Neuromuscular Disorders Division
The Neuromuscular Division works through the UC Neuromuscular Disorders Program of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, in addition to the Cincinnati Muscular Dystrophy Association and the ALS Association of Ohio, in coordinating care needs and plans.
Neuromuscular disorders, or disorders of the peripheral nervous system, affect all age groups. These disorders range from the very common low back pain with lumbar nerve root compression (lumbar radiculopathy) to rare degenerative conditions of nerve and muscle. Neuromuscular disorders deal with motor neurons, nerve roots of the spine, brachial and lumbar plexus, nerve, neuromuscular junction and muscle.
Examples of neuromuscular disorders include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Cervical and lumbar radiculopathies
- Acute and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP or Guillain-Barre, and CIDP)
- Hereditary neuropathy (Charcot Marie Tooth disease)
- Acquired neuropathies (e.g. diabetes, related to toxins and chemotherapy)
- Myasthenia gravis and neuromuscular junction disorders
- Muscular dystrophy
- Metabolic myopathies (mitochondrial disorders, myophosphorylase deficiency)
- Inflammatory myopathies (dermatomyositis, polymyositis, inclusion body myositis)
The goal of treatment is to increase strength, mobility and function; and to control symptoms. We provide thorough, compassionate care for our patients struggling with these difficult diseases.
The division offers a Neuromuscular Medicine Fellowship, a one-year ACGME-approved program designed to provide the fellow with expertise in the diagnosis and management of diverse neuromuscular disorders including motor neuron, peripheral nerve, neuromuscular junction, and muscle disorders.
Areas of Expertise
Our physicians work to provide patient-centered, coordinated care. We often incorporate physical therapy (legs and walking), occupational therapy (hands and arms), speech and swallowing therapy and pulmonology to make sure our patients receive the best care possible.
When needed, we work with surgeons for diagnosis (muscle biopsies) or treatment (e.g. thymectomy for myasthenia gravis). We also are trained in the use of specific immunosuppressants when the process may benefit from turning the immune system down.
Our physicians are trained in and perform electromyograms (EMG), the diagnostic test of choice for delineating neuromuscular disorders. We operate three neurophysiology laboratories for this purpose, one at the UC Health Physicians Office–Clifton, one at the Outpatient Building Clinic and one at the UC Health Physicians Office North in West Chester. In collaboration with surgery and pathology, we interpret muscle biopsies. Finally, we diagnose autonomic nervous system disorders with our autonomic testing laboratory at Westchester.
The neuromuscular group, headed by John Quinlan, MD, has recently expanded over the past few years with five adult neuromuscular-fellowship-trained specialists.
This group of physician/investigators has active clinical and research programs in adult-onset Pompe disease, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. The researchers work with other neuroscientists in the UC Academic Health Center and Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center.