Hop aboard the brain train with the education chief resident at Washington University in this neurology education podcast where he interviews experts in the field to uncover the fundamentals of clinical practice, tips for young trainees, and personal insights about the profession. Dr. Jamie Holloman uses his superhuman ability for self deprecation to keeps things light as we explore the mysteries of the mind. Fantastic resource for neurologists, neurology residents, medical students, and anyone interested in learning more about applied neuroscience.
8. Non-epileptic seizures: diagnosis and treatment
Non-epileptic seizures are difficult to diagnose and hard to treat. In this episode, we delve into the specifics of this disorder and discuss the obstacles to effective treatment. We are joined by the wonderful Dr. Laura Strom, an epileptologist at the University of Colorado who specializes in the treatment of patients with non-epileptic seizures. She went to medical school at Penn State University College of Medicine and completed her neurology residency and epilepsy fellowship at the University of Colorado. She is the head of the non-epileptic seizure clinic at the University of Colorado and is the primary investigator in an ongoing study for patients with non-epileptic seizures. Her clinic provides comprehensive neurologic and psychiatric treatment to patients with non-epileptic seizures and has treated more than 600 patients as of 2020.
For this episode, I was assisted by my first ever co-host, Jamie Moffa. Jamie is an MD PhD candidate at Washington University with an interest in the intersection between neurology and psychiatry.
3:49 Why neurology
6:28 Why functional neurological disorders?
9:17 How did you learn to treat patients with non-epileptic seizures?
14:20 Non-medical book recommendation?
15:45 Patient case of non-epileptic seizures (NES)
18:04 What should you call this disorder?
19:50 What are non-epileptic seizures?
22:25 Clinical symptoms that help distinguish between NES and epileptic seizures
23:45 Functional MRI in non-epileptic seizures
26:30 What elements of the history suggest NES?
29:45 Medical co-morbidities associated with NES
31:30 How to discuss a diagnosis of NES
37:10 Common misconceptions about NES
39:02 Treatment for NES
40:45 Group therapy for NES
45:05 Larger applicability of group therapy model
48:27 How do you talk with resistant patients about psychological treatment?
52:40 How do you help patients who can't get access to mental health resources?
55:10 What is the role of neurologists in the care of NES patients?
58:45 Insurance coverage for patients with NES
1:01:40 Other obstacles to treatment for patients
1:06:45 Patient success story
Dr. Strom report no relevant financial disclosures. Brain Boy Neurology reports no relevant financial disclosures.
Neuroimaging in non-epileptic seizures:
Clinical calculator to determine likelihood of non-epileptic (dissociative) seizures:
7. Management of first time seizure
Seizures are the bread and butter of the neurological consult service. Gaining proficiency in the workup and management of first-time seizures makes a young neurologist’s life much easier. To shed some light on this topic, I sit down with the incredible Dr. Brian Day, an Epileptologist at Washington University, to discuss the ins and outs of first-time seizure management. Dr. Day got his MD and PhD at the University of Kentucky and completed his neurology training at Washington University. He then did a fellowship in Epilepsy and currently works treating patients with seizure disorders.
1:00: My experience with epilepsy
5:23: Why neurology
12:13: What did you study for your PhD?
16:43: Why epilepsy?
21:53: What do you like to do in your free time?
25:53: Patient case of new onset seizure
27:57: What is a seizure?
30:16: How can you tell if shaking is a seizure?
37:45: Non-epileptic events
41:41: Provoked vs unprovoked seizures
42:53: Medications that can provoke a seizure
47:38: Can certain longstanding medications cause seizures?
49:25: How to counsel seizure patients about alcohol consumption
51:58: Acute symptomatic vs remote seizures
56:08: Neuroimaging for new onset seizure
58:43: Screening for mesial temporal sclerosis
59:53: What to look for on brain MRI
1:00:53: What to look for on EEG
1:05:53: Lab workup/when to get a lumbar puncture
1:07:46: Can a UTI provoke a seizure?
1:12:08: Focal vs generalized seizures
1:13:44: Neurological exam for seizures
1:16:52: Do multiple seizures in a day change prognosis?
1:19:13: Role of serum lactate/prolactin
1:21:08: When do you start antiepileptics?
1:23:43: What to do with an abnormal EEG
1:25:05: Deep vs cortical brain MRI lesions and seizure risk
1:28:08: How to manage unprovoked seizure patients older than 60
1:30:19: Benzo bridges
1:32:43: Follow up for patients
1:33:46: Counseling patients with first time seizures
Dr. Day report no relevant financial disclosures. Brain Boy Neurology reports no relevant financial disclosures.
6. Sleep deprivation during residency
Sleep deprivation is the norm in medical training. But does it have to be? I sit down with the Dr. Gabriela De Bruin to discuss the effects of sleep deprivation on residents and patients. We review the medical literature on the topic and discuss alternative work schedules. Dr. Gabriela De Bruin is a neurologist at Washington University who specializes in the treatment of patients with sleep disorders. She completed medical school at the Federal university of Ceara in Brazil and then came to Washington University for her neurology residency. After residency she completed a fellowship in sleep medicine.
- 02:40: Dr. De Bruin background
- 10:08: Non-medical book recommendation
- 11:25: Sleep deprivation during residency
- 12:23: Acute vs chronic sleep deprivation
- 14:30: How much sleep should you get each night?
- 17:30: Adverse health effects of sleep deprivation
- 22:50: Sleep deprivation and cognition, attention, and motor skills
- 25:18: Sleep deprivation compared to alcohol intoxication
- 28:17: Personal perception of sleepiness
- 31:50: Research on the impact of sleep on patient care
- 35:48: Sleep deprivation and length of stay and patient mortality
- 39:30: Duty hours reform
- 44:36: Impact of duty hours on patient safety outcomes
- 48:48: Why didn’t duty hours reform improve patient outcomes?
- 51:38: Long shifts vs a night float system
- 57:50: Strategies to reduce and mitigate the effects of sleep deprivation
Dr. De Bruin report no relevant financial disclosures. Brain Boy Neurology reports no relevant financial disclosures.
Dawson, Drew, and Kathryn Reid. "Fatigue, alcohol and performance impairment." Nature 388.6639 (1997): 235-235 (https://www.nature.com/articles/40775)
Landrigan, Christopher P., et al. "Effect of reducing interns' work hours on serious medical errors in intensive care units." New England Journal of Medicine 351.18 (2004): 1838-1848 (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa041406)
Lockley, Steven W., et al. "Effect of reducing interns' weekly work hours on sleep and attentional failures." New England Journal of Medicine 351.18 (2004): 1829-1837. (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa041404)
Desai, Sanjay V., et al. "Education outcomes in a duty-hour flexibility trial in internal medicine." New England Journal of Medicine 378.16 (2018): 1494-1508. (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1800965)
5. Choosing a neurology residency
Puzzling over your rank list? Confounded by all the choices? We’re here to help. I sit down with my co-chiefs, Matt Brier and Mysti Harrison, to discuss strategies for choosing a neurology residency. Matt and Mysti are the academic chief residents at Washington University. They planned and carried out recruitment for our neurology program this year. They share tips and insights from the recruting experience.
- 03:25: The rank process at WashU
- 06:18: Mysti’s experience choosing a residency
- 10:12: Matt’s experience choosing a residency
- 13:30: Choosing a program you’ve only seen via Zoom
- 16:20: Residency structure
- 21:45: Call structure
- 25:20: Program prestige
- 27:30: Factoring in family
- 30:15: Fellowship options
- 33:40: Advice for MD/PhD students
- 38:00: Informing your top program and thank you notes
- 41:30: Setting your list
- 44:05: Advanced vs categorical spots
- 49:15: Putting your best foot forward on the interview trail
- 52:18: Writing a personal statement
Dr. Brier and Dr. Harrison report no relevant financial disclosures. Brain Boy Neurology reports no relevant financial disclosures.
NRMP Program rating and interview scheduling app (https://www.nrmp.org/prism-interview-scheduling-tool/)
4. Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis can present in a variety of different ways, often making diagnosis challengin. In this week’s episode, I interview Dr. Salim Chahin, a neurologist here at Washington University who specializes in the treatment of patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We discuss how to evaluate a patient with suspected MS using a case of optic neuritis. Dr. Chahin went to medical school in Damascus University School of Medicine in Damascus, Syria. He completed a residency in Neurology at the University of Iowa Hospital and completed a fellowship in MS at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a faculty member in the MS department here at Washington University.
- 01:54: Dr. Chahin’s background
- 07:11: Nonmedical book recommendation
- 10:00: Clinical case of optic neuritis
- 10:59: Questions to ask in patients with suspected MS
- 14:03: Common presenting syndromes for MS
- 17:38: Characteristics of vision loss specific to MS
- 18:47: Neurological exam in patients with suspected MS
- 22:46: Lab workup in MS patients
- 28:40: Differential diagnosis for MS
- 32:28: Lumbar puncture in MS
- 38:14: McDonald criteria for MS diagnosis
- 42:56: Counseling patients with optic neuritis on their future risk of developing MS
- 46:14: Summary and key takeaways
Dr. Chahin has received consulting and/or speaking free from Biogen, Genentech, Novartis, and Sanofi Genzyme. Brain Boy Neurology reports no relevant financial disclosures.
McDonald Criteria for MS diagnosis: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/For-Professionals/Clinical-Care/Diagnosing-MS/Diagnosing-Criteria
3. Working up weakness
Weakness is the one of the most common consults we get in neurology and often the most challenging. In this week’s episode, I interview Dr. Robert Bucelli, a neurologist at Washington University specializing in neuromuscular disorders, and ask him for tips for evaluating weakness. We discuss how to tailor your history and exam to a chief complaint of weakness. We talk about all the relevant questions to ask and how these questions allow you to narrow down your differential and guide further testing. We use a case of statin induced myopathy as the basis for our discussion. Dr. Bucelli got his MD and Phd from the University of Buffalo. He then completed a neurology residency at Washington University followed by a fellowship in Neuromuscular disorders and has been a faculty member here at Washington University ever since. He is the five-time recipient of the Eliasson Award for Teaching Excellence, an award given annually by neurology residents to attending physicians that demonstrate excellence in teaching.
- 03:50: Dr. Bucelli’s background
- 15:20: Advice for developing as a neurology resident
- 23:20 Clinical case of statin induce myopathy
- 30:09: Proximal vs distal weakness
- 35:15: Asymmetric vs symmetric weakness
- 36:20: Neurological examination for weakness
- 45:23: Upper vs lower motor neuron signs
- 48:30: Assessing muscle tone on exam
- 50:50: Patient exam
- 53:00: Diagnostic workup of proximal weakness
- 55:30: Three types of statin induced myopathy
- 1:01:50: Diagnostic workup to differentiate between different causes of stain induced myopathy
- 1:03:20: Summary and key takeaways
Dr. Bucelli is a consultant for the company NeuroQuestions LLC. Brain Boy Neurology reports no relevant financial disclosures.
Such a wonderful podcast! Loved the migraine episode!
Brain Boy is FANTASTIC!!
Thank you, Doc Jamie