MND offers early diagnosis for brain disorders



MASERU – Maluti Neuro Diagnostic (MND) is pioneering the fight against neurological conditions in Lesotho, offering critical early diagnosis for a range of brain-related diseases and disorders. Established in 2020, MND is a Basotho-owned neurophysiology centre equipped with advanced diagnostic tools essential for assessing brain activity. This facility plays a vital role in the management and diagnosis of various conditions, including epilepsy, nerve dysfunctions, and sleep disorders.

’Matšepang Tsoako, a seasoned neurophysiologist at MND, emphasises the centre’s focus on diagnostic services over therapeutic interventions. “We specialise in diagnosing conditions that impair brain functions—such as strokes, epilepsy, and encephalopathy—as well as diseases affecting nerve functions, which can lead to mobility issues, numbness, and pain,” Tsoako explains.

Additionally, the centre addresses sleep-related issues, such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, and excessive daytime sleepiness. “Lesotho lacks specialists, so we aim to reduce the number of people travelling to Bloemfontein, South Africa, for the diagnosis of various diseases. We also strive to facilitate early diagnoses, enabling timely interventions to prevent life-threatening complications,” says Tsoako.

She states that various government hospitals and the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) refer their patients to MND for testing due to a lack of necessary equipment. Mohlomi Hospital, among others, sends patients to MND to get tested and receive reports on their findings.

“In cases where diagnosed conditions necessitate surgery, and since Lesotho has no specialists, patients must travel to Bloemfontein for these surgeries. However, with other diseases, an early diagnosis can significantly increase the chances of recovery,” Tsoako explains. She notes that the centre aims to make services more accessible to the Basotho, allowing for quicker identification of conditions and timely recovery.

Neurology, the branch of medicine focused on the study and treatment of nervous system disorders, deals with a complex and sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities. It comprises two major divisions: the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, which encompasses all neural elements like the eyes, ears, skin, and other sensory receptors.

Tsoako explains that neurosurgeons specialise in correcting structural abnormalities in the brain and spinal cord. “Most people with epilepsy do not have a structural abnormality; rather, it is their brain function that triggers episodes. Similarly, a person with encephalopathy might not have structural issues, but toxins can adversely affect brain function,” she says. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterised by recurring, unprovoked seizures.

Not all seizures indicate epilepsy; they may be related to brain injuries or familial traits, but often the cause remains unidentified. Seizures manifest as sudden surges of abnormal and excessive electrical activity in the brain, affecting one’s behaviour and appearance. The presentation of a seizure can have significant impacts.

Encephalopathy, a condition affecting brain function, occurs due to changes in how the brain operates or changes in bodily conditions that impact the brain. These changes can lead to an altered mental state, resulting in confusion and abnormal behaviour. Encephalopathy can be triggered by various factors, including brain infections such as encephalitis or meningitis or infections in other body parts like the urinary tract. Extreme responses to infections, such as sepsis, can also lead to encephalopathy.

Other causes include brain tumours, long-term exposure to toxins (such as solvents, drugs, radiation, paints, industrial chemicals, and certain metals), and non-convulsive status epilepticus—a condition where repeated seizure activity occurs without noticeable physical symptoms. Lastly, sleep disorders disrupt the quality, duration, and timing of sleep, which can adversely affect both mental and physical health.

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