Q. I was diagnosed with an unknown neurological condition. What does that mean?

Answered by
Dr. Jeremy David O' Kennedy
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 06, 2017

Hello doctor,

I am a 60 year old female, who is 5.4 feet, and I weighs 157 lbs. I am looking for a name for my condition. The only medication I take is Imipramine hydrochloride 40 mg tablets each day. I have been told that I have a neurological condition, but the symptoms do not follow any diagnosis.

When I was 26 years old, I had an operation, a day later it was hard for me to move my right leg and arm. Within a few days, my speech was slurred, and it was more difficult to use my right arm and leg. I had to use crutches to walk. My doctor gave me high doses of Prednisone, and I did tests for MS, which were negative. My symptoms went into remission, and I had periodic symptoms during times of high stress.

When I was 56 years old, I had a case of shingles on my face, left lip, and nose area. When the blistering and ooze was finally gone, the MS like symptoms returned. I had slurred speech, and my legs were weak and unable to stand or walk without assistance. My hands shook when I tried using them to eat, turning a page in a book, and handing something as small as an envelope to someone. When I hold out my arm to hand someone something, my arm slowly starts to drop.

I recently had an MRI that showed no myelin scaring for MS. My neurologist said I have an unknown neurological condition. I would like more information than an unknown neurological condition that the doctors are giving me, but I do not know where or what kind of doctor that can give me more information. What can I do to have a better quality of life for myself and my family?



Welcome to

Sorry to hear about your prolonged symptoms, I can understand your frustration.

  • Your complaints mostly encompass two of the most complex systems of medicine, that is neurology and immunology. There is a lot we know, but that probably makes up just 20 % of what is yet to be discovered or fully understood. That being said, I can offer a few insights.
  • From your history, it is apparent that neurological deficits and symptoms are preceded and therefore probably triggered by certain events, that is, surgery and viral infection.
  • This is a probable evidence of an immunologically driven and probably autoimmune process, the body's immune cells mistakingly target normal body cells, in your case nerve cells, instead of virus cells.
  • There is a neurological condition called Guillian-Barré syndrome, which causes acute neurological symptoms, often after viral infections and cases of some surgery have also quite often been described. The neurological symptoms are caused by the body wrongly attacking its nerve cells, and the process is often triggered by viral infections and surgery.
  • The diagnosis is often made when a neurologist excludes other conditions first, and nerve conduction studies and spinal fluid evaluation can be helpful. Sometimes, when symptoms and findings do not fit completely, it can be described as GB-like. Myasthenia gravis is another condition with an autoimmune causation mechanism and some symptoms like fatigability similar to yours, but your neurologist would probably have ruled out MG with tests.
  • It is highly probable that your condition is immunologically driven and Guillian-Barré and like syndrome might be worth excludingBell's palsy is acute onset of partial facial paralysis and drooping and is also often triggered by viral or other infections and also stress. It sounds like you possibly had a Bell's palsy as well.

A neurologist would be able to help you discuss or exclude some of the above. Kind regards.

For more information consult an internal medicine physician online -->

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