The Neuromuscular Program

Program Lead: Dr. Lawrence Korngut

The Department of Clinical Neurosciences Neuromuscular Program provides health care services for people with disorders of the peripheral nervous system. The neuromuscular program clinical activity is consolidated at the South Health Campus. The South Health Campus provides a unique opportunity to provide patient-centred multidisciplinary care, including a broad range of expert Allied Health services. The program includes the following clinics:

ALS and Motor Neuron Disease Clinic: For people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related motor neuron diseases.

Neuromuscular Clinic: For people with disease of nerve, neuromuscular junction and muscle. Examples include Guillain-Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and inclusion body myositis.

Neuromuscular Genetics Interdisciplinary Clinic: A clinic that focuses on improving function in people with neuromuscular diseases while receiving further genetic diagnostic evaluations and followup (combined rehabilitation team, Physiatry and Neurology).

Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Clinic: A clinic that focuses on improving function in people with neuromuscular disease. Dr. Plamondon and the clinic were recognized by Muscular Dystrophy Canada for its innovative model and tremendous care provided to patients.

Peripheral Nerve Clinic: A clinic to serve people with nerve injuries or disorders that may benefit from surgical intervention.

Electromyography Clinics: Diagnostic clinics for those with disorders of the peripheral nervous system.

All of the above clinics are multi-disciplinary. Depending on clinic needs, patients may see multiple physicians (neurologist, physiatrist, respirologist, palliative care doctor, plastic surgeon, and neurosurgeon), nurses, Allied Health care providers (physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist, dietitian, social worker, neuropsychologist, respiratory therapist) or EMG technologist.

Research

The Neuromuscular Research Program is composed of two parts. The clinical program, led by Dr. Lawrence Korngut, had several important contributions this past year. Conducted four randomized clinical trials in ALS and Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD). The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) and the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Network (CAN-NMD) continued to operate under Dr. Korngut’s leadership and promote collaborative research and promotion of clinical care excellence across Canada. Dr. Li Pi Shan developed a tool to simplify the level of certainty in the diagnosis of ALS.

The basic science program, led by Dr. Gerald Pfeffer, investigates genetic causes of hereditary neuromuscular disorders using next-generation sequencing studies of families with undiagnosed conditions and in carefully phenotyped clinical cohorts. Dr. Pfeffer’s lab also performs mechanistic studies using human cellular models to understand how gene mutations cause disease. Other projects are investigating RNA-based biomarkers for neurogenetic disorders. 

Education

The Neuromuscular Education Program is headed by Dr. Sam Chhibber. The program provides education in neuromuscular disease diagnosis and management, including EMG. The outstanding performance of our trainees is a testament to the training program. This year neurologists Daniel Fok (Calgary) and Theo Mobach (Calgary) trained as neuromuscular fellows.

Members

Neuromuscular Neurology: Dr. Sam Chhibber, Dr. Hamid Ebadi, Dr. Chris Hahn, Dr. Lawrence Korngut, Dr. Gerald Pfeffer, Dr. Chris White, Dr. Seraj Makkawai (ALS Clinic Locum)

Neuromuscular Physiatry: Dr. Rodney Li Pi Shan, Dr. Stephen McNeil, Dr. Stephanie Plamondon 

Neuromuscular Respirology: Dr. Karen Rimmer, Dr. Andrea Loewen

Peripheral Nerve Surgery: Dr. Rajiv Midha, Dr. Christiaan Schragg, Dr. Brett Byers, Dr. Kate Elzinga, Dr. Robertson Harrop

Palliative Care: Dr. Marisa Dharmawardene

Clinic Nurses: Kris Jagt, Jodie Gill, Christine Roberts, Helena Ogilvie

ALS Clinic Coordinator: Denise Hartley

Allied Health: Cristiane Yamabyashi PT, Jay Cooling PT, Monic Brunet OT, Michele Spurvey OT, Stephanie Molzan SLP, Leon Mitchell SW, Dr. Kim Goddard, Neuropsychology, Sandy Jensen DH, Tiffany LaFleur RD, Ray Tye RT, Margaret Hass PT

Pharmacists: Darcy Padula, Robert Hou, Wenli Zhou

Fellows: Dr. Daniel Fok, Dr. Theodore Mobach

Clerical Team: Lindy Wright (ALS and Peripheral Nerve Clinics), Jennifer Coish (NMC), Kelsey Collins (NMC), Marion Schmaltz (NMC)

Clinical Research Team: Janet Petrillo, Jose Martinez, Josh Lounsberry, Victoria Hodgkinson, Emily-Ann Butler

Basic Science Research Team: Kristina Martens (lab manager), Carly Pontifex (master’s student in neuroscience), Robyn Wells (PhD student in neuroscience)

(Updated Dec. 2018)