Unlike many medical conditions, where treatment often leads to cure, a neurologic disorder can require months or years of medical care and rehabilitation services. From the Wellness Center dance studio to the advanced gait testing, to the balance lab and outdoor mobility garden, the comprehensive Neurorehabilitation Services offered at the new Neuroscience Health Center have one collective goal in common: to help patients restore lost function and maximize mobility.
Because each patient’s treatment path is different, the Stanford neurorehabilitation team works together with doctors in a variety of specialties to develop therapy plans that help restore function, control movement and improve balance to prevent further injury. For patients with balance problems, a team at the Balance Center works together with experts in neurology, neuro-otology and rehabilitation medicine to diagnose the underlying causes of balance problems and develop a treatment plan.
“The Balance Center at Stanford is unique in that it’s an interdisciplinary program, rather than a purely vestibular center,” said Helen Bronte- Stewart, MD, director of the Stanford Movement Disorders Center. The Balance Center shares the first floor with neuromuscular and movement disorder specialists in a strategic co-locating of services. “We’re excited to broaden our ability to work across disciplines in the new Neuroscience Health Center,” said Bronte-Stewart, the John E. Cahill Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences. “Here, we have everybody working together with these very complicated and sometimes rare disorders, especially those conditions that overlap between movement and neuromuscular disorders.”
Her colleague, Yuen So, MD, professor and chief, Neurology Clinics, specializes in treating complex patients, many with previously undiagnosed neuromuscular disorders. “What we are particularly good at is our ability to look at a complex case, use what we know, listen to patients and design further testing to reach a diagnosis,” said So, a professor of neurology.
Neurorehabilitation also relies upon the kinematic lab to measure and test fine motor skills and gait. Using gait right mat technology, and wearable sensors, the kinematic lab team can provide very accurate, quantitative spatial measurements of gait and timing.
“That’s very important in the treatment of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s,” said Bronte-Stewart. “It’s important not only for diagnosis, but also for monitoring the effects of treatment such as medication and deep brain stimulation.”
Rounding out the neurorehabilitation area is an exercise room filled with specialty equipment, a body-weight support system to hold up patients during therapy, soundproof rooms for speech therapy, a driving simulation console and an outdoor mobility garden where patients can practice navigating over a variety of outdoor surfaces. The Wellness Center studio, located just inside the center’s front doors, is home to restorative classes such as dance, yoga and Tai Chi, and will be used for group classes on turning and walking mechanics and fall prevention.
“We see neurorehabilitation as a much more integrated science that will serve the whole of the neurological community,” said Bronte-Stewart. “I think that is going to be very obvious to patients when they come in. They’re going to see this big beautiful space where a lot of people are working on different types of rehab.”