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.

  • Is there a test to confirm the suspected diagnosis of Parkinson's disease?

    No. In PD, the MR scan is normal and there is no blood test or spinal fluid assessment that is abnormal in PD.

  • Is there any active medical treatment available for radiation induced lumbosacral plexopathy?

    Radiotherapy can damage the small blood vessels that nourish the lumbosacral plexus. This damage causes symptoms which can come on suddenly, or occasionally progress gradually. At times, the symptoms may stabilise for a matter of months.

    Unfortunately, there is no medication or other therapy that results in any significant improvement.

  • Is there any medication of great benefit in Motor Neurone Disease?

    There is no medication that is of any great benefit in Motor Neurone Disease. Riluzole has been suggested to be of benefit in patients with the bulbar form of MND but I would be reluctant to support the use of this medication.

  • Is there research into Huntington's disease being done in New Zealand?

    Professor Richard Faull at the Auckland School of Medicine leads a very active team of researchers. A recent important discovery is that there are stem cells located close to the area damaged in Huntinton's Disease. These cells have the potential to replace the damaged cells. Research uses the tissue from the Brian Bank, established by Professor Faull and funded by the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand.

  • Last weekend I noticed I coudn't walk properly because my right foot dragged. My doctor has told me it is foot drop and he refered me to a neurologist. What is foot drop?

    Foot drop is caused by weakness of the muscles at the front of the lower leg which lift the toes and foot up when walking. When you take a step forward with the right foot, instead of the toes being held up clear of the ground, the foot flops onto the ground. At the start of your next step with your right foot, the toes are not lifed and the could catch on the ground causing you to trip so that you have to take a higher step with the right leg to get the toes clear of the ground. It seems that your foot drop came on suddenly and you do not mention any pain.