilious attacks) occurs in childhood. Usually, patients do have headache at other times.

  • Does boxing cause permanent brain damage?

    Yes! But this occurs much more frequently in professional boxers than in amateurs. The end result is an appearance of parkinsonism and dementia.

  • How do I get an appointment to see a Neurologist?

    You will need a referral letter to see a neurologist, either at a hospital clinic or in private practice. This referral is usually made by your family doctor, but another specialist may make the referral. You would decide with the referring doctor whether you wish to see the neurologist at the public hospital or in private and he would make the appropriate arrangements.

    If the referral letter is sent to a hospital clinic, a neurologist then gives it a priority rating. Because there are relatively few neurologists in NZ, waiting lists are frustratingly long.

  • How do you make the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease?

    By the history of gradual onset of motor symptoms, e.g tremor or slowness of movement, and the examination. The symptoms usually start on one side and gradually get worse over months. The examination findings are of rest tremor (often one hand), slowing of repetitive hand movements, reduced facial expression and reduced arm-swing while walking, but with normal strength, tendon reflexes and sensation.

  • How early can the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease be made?

    The diagnosis can sometimes be made when the person has very little disability and before the family recognises any significant problems.