Welcome to Neurology Solutions
Neurology Solutions Movement Disorders Center (NSMDC) is a private movement disorders practice based in Austin that provides comprehensive care and treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, and essential tremor. The first subspecialty movement disorders clinic in Central Texas and a leading Parkinson’s treatment center, Neurology Solutions is headed by Dr. Robert Izor, a board-certified neurologist and fellowship-trained movement disorder specialist. With many treatment options at his disposal as a movement disorder specialist including deep brain stimulation, intrathecal baclofen therapy, and more, our movement clinic is ready to help you treat and manage your problems. Learn more>>>
Covid 19 Threat: Dr. Izor’s and NSMDC APPs’ Analysis and Recommendations
We are all highly concerned about the clear and present danger from Covid19. We are taking utmost precautions utilizing telemedicine as well as staff wearing masks, eye protection and disinfection of hands and commonly touched surfaces frequently throughout the day. With these efforts, we are still available for in-office visits for those who cannot perform a telemedicine visit or have complaints that require direct patient examination. In those cases, we request all patients, and up to one caregiver, must wear some form of mask during the entire visit unless directed to remove for examination purposes. Upon entry to the office we will check your temperature, and please use the provided hand sanitizer, and again right before leaving the examination room. If a decent hospital mask is not available to you at your home, a homemade mask is acceptable. The mask can be a simple doubled over triangle bandana or large handkerchief tied behind the back of the head to adequately cover the nose and mouth from any spray droplets while talking with providers and staff. If you are actively sick from upper or lower respiratory symptoms, we will offer telemedicine visits only. We are doing everything we can to make ourselves available to you and the community for the long-haul during this time of crisis while protecting other patients and ourselves. Here are is our analysis of the Covid19 threat and recommendations we encourage all of us to implement.
Most people, greater than 85%, who become infected with Covid19 will have none, mild or moderate illness and recover fully without permanent injury or need to be hospitalized. Sick people should self-quarantine for at least 2 weeks and take extra precautions wearing a mask and generally avoiding all high-risk people for at least 2-3 weeks after all symptoms have resolved. High risk people include: elderly particularly over 65, worse above 70, and much worse over 80; those living in nursing homes; immunocompromised; pre-existing cardiovascular/pulmonary disease (COPD, emphysema,) obesity BMI >40; uncontrolled chronic disease like diabetes/kidney/liver; and smokers are all at higher risk for more severe sickness and/or hospitalization. Also, low levels of vitamin D have been associated with worse outcomes. Severe cases advance to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which kills many of these patients, often from viral sepsis induced cardiomyopathy and/or cardiac arrest. The clinical course from initial symptoms to death can take up to 6 weeks.
Since the transmission rate is 2-3 times that of the flu, and the death rate could be as much as 3-4 times worse than the flu, if we all get sick at once without taking precautions, the healthcare system will be overrun and 3-5 times more people will get very sick and/or die. If we take reasonable precautions like good hand washing/disinfection protocols and wearing masks in public we may be able to minimize transmission risk to the high-risk minority to keep hospitals from being overrun until we have more liberal mitigation strategies available. Unfortunately, there are serious dangers to the economy which we must balance or we may find ourselves with just as much suffering and many deaths and suicides unrelated to the viral threat. Here are my best recommendations which we will update as new data emerges:
Personal Protective Protocols to Reduce Infection Transmission Risk:
- High risk people should avoid contact with others who may be asymptomatic viral shedders by “social distancing” as much as possible.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds after touching suspect surfaces before eating or touching face/mouth.
- Wipe down and disinfect surfaces, door knobs and handles, twice a day, and after interactions with others.
- Wear a mask in public and always around high-risk individuals just in case you are a pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carrier.
- Avoid being in small rooms or in transit with anyone coughing, sneezing or any other suspicious symptoms, and if unavoidable, make sure you are wearing a mask and eye protection if available.
- Walking and talking outside next to someone is very low risk as long as they don’t talk or breath heavily directly at your face.
- If you can’t avoid someone who may have been exposed, and are not wearing a mask and eye protection, maintain at least 6-8 ft distance, especially when that person is talking in front of you.
- For those who are asymptomatic, assume they are shedding virus and stay 6 feet away when talking directly in front of you, and preferably wear any kind of mask and glasses to catch any saliva/spray during conversation or if the person inadvertently coughs or sneezes on you.
- If you think you are getting sick wear a mask all the time to limit spread of virus to others as well as surfaces around your home. Make a mask using a large handkerchief if necessary.
Basic OTC URI/Viral Survival Strategy
- Stay home and rest, stay in limited areas of home as much as possible to protect others, and follow protective precautions as stated in Personal Protective Protocols to Reduce Infection Transmission Risk.
- Some French doctors advise against using ibuprofen but this is not based on controlled studies. Until we know more, use Tylenol for pain and fever, up to 500-1000 mg every 6 hours.
- Sleep as much as possible using stronger first-generation antihistamines (preferably chlorpheniramine every 4 hours or diphenhydramine every 6 hours) to control secretions and help with congestion. These have very strong anticholinergic effects which will control congestion/secretions better than other antihistamines, and induce sedation/sleep which is desirable when you are really sick. If not severely ill, you may use second-generation non-sedating antihistamines (Allegra, Zyrtec, Claritin) during the day.
- For congestion, take Mucinex DM OTC 12 hr. twice a day. If still not enough with chlorpheniramine, you should try adding decongestants like Sudafed (phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine.) Use with caution if hypertensive. Nasal sprays inhaled deeply into the lungs through the nose may be helpful and safe for short term use, like Afrin (oxymetazoline.)
- Maintain an adequate nutrient dense diet, avoiding processed carbohydrates and prioritizing whole food sources of protein and healthy plant-based fats.
- Take food grade medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil (Premium Sports Research with C12 lauric acid, Amazon), ½ to 1 tablespoon up to 3-4 times a day. MCT has antibacterial and antiviral effects. If you can’t tolerate it use it like a lotion on your skin which will absorb systemically.
- If you have nausea and vomiting, simplify food intake with frequent smaller amounts of preferably high protein bone broth (or lower protein chicken broth if necessary,) and as tolerated supplement with MCT oil and/or extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil (or any cold pressed food grade oil like cod liver oil, flax oil, etc.)
- Supplement diet with adequate hydration preferably from electrolyte drinks (Pedialyte, similar OTC alternatives, or Dr. Izor’s Antioxilyte drink.)
- For severe nagging cough especially at night, you need a prescription for Tessalon (benzonatate) and if insufficient add codeine or hydrocodone from your doctor. Unfortunately, the latter are now triplicate medications and not as easily available because they require a special handwritten prescription. These are very powerful cough suppressants and also very anticholinergic to dry up secretions which can be critical at night to help induce sleep so important for a strong and effective immune response.
- Alternatives for cough may include cannabidiol (CBD) 10-25mg four times a day, Atrovent (ipratropium) and albuterol inhalers which require Rx. Ultram is another option (also Rx but not a triplicate, caution drug interaction risk with some antidepressants and dextromethorphan in Mucinex DM.)
Mucinex DM, or Mucinex if you can’t tolerate DM
Phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine
Chlorpheniramine or Benadryl
Allegra or Claritin
Medium Chain Triglyceride oil
Bone broth preferably, or any broth (vegetable broth is ok too)
Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or high oleic sunflower oil
Pedialyte or preferably lower sugar electrolyte replacement drinks may be helpful.
Potential Antiviral Preventatives and Basic Strategies to Support Healthy Metabolism and a Strong Immune System
Zinc Gluconate 15mg daily is maintenance dose on top of dietary zinc found in a whole foods diet. If you follow a standard American diet, taking 15mg twice a day, especially during this viral threat. If getting cold/flu symptoms, increase to 15mg, 4 times a day until symptoms resolve. Some multivitamins contain zinc but not all formulations of zinc are highly bioavailable and therefore may not increase intracellular levels of Zn2+ as well. Unfortunately, these have not been studied very well to determine which is most bioavailable or most potent increasing intracellular Zn2+. Supplements do increase intracellular Zn2+, which helps block viral replication. Hydroxychloroquine works as a zinc ionophore, helping increase even more Zn2+ intracellularly to help inhibit some viruses including coronavirus. Other alternatives that are relatively bioavailable include zinc picolinate and zinc carnosine. There are clinical trials which suggest benefit with the common cold (which includes coronavirus,) but no prophylactic studies.
Start Life Extension’s Two-Per-Day Formula (http://www.lifeextension.com). Take one capsule twice a day. This product contains reasonable amounts of important immune boosting supplements including: B12, MTHF, alpha lipoic acid, quercetin, selenium and vitamin D3.
Make sure you are taking additional Vitamin D3 5000 units at bedtime. Vitamin D3 should be taken late in the day or at bedtime to stimulate better, more restorative sleep and directly support the immune system.
If you have not been taking Vitamin D3 regularly, at the onset of flu/cold symptoms, take 75,000 units Vitamin D3 (15 capsules) at once, and then 5,000 units daily until symptoms subside for up to 14 more days. Then skip 14 days and then restart maintenance dose of 5000 units at bedtime. During the 14-day Vitamin D holiday, you should continue taking Life Extension’s Two-Per-Day multivitamin which contains 2000 units per day. Vitamin D level should be checked to determine optimal dosing needed to reach optimal blood levels.
Vitamin C, 500-1000 mg, twice daily. Sodium, Calcium or Magnesium Ascorbate powder mixed in a drink will have less risk for acid stomach/GI upset.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) oil (Sports Research Premium, Amazon) or Coconut MCT oil, ½ to 1 tablespoon up to 4 times a day (target total of 45-60g/d (3-4 Tbs).) I prefer mixed MCT oils or coconut oil separated from the palmitic acid long chain saturated fats. MCT has antibacterial and antiviral effects. If you can’t tolerate it use it like a lotion on your skin which will absorb systemically. MCT higher in C8 and C10 with less C12 is absorbed better through the skin, and less greasy. However, lauric acid, C12 seems to have the most antiviral/antimicrobial activity of the 3 main MCT fatty acids, although the others have more specific activity against certain microbes and viruses including HIV and HSV. Unfortunately, there are only few small clinical trials testing antiviral effect in humans.
Start magnesium taurate 125 mg (Cardiovascular Research, Amazon), 2 capsules (250mg) at bedtime for 1 week. If no side effects like diarrhea, increase to 2 caps twice a day. Reduce dose if diarrhea or other side effects which can develop as magnesium stores replete in bone and tissues. Nuts, seeds and other whole foods contain magnesium and therefore when consuming these foods, you may need to lower dose of supplemental magnesium, especially if stools are getting too loose. If using magnesium to help cognitive decline, depression and/or anxiety symptoms and not seeing substantial improvement, replace morning dose with Magtein (magnesium threonate 144mg).
Start melatonin, usually 3-6 mg approximately 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime (start with 3 mg tablets that are half fast acting/half extended release.) If you do not tolerate melatonin, particularly if feeling groggy next day, try using a lower 1 mg short acting dose and reduce as low as 0.25 mg, followed by changing long acting dose until sleep improves and/or grogginess resolves. If melatonin is well tolerated but not effective in improving sleep, try increasing long acting melatonin up to a maximum of 20 mg each night. Melatonin improves depth of restorative sleep and reduces insulin resistance in synergy with proper nutrition and lifestyle.
Start Fish Oil (Arazo Nutrition, Amazon) 2250mg omega-3 per 3 capsules (take at least 500mg DHA/d), 2-3 capsules daily at least 3-4 times per week, on days you are not eating healthy fresh high omega-3 fatty fish. Omega-3 oil combined with vitamin E (already in Life Extension Multivitamin) activates multiple genetic and metabolic pathways including PPAR-y, which reduces insulin resistance and inflammation, enhances fatty acid oxidation and deepens nutritional ketosis for those on a striving for a Mediterranean ketogenic diet.
WARNING: Omega-3/polyunsaturated fats have important healthful effects, but at the same time anti-platelet and blood thinning effects. Other prescription blood thinners like Plavix, Coumadin and aspirin will amplify this effect and increase bleeding risks when combined. Discuss alternatives with your doctor, or limit fish oil supplements and eat leaner fish if bruising easily.
Start N-acetylcysteine (NAC), 500-600 mg daily (sustained release NAC, Jarrow.) N-acetylcysteine may sometimes cause gastrointestinal upset which can be reduced when taken with food. During active flu/cold symptoms you may increase to twice daily.
Together these supplements along with a Mediterranean/well-formulated ketogenic diet will enhance restorative sleep, improve cognition and reduce chronic inflammation, pain, anxiety, and depression. If you can’t implement a fully ketogenic diet, at minimum eliminate processed foods and simple/high starch/low fiber carbohydrates foods that have a high glycemic index/load (e.g. white bread, biscuits, flour tortillas, baked or fried potatoes/chips.) Consider using our Mocha Ketoppucchino drink each morning which can substitute for half your daily diet.