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.

  • In Parkinson's disease, do symptoms occur before the onset of tremor or motor symptoms?

    Yes, but the symptoms are non-specific, that is they occur without PD developing. For example, loss of smell and taste may precede the onset of PD by years, but more commonly occurs without PD developing later on. REM sleep disorders (nightmares or "active" dreams) may occur years before the onset of PD. Depression may also occur before the development of motor symptoms.

  • In the past four months, I have had more frequent attacks of migraine and now my scalp gets sore to touch with the attacks. Am I developing a brain tumour?

    Sensitivity of the scalp is an under-recoginised feature of migraine, ususally starting an hour or so after  the onset of the headache. It is on the same side as the headache and commonly in the temple or futher back on the side of the head. This over-sensitivity to touch and or pressure may be similar to the hypersensitivity to bright lights, nosie and strong smells that often occurs with migraine. Often medications such as imigraine may be not effective if they are not taken before the scalp sensitivity develops. You are not developing a brain tumour.

  • Is a review of Motor Neurone Disease available?

    Yes - from the MND Association of NZ, PO Box 2129, Wellington or www.mdanz.org.nz. A review is in Headlines 2003, Volume 62.

  • Is Autism a neurological disorder?

    Autism is a disorder of childhood, starting before the age of three, with features including withdrawal from contact with people, an obsessive desire to preserve sameness, and a failure to use language for communication. The child may be unusually sensitive to stimuli and show repetitive mannerisms.

  • Is Dyslexia a common problem?

    Dyslexia is difficulty in reading; a small number of people, especially L-handed males, have normal memory, judgement and other mental functions but have a specific problem with reading and spelling. This is uncommon - perhaps an incidence of 1:1000. However, slow learners with other problems may have particular difficulty in learning to read - dyslexia is only one feature of their learning problems. Dyslexia may occur as a result of a stroke, very rarely as an isolated problem but more commonly in association with impairment of comprehension or expression of speech.