Condition Effects Those With Neurological Disorders
November 6, 2003
A clinical trial will be held for patients suffering from pseudobulbar affect; a medical condition characterized by episodes of uncontrollable laughing and/or crying even when the situation at hand does not call for it.
A significant number of multiple sclerosis patients suffer from the condition, which is often misdiagnosed and treated as depression. But University of Miami neurologist Dr. Walter Bradley said the condition can also affect people with any neurological disorder.
NBC 6 reporter Diana Gonzalez profiled a Miami resident, Kimberly Birkenfeld, who suffers from the condition. Birkenfeld was ranked No. 1 on the U.S. Sailing Team for windsurfing. Last summer, she was training in Athens, Greece, for the 2004 Olympics when she nearly drowned in a power boat accident and wound up in a near coma for three weeks.
Her spinal cord and brain were injured, and as a result she has difficulty moving and controlling her emotions.
"My face just breaks and starts crying, however, underneath although I look like I'm very sad, I'm maybe 10 percent of that," Birkenfeld told Gonzalez.
The clinical trial will test a drug that may help treat the condition.
The trial will be conducted by clinics at the University of Miami Department of Neurology, Miami; Neurological Associates at North Ridge Medical Center, Fort Lauderdale; Renstar Medical Research, Plantation; and, Suncoast Neuroscience Associates, St. Petersburg.
For more information about the studies, call (800) 669-0281 or visit
the study Web site. The study
is sponsored by Avanir Pharmaceuticals: www.avanir. com.
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