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Complete brain and nervous system health for body and mind.

Top of the Class

More than half of Seattle Magazine’s “Top Docs” in neuroscience work for UW Medicine. Their goal? To improve quality of life for patients managing complex neurological disorders.

Safety First

Your safety is our responsibility and our priority. Consistently ranked among the safest hospitals in the nation, UW Medicine is committed to keeping you protected.

Everywhere Care

UW Medical Center. Harborview Medical Center. Northwest Hospital. Valley Medical Center. Get care from our world-renowned neurological specialists close to where you live and work.

Featured provider

Meet the provider: Tresa McGranahan, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. McGranahan is a neuro–oncologist and expert in the care of patients with brain tumors. She focuses on protecting her patient's brain and nerve health while treating their cancer. View full bio.

Some of our common services:

This rare noncancerous tumor presses on the hearing and balance nerves in the inner ear. A large tumor can press on facial nerves and other nerves. Our expert surgical team works with other specialists to ensure treatment contains the tumor’s growth, minimizes side effects and preserves hearing and facial functions.

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MS slows down or blocks messages from your brain to your body, causing bodily symptoms. The specialists at our Multiple Sclerosis Center, one of the few comprehensive care centers for MS in the nation, are committed to improving the lives of patients who struggle with MS. UW Medicine is a National MS Society partner that has been a recognized leader in research for over 40 years, awarded with a “Partners in MS Care” designation for the highest level of comprehensive MS care. Our team of providers has extensive training and experience in MS and other related conditions to address each patient’s individual needs.

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In a fast-growing field, our doctors, researchers and engineers are developing new technologies that solve neurological problems. They are taking these discoveries from the lab into clinical settings and homes to be used by patients and the public.

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An aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in the wall of an artery. If an aneurysm grows large, it can burst and cause dangerous bleeding or even death. Our surgeons offer the most advanced surgical treatments for cerebral aneurysms, with expertise in microsurgical and endovascular techniques.

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Imaging and diagnostic testing help our neurosciences team accurately identify neurologic disorders, determine their severity and monitor a patient’s health after a diagnosis has been made. The specialists at our Neuro-Imaging and Diagnostic Services are skilled at using advanced imaging and diagnostic testing to help guide our patients’ care.

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Parkinson's disease, tremors and other movement disorders cause a person’s body to move involuntarily. The specialists at our Movement Disorder Program are leading experts in this field. They’re skilled at diagnosing movement disorders and providing appropriate treatments that either cure the disorder or improve its symptoms and relieve its pain.

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Movement disorders are caused by abnormal communication between nerve cells in the brain. DBS delivers an electrical current that will silence this abnormal communication and restore the patient’s movements closer to normal.

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AVMs are abnormal, snarled tangles of arteries and veins connected to each other. These tangles occur more often in the brain or spinal cord where they interfere with blood circulation. Our skilled neurosurgeons treat AVMs effectively and safely with the latest endovascular techniques.

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This medical field focuses on diseases or injuries of the nervous system that affect vision. Working together with the experts at the UW Medicine Eye Institute, our neuro-ophthalmologists are skilled at helping patients who are losing their sight or have trouble controlling their eye movement due to a nerve condition.

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Inform yourself to make the best choices for your health and care with UW Medicine patient education resources.

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Brain tumors require advanced care. The specialists at our Alvord Brain Tumor Center offer the latest treatments and cures in an environment designed for the special needs of our patients. Our team is also actively involved in research to find safer, more effective tumor treatments and cures.

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Patients recovering from neurologic diseases and injuries need specialized care. The specialists at our Neuro-Rehabilitation Program offer comprehensive treatment services to enhance recovery for our patients. The neuro-rehabilitation team focus on improving patients’ independence at home and their ability to return to productive activity, such as work or school.

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Emotional support is an important part of your treatment. Support groups and community resources can help you and your loved ones through treatment and recovery.

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Safer, more effective treatments for neurologic conditions are developed through clinical trials. Our neuroscience experts are actively involved in research, so they can bring the latest developments to patients. There is also the opportunity for patients to participate in a clinical trial, so they can try a new, promising treatment.

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There are over 200 different types of neurological disorders that can be inherited. Our neurogenetic specialists are skilled at evaluating and diagnosing neurogenetic diseases. We provide our patients with information about the natural history of their disease, help them make informed healthcare choices and offer appropriate referrals.

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The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain and is no larger than a pea. Our pituitary specialists are experts at diagnosing pituitary disorders and tumors, called adenomas, and treating them with medicine, radiation therapy and surgery.

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The specialists at our Memory and Brain Wellness Center understand the impact brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have on patients and their families. They are dedicated to supporting these patients with comprehensive care that improves symptoms and slows disease progression.

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Our skilled neurological surgery team performs more traumatic brain and spine injury repairs, brain tumor surgeries, and skull and aneurysm operations than any other medical system in the Pacific Northwest.

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Proton beam therapy is FDA-approved technology that delivers external beam radiation with positively charged atomic particles to tumors. Because of its unique radiation dose deposition properties, proton beam therapy delivers radiation to tumors while reducing radiation exposure to surrounding normal tissues. The SCCA Proton Therapy Center at Northwest Hospital is equipped with the most advanced proton therapy technology available, and the physicians are UW Medicine faculty and have trained and worked at some of the best proton therapy centers nationwide.

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These brain disorders cause people to experience persistent disabling or life-altering seizures. The specialists at our Level IV Regional Epilepsy Centers at Harborview and Valley Medical Center use the latest technology to correctly diagnose seizures and determine their causes. Although there is no cure for epilepsy, our specialists develop treatment plans that effectively control seizures and bring relief.

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Our surgeons use the state-of-the-art robotic ROSA devise. ROSA helps our neurologists and surgeons precisely pinpoint the areas in the patient’s brain responsible for epileptic seizures. ROSA also makes surgery safer and more reliable by allowing surgeons to accurately position and handle surgical instruments.

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These diseases cause muscles or nerves that control movement and sensation to deteriorate. This deterioration leads to twitching, cramps, pain and problems with joints and movement. The specialists in our Division of Neuromuscular Diseases are skilled at providing relief to patients through treatments that include drug therapy and neuro-rehabilitation.

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Tumors at the base of the skull require specialized surgery. Patients who have benign or cancerous skull base tumors receive excellent care through our Skull Base Tumor Program. The program’s surgeons offer both minimally invasive endoscopic procedures and open surgery, depending on the type of tumor and its location.

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This procedure uses high-energy gamma rays to pinpoint and destroy or contain a tumor without damaging surrounding brain tissue. Gamma Knife is particularly effective in targeting small, localized tumors deep inside the brain. Our Gamma Knife Center offers the latest in high-energy gamma ray technology, and recent upgrades have made us the only medical system in the region to offer both mask-based and frame-based treatment options.

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Also known as nerve damage, neuropathy can result from a number of conditions. Types include peripheral, cranial, autonomic, focal and, most commonly, diabetic. If you have diabetes, high blood sugar levels over a long period of time can damage your nerves. This damage can cause pain and numbness and can affect your body’s organs. Our specialists offer treatments that ease neuropathy’s pain, relieve its discomfort and contain its tissue damage.

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Sleep is an essential part of your day. If you’re experiencing lack of sleep, you may find it difficult to think, concentrate and get through your day. The experienced sleep specialists at our Sleep Center will help you overcome your sleep problems with proven treatments and healthy sleep habits.

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Common headaches include tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches and sinus headaches. If you suffer from chronic daily headaches, the specialists at our Headache Clinic – including the only board-certified headache specialist in Washington -- can relieve your pain. They will help you manage your headaches with a multimodal approach and a personalized treatment plan that focuses on the importance of good sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress reduction. Therapies may include BOTOX, SPG, CEFALY and gammaCore.

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People usually are asked to undergo neuropsychological testing to check if they’ve experienced any behavioral and cognitive changes from a neurological injury or disease. The specialists at our Neuropsychological Assessment Services are skilled at conducting these tests, interpreting the results and offering recommendations to help plan the patient’s treatment.

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A stroke is a medical emergency that requires expert care. The UW Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center at Harborview is the only one in Washington state certified by the Joint Commission for consistently providing the highest standards of care 24/7/365. Primary stroke centers are also located at Northwest Hospital and Valley Medical Center to treat all types of strokes.

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The specialists in our Hydrocephalus Program bring needed relief to adults with hydrocephalus, a buildup of excess spinal fluid in the brain. We also offer a Transitional Hydrocephalus Program, in partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital, to seamlessly transition teens into adult care.

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The neurotrauma specialists at Harborview's Level 1 Trauma and Burn Center offer emergency care, surgery and therapy to people who have conditions such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, skull and spinal column fractures and concussions. Our center is the only one of its kind that provides neurotrauma care to Washington and neighboring states.

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Teens with neurologic conditions have needs that are best understood by pediatric neurologists. To meet these needs, we work with Seattle Children’s Hospital to offer Transitional Neurological Care. Program neurologists are skilled in both pediatric and adult neurosciences to help teens ease into adult care as they become young adults.

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Intracranial hypertension is neither a brain tumor nor a result of high blood pressure. Researchers believe that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the normal fluid created within the brain, does not reabsorb or drain properly into the major veins of the brain, which raises the pressure of the CSF inside the skull. Elevated cerebrospinal fluid pressure can cause headaches, and also exert pressure on the optic nerve and its blood supply, leading to swelling of the optic nerve (papilledema) and visual symptoms, including blindness.

The specialists in our Intracranial Hypertension Program understand the physical and emotional toll caused by this disease and offer the highest level of services to alleviate its pain and anxiety.

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If you experience significant changes in your physical or mental functions and fear you have a serious, life-threatening illness or injury that could require emergency medical, surgical or psychiatric attention, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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You can also go to urgent care for non-life-threatening illnesses and conditions.

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Health News You Can Use

Condition Spotlight

Multiple sclerosis

Overview

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a long-lasting (chronic) disease of the central nervous system. Some people with MS may have only mild symptoms. Others may lose their ability to see clearly, write, speak, or walk when communication between the brain and other parts of the body becomes disrupted.

Symptoms

The first symptoms of MS are blurred or double vision, red-green color distortion, pain and loss of vision, trouble walking and an abnormal feeling or pain, such as numbness, prickling, or pins and needles. About 50 percent of people with MS have cognitive problems affecting concentration, attention, memory and judgment.

Causes and risk factors

The cause of MS is unknown, and there is no single risk factor for it, but several factors are believed to contribute to overall risk. Smoking, obesity, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and infectious agents such as viruses are all risk factors for multiple sclerosis.

Diagnosis

An MS evaluation involves a complete health history and neurological exam. This includes: mental, emotional and language functions; movement and coordination; vision; balance; and functions of the five senses. Tests that may be used include an MRI, evoked potentials, cerebral spinal fluid analysis and blood tests.

Treatment

There is no cure yet for MS. But you can do things to help change the course of the disease, treat flare-ups, manage symptoms, and improve your function and mobility. Treatments for the conditions seen with MS may include medicines, equipment such as canes, braces, or walkers and rehabilitation activities.

Complications

The complications of MS range from mild to severe. They can range from fatigue to the inability to walk. Other problems include loss of vision, balance, and bowel or bladder control. Depression can result from the difficulty of living with a chronic condition.

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