FUNCTIONS OF A NEUROMUSCULAR CENTRE
Main functions of a neuromuscular (NM) centre are making diagnosis, treatment and counselling. Some other functions, e. g. forming a register and epidemiological endeavours, could be added. All these activities are expected to be achieved by multidisciplinary approach with the idea that members use the same guidelines and share the same knowledge.
NM diseases affect lower levels of the nervous system that is motor units (motor cells in the brainstem and spinal cord, nerve roots, cranial and peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction, and muscles). There are many such diseases; a few are more common others are rare.
Rational approach in making a diagnosis can be divided into several steps. The process begins with a person with clinical symptoms and signs which raise the suspicion of NM disease. The first step is the description of the predominant pattern of muscular wasting and weakness (e. g. limb-girdle, distal, ocular, facio-scapulo-humeral). Each of these syndromes require a differential diagnosis within the motor unit territory what is achieved by means of EMG and muscle biopsy. The latter is even more important to define the nature of the abnormality. Disease nature can also be determined biochemically and, as NM disorders are commonly genetically determined, at the molecular genetic level. Treatment modalities include drugs (causative and symptomatic) and other measures such as promoting and maintaining good general health, preventing skeletal deformities, physiotherapy, orthoses, surgery, and prevention of respiratory and cardiac functions. Counselling is mainly by social workers that focus on the practical aspects of coping with illness and disability and by genetic counsellors who gave advise on family planning.
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