Top Doctors: Hudson Valley’s Best-Rated Doctors in 2012
Solid credentials, proven skill, and a compassionate bedside manner — these qualities are the hallmarks of a top-flight physician. Here are 145 local doctors in 38 specialties who — according to their peers — make the grade
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Dr. David Ober
Neurology, West Nyack
“Neurology is such a diverse field; it encompasses everything from migraines to pinched nerves to strokes, seizures, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, to nerve and muscle conditions,” says Dr. David Ober of Rockland Neurological Associates in West Nyack.
“One of the best things about being a neurologist is that it’s never boring,” he adds. “So many areas of the brain and nervous system are involved, and every patient presents differently. It keeps you on your toes, keeps you thinking.”
Ober graduated from Albany Medical College, did his internship at Albany Medical Center, and completed his residency in neurology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in neurophysiology at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center at Tufts University in Boston.
“No one else in my family has a medical background,” he says. “But when I was in medical school, I was fortunate to find a role model who inspired me during my training — Dr. Ramani, a neurologist who now practices in Westchester. He got me excited about the field; that’s how I became so interested in neurology.”
One of Ober’s special interests is electrodiagnostic studies. “This involves diagnosing and treating people who have problems with their peripheral nerves — carpal tunnel syndrome, or pinched nerves in the neck or back,” says Ober, who lives with his family in New City. “When most people experience this sort of pain, they usually go to a primary care physician or an orthopedist; they get shuttled around to different doctors. But if the situation is a pinched nerve, for instance, someone with specialized training like a neurologist is worth seeing initially.”
Another area of his expertise is neuromuscular disease and conditions, as well as administration of Botox. “Most people think that Botox is just for cosmetic uses. But in my world, it’s not. It’s a neurological drug that affects neuromuscular transmissions, helping muscles to relax and become more flexible.”
He adds: “When your brain tells your muscle to move, a nerve has to secrete a chemical that goes from the nerve to the muscle — it puts this whole chain reaction into effect, then gets the muscle fibers to contract. So if you can inject Botox into a targeted muscle, you can actually stop production of that chemical going to the muscle, and it will selectively weaken it. If a patient has a muscle that’s twitching or spasming, or a condition that causes painful tight spastic muscles, injecting Botox into those muscles can significantly improve the condition.”
In October 2010, the FDA also approved Botox injections to treat chronic migraines in adults. “That’s really caught on,” says Ober. “It can make a big difference for migraine sufferers.” Botox can also benefit patients with certain bladder disorders; it’s also approved for treating spastic limbs in stroke patients, he notes.
“I recall one female patient with multiple sclerosis who had a lesion on her spinal cord that activated the nerves; one of her shoulders wouldn’t stop twitching. But once you managed to isolate which muscle was responsible and injected Botox into the muscle, the problem stopped within three days. It was pretty dramatic.”
“That’s the amazing thing about Botox,” Ober says. “Before it was available, there weren’t really any good treatments for some patients. There’s no doubt this medication has changed people’s lives.”