Blog Archive

What Is Ataxia? Dec 13th, 2020

When you lose control of your body’s movements and coordination, it may be because of an underlying condition called ataxia. As a neurology specialist, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, understands how debilitating ataxia symptoms can be. Dr. Duma diagnoses and treats ataxia and other types of movement disorders using the latest...

Tooth Pain? It Could Be Trigeminal Neuralgia Nov 9th, 2020

If you’ve been avoiding the dentist despite chronic tooth pain, you may want to reconsider your decision. Although cavities or an abscess can be the underlying cause of teeth and jaw pain, these symptoms also relate to a more serious nerve disorder known as trigeminal neuralgia. Experienced neurosurgeon, Christopher Duma,...

The Promising Results of Immunotherapy Oct 11th, 2020

Cancer in the brain or nervous system can be a devastating diagnosis for both kids and adults. Though there’s been little change in the treatment options for malignant brain tumors over the last 20 years, new research into the effectiveness of immunotherapy is quite promising. As a renowned brain surgeon,...

Understanding Dystonia Sep 20th, 2020

Dystonia is a type of movement disorder that causes unusual, uncontrollable movements of the muscles in your body. As a skilled neurosurgeon, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, understands how the symptoms of dystonia can interfere with your physical health, your mental health, and your quality of life. Dr. Duma customizes a...

Could My Symptoms Mean I Have a Brain Tumor? Aug 7th, 2020

The idea you may have a brain tumor can certainly be unsettling – even terrifying. But every pain in your head doesn’t necessarily mean you have a life-threatening tumor. As a renowned neurosurgeon and brain tumor specialist, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, understands the anxiety that unexplained symptoms can cause. That’s...

Surgical Complications and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Jul 14th, 2020

Normal pressure hydrocephalus Is a brain condition that interferes with your memory and mobility. Because of the similarity of symptoms, this condition is often misdiagnosed as dementia. It usually presents with the classic triad of cognitive impairment, urinary incontinence, difficulty walking …… (weird, wet and wobbly!) As a skilled neurosurgeon,...

Diagnostic Procedures to Determine If You Have Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Jun 23rd, 2020

Normal pressure hydrocephalus can impact your physical and mental health, increasing your risk for memory problems, mobility issues, and dementia. At his neurosurgery practice, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, offers diagnostic tests on-site to determine if you have normal pressure hydrocephalus. Dr. Duma also has extensive experience designing a treatment plan...

Treating Glioblastoma with Radiosurgery May 18th, 2020

Facing a cancer diagnosis can be devastating, especially if the tumor you have is malignant. If you develop a glioblastoma, a very aggressive type of malignant cancer, skilled neurosurgeon Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, offers surgical treatment using the innovative Gamma Knife® radiosurgery technology. Dr. Duma provides insight into your risk...

A Telemedicine Visit Offers Convenience and Comfort During the COVID-19 Pandemic Apr 22nd, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a landslide of changes to our everyday lives and routines. Whether you’re currently working at home, taking classes online, or still going out to perform essential work, you’re probably wondering how you can access vital health care services during this period.  At a time when...

Treatment Options for Dystonia Mar 1st, 2020

If you’re experiencing unexplained, uncontrollable muscle contractions and tremors that cause you to move involuntarily, you may have a condition known as dystonia. As an experienced neurosurgeon, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, understands how frustrating these uncontrollable movements can be and how much they can interfere with your quality of life....

Your Memory Loss May Not Be Alzheimer’s Feb 1st, 2020

Many people have fears about a decline in their memory as they get older, often confusing their symptoms for serious diseases, like Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. This condition is a progressive brain disorder that affects your thoughts, language, memory, and other functions and can ultimately lead to incapacitation...

If It Hurts to Touch Your Face, You Might Have Trigeminal Neuralgia Jan 1st, 2020

If wiping away an eyelash from your cheek or brushing your teeth results in an intense, stabbing pain, it’s likely you have a condition known as trigeminal neuralgia. As an experienced neurosurgeon, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, understands the impact this debilitating disorder can have on your physical and mental health. Dr....

The Gamma Knife Is Not a Knife: How It Works Dec 1st, 2019

If you are diagnosed with a vascular condition or brain tumor, board-certified brain surgeon, Christopher Duma, MD, may recommend you for radiosurgery with the advanced technology of the Gamma Knife™ Perfexion™. Learn more about what the Gamma Knife is and how it may be instrumental in your treatment. The innovation...

How Deep Brain Stimulation Works to Control Tremors Nov 1st, 2019

Uncontrollable tremors can interfere with your quality of life and make it difficult for you to stay active and engaged in your usual activities. Even minor tremors can interfere with basic daily tasks, such as reading, writing, and eating. Christopher Duma, MD is highly skilled in treating tremors and the brain...

What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia and How Is It Diagnosed and Treated? Oct 1st, 2019

As a chronic pain condition, trigeminal neuralgia can have a significant impact on your physical and emotional health, as well as the quality of your life. Board-certified neurosurgeon, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, understands how overwhelming a condition like trigeminal neuralgia can be. To increase your life’s quality and give you...

Learn About Our Treatment for Glioblastoma, the Fast-Spreading and Highly Malignant Brain Cancer Sep 1st, 2019

A glioblastoma can be extraordinarily frightening as you contemplate the idea of a fast-growing tumor in your brain. And the first, and most important, step is to remove the tumor to prevent it from spreading, which only adds to your trepidation as you face the possibility of brain surgery. There...

Parkinson Disease Symptoms can Occur Well before Tremors: Know the Earliest Signs Aug 2nd, 2019

If you’ve ever thought about “Parkinson’s Disease,” your mind likely goes to Michael J. Fox, the actor who’s made his tremor part of multiple characters he’s played over the years. But Parkinson’s can be noticed long before tremors set in if you know what symptoms to look for. Dr. Christopher...

How Immunotherapy Harnesses Your Immune System to Battle Brain Tumors Jul 9th, 2019

Immunotherapy is the newest frontier in treating brain tumors, and it shows incredible promise. At Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, Brain Surgeon, we’ve developed a treatment protocol using conventional cancer therapies combined with immunotherapy. Our results show that immunotherapy offers hope for complete remission and long-term survival for patients with brain...

TIPS FOR ENHANCING RECOVERY POST BRAIN SURGERY May 25th, 2016

The steps needed to help you recover from surgery actually start as soon as you are diagnosed and not just after you wake in the hospital bed. Prior to surgery you should read as much as you can about what to expect during and after your surgery. The more you...

REVOLUTIONARY PARKINSON’S TREATMENT CALMS TREMORS IN SECONDS May 13th, 2016

What is Deep Brain Stimulation and how can it improve quality of life for those with Parkinson’s Disease? Parkinson’s Disease and TremorsTo start, Parkinson’s Disease is a primary cause of neurological disability in people over 60 years of age. Many of those affected exhibit symptoms externally in the form of tremors mostly in...

WHAT IS THE AMERICAN BOARD OF NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY, AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Feb 17th, 2016

Have you ever left the mechanic feeling like you had no idea what was even fixed? Or paid for IT support, only to find yourself uneasy about the recommended updates or purchases your technician had offered. We have all been in a situation where we feel inadequately qualified to make...

THE LEADING-EDGE PINPOINT RADIATION TECHNIQUE Jan 17th, 2016

In the latter half of 2015, Dr. Chris Duma was featured on CBS News – Los Angeles when the station featured a couple – Cindy and Mark – two of Dr. Duma’s glioblastoma patients. Their story is particularly moving because the two meet each other during a brain tumor support group at Hoag...

WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER BRAIN SURGERY? Dec 17th, 2015

The first stop for post-surgery expectations is your surgical team. Your experience will vary greatly based on your health history, your diagnosis, your anesthesia and your surgery. However, if your surgical team hasn’t communicated clearly what to expect after surgery – which may be reason enough to research other surgeons in your...

WHAT IS NEUROENDOSCOPY? Nov 13th, 2015

The term endoscopy comes from endoscope, which is a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, typically used in gastrointestinal surgeries, and allows surgeons to view key anatomical features in real-time during surgery. Thus, neuroendoscopy is the use of an endoscope during cranial, or neurological surgeries. One of the most monumental...

PARKINSON’S DISEASE: CAUSES AND TREATMENT OPTIONS Aug 21st, 2015

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease, with about 1 in every 1,000 people developing (PD) in their lifetime. The disease typically manifests during a patient’s 50s and 60s, although people as young as their early thirties have been diagnosed with PD. While there have been many studies to...

WHAT IS TOMOTHERAPY? Jul 28th, 2015

Patients who have recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor will quickly discover that there are many different treatment options available for removing or shrinking tumors. Many of our patients wonder what is the best treatment option for them? There is no specific cookbook protocol when it comes to treating...

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT NEUROSURGEON Jun 29th, 2015

Being diagnosed with a brain tumor is often very stressful and overwhelming. A large contributor to the anxiety one feels is the fear associated with the unknown, but the unknown can be mitigated with the help of the right neurologist. Here is a quick and easy list of dos and don’ts to remember as you find...

HOW TO EASE TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA PAIN May 15th, 2015

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is considered the most painful neurological disease because it causes unrelenting head and facial pain in those who suffer from it – often being described as an intense burning or stabbing pain. According to an article from Medical News Today, about 45,000 people (1 in 15,000) in the USA...

COMMON USES OF GAMMA KNIFE RADIOSURGERY Apr 24th, 2015

Gamma knife surgery is an important alternative treatment option for conventional brain surgery. Since the first gamma knife radiosurgery was recorded in 1968, each year nearly 20,000 patients worldwide have been successfully treated with this innovative surgery. Gamma knife radiosurgery is significantly less invasive than conventional surgery because there is no actual...

A NEW LOOK ON GENETICS & BRAIN DISEASE Mar 11th, 2015

Our genes can be understood as our molecular heredity – the biological attributes that are passed to us from many generations before us. For decades, medical researchers have been trying to find the link, if any, between our genetics and brain disease. To date, this is what is universally understood...

BRAIN TUMOR STATISTICS AND FACTS Feb 11th, 2015

Unfortunately, no one is immune from unpredictable brain tumors. Most genetic, biological factors are still somewhat ambiguous and often there is no cause for the development of a tumor. Tumors can be primary brain tumors, which start in the brain, or brain metastasis tumors, which start elsewhere but eventually spread...

DO IMAGING SCANS FOR HEADACHES HELP DIAGNOSE BRAIN TUMORS? Jan 16th, 2015

Between 2007-2010 over $1.2 billion dollars were spent in the United States for neuroimaging related to headaches and migraines. While many headaches could have been simply diagnosed in the doctors office without imaging, other headaches required more conclusive research to determine whether the headache was caused by a tumor or other...

YOUR NEUROLOGIST CHEAT SHEET: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF VISITING A NEUROLOGIST Dec 31st, 2014

Hindsight is always 20/20 but when it comes to seeing a neurologist, foresight is vital. Time spent with the right neurologist can be the difference between relief and worry, prevention and treatment, and life and death. Here’s a quick cheat-sheet to ensure that you are educated, that you ask the right questions,...

5 BRAIN TUMOR MYTHS THAT MAY INFLUENCE TREATMENT BY YOUR NEUROSURGEON Dec 16th, 2014

Astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” Unfortunately, for most people – including doctors – how we think about things affects what we know to be true and how we solve problems. This human behavior can be...

MUSIC AND THE MIND: A LOOK AT NOTES AND NEURO HEALTH Nov 29th, 2014

Music is a powerful phenomena, capable of changing emotions, thoughts and behaviors. It’s rare to find somebody on this planet that doesn’t respond to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, move to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, or tear to Debussy’s Claire de Lune. But more than a melodious delight to the ear, music has...

POLIOVIRUS AND THE BRAIN Nov 12th, 2014

At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, poliomyelitis (also known as polio) would kill or paralyze 500,000 people every year. For over a thousand years this great virus survived as an endemic pathogen, requiring little attention and impacting society as a whole very slightly. In the 1880s, this tenuous...

NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS ON THE RISE Oct 28th, 2014

The vast increase of neurological disorders is troubling. Hundreds of millions of people around the globe are burdened with neurological disorders, and this doesn’t take into account the masses of undiagnosed in rural and developing areas. Worldwide, there are currently more than 50 million people diagnosed with Epilepsy and more...

WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOMA AND HOW IS IT TREATED? Oct 22nd, 2014

A glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly malignant tumor that forms from star-shaped cells called astrocytes that are responsible for forming supportive tissue in the brain. Glioblastomas often develop very quickly because a large network of blood vessels supports their growth. While GBMs are the most common and aggressive primary brain tumors (responsible...

NORMAL PRESSURE HYDROCEPHALUS TREATMENT OPTIONS Sep 29th, 2014

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH), commonly known as “water on the brain,” is rare, affecting about 5 in 100,000 persons; however, for those suffering from NPH, quality-of-life can be drastically reduced. While NPH can happen because of an accident, an illness, or after brain surgery, most commonly NPH occurs for no...

AN EYE ON TECHNOLOGY: VIRTUAL REALITY AND ROBOTICS Sep 19th, 2014

Even though the concept of virtual reality and robotics sounds more like something you’d read about in a Ray Bradbury or Orson Scott Card novel, this innovative technology is changing the approach neurosurgeons are taking to treat patients. In recent years virtual reality and robotic technologies have garnered positive attention for their...

WHAT CAUSES BRAIN TUMORS? Jul 31st, 2014

According to a recent study, almost 700,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. If those numbers are correct, than that means 1 in 448 people are currently living with a malignant or benign brain tumor. While researchers have not been able to diagnose the cause...

COULD ACTING OUT IN YOUR SLEEP SIGNAL FUTURE BRAIN DISEASE? Jul 22nd, 2014

Have you ever woken yourself from a dream by shouting or jumping out of bed? While uncommon, you’re not alone. Sleep talking (somniloquy) is most common in children and males, although women can sleep talk, too. Very few people, if any, sleep without dreaming. It’s more likely that those who...

HEADACHES: WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR Jun 3rd, 2014

Headaches can be caused by a number of things, and the majority of time can be linked to non-serious sources like pulled or tensed muscles, sinus infections, or blood vessel swelling (like a migraine). While we’ve probably all had a headache that felt like our head was about to explode,...

WHAT IS GAMMA KNIFE RADIOSURGERY? May 6th, 2014

If your doctor recently recommended gamma knife radiosurgery for the treatment of brain tumors (malignant and benign), vascular malformations, or functional brain disorders you may be wondering what gamma knife radiosurgery actually is. Is it a surgery? Does it use a cutting instrument to complete the procedure? Contrary to how...

HOW DOES IMMUNOTHERAPY TREAT BRAIN TUMORS? Apr 25th, 2014

In 2013 around 70,000 American’s were diagnosed with a new brain tumor, and of them, 25,000 were malignant. There are multiple forms of treatment available, however, immunotherapy is considered one of the best treatment options for fighting brain tumors. Depending on when a malignant tumor is diagnosed, immunotherapy has been...

IS MARCH MADNESS AFFECTING YOUR BRAIN? Mar 25th, 2014

You’ve probably been seeing the popular NCAA Basketball championship all over the media. This 68-team, history-rich tournament is a fan favorite for many things – the passion, the athleticism, the under-dog stories – but nothing speaks to march madness like gambling. “Odds”, “predictions”, “trends” are terms as synonymous with March...

REDUCING YOUR RISK OF STROKE Mar 21st, 2014

According to recent statistics, nearly one in five American’s will have a stroke in his or her lifetime. Though strokes can effect anyone at any age, typically those who experience a stroke do so during their middle age or older years. While there are no warning signs before a stroke,...

BRAIN GAMES: DO THEY REALLY WORK? Feb 27th, 2014

Surely you’ve seen the countless commercial products advertising brain training. They pop up everywhere making claims of science based gaming such as, “Challenge your brain with scientifically designed training” or “Improve your cognitive capacities while having fun playing”, but do they really work to improve brain function like memory? The...

REASONING BEHIND RESOLUTIONS: BRAIN STRATEGY Feb 16th, 2014

We’re still relatively new in this 2014 year and there is still time to catch the coat tails of all those resolutions you set. In reality, however, the concept of the brain’s involvement in resolutions (and their perceived value) is quite fascinating. A new Princeton Neuroscience Institute research study found...

REASONS YOU MAY WANT TO SEE A NEUROLOGIST Jan 18th, 2014

It’s not uncommon for Hollywood to use the most extreme illnesses and rare occurrences in their plots for dramatic effect. However, despite the unnecessary paranoia this media sometimes creates, there are real symptoms, that if left unchecked, could lead to serious complications. It can be challenging, especially with neurological issues,...

UNDERSTANDING PARKINSON’S DISEASE Dec 21st, 2013

Surprisingly, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) have been described in writings as early as 2000 B.C. Sources such as Egyptian papyrus, an Ayurvedic medical summary, and Galen’s writings all describe manifestations of PD. In 1817, James Parkinson, an English doctor, published an essay identifying many of the symptoms associated with...

NOVEMBER: ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH Nov 10th, 2013

This month, as you’re finding reasons to give thanks, perhaps you may want to include an extra dose of gratitude and support for all those who courageously face Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with strength and optimism. November is AD awareness month, and as such, November offers a great reminder that this...

LOWER BLOOD SUGARS MAY BE BETTER FOR YOUR BRAIN Oct 29th, 2013

With the growing rates of dementia and memory loss worldwide, researchers have been focused on finding the causes of memory impairments. According to helpquide.org 26 million people across the globe have dementia, and a staggering 15 million Americans will be diagnosed by 2050. Currently there is no cure for most...

STUDY FINDS BRAIN SURGERY MAY HELP SEVERE OCD Jun 12th, 2013

According the International OCD Foundation, about 1 in every 100 adults is currently affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), while 1 in 200 children and teens may have OCD as well. Mainstream usage of the term OCD has played down the reality of the disorder, which can be crippling to a...

SURGICAL OPTIONS FOR TREATING EPILEPSY Jun 12th, 2013

If someone could offer you a fix that could help you improve your brain health, increase memory, cut your risk of developing Alzheimers or dementia, prevent stroke, or improve symptoms from Parkinson’s Disease, would you take it? According to studies done by doctors around the country, including the Cooper Instutute in...

THE LINK BETWEEN GOOD HEALTH AND BRAIN HEALTH Feb 22nd, 2013

While brain exercises like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and learning new languages are all helpful in keeping the brain elastic, there are many health practices that play a vital rule in how your brain ages over the years. Overall good health is important for keeping your brain healthy and protected from...

DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION AND PARKINSON’S DISEASE Nov 20th, 2012

According to ancient Egyptian writings, Ayurvedic sources, and records from the Roman physician and surgeon Galen, Parkinson’s Disease, or an illness that replicates it, has been around since man has been able to record it. It was only in the early 1800’s that an English doctor named Dr. James Parkinson...

AN EYE ON TECHNOLOGY: GAMMA KNIFE & CYBERKNIFE™ Oct 5th, 2012

Gamma knife and CyberKnife™ are some of the most sophisticated technologies available to contemporary medicine. It’s interesting that despite their name, there is no actual knife involved. In fact, Gamma Knife and CyberKnife™ are types of radiosurgery, which have earned their “sharp” titles thanks to their extreme exactitude. Generally, radiosurgery is an alternative, non-invasive...

THE MOST COMMON BRAIN TUMOR SURGERY TYPES Jun 12th, 2012

Brain surgery has been known to humanity for at least 3500 years, going back to ancient civilizations in Europe, Africa and South America. Over the past 30 years open surgical craniotomies have been the most common practice for most brain surgeons. However, advances in contemporary medicine have brought new, less...

BRAIN TUMOR SURGERY FOR CANCER PATIENTS Jun 12th, 2012

When considering brain tumors, it is important to understand that not all are malignant. Having said that, when it comes to malignant or cancerous tumors, there are two main types: primary, originating in the brain, and metastatic which are secondary expressions of cancer that have started elsewhere in the body. Brain...

DR. DUMA PRESENTING AT GAMMA KNIFE SOCIETY MEETING May 17th, 2012

Dr. Christopher Duma will be presenting at the 16th Annual Leksell Gamma Knife Society Meeting – March 25th- 29th in Sydney Australia. Presentation Title : “Gamma Knife for Primary CNS Lymphoma” Leksell Gamma Knife Society

“I AM NOT CONTAGIOUS” BOOK NOW LIVE ON AMAZON FOR KINDLE May 17th, 2012

One of Dr. Duma’s patients, Allison Smith-Conway, recently published a book and it is now available on Amazon for Kindles! The book is about Allison’s journey through Colon Cancer and Parkinson’s Disease, and the hope that she found along the way. Dr. Duma had the pleasure of authoring the Forward for the book. A warm...

WELCOME TO DR. DUMA’S NEW BLOG May 17th, 2012

Welcome to Dr. Duma’s new blog! We are excited about launching our new website, and utilizing technology to help better educate and communicate with our current and future patients. We invite you to bookmark this page and visit often to get updates from Dr. Duma about various topics, ranging from...

YOUNG PARKINSON’S PATIENT GIVES BACK May 17th, 2012

One of my patients is publishing a book describing her experience with her young onset Parkinson’s disease as well as her battle with colon cancer. This was picked up by KABC Channel 7, Los Angeles and I was asked to join in. It was my pleasure to have been interviewed...

DR. DUMA – PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR FOR DC VAX CLINICAL TRIAL May 12th, 2012

I am honored to be the principal investigator for a brain tumor vaccine trial at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. This is the famous DC Vax vaccine trial which was originally initiated at UCLA. We were chosen as one of the trusted sites to pursue the phase 2/3 trial for this...