Spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are heterogeneous diseases characterized by progressive cerebellar ataxia associated with dysarthria, oculomotor abnormalities, and mental impairment. To identify the causative gene, we performed exome sequencing on a Japanese patient clinically diagnosed with recessive SCA.
The patient is a 37-year-old Japanese woman with consanguineous parents. The head magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed cerebellar atrophy and T1 low/T2 high intensity at the bilateral inferior olives. Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping and next-generation sequencing were performed, and the variants obtained were filtered and prioritized.
After these manipulations, we identified a homozygous nonsense mutation of the TTC19 gene (p.Q277*). TTC19 has been reported to be a causative gene of a neurodegenerative disease in Italian and Portuguese families and to be involved in the pathogenesis of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex III (cIII) deficiency. This report is the first description of a TTC19 mutation in an Asian population. Clinical symptoms and neuroimaging are consistent with previous reports. The head MRI already showed abnormal features four years before her blood lactate and pyruvate levels were elevated.
We should consider the genetic analysis of TTC19 when we observe such characteristic MRI abnormalities. Genes associated with mitochondrial function cause many types of SCAs; the mutation we identified should help to elucidate the pathology of these disorders.
Exome sequencing; Mitochondrial respiratory chain complex III; Nonsense mutation; Spinocerebellar ataxia; TTC19
Cognitive impairment could affect quality of life for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and cognitive function may be correlated with several factors such as depression and fatigue. This study aimed to evaluate cognitive function in Japanese patients with MS and the association between cognitive function and apathy, fatigue, and depression.
The Brief Repeatable Battery of Neuropsychological tests (BRB-N) was performed in 184 Japanese patients with MS and 163 healthy controls matched for age, gender, and education. The Apathy Scale (AS), Fatigue Questionnaire (FQ), and Beck Depression Inventory Second Edition (BDI-II) were used to evaluate apathy, fatigue, and depression, respectively. Student’s t-test was used to compare MS patients and healthy controls. Correlations between two factors were assessed using the Pearson correlation test, and multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate how much each factor affected the BRB-N score.
In all BRB-N tests, patients with MS scored significantly lower than controls, and the effect size of symbol digit modalities test was the highest among the 9 tests of the BRB-N. Patients with MS had higher AS (p < 0.001), FQ (p < 0.0001), and BDI-II (p < 0.0001) scores than controls. In patients with MS, scores on most of the BRB-N tests correlated with scores on the AS and BDI-II; however, there was little correlation between scores on the BRB-N tests and those on the FQ.
Cognitive function was impaired, particularly information-processing speed, and decreased cognitive function was correlated with apathy and depression in Japanese patients with MS. Despite the association between cognitive variables and depression/apathy, cognitive function was impaired beyond the effect of depression and apathy. However, subjective fatigue is not related with cognitive impairment. Taken together, this suggests that different therapeutic approaches are needed to improve subjective fatigue and cognition, and thereby quality of life, in patients with MS.
Multiple sclerosis; Cognition; Apathy; Fatigue; Depression; Japanese
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an important global public health problem made all the more important by the increased likelihood of disability following a hospital admission for TBI. Understanding those groups most at risk will help inform interventions designed to prevent causes of TBI, such as falls prevention measures. This study identifies the rate of hospitalisation episodes of TBI in Scotland, explores causes of TBI admissions, and trends in hospitalisation episodes by age and gender over a twelve year period using routinely collected hospital data.
A retrospective analysis of routine hospital episode data identified records relating to TBI for the twelve years between 1998 and 2009. Descriptive and joinpoint regression analysis were used, average annual percentage changes (AAPC) and annual percentage change (APC) in rates were calculated.
Between 1998 and 2009 there were 208,195 recorded episodes of continuous hospital care in Scotland as a result of TBI. Almost half (47%) of all TBIs were the result of falls, with marked peaks observed in the very young and the oldest groups. The AAPC of hospitalization episode rates over the study period for boys and girls aged 0-14 were -4.9% (95% CI -3.5 to-6.3) and -4.7% (95% CI -2.6 to -6.8) respectively. This reduction was not observed in older age groups. In women aged 65 and over there was an APC of 3.9% (95% CI 1.2 to 6.6) between 2004 and 2009.
Hospitalisation for TBI is relatively common in Scotland. The rise in the age-adjusted rate of hospitalisation episodes observed in older people indicates that reduction of TBI should be a public health priority in countries with an ageing population. Public health interventions such as falls prevention measures are well advised and evaluations of such interventions should consider including TBI hospitalisation as an alternative or supplementary outcome measure to fractured neck of femur. Further research is needed to advance understanding of the associations of risk factors with increased incidence of TBI hospital episodes in the elderly population.
Traumatic brain injury; Accidental falls; Patient admissions; Epidemiology; Scotland; Trends
Genetic modifiers are important clues for the identification of therapeutic targets in neurodegenerative diseases. Huntington disease (HD) is one of the most common autosomal dominant inherited neurodegenerative diseases. The clinical symptoms include motor abnormalities, cognitive decline and behavioral disturbances. Symptom onset is typically between 40 and 50 years of age, but can vary by several decades in extreme cases and this is in part determined by modifying genetic factors. The metabolic master regulator PGC-1α, coded by the PPARGC1A gene, coordinates cellular respiration and was shown to play a role in neurodegenerative diseases, including HD.
Using a candidate gene approach we analyzed a large European cohort (n = 1706) from the REGISTRY study for associations between PPARGC1A genotype and age at onset (AO) in HD.
We report that a coding variant (rs3736265) in PPARGC1A is associated with an earlier motor AO in men but not women carrying the HD mutation.
These results further strengthen the evidence for a role of PGC-1α in HD and unexpectedly suggest a gender effect.
Genetic modifier; Gender effect; Neurodegeneration; Huntington disease
TNFα blockers have drastically improved rheumatoid arthritis prognosis by preventing joint destruction in DMARD resistant patients. Altering cytokine balance in immune diseases may expose to paradoxical adverse events.
We present the case of a 40-year-old woman, with a confirmed erosive and seropositive RA, successfully treated by TNFα blocker (etanercept) for seven years, and who developed a severe neurosarcoidosis. She had lymphocytic meningitis, bilateral peripheral facial paralysis and anosmia, associated with bilateral hilar lymph nodes, papilloedema, anterior uveitis and elevated serum angiotensin-converting enzyme level. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a bilateral thickening of the Gasser’s ganglia walls and enhanced signal of the vestibulocochlear, the facial and the proximal portion of trijeminal nerves.
This case raised the issue of the imputability of etanercept in the development of neurosarcoidosis. Neurological symptoms onset in patients on TNFα blockers should lead to exclude infections, induced lupus but also paradoxical neurosarcoidosis.
Neurosarcoidosis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Etanercept; Facial palsy; TNF alpha blockers
Encephalitis with anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antibodies (anti-NMDAR-Ab) is a rapid-onset encephalitis including psychosis, seizures, various movement disorders and autonomic system disturbances.
We report a very unusual case of extensive myelitis associated with anti-NMDAR-Ab. MRI also revealed a hyperintense T2 lesion, non-suggestive of MS, which progressively extended, associated with periventricular gadolinium enhancement visualized on brain MRI. Ophthalmological evaluation showed subclinical right optic neuritis. The absence of anti-AQP4 antibody argued against neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. A slight psychomotor slowing prompted us to search for various causes of autoimmune encephalitis. Anti-NMDAR-Ab was found in cerebrospinal fluid.
In patients with extensive myelitis who are seronegative for anti-AQP4 antibodies, and after other classical causes have been excluded, the hypothesis of atypical anti-NMDAR-Ab encephalitis should also be considered.
Myelitis; Anti-NMDAR antibodies; Encephalitis; Neuromyelitis optica
Interferon induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) is transcribed in most tissues and highly interferon-inducible. However, the role of IFITM3 in cancer is still poorly understood.
Expression levels ofIFITM3were analyzed in 60 glioma patients by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Following closely, we investigated the phenotype of IFITM3 knockdown on glioma cell growth and tumorigenesis in vitro using lentivirus-mediated loss-of-function strategy.
Depletion of IFITM3in U251 cells dramatically inhibited cell proliferation and colony formation, which demonstrated that reduced IFITM3 protein levels could cause inhibition of tumorigenesis. Knockdown of IFITM3 also induced cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase, especially in the sub-G1 phase representing apoptotic cells. In addition, the migration of U251 cells was visibly weakened after IFITM3 knockdown, as determined by Transwell assay.
Our findings provide new evidence that IFITM3 plays an important role in glioma cell growth and migration, suggesting that silencing of IFITM3 by RNA interference (RNAi) may be a potential approach to suppress glioma growth.
IFITM3; Glioma; RNAi; Growth; Migration
Mutations in the PRRT2 gene have been identified as the major cause of benign familial infantile epilepsy (BFIE), paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD) and infantile convulsions with paroxysmal choreoathetosis/dyskinesias (ICCA). Here, we analyzed the phenotypes and PRRT2 mutations in Chinese families with BFIE and ICCA.
Clinical data were collected from 22 families with BFIE and eight families with ICCA. PRRT2 mutations were screened using PCR and direct sequencing.
Ninety-five family members were clinically affected in the 22 BFIE families. During follow-up, two probands had one seizure induced by diarrhea at the age of two years. Thirty-one family members were affected in the eight ICCA families, including 11 individuals with benign infantile epilepsy, nine with PKD, and 11 with benign infantile epilepsy followed by PKD. Two individuals in one ICCA family had PKD or ICCA co-existing with migraine. One affected member in another ICCA family had experienced a fever-induced seizure at 7 years old. PRRT2 mutations were detected in 13 of the 22 BFIE families. The mutation c.649_650insC (p.R217PfsX8) was found in nine families. The mutations c.649delC (p.R217EfsX12) and c.904_905insG (p.D302GfsX39) were identified in three families and one family, respectively. PRRT2 mutations were identified in all eight ICCA families, including c.649_650insC (p.R217PfsX8), c.649delC (p.R217EfsX12), c.514_517delTCTG (p.S172RfsX3) and c.1023A > T (X341C). c.1023A > T is a novel mutation predicted to elongate the C-terminus of the protein by 28 residues.
Our data demonstrated that PRRT2 is the major causative gene of BFIE and ICCA in Chinese families. Site c.649 is a mutation hotspot: c.649_650insC is the most common mutation, and c.649delC is the second most common mutation in Chinese families with BFIE and ICCA. As far as we know, c.1023A > T is the first reported mutation in exon 4 of PRRT2. c.649delC was previously reported in PKD, ICCA and hemiplegic migraine families, but we further detected it in BFIE-only families. c.904_905insG was reported in an ICCA family, but we identified it in a BFIE family. c.514_517delTCTG was previously reported in a PKD family, but we identified it in an ICCA family. Migraine and febrile seizures plus could co-exist in ICCA families.
Benign familial infantile epilepsy; Infantile convulsions with paroxysmal choreoathetosis; Phenotype; PRRT2; Mutation
Marchiafava-Bignami disease (MBD) is a rare neurologic complication of chronic alcohol consumption that is characterized by callosal lesions involving demyelination and necrosis. Various reversible neurologic symptoms are found in patients with MBD. Dysarthria and dysphagia are found in various neurological diseases.
We report a 51-year-old man with chronic alcoholism and malnutrition who progressively developed dysarthria and dysphagia. On admission, the patient was alert with mild cognitive dysfunction. The facial expression was flat, and there was weakness of the orbicularis oris bilaterally. The patient’s speech was slurred, there was difficulty swallowing, and the gag reflex and palate elevation were poor. The jaw jerk reflex was brisk and the snout reflex was positive. Neither tongue atrophy nor fasciculation were found. Bilateral upper and lower limb weakness with increased bilateral upper limb reflexes and Babinski reflexes were found. Because he had progressive dysarthria and dysphagia with upper and lower motor neuron signs, the initial diagnosis was motor neuron disease. However, electrophysiological analysis was normal. The vitamin B1 level was 14 ng/mL (normal: >24 ng/mL), and MRI revealed hyperintense lesions in the splenium of the corpus callosum and the primary motor cortices bilaterally. After vitamin B therapy for 17 days, the neurological disorders alleviated concurrently with disappearance of the lesions on MRI, which led to the definitive diagnosis of MBD.
MBD presenting with these lesions can mimic motor neuron disease clinically.
Marchiafava-Bignami disease; Motor neuron disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Upper motor neuron signs; Lower motor neuron signs; Chronic alcoholism
Cerebral infarction caused by different reasons seems differ in fibrinogen levels, so the current work intends to explore the relationship between the fibrinogen level and subtypes of the TOAST criteria in the acute stage of ischemic stroke.
A total of 577 case research objects were treated acute ischemic stroke patients in our hospital from December 2008 to December 2010, and blood samples within 72 hours of the onset were processed with the fibrinogen (PT-der) measurement. Classification of selected patients according to the TOAST Criteria was conducted to study the distribution of fibrinogen levels in the stroke subtypes.
The distribution of fibrinogen levels in the subtypes was observed to be statistically insignificant.
In the acute stage of ischemic stroke, fibrinogen level was not related to the subtypes of the TOAST criteria.
Fibrinogen; Ischemic stroke; Subtypes of stroke; TOAST Criteria; Correlation
Long duration spaceflight (i.e., 22 days or longer) has been associated with changes in sensorimotor systems, resulting in difficulties that astronauts experience with posture control, locomotion, and manual control. The microgravity environment is an important causal factor for spaceflight induced sensorimotor changes. Whether spaceflight also affects other central nervous system functions such as cognition is yet largely unknown, but of importance in consideration of the health and performance of crewmembers both in- and post-flight. We are therefore conducting a controlled prospective longitudinal study to investigate the effects of spaceflight on the extent, longevity and neural bases of sensorimotor and cognitive performance changes. Here we present the protocol of our study.
This study includes three groups (astronauts, bed rest subjects, ground-based control subjects) for which each the design is single group with repeated measures. The effects of spaceflight on the brain will be investigated in astronauts who will be assessed at two time points pre-, at three time points during-, and at four time points following a spaceflight mission of six months. To parse out the effect of microgravity from the overall effects of spaceflight, we investigate the effects of seventy days head-down tilted bed rest. Bed rest subjects will be assessed at two time points before-, two time points during-, and three time points post-bed rest. A third group of ground based controls will be measured at four time points to assess reliability of our measures over time. For all participants and at all time points, except in flight, measures of neurocognitive performance, fine motor control, gait, balance, structural MRI (T1, DTI), task fMRI, and functional connectivity MRI will be obtained. In flight, astronauts will complete some of the tasks that they complete pre- and post flight, including tasks measuring spatial working memory, sensorimotor adaptation, and fine motor performance. Potential changes over time and associations between cognition, motor-behavior, and brain structure and function will be analyzed.
This study explores how spaceflight induced brain changes impact functional performance. This understanding could aid in the design of targeted countermeasures to mitigate the negative effects of long-duration spaceflight.
Space flight; Astronauts; Microgravity; Sensorimotor feedback; Cognition; Neuroimaging; MRI; Longitudinal studies; Bed rest
Idiopathic epilepsies and epileptic syndromes predominate childhood and adolescence epilepsy. The aim of the present study was to investigate the clinical course and outcome of idiopathic childhood epilepsy and identify variables determining both early and long-term prognosis.
We followed 303 children with newly diagnosed idiopathic epilepsy aged 1–14 years old, both prospectively and retrospectively. Outcome was defined at one, 2 and 4 years of follow-up, as well as at the end of the study period for all patients. Based on the data collected, patients were classified in four patterns of clinical course: “excellent”, “improving”, “relapsing” and “poor”. Variables defined at intake and after the initial year of treatment were analyzed for their prognostic relevance towards the clinical course and outcome of the patients.
The mean age at seizure onset was 6,7 years and the mean duration of follow-up was 8,3 years (range 2,0-22,0,SD 4,24). During the initial year of treatment, 70,3% of patients were seizure-free. The course of epilepsy was “excellent” in 53,1% of the subjects, “improving” in 22,8%, “relapsing” in 22,1% whereas only 6 children with idiopathic epilepsy (2%) had a “poor” clinical course exhibiting drug-resistance. After multivariate analysis, variables predictive of a poor initial response to therapy were early seizure onset, multiple seizure types and history of status epilepticus. At the end of follow-up, early response to treatment was of significant positive predictive value, while the presence of multiple seizure types and the history of migraine had a negative impact on prognosis.
In the vast majority of children, the long-term prognosis of idiopathic epilepsy is favorable. More than half of the patients attain seizure freedom immediately and their clinical course is considered “excellent”. About one fifth exhibit either an improving or a fluctuating course. Early seizure onset, multiple seizure types and status epilepticus are predictive of an initial poor response to treatment in children with idiopathic epilepsy. Initial non-response to treatment, multiple seizure types and history of migraine are determinants of a less favorable final outcome after long-term follow-up.
Epilepsy; Idiopathic; Children; Course; Prognosis
Purpose of the study was to investigate alterations in midbrain serotonin transporter (SERT) binding in patients with epilepsy and symptoms of depression compared to patients with epilepsy with no symptoms of depression.
We studied 12 patients with epilepsy (7 patients had focal and 5 had generalized epilepsy syndromes). The presence of self-reported symptoms of depression was assessed using Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Emotional State Questionnaire (EST-Q). The binding potential of the SERT was assessed by performing brain single photon emission tomography (SPET) using the SERT radioligand 2-((2-((dimethylamino)methyl)phenyl)thio)-5-(123)iodophenylamine (123I-ADAM).
Seven patients had BDI and EST-Q subscale scores greater than 11 points, which was interpreted as the presence of symptoms of depression. We found that 123I-ADAM binding was not significantly different between patients with epilepsy with and without symptoms of depression. In addition, 123I-ADAM binding did not show a significant correlation to either BDI or EST-Q depression subscale scores and did not differ between patients with focal vs. generalized epilepsy.
The results of our study failed to demonstrate alterations of SERT binding properties in patients with epilepsy with or without symptoms of depression.
Epilepsy; Depression; Serotonin; Serotonin transporter; 123I-ADAM; SPET
The detection of early neuropsychological abnormalities as precursors of cognitive decline of vascular origin in patients with lacunar stroke is a subject of increasing interest. The objective of this study was to assess whether there were differences in the performance of a battery of neuropsychological tests in first-ever lacunar stroke patients with and without associated silent multiple lacunar infarctions found incidentally on the brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
A total of 72 consecutive patients with first-ever lacunar infarction were studied 1 month after stroke. All patients underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, which included the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), Phonetic Verbal Fluency Test (PMR), Semantic Verbal Fluency Test (category “animals”), Digit Span Forward and Backward from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).
A total of 38 patients (52.7%) had silent multiple lacunar infarcts, with corona radiata as the most frequent topography (P < 0.023). White matter hyperintensities (leukoaraiosis) were observed in 81.1% of patients with silent multiple lacunar infarcts and in 50% with a single lacunar infarction (P < 0.007). Patients in both groups showed similar scores in the MMSE, but those with associated silent lacunar infarctions showed a poorer performance in the semantic fluency test (P < 0.008) and in short delayed verbal memory (P < 0.001). In both cases, however, leukoaraiosis was not statistically significant in multivariate linear regression models adjusted by confounding covariates. In these models, multiple silent lacunar infarctions and education were independent predictors of poor performance in the semantic fluency test and in short delayed verbal memory.
The presence of silent multiple lacunar infarctions documented on brain MRI scans in patients with first-ever lacunar stroke was associated with mild neuropsychological abnormalities, particularly in the performance of executive functions (semantic fluency) and short delayed verbal memory. According to these findings, in the initial stages of small vessel disease, mild neuropsychological abnormalities appear to be related to lacunes rather than to leukoaraiosis or perivascular hyperintensities of vascular cause.
California verbal learning test; Lacunar infarction; Neuropsychological abnormalities; MRI; Semantic fluency; Silent multiple lacunar infarctions; Vascular cognitive impairment
Stroke campaigns are educating about the need to immediately contact the emergency medical system if symptoms occur. Despite higher stroke rates among patients with diabetics and some migrant populations, there are few data about stroke knowledge in these groups.
We performed a cross-sectional questionnaire survey among 250 diabetes patients from Germany and Turkey in a primary care and diabetes practice center. The two-page questionnaire asked for stroke knowledge and socio-demographic data. Also, medical and communication data were obtained. Stroke knowledge was defined as good if a participant knew (1) at least two stroke symptoms (good symptom knowledge) and (2) that immediate hospital admission or an emergency call is necessary in case of stroke symptoms (good action knowledge).
A total of 231 of 250 patients took part in the survey (participation rate 92.4%) with 134 natives (53.6%), 84 migrants from Turkey (33.6%) and 13 migrants (5.2%) from other countries. Comparing natives and migrants from Turkey good symptom knowledge was documented in 52.8% of the participants, good action knowledge in 67.9%, and good stroke knowledge in nearly forty percent (39.4%) of patients (n = 218). A logistic regression analysis showed better stroke knowledge if patients were younger than 61 years, had good language abilities and were living in an one-generation household (p < 0.05), while gender, years since migration and diabetes control did not play a role.
We documented stroke knowledge deficits among patients with diabetes, both natives and migrants. Additional information strategies for these high risk populations are needed.
Health education; Stroke knowledge, Diabetes; Migrants’ health
Learning Disorders (LD) are complex diseases that affect about 2-10% of the school-age population. We performed neuropsychological and psychopathological evaluation, in order to investigate comorbidity in children with LD.
Our sample consisted of 448 patients from 7 to 16 years of age with a diagnosis of LD, divided in two subgroups: Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), including reading, writing, mathematics disorders, and Learning Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (LD NOS).
Comorbidity with neuropsychopathologies was found in 62.2% of the total sample. In the LSD subgroup, ADHD was present in 33%, Anxiety Disorder in 28.8%, Developmental Coordination Disorder in 17.8%, Language Disorder in 11% and Mood Disorder in 9.4% of patients. In LD NOS subgroup, Language Disorder was present in 28.6%, Developmental Coordination Disorder in 27.5%, ADHD in 25.4%, Anxiety Disorder in 16.4%, Mood Disorder in 2.1% of patients. A statistically significant presence was respectively found for Language and Developmental Coordination Disorder comorbidity in LD NOS and for ADHD, mood and anxiety disorder comorbidity in SLD subgroup.
The different findings emerging in this study suggested to promote further investigations to better define the difference between SLD and LD NOS, in order to improve specific interventions to reduce the long range consequences.
Learning disorders; Comorbidity; Language disorder; Motor coordination disorder; ADHD; Mood and anxiety disorders
In up to 30% of patients with ischemic stroke no definite etiology can be established. A significant proportion of cryptogenic stroke cases may be due to non-stenosing atherosclerotic plaques or low grade carotid artery stenosis not fulfilling common criteria for atherothrombotic stroke. The aim of the CAPIAS study is to determine the frequency, characteristics, clinical and radiological long-term consequences of ipsilateral complicated American Heart Association lesion type VI (AHA-LT VI) carotid artery plaques in patients with cryptogenic stroke.
300 patients (age >49 years) with unilateral DWI-positive lesions in the anterior circulation and non- or moderately stenosing (<70% NASCET) internal carotid artery plaques will be enrolled in the prospective multicenter study CAPIAS. Carotid plaque characteristics will be determined by high-resolution black-blood carotid MRI at baseline and 12 month follow up. Primary outcome is the prevalence of complicated AHA-LT VI plaques in cryptogenic stroke patients ipsilateral to the ischemic stroke compared to the contralateral side and to patients with defined stroke etiology. Secondary outcomes include the association of AHA-LT VI plaques with the recurrence rates of ischemic events up to 36 months, rates of new ischemic lesions on cerebral MRI (including clinically silent lesions) after 12 months and the influence of specific AHA-LT VI plaque features on the progression of atherosclerotic disease burden, on specific infarct patterns, biomarkers and aortic arch plaques.
CAPIAS will provide important insights into the role of non-stenosing carotid artery plaques in cryptogenic stroke. The results might have implications for our understanding of stroke mechanism, offer new diagnostic options and provide the basis for the planning of targeted interventional studies.
Atherosclerosis; Cryptogenic stroke; Internal carotid artery; Plaque imaging; MRI
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a fatal demyelinating disease caused by JC virus (JCV), occurs mainly in immunocompromised patients. While JCV DNA is detected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from a certain proportion of patients suspected of having PML, JCV-negative patients may also develop brain lesions due to other infectious agents. This study assessed the prevalence of six herpesviruses in the CSF from patients diagnosed with or suspected of PML.
Two hundred and ninety-nine CSF specimens and clinical data were collected from 255 patients, including 31 confirmed PML cases. Quantitative PCR assays were carried out to detect the genomic DNA of JCV, herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6).
Herpesvirus DNAs were detected in the CSF specimens from 29 of 255 patients (11.4%). HSV-1 and CMV were detected in JCV-negative patients, whereas VZV and EBV were detected in both CSF JCV-positive and -negative individuals. The herpesvirus-positive patients had underlying disorders that caused immunosuppression, such as HIV infection, congenital immunodeficiencies, and hematologic malignancies, and presented with neurologic symptoms and MRI lesions, mainly in the cerebral white matter. The median values of CSF cell counts and protein levels in the herpesvirus-positive patients were slightly higher than those in the PML patients.
The results demonstrate that herpesviruses are occasionally detected in the CSF from PML patients and immunocompromised individuals suspected of having PML. Thus, this study provides a significant basis for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders in immunocompromised patients.
Cerebrospinal fluid; Human herpesvirus; JC virus; Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; Quantitative PCR testing
Physical activity is believed to exert a beneficial effect on functional and cognitive rehabilitation of patients with stroke. Although studies have addressed the impact of physical exercise in cerebrovascular prevention and rehabilitation, the underlying mechanisms leading to improvement are poorly understood. Training-induced increase of cerebral perfusion is a possible mediating mechanism. Our exploratory study aims to investigate training-induced changes in blood biomarker levels and magnetic resonance imaging in patients with subacute ischemic stroke.
This biomarker-driven study uses an observational design to examine a subgroup of patients in the randomized, controlled PHYS-STROKE trial. In PHYS-STROKE, 215 patients with subacute stroke (hemorrhagic and ischemic) receive either 4 weeks of physical training (aerobic training, 5 times a week, for 50 minutes) or 4 weeks of relaxation sessions (5 times a week, for 50 minutes). A convenience sample of 100 of these patients with ischemic stroke will be included in BAPTISe and will receive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and an additional blood draw before and after the PHYS-STROKE intervention. Imaging scans will address parameters of cerebral perfusion, vessel size imaging, and microvessel density (the Q factor) to estimate the degree of neovascularization in the brain. Blood tests will determine several parameters of immunity, inflammation, endothelial function, and lipometabolism. Primary objective of this study is to evaluate differential changes in MRI and blood-derived biomarkers between groups. Other endpoints are next cerebrovascular events and functional status of the patient after the intervention and after 3 months assessed by functional scores, in particular walking speed and Barthel index (co-primary endpoints of PHYS-STROKE). Additionally, we will assess the association between functional outcomes and biomarkers including imaging results. For all endpoints we will compare changes between patients who received physical fitness training and patients who had relaxation sessions.
This exploratory study will be the first to investigate the effects of physical fitness training in patients with ischemic stroke on MRI-based cerebral perfusion, pertinent blood biomarker levels, and functional outcome. The study may have an impact on current patient rehabilitation strategies and reveal important information about the roles of MRI and blood-derived biomarkers in ischemic stroke.
Physical training; Exercise; Subacute stroke; Ischemic stroke; Cerebral perfusion; Biomarkers; Vessel size imaging; Neovascularization; MRI; Rehabilitation
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is the most common cause of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) in the post-poliomyelitis eradication era. This is the first study done to identify the epidemiology, clinical features, and outcome of GBS in Iraqi children over 15 years.
The surveillance database about AFP cases < 15 years reported during January 1997-December 2011 was used.
GBS represented 52.5% of AFP cases, with an incidence of 1.33 case/100,000 population < 15 years/year. There was a higher incidence in the Southern provinces, age group 1–4 years, males, and outside the capital city of province, with no significant seasonal variations (p = .22). Survival probability after the 1 year of onset for those with respiratory muscle involvement was .76 (95% CI: .60-.86), versus .97 (95% Cl: .96-.98) for those who did not develop it (p < .001); and .97 (95% CI: .96-.98) for those living inside the capital city, versus .94 (.93-.95) for those living outside (p = .001). Cumulative incidence of residual paralysis for patients living inside the capital city was .21 (95% CI: .18-.24), versus .27 (95% CI: .25-.29) for those living outside (p < .001).
The incidence, age and gender distribution, and seasonality of GBS among Iraqi children is similar to those reported from other previous studies. It is the most important cause of AFP, especially in those between the age of 1 to 4 years living in rural areas.
The administration of anesthetics determines depression of the central nervous system and general anesthesia by inhalation may cause an environmental pollution of the operating rooms. It may therefore conceive a possible occupational etiology of Parkinson's Disease (PD).
In a Caucasian male aged 59 years, PD was diagnosed by brain scans with a presynaptic radioactive tracer of the dopaminergic system. Family history was negative for Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. He was a smoker, a moderate consumer of coffee and alcohol, and never exposed to pesticides/metals. For 30 years (since the age of 29 until today), he worked as an anesthesiologist in private clinics in the Veneto (Northern Italy), exposed to anesthetic gases. The time elapsed from first exposure to onset of disease is 22 years, fulfilling the requirement of the induction/latency period. A literature search demonstrated unacceptable levels of anesthetic gases in public hospitals of the Veneto region from 1990 to 1999. This exposure was presumably high also in private hospitals of the region until at least 2007, when an overexposure to sevoflurane was repeatedly measured in this patient. The association between occupational exposure to anesthetic gases and risk of Parkinson’s disease was supported by a case-control study (reporting a two-fold increase in the risk of PD associated with a clinical history of general anesthesia) and a cohort study comparing mortality from PD between US anesthesiologists and internists (showing a statistically significant excess (p=0.01) in anesthesiologists compared to internists). Numerous recent mechanistic studies (in vitro essays and in vivo short-term studies) strengthened the association between exposure to anesthetic gases (nitrous oxide, halothane, isoflurane, levoflurane) and PD.
In view of the limited evidence of human studies and the sufficient evidence of experimental studies, the high exposure to anesthetic gases could have induced PD in the subject under study.
Parkinson’s disease; Anesthetic gases; Nitrous oxide; Halothane; Isoflurane; Levoflurane; Occupational disease; Causality
Acid–base imbalance in various metabolic disturbances leads to human brain dysfunction. Compared with acidosis, the patients suffered from alkalosis demonstrate more severe neurological signs that are difficultly corrected. We hypothesize a causative process that the nerve cells in the brain are more vulnerable to alkalosis than acidosis.
The vulnerability of GABAergic neurons to alkalosis versus acidosis was compared by analyzing their functional changes in response to the extracellular high pH and low pH. The neuronal and synaptic functions were recorded by whole-cell recordings in the cortical slices.
The elevation or attenuation of extracellular pH impaired these GABAergic neurons in terms of their capability to produce spikes, their responsiveness to excitatory synaptic inputs and their outputs via inhibitory synapses. Importantly, the dysfunction of these active properties appeared severer in alkalosis than acidosis.
The severer impairment of cortical GABAergic neurons in alkalosis patients leads to more critical neural excitotoxicity, so that alkalosis-induced brain dysfunction is difficultly corrected, compared to acidosis. The vulnerability of cortical GABAergic neurons to high pH is likely a basis of severe clinical outcomes in alkalosis versus acidosis.
Acidosis; Alkalosis; Neuron; Synapse; Action potential; Synaptic potential and cortex
Gait impairment is common in people with Parkinson’s disease. There is a lack of effective interventions to target this debilitating complication and therefore a need to identify new therapeutic options. An underlying cholinergic deficit contributes to both the gait and cognitive dysfunction seen in Parkinson’s disease. The combined impact of both impairments can be assessed in gait tasks performed with concomitant cognitive tasks. The aim of this trial is to evaluate the impact of a cholinesterase inhibitor on cognitive function and gait performance in people with established Parkinson’s disease.
This is a single centre, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial in 130 people with Hoehn and Yahr stage 2–3 idiopathic Parkinson’s disease who have fallen in the past year. Participants will be randomised to two groups, receiving either rivastigmine capsules or identical placebo capsules for 8 months. Assessment will be undertaken at baseline and at the end of medication prescription (i.e. 8 months) with participants remaining enrolled in the trial for a further 4 months to monitor for falls and adverse events. The primary outcome is step time variability, assessed with and without the addition of concurrent cognitive tasks. Secondary outcomes will include other gait parameters, sensorimotor and balance performances, cognitive indices, falls and fall related injury, fear of falling, Parkinson’s symptoms and data pertaining to possible harms.
This randomised controlled trial will examine the effect of cholinesterase inhibitor therapy on gait, balance and falls in Parkinson’s disease. If effective, it would offer a new therapeutic option to ameliorating gait and cognitive deficits in a population at high risk of falls.
ISRCTN19880883, UTN U1111-1124-0244.
Randomised control trial; Parkinson’s disease; Accidental Falls; Freezing of gait; Intervention; Gait analysis; Acetylcholinesterase; Cognitive; Attention; Dual-tasking
Anti-dementia drugs may improve gait performance. No comparison between acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (CEIs) and memantine-related changes in gait variability has been reported. The objectives of this study were to 1) quantify and compare the mean values and coefficients of variation (CoV) of stride time in demented patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) before and after the use of CEIs or memantine, and in age- and gender-matched controls patients with ADRD using no anti-dementia drugs; and 2) to determine whether changes in CoV of stride time differed between CEIs or memantine.
A total of 120 demented patients with mild-to-moderate ADRD were prospectively included in this pre-post quasi-experimental study with two intervention groups (43 patients taking CEIs, and 41 taking memantine) and a control group (36 age- and gender matched patients without any anti-dementia drugs). CoV of stride time and walking speed were measured with GAITRite® system while usual walking at steady state. Age, gender, number of drugs daily taken, use of psychoactive drugs, body mass index and time between the two visits were also recorded.
There was no difference between groups for the time between baseline and follow-up assessments (232.9 ± 103.7 days for patients without anti-dementia drugs, 220.0 ± 67.5 days for patients with CEIs, 186.7 ± 96.2 days for patients with memantine, P = 0.062). Patients with memantine had a lower (i.e., better) CoV of stride time at follow-up assessment compared to those with CEIs (4.2 ± 2.4% versus 5.8 ± 4.2%, P = 0.010). Patients with memantine had a greater decrease in CoV of stride time compared to those with CEIs (−1.90% versus 0.93%, P = 0.010) and mixed-effects linear regressions showed that this decrease was specifically explained by memantine (P = 0.028).
Our results showed that patients with ADRD and treated with memantine, but not those with CEIs, decreased their gait variability, and thus improved their gait safety (Trial registration number: NCT01315704).
Gait; Stride time variability; Anti-dementia drugs; Alzheimer disease
Recently, plasma miRNAs have been reported as biomarkers for various diseases. However, the knowledge on the association of plasma miRNAs with ischemic stroke is still lacking. In this study, we investigated whether plasma concentrations of miR-30a, miR-126 and let-7b may be biomarkers for ischemic stroke in humans.
One hundred ninety seven patients with ischemic stroke were recruited and their blood samples were collected at 24 h, 1 week, 4 weeks, 24 weeks and 48 weeks after symptoms onset, and fifty healthy volunteers were selected as control. Levels of miRNA were quantified by quantitative real-time PCR. Relative expression level of miRNA was calculated using 2-ΔΔct method. The ability to distinguish the ischemic stroke group from control group was characterized by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, and the area under ROC curve (AUC) was calculated.
Circulating miR-30a and miR-126 levels were markedly down-regulated in all patients with ischemic stroke until 24 weeks. However, circulating let-7b was lower in patients with large-vessel atherosclerosis than healthy volunteers, whereas circulating let-7b had higher level in patients with other kinds of ischemic stroke until 24 weeks. Among all patients, circulating miRNAs levels returned to normal 48 weeks after symptom onset. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis showed that the areas under the curve (AUC) of plasma miR-30a were 0.91, 0.91, 0.92 and 0.93, the miR-126 were 0.92, 0.94, 0.93 and 0.92, and let-7b were 0.93, 0.92, 0.92 and 0.91 at 24 h, 1 w, 4 w and 24 w, respectively.
These data suggest that miR-30a, miR-126 and let-7b might be useful biomarkers for ischemic stroke in humans.
Circulating miRNA; Biomarker; Stroke