At West Virginia University we take a team approach to movement disorders to obtain accurate diagnoses and implement the most appropriate treatments. The team has a wide range of expertise and experience in delivering every mode of advanced treatment. Some patients will need to see just one physician on the team; others may see several. A great advantage of a team approach is that the physicians can pool their knowledge and the benefit of their years of medical experience to collectively address each patient’s problem.
A neurologist who specializes in movement disorders makes the initial assessment and in many cases will be the only specialist a patient needs to see.
In severe cases of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, or dystonia that have not responded well to other approaches, a neurosurgeon may target the part of the brain responsible for the movement disorder for deep brain stimulation using implantable devices.
The role of the neuropsychologist is to assess the patient’s cognitive function. This is a crucial step in determining whether deep brain stimulation is indicated in a patient with Parkinson’s disease and whether appropriate treatment of a dementia should be initiated.
The role of the neuropsychiatrist is to determine whether a patients is suffering from depression or psychosis, which are common problems in patients with Parkinson’s disease. He will also help with the medical management of depression or psychosis.
The Movement Disorders Team also calls on the expertise of physical and occupational therapists, otolaryngologists (for patients with speaking and swallowing problems), and other specialists as needed.
The goal of treatment is to enable patients to regain optimal motor control of their bodies and to improve their quality of life.