The Stony Brook Movement Disorders Center provides customized care for people with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, essential tremor, dystonia and Tourette's syndrome. With recognized expertise in diagnosing challenging cases and treating complex movement disorders, Stony Brook Movement Disorders is the destination for those whose conditions require the full spectrum of care from physical therapy to medical treatment to neurosurgery.
Our team includes neurologists; neurosurgeons; psychiatrists; neuropsychologists; a social worker; and physical, occupational, and speech therapists who work closely together using an interdisciplinary approach to patient care. Drs. Guy Schwartz and Hanna Czarkowska and Carine Maurer are neurologists with subspecialty training in movement disorders, and Dr. Chuck Mikell is a neurosurgeon with expertise in the performance of neurological surgery for those who do not respond effectively to best practices medical treatment. The neuropsychology and psychiatry teams, led by Dr. Thomas Preston and Nikhil Palekar respectively, work closely with our neurologists and neurosurgeons.
Our center also has the only Neuro-Critical Care Unit in Suffolk County, allowing for the highest level of care after neurosurgery for movement disorders. And our 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a week physician extender coverage facilitates pre- and post-operative care.
The first step is to undergo an evaluation with a movement disorders neurologist. At Stony Brook, when the neurologist meets a patient for an initial evaluation, the patient undergoes a complete neurological examination. This typically includes being asked to perform different tasks like writing, walking across the room, pouring water, drinking water and drawing spirals. By observing these seemingly simple tasks, the neurologist is able to learn key information about the patient’s movements, and can usually make a provisional diagnosis pending further tests.
Treatments can range from physical therapy to a range of medications and even brain surgery. We offer medical management, botulinum toxin injection, and surgical therapy to appropriate candidates. Anyone who is on medication and still suffering from bothersome symptoms of movement disorders is a potential candidate for surgery. This surgery, called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), entails placing small wires into the brain, and stimulating them with electrical current supplied by a stimulator device. This safe and effective procedure can give appropriately selected patients increased mobility, use of their hands and independence.
Some of the Better Known Movement Disorders
- Parkinson’s disease and other related disorders cause the limbs to shake when the body is at rest, and also cause stiffness and slowness of movements and impair balance — all of which can make it difficult to walk and engage in daily activities.
- Essential tremor causes a person's arms to shake rhythmically when the arms are being used to perform a function (which differs from type of tremor that is greatest when the body is at rest, such as in Parkinson’s disease).
- Dystonia causes involuntary twisting or turning movements. These can involve neck muscles, causing the neck to turn in different ways (i.e. cervical dystonia). Other forms of dystonia can cause writer's cramp, exaggerated blinking or involuntary jaw and mouth movements.
- Huntington’s disease causes uncontrolled movements of the arms, legs, head, face and upper body. It can also cause a decline in thinking and reasoning skills, including memory, concentration, judgment and ability to plan and organize.
Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) Designated Center of Excellence
If you or a family member are affected by or at risk for developing Huntington's disease, experts at Stony Brook's Huntington's Disease Center of Excellence can help. As one of only five Centers of Excellence designated by the Huntington's Disease Society of America in New York State, one of only 50 in the United States and the only one on Long Island, our center provides a collaborative approach to Huntington's disease care and research. Patients benefit from expert neurologists, psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, counselors and other professionals who have extensive experience working with families affected by Huntington's disease. Our compassionate team of experts helps families plan the best Huntington's disease care program throughout the course of the disease.
- Expert treatment for symptoms of the disease
- Genetic counseling and testing
- Preimplantation genetic screening with in vitro fertilization
- Social services
- Long-term planning
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Opportunities to volunteer in research clinical trials
Support Group Meetings for Parkinson's Disease
Join our greater Long Island community of people living with Parkinson's disease and share your personal experiences with others. If you would like to attend our support group please RSVP to Priscilla (631) 444-1437
Sunday, Feb. 23, East Setauket
4 to 4:15 pm Deep Brain Stimulation
4:15 to 5 pm Support Group
Mediator: patient’s perspective
Sunday, March 22, East Setauket
4 to 4:15 pm Long Term Planning
4:15 to 5 pm Support Group
Speaker: Geoffrey O’Connell, LCSW
In the News
October is Movement Disorders Awareness Month