Some diseases of the nervous system

This is not an area where I am particularly skilled so I will keep the information general with maybe a few comments on individual conditions.

It is obvious that all of our systems function in relationship with each other so one cannot single out a part of the body that works in isolation. Nerves connect up all of our body parts, carrying information to the Central Nervous System, most of which lies in our brains, but also to the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems which control involuntary responses. From these systems messages of control and action are relayed back into our bodies in order to make an appropriate response. These systems are of immense complexity and speed and it is amazing that we function as well as we do.

Breakdown can come in many ways. Those that come about through circulatory problems  are generally called strokes or Cerebral Vascular Accidents, much like heart attacks in the brain. Some cause bleeding in the brain and tend to have a poorer prognosis, as does anything related to bleeding in the brain. This includes aneurysms where a weak blood vessel blows up and bursts much like an overfilled balloon. Dementia sometimes arises from circulatory problems.Other conditions may involve the nervous systems  themselves such as Parkinson's and Altzheimers disease in the brain and Multiple Sclerosis in the nerves travelling to other parts of the body.

Whatever the cause and site of the problem, it  is generally held that physical activity is the best preventative and therapeutic factor there is.  

The good news is that the brain tissue has what is called plasticity. It can make new pathways and connections with repeated responses to stimulation. Even visualising movements of parts of the body awakens the brain. Many think it mental exercise alone which keeps the brain active and healthy but the tissue of the brain has a huge need for a nourishing blood supply so physical effort is just as necessary.

There are many different approaches to treatment followed by physiotherapists, each with their own benefit. Movement should be related to function and practised repeatedly. In my experience what is called Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, PNF, is very effective as it can be adapted to differing conditions and parts of the body. It majors on stimulation of the brain while moving body parts, something now known to be effective. It also moves the limbs in patterns rather than straight lines. 

Relating to damage of the right side of the brain, it is more difficult to regain independence following, say a stroke, affecting the left side of the body. It is the right side of the brain that relates information to a whole picture of the body, and where this is poor the person finds it difficult to make sense of what he is doing.

Helpful websites for the most conditions may be found on-line. Amongst them Parkinson's UK.Stroke Association and Multiple Sclerosis

There is also a website, www.React2.com  which provides extensive support for those with swallowing and speech disabilities.