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About Neuro Conditions

A neurological disorder is any disorder of the body nervous system. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms.
Symptoms can differ between different people and their health history. Here is a brief directory of the symptoms that can be found in conditions and some useful resources.

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Acoustic Neuroma

Benign brain tumour (non-cancerous). Initially symptoms are typically hearing loss and / or tinnitus.  Occasionally presents as problem with balance similar to vertigo.

British Acoustic Neuroma Association
Tel. 0800 652 3143

Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia is a term used to describe several different brain disorders that have in common a loss of brain function and are usually progressive, and in many cases, severe. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. Common Dementia symptoms include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech.

Alzheimer’s Society (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Helpline: 0300 222 1122

Alzheimer’s Scotland

Helpline: 0808 808 3000


Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. The condition affects the way a person communicates and relates to others.  People with autism have problems with social interaction and communication (including not understanding facial expressions and tone of voice). These impairments can often occur accompanied by other developmental disorders and / or learning disabilities.

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism. There are fewer problems with language compared with those with other forms of autism, and usually there are none of the accompanying learning difficulties associated with autism.

The National Autistic Society
Helpline: 0808 800 4104 – from 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday


Aphasia is an acquired disorder of language.  Often this is caused by stroke, is post head injury or due to neurological condition. People with aphasia have difficulty understanding, speaking, reading or writing; yet their intellect remains undamaged.

Helpline: 0808 808 9572


An inflammation which occurs inside the spine, around the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. Is found to sometimes develop after a back or spinal surgery, post infection (meningitis), and sometimes after injections into the spine. Pain originates from nerve roots and commonly impacts the lower body, but can affect the spine, head, neck and upper back. Can cause muscle spasms, jerky movements and weakness of muscles.

The A Word – Support Group


Ataxias are rare neurological disorders, many of which are inherited. Those with Ataxia have problems with co-ordination and balance.

Ataxia UK
Helpline: 0845 644 0606

Behçet’s Disease

A chronic condition which occurs due to disturbances in the body’s immune system. The immune system becomes over-active and produces unpredictable outbreaks of extreme inflammation. Symptoms occur where there is a patch of inflammation, the most common outbreaks being mouth ulcers.

Behçet’s Syndrome Society
Helpline: 0845 130 7329

Brain Injury – AKA / related to: Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Brain injury may be mild to severe, and the subsequent impact one one’s life can likewise be from mild, short-term to permanent – including impact on emotional and behavioural patterns, cognitive effects and physical disability.

Helpline: 0808 800 2244

Child Brain Injury Trust
Helpline: 0845 601 4939

Brain and Spine Foundation
Helpline: 0808 808 1000

UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum
Tel. 0845 608 0788

Bell’s Palsy

A condition in which one side of the face becomes paralysed. Most commonly this is temporary, lasting up to three months. The exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a viral infection of the facial nerve.

Bell’s Palsy Association
Tel: 0870 4445 460

Brain Tumour

Any tumour which occurs in the brain. Can be benign (slow growing and non-cancerous) or malignant (invasive and cancerous). Each type of tumour has different characteristics.

Useful details can be found at:


Brain Tumour Action
Tel. 0131 466 3116

The Brain Tumour Charity
Tel. 0845 4500 386

BT Buddies
support for high-grade tumours
Tel: 01688 400 687(9am – 9pm)


A cluster of abnormal blood vessels in the brain or spinal cord. They are not cancerous and for most there are no symptoms. For sufferers with symptoms these may include haemorrhages, tremor, seizures, headaches and other neurological deficits.

Cavernoma Alliance UK
Tel: 01305 213 876

Cerebral Palsy

This is a disorder of movement and posture. The result of damage to, or failure in, the areas of the brain which control movement. The effects vary but include difficulties in walking, of hand and arm movements, and in speech.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy – stiffened muscles and decreased range of joint movement.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy – involuntary movements, speech impairment and hearing problems.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – difficulty in balancing and poor spatial awareness.

Helpline: 0808 800 3333

Charcot Marie Tooth Disease

A hereditary condition which affects the peripheral nerves (arms and legs) and leads to progressive muscle weakness. Both the sensory nerves (control touch) and motor nerves (control movement) are affected.

Tel. 0800 652 6316 – Monday, Thursday, Friday 9am – 3pm and Tuesday and Wednesday 9 – 12.30pm

Creutzfeld Jacob Disease (CJD)

A rare and untreatable, fatal illness affecting the brain. It is one type of the group of transmissible spongifrom encephalopathies (TSEs). CJD is divided into four different forms, which all have different causes and symptoms.

CJD Support Network
Tel: 01630 673973

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) (AKA M.E)

CFS (also known as M.E.) is a potentially chronic and disabling neurological disorder, characterised by persistent fatigue and muscle pain. Symptoms may include cognitive problems (e.g. loss of memory) and problems with concentration, a recurrent sore throat and enlarged neck glands. Other likely symptoms are disturbed sleep patterns and persistent headaches.

M.E. Association
Helpline: 0844 576 5326 – every day 10am – 12noon, then 2 – 4pm, 7 – 9pm

Cluster Headaches (AKA Migrainous Neuralgia)

An excruciating pain that affects one side of the head. An attack develops suddenly without warning and can last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. These attacks usually occur in clusters – several attacks over a few weeks or months – and then stop for a while.

Helpline: 01646 651979


Dementia the term used to describe over 100 different brain disorders that have in common a progressive loss of brain function – usually eventually severe. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease (see A). Symptoms include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech.

Dementia UK
Tel. 020 7697 4160


A developmental disorder of organisation and planning of physical movement. Affects co-ordination, spatial awareness, perception, language and short-term memory.

The Dyspraxia Foundation
Tel. 01462 454986 10am – 1pm Monday – Friday


A disorder which causes the muscles of the body to involuntarily contract and spasm. The spasms may affect just one, or many parts of the body simultaneously and can be very painful.

The Dystonia Society
Helpline: 0845 458 6322


The tendency to have recurring spontaneous seizures. These occur when there is an electrical disturbance in the brain, and its signals to the body become mixed up. A seizure may last from a few seconds to a few minutes.

There are many different types of seizure, but these are usually divided into two categories – generalised or partial.

Epilepsy Action
Helpline: 0808 800 5050


An inflammation of the brain, usually occurring as a result of viral infection.

Encephalitis Society
Tel. 01653 699599

Essential Tremor

A neurological disorder which presents as a rhythmic trembling of one or more hands, head, legs, trunk and / or voice. The tremor is more visible during movement than at rest.

National Tremor Foundation
Helpline: 01708 386399

Fronto-temporal Dementia (FTD)

Fronto-temporal dementias (including Pick’s Disease) commonly affect people of working age and are difficult to diagnose because the sufferer is younger than expected, and frequently displays different symptoms.

Frontotemporal Dementia Support Group

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

Also known as Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (AIDP) and Landry-Guillain-Barré Syndrome

An inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves (outside the brain and spinal cord). Typically characterised by the rapid onset of muscle weakness and loss of sensation. More serious cases can lead to paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles and face. However, recovery usually begins within 2 – 3 weeks from onset and only in a minority of cases are there any long-lasting problems.

Guillain-Barré and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN)
Helpline  – 0800 374803 (UK)


1800 806152 (Republic of Ireland)



A condition with effects similar to a stroke, caused by damage to the brain (ante natal or at time of birth). Presents as weakness or lack of control on one side of the body.  Approximately 50% of affected infants will have additional problems such as epilepsy, visual impairment or speech difficulties. Other issues can be perceptual problems, learning difficulties and / or emotional and behavioural problems.

Helpline: 0845 123 2372

Hydrocephalus (associated with Spina Bifida)

Due to a build-up of cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain, this can occur in association with Spina Bifida (see S). Other causes – meningitis, premature birth, head injury or stroke. Hydrocephalus can lead to problems with skills such as concentration, short-term memory and co-ordination.

Helpline: 01733 555988

Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP)

Part of a group of inherited disorders, which are characterised by progressive weakness and stiffness of the legs.

HSP Support Group
Helpline: 01702 218184

Huntington’s Disease (HD) AKA Huntington’s Chorea (HC)

Hereditary, neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system, causing emotional, intellectual and mobility problems. Huntington’s is characterised by involuntary movement of the limbs, trunk, and face, progressive loss of mental abilities, and the development of psychiatric problems.

Huntington’s Disease typically appears during middle age, but can also develop in younger or older people.

Huntington’s Disease Association
Tel. 0151 331 5444

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH)

Defined by increasing intracranial pressure from excessive blood flow to the vessels around the brain when there is no obvious cause – like a tumour or disease. Frequently the sheath around the optic nerve is enlarged which can cause sight problems, and even blindness.

Sometimes known as Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC), because often sufferers present with signs and symptoms of a brain tumour despite no tumour being present.


There is no information for conditions in this category

Landau-Kleffner Syndrome  (AKA Acquired Epileptic Aphasia)

This is a rare form of epilepsy that solely affects children – characterised by severe language problems (aphasia), and occasionally seizures.



A large group of Leukodystrophies (genetic disorders), generally diagnosed during childhood, which are due to a breakdown of the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells in the brain. The most common symptoms being a slowdown in mental and physical development.

Climb National Information Centre for Metabolic Diseases
0800 652 3181 (10am – 4pm)

Leigh Syndrome / Leigh’s Disease

This is a rare, inherited, early-onset degenerative disorder with many different symptoms.

A disease of the mitochondria, which provide energy for nerve cells in the brain and muscles, this is also encompasses X-linked Leigh Disease.

The Leigh Network

Climb National Information Centre for Metabolic Diseases
0800 652 3181 (10am – 4pm)

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (AKA M.E.)

Potentially a chronic and disabling neurological disorder, characterised by persistent fatigue and muscular pain. Symptoms can include cognitive problems (loss of memory / concentration), recurrent sore throat and enlarged neck glands, disturbed sleep patterns and persistent headaches.

0845 123 2314 (Monday –Friday from 11am – 3pm)

M.E. Association
0844 576 5326 (open every day 10am – midday, then 2pm – 4pm and 7pm – 9pm)


An inflammation of the lining (meninges) which covers the spinal cord and the brain. Common symptoms are usually high fever, headache, stiff neck and a red/purple rash which does not fade when pressed and looked at through a drinking glass.

Meningitis is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection, or less commonly due to a fungal infection.

The meningococcal bacterium can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning). If symptoms of both meningococcal meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia appear together then this is known as meningococcal disease.

Meningitis Trust
0808 8010 388

Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

Motor Neurone Disease is uncommon. It causes a progressive degeneration of the motor system (the nerve cells that controls the muscles), and is a slowly progressive disease. The most common effects include muscle wasting/weakness, muscle cramps and difficulty with swallowing and with speech.

Motor Neurone Disease Assocation
08457 626262

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

The most common disabling neurological disorder affecting young adults. MS occurs as a result of damage to myelin – the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system. Such damage interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body.

MS Society
0808 800 8000

Multiple Sclerosis Trust
01462 476700

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) AKA Shy-Drager Syndrome

This syndrome is caused by the deterioration of cells in certain areas of the brain, which control different body systems. This causes problems with movement, balance and automatic functions of the body e.g. bladder control.

Multiple System Atrophy Trust
0207 940 4666

Ménière’s Disease (MD)

A disorder of the inner ear, characterised by vertigo (dizziness), tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and hearing loss. Ménière’s Disease is a long term, progressive disease with damage to both balance and hearing.

Ménière’s Society
0845 120 2975

Muscular Dystrophy

The muscular dystrophies are a group of neuromuscular disorders. Conditions are often characterised by the loss of muscle strength, the result of progressive muscle wasting or nerve deterioration. Many are hereditary.

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign
0800 652 6352

Narcolepsy AKA Gelineau’s Syndrome

A neurological disorder that effects the sleep regulating mechanism. Results in disproportionate daytime sleepiness and an irresistible urge to fall asleep in extreme circumstances e.g. in the middle of a meal.

Another common symptom is a sudden loss of muscular control triggered by amusement, anger or excitement, known as ‘cataplexy’. The effects range from slumping of the head to buckling of the legs and even collapse of the whole body; lasting from a few seconds up to many minutes.

Narcolepsy UK
0845 450 0394

Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) AKA Devic’s disease

An inflammatory disease of the nervous system, affecting the optic (eye) nerve and the spinal cord. Can cause a reduction in vision and, in varying degrees, loss of strength or paralysis in the legs and arms.


Neurofibromatosis AKA Von Recklinghausen’s Disease

This is a genetic disorder, mainly of the nervous tissue, which has two types:

Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (Nf1) – the most common type, causing tumours (non-malignant and bumps) to form on nerve endings.

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (Nf2) – much rarer disorder of the nerve tissue, resulting in acoustic neuromas or vestibular Schwannomas on the nerve that takes messages from the ear to the brain.

The Neurofibromatosis Association
0208 439 1234


Neuropathies are processes affecting nerves, either single nerves or a generalised disorder. Damage occurs to the nerves that travel between the brain and the spinal cord to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body, causing pain. The site and cause of the neuropathic pain varies according to the type of neuropathy.

Neuropathy Trust
01270 611828

There is no information for conditions in this category

Pick’s Disease AKA Frontotemporal Dementia

Progressive mid-life dementia, characterised by slowly developing changes in character and social behaviour, including impairment of language.

Frontotemporal Dementia Support Group (was Pick’s Disease Support Group)
01297 445 488


An inflammatory muscle disease causing varying degrees of decreased muscle power. Has a gradual onset; the most common symptom being muscle weakness.

Myositis Support Group
02380 449708

Prader-Willi Syndrome AKA HHHO Syndrome

A genetic disorder present from birth. Presents in a number of behavioural and psychological features – low muscle tone, excessive appetite and immature physical development. Many with this disorder will also have learning difficulties.

Prader-Willi Syndrome Association
01332 365676

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) AKA SRO Syndrome

A progressive brain disease which means the death of nerve endings (neurons) in the area of the brain controlling balance, vision, movement, speech and swallowing.

PSP Association
01327 322410

Parkinson’s Disease

Progressive neurological condition, which can affect speech, mobility, swallowing etc. Characterised by slowness in the initiation and performance of movement, and often tremor when at rest.

Parkinson’s UK
0808 800 0303

There is no information for conditions in this category

Rett Syndrome

This syndrome is a complex neurological disorder that mainly affects young females (during second year of their life), and leads to profound mental and physical disability.

Rett Syndrome Association UK
01582 798911

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

This syndrome is characterised by intense discomfort within the legs, and an unremitting urge to move them. It results in the feeling of jerking in the legs and other part of the body. Moving the legs can relieve the feeling temporarily. However, the relief is short-lived.

01634 260483
9am – 11am

Spinal cord tumours

Abnormal growths within the spinal column – mostly benign. These usually develop very slowly and worsen over time, until identified and treated. Symptoms may include pain, sensory changes and motor problems.

British Brain and Spine Association
0808 808 1000


A disorder affecting the nervous system, where fluid-filled cavities develop inside the spinal cord. There are various conditions which can lead to the formation of syringomyelia cavities, the most common factor being an obstruction to the normal flow of CSF (cerebrospinal fluid within the spinal cord). Hindbrain Hernia (Chiari Malformation) or spinal cord injury are two causes.

Symptoms can be neck and arm pain, and can lead to fairly severe disability, with muscle weakness and paralysis.

Ann Conroy Trust
01964 535448


This is a systemic disorder, which can affect any organ of the body, but mainly the lungs, skin and eyes. Cells will cluster together in tiny nodules (sarcoid granulomas) as an inflammatory response to infection. The disease can range from a mild, self-limiting condition to a severe, chronic and progressive illness.

SILA (Sarcoidosis and Interstitial Lung Association)
0207 237 5912

Spina Bifida (associated with Hydrocephalus)

This is a fault in the spinal column when one or more of the vertebrae fail to form properly, thereby leaving a gap. It during gestation and is therefore present at birth.

01733 555988

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) AKA Hereditary Motor Neuropathy

Spinal Muscular Atrophies are a group of inherited neuromuscular conditions. The anterior horn cells of the spinal cord degenerate and this results in a weakening of the muscles – the legs are more commonly affected than the arms.

Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy
01789 267520


The stroke occurs as a result of disruption to the blood supply to a particular area of the brain, causing damage. There are three main types of stroke:

Ischaemic Stroke – the most common type.

Haemorrhagic Stroke – the result of an arterial bleed rather than an obstruction to the blood flow.

Transient Ischaemic Attack (T.I.A.) – often called a mini-stroke – can be warning symptoms leading to a full stroke.

Stroke Association
0303 303 3100

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH)

Sudden bleeding over the surface of the brain, under the arachnoid layer. Bleeding commonly originates from a ruptured aneurysm or an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). The most common symptom is a sudden acute headache, usually followed by loss of consciousness.

Brain and Spine Foundation
0808 808 1000

BASIC (Brain and Spinal Injury Charity)
0800 750 0000

Tourette’s Syndrome

This neurological disorder is characterised by multiple sudden tics, and repetitive involuntary movements and sounds. The condition can vary in severity. Children with the syndrome may also have other behavioural problems.

Tourettes Action
0330 777 8427

Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) AKA Fothergill’s Disease

This is an extremely severe facial pain, unpredictable and often manifested in sudden shock-like attacks. Pain runs along the pathway of the trigeminal nerve, typically the upper or lower jaw or the cheek, and is usually confined to one side of the face.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK
01883 370214

Transverse Myelitis (TM)

TM is an uncommon neurological disorder caused by inflammation across one level of the spinal cord. Most common symptoms are reduced muscle strength and altered sensation below the affected area.

Transverse Myelitis Society

Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC) AKA Bourneville Disease

This is a complex multi-system disorder, which produces tuber-like growths on the brain. The growths calcify with and can then possibly also be found on other organs including the heart, skin and kidneys. Its effects vary in severity.

Tuberous Sclerosis Association
01332 290734


There is no information for conditions in this category
There is no information for conditions in this category


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