Dr. Richard Hamer MD is a doctor working for the Good Shepherd Medical Center with a specialization in Neurology. He has been working in the field of brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves since 1989. Currently, he is one of only four practitioners within the Longview Regional Medical Center who specialize in Neurology.
Dr. Hamer moved to the Longview area of Texas in 1995. Before this, he went through the University of Alabama School of Medicine which facilitated his 1-year-long internship at the University of Alabama Medical Center. After successful completion, he relocated to the University of Texas Southwestern – Parkland Health & Hospital System where he completed his residency. Presently, Dr. Hamer is American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology-certified, he holds an Alabama state medical license valid until the end of 2018, and a Texas state medical license valid until the end of 2018.
During his almost 30 years in practice, he has had a chance to work with several subspecialties like vascular neurology and spinal disorders. Some of his pursuits include working with Alzheimer’s patients, as well as researching diseases like Parkinson’s. Many patients who underwent treatment by Dr. Hamer have reported great results that were achieved through professional and friendly behavior. This is one of the reasons why he was recognized for the Super Doctor award amongst other outstanding professionals from over 40 medical specialties.
What have been some of the latest projects you worked on?
As a part of my specialty, I tend to focus on anything brain-related. This is why I spend a lot of time researching conditions like Alzheimer’s. Although we have not discovered a cure for it yet, I believe that we are getting closer every day. I hope to help find a way to preserve the human brain longer as age tends to be one of the main risk factors for people who get affected by Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, however, the disease does not discriminate against those under the mainstream age thresholds since there are almost 200,000 documented Alzheimer’s patients who are under 65 years old. Hence why I am very excited to be able to contribute to the research of this disease and hopefully convert the symptom treatment to a genuine cure.
As one of the few neurologist in Longview, do you see a lot of unique conditions?
Yes and no. Although there is only a handful of licensed neurologists here, we all get equal exposure to diseases we work with. Those conditions that you would call “unique” tend to be more common in the medical capital of the Texas and United States – Houston. Nevertheless, I have had a chance to work with patients who were experiencing seizures ranging all the way from simple myoclonic jerks to more complicated, Epilepsy-like syndromes. I also get to see a lot of different migraine patients who may come in without knowing the extent of their condition.
Do you ever work with non-brain related issues?
Absolutely! After all, I spent more time in the medical school than I did doing my residency. Whenever there is any type of shortage of staff, and my skills are required, I will find myself doing basic patient exams and clinic hours just like any other doctor, regardless of their specialization.
What is the most common brain-related condition you worked with that affects the entire body?
I believe it is a pretty even split between peripheral neuropathy, strokes and Parkinson’s disease. The first one, peripheral neuropathy, is a condition where people might experience pain, weakness, or numbness in their extremities like hands and feet. The third disorder, Parkinson’s disease, affects the neurons in the area of the brain called “nigra.” I have had patients who would experience minor tremor all the way to bradykinesia which is a hardship during movements that makes them very slow. Similar to Alzheimer’s, the cure for Parkinson’s does not exist, and most of my patient interactions are based on making their symptoms manageable.
Is there a trend in medicine you are excited about?
Technology. When I started my practice in the late 80s, not even records were digitalized. Since then, we went from pen and paper to humongous computer databases and robot-led surgeries that achieve precision like no human ever could. I am excited to see education for future doctors be more technology-oriented because I had to reteach myself most of it. Years from now, I believe that regular office visits will not even be around anymore and the entire process will be virtually accessible.