Dr Julian Rodrigues is a Perth-based neurologist who specialises in Movement Disorders, and in particular Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Essential Tremor (ET) and Orthostatic Tremor (OT).
Dr Rodrigues provides consultation services to patients with all neurological conditions. A written referral from the patient’s medical practitioner is required before the appointment can be made.
Dr Rodrigues has particular expertise and interest in the evaluation and treatment of ‘Movement Disorder’, a subspeciality of neurology encompassing Parkinson’s Disease, Tremor, Dystonia, Myoclonus, Ataxia, Spasticity, Restless Legs Syndrome, Tics and Tourette’s Syndrome.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no cure. Fortunately excellent treatments to control the symptoms of PD are available, to try and ‘keep up’ with the disease and improve quality of life. Human movement is dependent on dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between neurons. When dopamine-producing cells in a tiny area of the brain called the Substantia Nigra are lost, symptoms of Parkinson’s appear. Treatment aims to restore this loss of function either medically or surgically.
Dr Julian Rodrigues has published several articles in scientific journals and written a Parkinson’s Disease manual for Australian GPs. He also partakes in international clinical trials and has been successful in obtaining research grants to support his work into Parkinson’s Disease.
Essential Tremor (ET) is the most common form of all movement disorders. It is predominantly a postural, or action-type tremor of the hands, and usually the patient has a positive family history of tremor. Drinking alcohol often temporarily reduces the tremor. Other symptoms can include mild gait difficulty and tremor in other body regions.
Primary Orthostatic Tremor, also known as Orthostatic Tremor (OT), is a distinct tremor syndrome characterised by high frequency tremor, predominantly in the legs when in a standing position, and an immediate sense of instability which is relieved by sitting down. When symptoms are bad enough OT can be disabling, but treatment is available.
Dr Julian Rodrigues has conducted specific research on Primary Orthostatic Tremor and published papers on POT in medical journals.
The term ‘dystonia’ refers to abnormal involuntary postures, movements or both, of the limbs or trunk originating from movement control centres in the brain. They can be generalised, affecting the entire body, or focal, affecting only a specific area of the body or group of muscles. Dystonia can appear in a previously healthy person (primary) or following an injury or insult to the brain (secondary). After Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor, dystonia is the third most common movement disorder.
Cervical Dystonia is also known as Spasmodic Torticollis. It is a focal dystonia that affects the neck and sometimes the shoulders. It is a chronic condition that occurs when the brain activates muscles to pull in different directions. Symptoms include involuntary contracting of the neck muscles, causing abnormal movements and posture of the head and neck. It may also result in considerable pain and discomfort. Treatment may include oral medications, botulinum toxin injections, and surgery.
Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD) belongs to the Dystonia family of neurological disorders. SD is task-specific, which means the muscles spasm only when they are used for particular actions and not when they are at rest. When a person with Dysphonia attempts to speak, involuntary spasms in the tiny muscles of the larynx cause the voice to break up or sound strained, tight, strangled, breathy, or whispery.
Blepharospasm is the forced, sustained, and involuntary closure of the eyelids. It stems from a number of causes, beginning with dry eyes, and may progress to a state where a person is legally blind.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is characterised by throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable, and sometimes overwhelming urge to move them. Symptoms occur primarily at night when a person is relaxing or at rest and can increase in severity during the night.
Spasticity is caused by disturbances to the Central Nervous System and is therefore highly complex. Damages in the spinal cord area or the brain can lead to spasticity. The most frequent causes are stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal cord injury, and early childhood brain damage, cerebral inflammation or brain tumours.
For every movement a person makes, muscles work together harmoniously. In the case of spasticity, this harmonious interaction is disrupted. Muscle tension increases suddenly and uncontrollably. This means that even simple movements become difficult, or impossible altogether.
Tardive Dyskinesia is caused by the long-term use of neuroleptic drugs. These are generally prescribed for psychiatric disorders, as well as for some gastrointestinal and neurological disorders.
Tardive Dyskinesia is characterised by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements, and may include grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing, and rapid eye blinking. Rapid movements of the arms, legs, and trunk may also occur.
Tics and Tourette Syndrome
Tourette Syndrome is characterised by quick or sudden movements or sounds that are repeated for no apparent reason. These movements or sounds are called “tics”. Tics cannot be controlled, and some people with tics may not even be aware of the movements or sounds they make.
Some examples of common tics include throat clearing or eye blinking. Up to one in five children has experienced tics at some point in their life.