Neurology, Stroke and Alzheimer’s Awareness

    One of the greatest challenges any individual or family can confront is that of a debilitating illness. Neurological disorders, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease are all frighteningly common conditions in a modern world, and they take a heavy toll on the physical and emotional well being of loved ones–not to mention the financial burden that long-term and critical health care services can cause. But there is help. New Orleans is home to a thriving health care industry and medical research corridor that provide some of the most advanced facilities, techniques and technologies anywhere in the world. From preventative measures to 24-hour emergency response units, to world-class surgical teams, the area provides top quality medical services and specialists. Here are a few valuable resources from around the region.

    Culicchia Neurological Clinic specializes in the treatment of neurological disorders such as stroke and Alzheimer’s. Neurologist John Freiberg M.D., of Culicchia Neurological Clinic, and director of West Jefferson Medical Center’s Stroke Unit, says that research has shown that patients cared for in a unit dedicated solely to the treatment of stroke have improved outcomes. Physicians from the Culicchia Clinic lead the hospital’s stroke team, which is mobilized every time a patient with stroke is admitted.
     Through an association with the LSU School of Medicine, neurosurgeon Erich Richter M.D. has teamed with neurologist Charles Fiore M.D. of Culicchia Neurological Clinic to offer the latest treatment of Parkinson’s disease using deep brain stimulators and other therapies. Richter is a fellowship-trained neurosurgeon specializing in the use of deep brain stimulators, and works closely with the neurologists and neurosurgeons at Culicchia Neurological.
     Culicchia Neurological Clinic physicians specialize in the treatment of a wide array of neurological disorders, neurological rehabilitation, neurosurgery, complex spinal surgery, neurovascular skull base surgery, interventional diagnostic neuroradiology, CyberKnife, physical medicine, chronic pain management and neuroscience clinical research.
     Culicchia Neurological Clinic is an independent practice with offices adjacent to West Jefferson Medical Center. The doctors also associate with Ochsner on the West Bank and Touro. Culicchia Neurological Clinic has offices in Gretna, New Orleans and Marrero. For more information, call (504) 340-6976, or visit
    The doctors at Southern Brain and Spine focus on degenerative diseases of the entire spine and brain surgery. “We specialize in brain microsurgery and cutting-edge, minimally invasive spinal procedures,” says Dr. Najeeb Thomas. Thomas works with three other neurosurgeons, Drs. Richard Corales, Rand Voorhies and Lucien Miranne; and with Dr. Justin Lundgren, who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation in non-operative treatments of the spine. The doctors treat all spine and brain-related problems, and are dedicated to providing personalized state-of-the-art care to the greater New Orleans area.
     The doctors are actively involved in research relating to treatment of spinal disorders, as well. At Southern Brain and Spine, minimally invasive decompressions and percutaneous fusions are performed after nonsurgical options have been explored. Multiple nonsurgical treatment options are available to patients.
    In addition, the physicians of Southern Brain and Spine can now offer their patients Novalis TX, the new standard in radiosurgery. The procedure is noninvasive, with advanced technologies that deliver highly precise, fast treatment to brain and spine cancerous and noncancerous conditions. Treatment is performed on an outpatient basis and lasts just minutes, so you can get back to your busy life.
    The office is located at 4228 Houma Blvd., Suite 510, in Metairie. For appointments, call (504) 454-0141 and for more information visit
    The Rehabilitation Center of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center provides comprehensive rehabilitative services to patients who have experienced neurological or other debilitating injuries or illnesses. As the first hospital-based rehabilitation facility in the state of Louisiana with certified brain injury specialists on staff, the center is considered a leader in the treatment of neurological disorders and offers a complete range of inpatient and outpatient services, including physical, occupational and speech therapies. The program also hosts an Annual Neurological Health Fair that offers the public access to all disability services and resources needed if someone suffers a neurological disorder. In addition, close-knit support groups help patients realize all local recovery and support resources and maximize quality of life.
    The Rehabilitation Center also treats a wide variety of diagnoses not limited to neurological conditions. The team of experts treats orthopedic conditions, spine and back problems, lymphedema, speech disorders including swallowing dysfunction and debilitating illnesses.
    The Rehabilitation Center utilizes Six Sigma and Lean to improve processes, is consistently ranked in the top 1 percent in patient satisfaction in the nation, and has been the recipient of the Press Ganey Summit Award for both inpatient and outpatient services. Thibodaux Regional also is the first hospital in the state to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Most Distinguished Hospital Award for providing "An Outstanding Patient Experience."
    For more information or to schedule a visit, call (800) 822-8442 or drop by the Web site at
    West Jefferson Medical Center’s Neuroscience Center was developed to provide care for patients and families dealing with diseases, disorders, conditions or injuries affecting the brain and spine. Keeping up with the latest in technology, science and treatment is one of the reasons West Jeff is a major teaching hospital hosting medical students, interns and residents. Neurologists and neurosurgeons are bringing medical advances to the community hospital.
    Progresses in back surgery, for instance, allow many patients to have procedures that in the past required a lengthy hospital stay now to be performed using minimally invasive surgical techniques. Improved technology aids in diagnosis, allowing surgeons to operate making smaller incisions. Many patients have a reduction in hospital days–some even go home the same day. CyberKnife, a noninvasive alternative to surgery, is used for treating tumors in the brain and spine that may have otherwise been deemed inoperable.
    One of the latest advances in care of patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders being utilized at West Jefferson is deep brain stimulation–the surgical implantation of electrodes in affected areas of the brain to block the transmission of electrical impulses causing undesired symptoms.
    Louisianans experience more strokes than the national average. Recognizing the validity of the American Stroke Association’s “Time Lost is Brain Lost,” along with the community’s increased stroke risk, West Jefferson opened a Neurovascular Acute Stroke Unit. The accredited, dedicated unit recently earned the American Stroke Association/American Heart Association Silver Performance Achievement Award for stroke care, the “Get with the Guidelines” award.
    For more information, visit

    The American Heart Association reports that almost every 45 seconds in the U.S., a person experiences a stroke. Although there is no cure for stroke, advanced medical and surgical treatments now are available, giving many stroke victims hope for optimal recovery.
     Cardiovascular Institute of the South is one of the most respected groups of cardiologists, representing nearly every specialty in heart and circulatory medicine. With a team of more than 500 dedicated staff, CIS serves communities throughout the state, as well as national and international patients, at its 10 centers. CIS consistently positions itself at the forefront of technology by providing the most up-to-date technology, coupled with compassionate care. This mission has guided the institute for more than 20 years of service to south Louisiana.
    CIS offers a comprehensive heart and vascular program that includes specialized medical professionals trained in nuclear cardiology, electrophysiology, prevention services, lipid management and interventional cardiovascular procedures. The institute not only has earned an international reputation for providing state-of-the-art heart and vascular care, but also has received international acclaim as a leader of research and development in the field by participating in a growing number of research trials. CIS physicians serve as clinical investigators for many new and innovative medical devices, and often share their knowledge by lecturing around the country about the latest methods of treating both cardiac and peripheral arterial disease.
    For more information about CIS, call (800) 445-9676, or visit
    With seven hospitals and more than 35 health centers across Southeast Louisiana, Ochsner Health System is recognized both locally and nationally for its top quality medical care, research and education. Ochsner received the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 13 consecutive years and was ranked “Best” Hospital by U.S. News and World Report in 2007.
    Two years in a row Ochsner has been recognized for its exceptional care in treating stroke patients, as well. The American Stroke Association awarded Ochsner with the Get With The GuidelinesSM -Stroke Performance Achievement Award for its commitment, success and higher standard of stroke care. Ochsner received the Gold award at the International Stroke Conference and is one of only two hospitals in Louisiana to be certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission.
    Additionally, Ochsner is in the forefront of innovative medical research and cutting-edge procedures. The Deep Brain Stimulation program was initiated at Ochsner Medical Center in February 2008, whereby an advanced surgical procedure is used to treat a range of immobilizing neurological symptoms that are most commonly associated with the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. One of the most exciting aspects of the DBS program is that offering a procedure of this caliber could provide major research opportunities in the fight against other neurodegenerative diseases and mental disorders. Perfecting the DBS program will help Ochsner to move into new horizons of treatment for brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, epilepsy and even headaches.
    For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (504) 866-OCHSNER, or visit
    Founded in 1834, the Tulane Medical Center first opened its doors to combat many of the tropical diseases that plagued New Orleans at the time. Throughout the years, its goal has been the same–to perform groundbreaking research and bring the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf South the best medical care possible.
    In 2008 the Tulane Medical Center established a dedicated stroke service program, which includes advanced services for acute stroke patients and a cutting edge 24-hour on-call stroke response team. The stroke unit reserves beds for acute stroke patients and is staffed with nurses and specialists with maintenance of certification in the NIH Stroke Scale examination. When patients are released from the hospital or inpatient rehabilitation, Tulane’s Stroke Discharge Clinic provides a smooth transition to recovery and access to primary care.
    Tulane Medical Center is a proud recipient of a 2008 Quality Award from Louisiana Health Care Review. In 2007 Tulane Medical Center was awarded full accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers as a Cycle II Chest Pain Center for its quick response in diagnosing and treating victims of heart attack. The center also boasts one of the top ranked cardiac surgery programs in research and correction of atrial-fibrillation, or irregular heart rhythm.
    Additionally, amazing new technologies and procedures such as the Mini-Maze, the O-Arm Imaging System and robotic surgeries allow for the most effective treatments possible with the minimum amount of invasion.
    For more information on the Tulane Medical Center and the services provided, call (504) 988-5800, or visit            

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