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Drs. Noah Kolb and Gordon Smith Host "Autoimmune Neuropathies" Facebook Chat on May 22nd

May 28, 2013

On May 22nd, Drs. Noah Kolb and A. Gordon Smith hosted a "chat" event on The Neuropathy Association’s Facebook page focusing on autoimmune neuropathies.

Missed this Facebook Chat? Sign up to receive a free copy of the transcript once it is published!

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During the Facebook Chat, Dr. Kolb emphasized, “There are many forms of autoimmune neuropathies, which have a spectrum of symptoms. The most important step in getting to a diagnosis is seeing a neurologist who will take a careful history of the symptoms and perform a detailed examination. Most patients require a NCS and EMG. If GBS or CIDP is suspected, a lumbar puncture may be performed. Most patients also need blood tests, although which ones depend on the suspected disorder. Seeing a neurologist with training and expertise in peripheral nerve disorders is an important first step.”

Autoimmune neuropathies refer to a wide range of immune-mediated disorders of the peripheral nerves, including, chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathies (CIDP), multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN), Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS), Sjögren’s Syndrome, and IgM paraproteinemic neuropathy, among others.

Neuropathy, in general, is not easy to diagnose and even more complex to manage. Working with a health care professional who specializes in neuromuscular diseases is critical, as is recognizing and managing the symptoms early in the disease process. This is particularly important in the case of autoimmune neuropathies where immune-modifying therapies play a central role in reducing disease activity and progression.

This Facebook Chat offered the neuropathy community a unique opportunity to learn about—and discuss—autoimmune neuropathies with Drs. Kolb and Smith, including:  

- The importance of recognizing the symptoms;

- The value of partnering with neurologists specializing in neuromuscular diseases to get a prompt diagnosis and determine treatment strategies that work; and

- Ways to improve access to care and quality of life.

Our educational Facebook Chat events also offer participants a chance to hear from and ask questions of their peers—patients and caregivers—who are battling neuropathy. In addition, they emphasize that living well with neuropathy is possible with early diagnosis, symptom management, and regular follow-ups, but it requires active engagement by the patient in his/her own medical care along with the aid of an array of resources—limited as they are—that do currently exist.

Dr. A. Gordon Smith is an associate professor of Neurology and Pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Salt Lake City Veterans Administration Hospital. After receiving a degree in Archaeology from the University of Virginia, he attended medical school at the Mayo Clinic where he worked in Dr. Anthony Windebank's laboratory studying toxic neuropathies. He completed a neurology residency and neuromuscular and clinical neurophysiology training at the University of Michigan where he began his work on early diabetic neuropathy under the mentorship of Dr. Eva Feldman.  His primary area of interest is neuromuscular and peripheral nerve disease. 

Dr. Noah Kolb is currently a neurophysiology fellow at the University of Utah School of Medicine and will be joining the neuromuscular faculty as an assistant professor starting in July. Dr. Kolb studied biochemistry at Bowdoin College and medicine at the University of Massachusetts, and he completed a neurology residency at the University of Virginia.

A special thanks to Drs. Kolb and Smith for giving their time and expertise to speak with our community!

P.S. If you do not use Facebook:

- You can still access the Chat "live" by visiting The Neuropathy Association's Facebook page, but you will not be able to join the conversation by posting comments. View the Association's Facebook page!

- You can read a transcript of the highlights from the Chat that will be published afterwards in the coming weeks. Sign up to receive your free copy of the transcript by email!

 

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