Brain & Life Magazine

Brain & Life Magazine is a free publication and website for patients and caregivers from the American Academy of Neurology. It covers a range of topics including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, epilepsy, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, neuropathy, sleep disorders, migraines and much, much more.

June/July 2018 Issue


Supporting Role
Actor Courtney B. Vance cared for his mother after she developed ALS. He hopes his story will promote understanding of the disease and emphasize the need for a cure.
Courtney B. Vance, a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor, can locate the essence of his mother's character in a single, quiet scene. He was a high school senior at Detroit Country Day School, a private college prep school. His mother, Leslie Vance, was a librarian at a neighborhood branch about a mile from their home. “I said something about her ‘little job at the library,’” Vance recalls. “She got quiet, and I recognized immediately that I'd made a mistake.” Flashing her expressive eyes, she said, “Courtney, this ‘little job’ of mine allows you to go to that damn school,” and walked away.
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The Road to Surgery
Surgery is a treatment option for several neurologic disorders. Use our guide to find out if you are a candidate, what to expect, and how to prepare.
Walter Newman was feeling optimistic as he was wheeled into the operating room for deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease in March 2014. “My surgeon had cautioned me that results were not guaranteed, but I'd watched some videos about people who had gotten wonderful results, and I assumed that mine would be just as good,” says the 67-year-old lawyer from Sumter, SC.
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Inner Peace
Meditation may help alleviate pain, fatigue, and depression, and slow cognitive decline. We take a look at the evidence.
Gwenn Herman experienced chronic pain for years after being involved in a car accident in 1996. “I developed a protruding disc in my neck that caused excruciating pain,” the 64-year-old resident of Tucson, AZ, recalls. “I tried everything—medications, injections, even surgery.” Eventually, Herman found relief through a mix of prescription pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acupuncture, and meditation. “The latter truly saved me,” she says.
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