Neurological Consequences


I read last week that the very popular singer, Celine Dion cancelled her concerts for the foreseeable future due to a condition she developed called “Stiff Person Syndrome”.  I have practiced medicine for over 40 years and I have never seen a patient with this condition.  Apparently this is a rare neurological disease the occurs in one out of a million people.  SPS causes severe muscle spasms and can become incapacitating.  The syndrome can progress to the point of affected people not being able to walk or complete routing motor tasks.  Treatments may include immunoglobulin treatments and/or the use of medications such as valium and baclofen to block the spasms. 

Reading about Ms. Dion’s plight got me thinking more about the neurological consequences of poor weight control.  SPS is not related to obesity but there are other, much more frequent neurological conditions that are very much related to poor weight control such as:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Other dementias
  • Amyloidosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Stroke

When we focus on the co-morbidities of poor weight control, the “usual suspects” such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea and chronic fatigue come to mind.  However, the neurological consequences of obesity can be devastating as well.

There are many, many reasons why controlling your weight is so important.  Having good health is the best “wealth” of all.  Every year we read about famous people that develop a life-altering disease and despite the tens/hundreds of millions of dollars they have accumulated, their lives are not nearly as happy and fulfilling as those anonymous people with much less money and fame, that have good health.  

Prayers and well wishes to Ms. Dion and her family for a great recovery from her illness.  Hopefully her “Heart Will Go On” as she has inspired others to do the same.