Some Diseases Can Cause Neurological Conditions | Loyola Medicine
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Diseases that cause rashes and other skin problems can trigger serious neurological conditions, Loyola physicians report

MAYWOOD, Ill. –   Diseases such as lupus that cause rashes and other skin problems also can trigger migraine headaches, strokes and other serious neurological conditions, according to an article by Loyola University Medical Center physicians.

The article, published in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology, is written by senior author Jose Biller, MD and colleagues. Dr. Biller is chair of the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

“A variety of neurologic diseases have cutaneous [skin-related] manifestations,” Dr. Biller and colleagues write. “These may precede, coincide with or follow the neurologic findings.”

Some of the diseases described in the article that can cause both skin and neurological problems are:

Lupus. Women are 10 times more likely than men to get lupus, and the disease is especially prevalent during reproductive years. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of lupus patients experience skin rashes, including butterfly-shaped rashes on the face and rashes on areas exposed to sunlight, such as the face, arms, neck and hands.

Lupus can affect multiple organs and can cause a range of neurologic and psychiatric problems, including stroke, meningitis, migraine headaches, movement disorder, seizures, anxiety, mood disorders and psychosis.

Sjögren syndrome. Like lupus, Sjögren syndrome is an autoimmune disease, in which the body attacks its own tissues. The most common skin problem Sjögren syndrome causes is xerosis (abnormal dryness), resulting in dull, itchy skin with a fine, white bran-like scale.

Neurologic problems caused by Sjögren syndrome include hemiparesis (paralysis on one side of the body), aphasia (inability to talk or understand speech) and chorea (jerky, involuntary movements).

Parry-Romberg syndrome. In this progressive disease, the skin and soft tissues on half the face, usually the left side, deteriorate. The affected eye and cheek can become sunken and facial hair can turn white. The skin can become extremely dark, with patches of white skin lacking pigmentation.

Neurologic manifestations of Parry-Romberg syndrome include epilepsy, migraines, facial pain, involuntary contractions of chewing muscles, cognitive impairment and double vision.

The article is titled , “Acquired Neurocutaneous Disorders.” In addition to Dr. Biller, co-authors are Jodi Speiser, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and first author Amre Nouh, MD, who completed a neurology fellowship at Loyola and now is at Hartford Hospital.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.