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1.  Elevated Serum Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 Is Associated with Septic Encephalopathy in Adult Community-Onset Severe Sepsis Patients 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:598762.
Background and Aim. Septic encephalopathy (SE) is a common complication of severe sepsis. Increased concentrations of circulating soluble adhesion molecules are reported in septic patients. This study aimed to determine whether serum adhesion molecules are associated with SE. Methods. Seventy nontraumatic, nonsurgical adult patients with severe sepsis admitted through ER were evaluated. Serum adhesion molecules were assessed for their relationship with SE, and compared with other clinical predictors and biomarkers. Results. Twenty-three (32.8%) patients had SE. SE group had higher in-hospital mortality (40% versus 11%, P = 0.009) and their sVCAM-1, sICAM-1, and lactate levels on admission were also higher than non-SE group. By stepwise logistic regression model, sVCAM-1, age, and maximum 24-hours SOFA score were independently associated with septic encephalopathy. The AUC analysis of ROC curve of different biomarkers showed that sVCAM-1 is better to predict SE. The sVCAM-1 levels in the SE group were significantly higher than those of the non-SE group at three time periods (Days 1, 4, and 7). Conclusions. Septic encephalopathy implies higher mortality in nontraumatic, nonsurgical patients with severe sepsis. VCAM-1 level on presentation is a more powerful predictor of SE in these patients than lactate concentration and other adhesion molecules on admission.
PMCID: PMC4032707  PMID: 24883317
2.  Clinical features and predictive factors of intraventricular rupture in patients who have bacterial brain abscesses 
Intraventricular rupture of brain abscesses (IVRBA) remains a catastrophic and fatal complication of bacterial brain abscess (BBA). However, no information has been reported about the risk factors that are predictive of intraventricular rupture.
This study was undertaken to determine the potential risk factors that are predictive of intraventricular ruptures in patients with BBA but without intraventricular rupture when arriving at the hospital. A comparison is also made between patients who already have IVRBA at the time of admission (initial IVRBA) and those who have the episode during hospitalisation (subsequent IVRBA).
62 patients, including 45 who had initial IVRBA and 17 who had subsequent IVRBA, were examined. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that the adjusted risk of intraventricular rupture during hospitalisation for patients with multiloculated brain abscesses had an odds ratio (OR) of 4.2 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.24 to 14.3; p = 0.02) compared with those without multiloculated brain abscesses (referent); a reduction of 1 mm in the distance between the ventricle and brain abscesses would increase the rupture rate by 10% (p = 0.006, OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.83 to 0.97).
This study shows that if the abscess is deep seated, multiloculated and close to the ventricle wall, a reduction of 1 mm in the distance between the ventricle and brain abscesses will increase the rupture rate by 10%. Despite aggressive medical and surgical management shown in this series, many patients continue to progress poorly.
PMCID: PMC2117635  PMID: 17012340
4.  Insula Volume and Salience Network Are Associated with Memory Decline in Parkinson Disease: Complementary Analyses of Voxel-Based Morphometry versus Volume of Interest 
Parkinson's Disease  2016;2016:2939528.
Objective. We investigated structural brain change in subjects with a clinical diagnosis of Parkinson disease with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) and examined its relationship with memory impairment. Methods. Twenty-three PD-MCI patients were enrolled and underwent cognitive evaluation and 3-dimensional T1-weighted imaging. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to assess brain-behavior correlations and examine the relationship between insula and memory score. VOI methods replicated results obtained from VBM. Results. VBM uncovered the notion that memory scores were positively correlated with the gray matter (GM) density in the insular cortex and a significant positive correlation between overall cognitive performance and concentration of GM within the lateral temporal cortex. In VOI analyses, our results suggested a positive correlation between the insula and composite free-recall verbal memory (ρ = 0.617, P = 0.003) and the delayed free-recall verbal memory subdomain (ρ = 0.725, P < 0.001). Furthermore, we found a positive correlation between the insula and caudate (σ = 0.570, P = 0.006) and putamen volume (σ = 0.683, P < 0.001). Conclusions. In patients with PD-MCI, atrophic changes in the insula may be related to memory deficits, and the brain-behavior correlation may be associated with atrophic change in the striatum within the salience network.
PMCID: PMC4779527  PMID: 26998378
5.  Prefrontal Lobe Brain Reserve Capacity with Resistance to Higher Global Amyloid Load and White Matter Hyperintensity Burden in Mild Stage Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0149056.
Amyloid deposition and white matter lesions (WMLs) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are both considered clinically significant while a larger brain volume is thought to provide greater brain reserve (BR) against these pathological effects. This study identified the topography showing BR in patients with mild AD and explored the clinical balances among BR, amyloid, and WMLs burden.
Thirty patients with AD were enrolled, and AV-45 positron emission tomography was conducted to measure the regional standardized uptake value ratio (SUVr) in 8 cortical volumes-of- interests (VOIs). The quantitative WMLs burden was measured from magnetic resonance imaging while the normalized VOIs volumes represented BR in this study. The cognitive test represented major clinical correlates.
Significant correlations between the prefrontal volume and global (r = 0.470, p = 0.024), but not regional (r = 0.264, p = 0.223) AV-45 SUVr were found. AD patients having larger regional volume in the superior- (r = 0.572, p = 0.004), superior medial- (r = 0.443, p = 0.034), and middle-prefrontal (r = 0.448, p = 0.032) regions had higher global AV-45 SUVr. For global WML loads, the prefrontal (r = -0.458, p = 0.019) and hippocampal volume (r = -0.469, p = 0.016) showed significant correlations while the prefrontal (r = -0.417, p = 0.043) or hippocampal volume (r = -0.422, p = 0.04) also predicted better composite memory scores. There were no interactions between amyloid SUVr and WML loads on the prefrontal volume.
BR of the prefrontal region might modulate the adverse global pathological burden caused by amyloid deposition. While prefrontal volume positively associated with hippocampal volume, WMLs had an adverse impact on the hippocampal volume that predicts memory performance in mild stage AD.
PMCID: PMC4752238  PMID: 26872386
6.  Metabolic Covariant Network in Relation to Nigrostriatal Degeneration in Carbon Monoxide Intoxication-Related Parkinsonism 
Presence of parkinsonian features after carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication is well known and the severity was found to relate to the pre-synaptic dopaminergic deficits. There is no systemic study to analyse the functional network involved in CO-related Parkinsonism. Forty-five CO-related parkinsonism patients and 25 aged-matched controls completed the 3D T1-weighted imaging and 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was performed to assess the structural and functional brain differences between the patients and controls. Spatial covariant networks responsible for distinguishing patients and controls were constructed using independent component analysis. For validation, the pre-synaptic dopaminergic functional network was established by regression model using striatal TRODAT-1 SPECT as the independent variable. The clinical significance of both networks was determined by correlation with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Compared with controls, the spatial covariant signals of FDG-PET were significantly lower in the medial and lateral frontal, caudate nucleus, dorsomedial prefrontal areas, and temporal-parietal regions while the spatial intensities correlated significantly with UPDRS total scores. The functional network that correlated with striatum pre-synaptic dopaminergic uptakes included the midbrain, thalamus, caudate, lateral frontal cortex, ventral striatum, ventral, or dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. Both networks overlapped considerably and the topographies reflected structural damage pattern. Our study provides evidence that glucose metabolism in CO-parkinsonism patients pertains to an organized covariant pattern in the cortical regions that is spatially coherent with the cortical map of pre-synaptic dopamine deficits. As the fronto-temporal, striatum, and temporal-parietal areas were involved, the unique metabolic covariant network suggests a different pathophysiology in CO-related parkinsonism.
PMCID: PMC4853409  PMID: 27199649
carbon monoxide intoxication; metabolic covariant network; nigra-striatal degeneration; parkinsonian symptoms; pre-synaptic dopamine deficit
7.  Hippocampal Amyloid Burden with Downstream Fusiform Gyrus Atrophy Correlate with Face Matching Task Scores in Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease 
Purpose: Neuronal activity during face matching shows co-activation of the fusiform gyrus (FG) and areas along the ventral visual network. To elucidate the mechanisms related to the facial discrimination deficits in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the study evaluates the relationships between β-amyloid (Aβ) load and gray matter (GM) atrophy within the ventral visual network.
Methods: Comprehensive cognitive assessments and GM volumetry using 3-dimentional T1-weighted images and AV-45 positron emission tomography (PET) were studied in 44 patients with AD. We used AV-45 PET to measure regional Aβ to analyze the correlations between the regional neocortical AV-45 retention and atrophy in patients with AD.
Results: FG volume was positively correlated with the para-hippocampus (β = 0.565, P < 0.001), posterior cingulate cortex (PCC; β = 0.402, P < 0.001), and hippocampus volumes (β = 0.209, P = 0.044). After carefully confounded all possible factors simultaneously, the hippocampus standardized uptake value (SUV) ratio was independently associated with FG volume (β = −0.151, P = 0.017). Furthermore, volumes of the hippocampus (r = 0.473, P = 0.003), para-hippocampus (r = 0.515, P = 0.001), and FG (r = 0.383, P = 0.018) were associated with Benton’s facial recognition test (BFRT).
Conclusions: In conclusion, our study indicated that amyloid burden within the hippocampus might contribute to FG cortical hub GM atrophy. While the face matching task scores were related to the FG, hippocampus, and para-hippocampus volumes, concordant changes of the aforementioned three structures suggested the importance of the three ventral visual network hubs in AD.
PMCID: PMC4911390  PMID: 27378917
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; AV-45 PET; fusiform gyrus; gray matter volumetry; visual network
8.  Anatomical Correlates of Non-Verbal Perception in Dementia Patients 
Purpose: Patients with dementia who have dissociations in verbal and non-verbal sound processing may offer insights into the anatomic basis for highly related auditory modes.
Methods: To determine the neuronal networks on non-verbal perception, 16 patients with Alzheimer’s dementia (AD), 15 with behavior variant fronto-temporal dementia (bv-FTD), 14 with semantic dementia (SD) were evaluated and compared with 15 age-matched controls. Neuropsychological and auditory perceptive tasks were included to test the ability to compare pitch changes, scale-violated melody and for naming and associating with environmental sound. The brain 3D T1 images were acquired and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to compare and correlated the volumetric measures with task scores.
Results: The SD group scored the lowest among 3 groups in pitch or scale-violated melody tasks. In the environmental sound test, the SD group also showed impairment in naming and also in associating sound with pictures. The AD and bv-FTD groups, compared with the controls, showed no differences in all tests. VBM with task score correlation showed that atrophy in the right supra-marginal and superior temporal gyri was strongly related to deficits in detecting violated scales, while atrophy in the bilateral anterior temporal poles and left medial temporal structures was related to deficits in environmental sound recognition.
Conclusions: Auditory perception of pitch, scale-violated melody or environmental sound reflects anatomical degeneration in dementia patients and the processing of non-verbal sounds are mediated by distinct neural circuits.
PMCID: PMC5005819  PMID: 27630558
dementia; environmental sound; music; scale-violated melody; semantic dementia
9.  Clinical Significance of Cerebrovascular Biomarkers and White Matter Tract Integrity in Alzheimer Disease 
Medicine  2015;94(28):e1192.
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text
Cerebrovascular risk factors and white matter (WM) damage lead to worse cognitive performance in Alzheimer dementia (AD). This study investigated WM microstructure using diffusion tensor imaging in patients with mild to moderate AD and investigated specific fiber tract involvement with respect to predefined cerebrovascular risk factors and neurobehavioral data prediction cross-sectionally and after 18 months. To identify the primary pathoanatomic relationships of risk biomarkers to fiber tract integrity, we predefined 11 major association tracts and calculated tract specific fractional anisotropy (FA) values. Eighty-five patients with AD underwent neurobehavioral assessments including the minimental state examination (MMSE) and 12-item neuropsychiatric inventory twice with a 1.5-year interval to represent major outcome factors. In the cross-sectional data, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, vitamin B12, and homocysteine levels correlated variably with WM FA values. After entering the biomarkers and WM FA into a regression model to predict neurobehavioral outcomes, only fiber tract FA or homocysteine level predicted the MMSE score, and fiber tract FA or age predicted the neuropsychiatric inventory total scores and subdomains of apathy, disinhibition, and aberrant motor behavior. In the follow-up neurobehavioral data, the mean global FA value predicted the MMSE and aberrant motor behavior subdomain, while age predicted the anxiety and elation subdomains. Cerebrovascular risk biomarkers may modify WM microstructural organization, while the association with fiber integrity showed greater clinical significance to the prediction of neurobehavioral outcomes both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.
PMCID: PMC4617061  PMID: 26181568
10.  Clinical Features Associated with Frozen Shoulder Syndrome in Parkinson's Disease 
Parkinson's Disease  2015;2015:232958.
Background. Frozen shoulder syndrome is a common musculoskeletal disease of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) that causes long-term pain and physical disability. A better understanding of the associated factors can help identify PD patients who will require prevention to improve their quality of life. Methodology. This prospective study evaluated 60 shoulders of 30 PD patients. Correlation analysis was used to evaluate the relationships between clinical factors and shoulder sonography findings. Results. Frozen shoulder syndrome was found in 14 of 30 PD patients affecting 19 shoulders, including bilateral involvement in five and unilateral involvement in nine. There was a significant positive correlation between the parameters of sonography findings and frozen shoulder syndrome (i.e., thickness of bicipital effusion and tendon thickness of the subscapularis and supraspinatus) and mean ipsilateral Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) III and its subscores (tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia scores). Conclusions. Higher ipsilateral UPDRS and subscores are associated with increased effusion around the biceps tendon, with increased tendon thickness of subscapularis and supraspinatus. Preventing frozen shoulder syndrome in the high-risk PD group is an important safety issue and highly relevant for their quality of life.
PMCID: PMC4477225  PMID: 26180653
11.  Cognitive Severity-Specific Neuronal Degenerative Network in Charcoal Burning Suicide-Related Carbon Monoxide Intoxication 
Medicine  2015;94(19):e783.
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text
While carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication often triggers multiple intraneuronal immune- or inflammatory-related cascades, it is not known whether the pathological processes within the affected regions evolve equally in the long term. To understand the neurodegenerative networks, we examined 49 patients with a clinical diagnosis of CO intoxication related to charcoal burning suicide at the chronic stage and compared them with 15 age- and sex-matched controls. Reconstructions of degenerative networks were performed using T1 magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion-tensor imaging, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET). Tract-specific fractional anisotropy (FA) quantification of 11 association fibers was performed while the clinical significance of the reconstructed structural or functional networks was determined by correlating them with the cognitive parameters. Compared with the controls, the patients had frontotemporal gray matter (GM) atrophy, diffuse white matter (WM) FA decrement, and axial diffusivity (AD) increment. The patients were further stratified into 3 groups based on the cognitive severities. The spatial extents within the frontal-insular-caudate GM as well as the prefrontal WM AD increment regions determined the cognitive severities among 3 groups. Meanwhile, the prefrontal WM FA values and PET signals also correlated significantly with the patient's Mini-Mental State Examination score. Frontal hypometabolic patterns in PET analysis, even after adjusted for GM volume, were highly coherent to the GM atrophic regions, suggesting structural basis of functional alterations. Among the calculated major association bundles, only the anterior thalamic radiation FA values correlated significantly with all chosen cognitive scores. Our findings suggest that fronto-insular-caudate areas represent target degenerative network in CO intoxication. The topography that occurred at a cognitive severity-specific level at the chronic phase suggested the clinical roles of frontal areas. Although changes in FA are also diffusely distributed, different regional changes in AD suggested unequal long-term compensatory capacities among WM bundles. As such, the affected WM regions showing irreversible changes may exert adverse impacts to the interconnected GM structures.
PMCID: PMC4602570  PMID: 25984663
12.  Amyloid Burden in the Hippocampus and Default Mode Network 
Medicine  2015;94(16):e763.
Amyloid load, as measured by florbetapir positron emission tomography (PET) standardized uptake value ratio (SUVr), has high specificity in the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD). As the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) represents densely amyloid-affected regions early in AD, we hypothesized that amyloid load within the key hubs of the default mode networks (DMN) may result in local or distant interconnected gray matter (GM) volume atrophy, thereby affecting cognitive performance. Thirty AD patients with a clinical dementia rating sum of box score ≤2 were enrolled and underwent cognitive evaluation, 3-dimensional T1-weighted imaging and florbetapir PET. Volumes of interest (VOIs) included the hippocampus, lateral temporal region, and key hubs of the DMN [anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), PCC, posterior parietal, and precuneus]. The SUVr was calculated by florbetapir standard uptake value (SUV) within the T1-weighted image segmented GM VOIs divided by the cerebellar GM SUV. Our results suggested inverse correlations between ACC (ρ = −0.444, P = 0.016) and PCC SUVr (ρ = −0.443, P = 0.016) with PCC GM volume. In stepwise regression, the orientation scores were associated with PCC SUVr (β = 2.584, P = 0.02) and posterior parietal volume (β = −0.446, P = 0.04), whereas the word recall score was related to hippocampal volume (β = −0.391, P = 0.04). After removing the patients with a hippocampal VOI below the lowest tertile and adjusting for age, an inverse correlation was found between hippocampal volume and SUVr in the ACC (partial σ = −0.639, P = 0.002), precuneus (partial σ = −0.692, P = 0.002), and lateral temporal SUVr (partial σ = −0.604, P = 0.005). Our results suggest that amyloid burden within the key DMN regions may contribute to local and distant GM atrophy, and that this may explain the cognitive scores.
PMCID: PMC4602683  PMID: 25906109
13.  Erythropoietin improves long-term neurological outcome in acute ischemic stroke patients: a randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled clinical trial 
Critical Care  2015;19(1):49.
Mortality and disability following ischemic stroke (IS) remains unacceptably high with respect to the conventional therapies. This study tested the effect of erythropoietin (EPO) on long-term neurological outcome in patients after acute IS. This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of two consecutive doses of EPO (5,000 IU/dose, subcutaneously administered at 48 hours and 72 hours after acute IS) on improving the 90-day combined endpoint of recurrent stroke or death that has been previously reported. A secondary objective was to evaluate the long-term (that is, five years) outcome of patients who received EPO.
This was a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that was conducted between October 2008 and March 2010 in a tertiary referral center. IS stroke patients who were eligible for EPO therapy were enrolled into the study.
The results showed that long-term recurrent stroke and mortality did not differ between group 1 (placebo-control; n = 71) and group 2 (EPO-treated; n = 71).
Long-term Barthel index of <35 (defining a severe neurological deficit) was lower in group 2 than group 1 (P = 0.007). Multiple-stepwise logistic-regression analysis showed that EPO therapy was significantly and independently predictive of freedom from a Barthel index of <35 (P = 0.029). Long-term major adverse neurological event (MANE; defined as: death, recurrent stroke, or long-term Barthel index < 35) was lower in group 2 than group 1 (P = 0.04). Log-Rank test showed that MANE-free rate was higher in group 2 than group 1 (P = 0.031). Multiple-stepwise Cox-regression analysis showed that EPO therapy and higher Barthel Index at day 90 were independently predictive of freedom from long-term MANE (all P <0.04).
EPO therapy significantly improved long-term neurological outcomes in patients after IS.
Trial registration
ISRCTN71371114. Registered 10 October 2008.
PMCID: PMC4349661  PMID: 25888250
14.  Investigation of the caspase-dependent mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in mononuclear cells of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
This study aimed to explore the role of apoptosis initiators, caspase-9, caspase-10, mitochondrial anti-viral signaling protein (MAVS), and interferon regulatory factor 7 (pIRF7), in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Leukocyte apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry, including annexin V, APO2.7, and 7-amino-actinomycin D (7-AAD) on each subtype of leukocyte in 35 patients with SLE, 15 disease controls, and 17 volunteer normal controls. Levels of caspase-9, caspase-10, MAVS, and pIRF7 in mononuclear cells and the disease activity index (SLEDAI) in the SLE patients were determined. Correlation among intracellular adaptor proteins and caspase levels were calculated.
The SLE patients had higher APO2.7 in total leukocyte, lymphocyte, and monocytes, and higher late apoptosis markers in total leukocytes and neutrophils than normal controls (all p < 0.05). Disease activity was positively associated with the APO2.7 of CD19+ cells in SLE, but negatively associated with MAVS and caspase-9 levels (all p < 0.05). Markers of viral infection and anti-virus transcription factors like MDA5, MAVS, and pIRF7 were significantly higher in SLE patients than in disease controls (p < 0.05). Caspase-9 and caspase-10 levels positively correlated with MAVS and pIRF7 in SLE patients (p < 0.05).
The disease activity of SLE is positively associated with APO2.7 level of CD19+ cells but negatively associated with MAVS and caspase-9 levels, which all point to a mitochondrial pathway.
PMCID: PMC4226892  PMID: 25370148
Caspase; Leukocyte apoptosis; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Interferon
15.  Predictors and long-term outcome of seizures in human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV)-negative cryptococcal meningitis 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:208.
Seizures are one of the most important neurologic complications of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV)-negative cryptococcal meningitis. A better understanding of the risk associated factors can help predict those who will require treatment.
This 22-year retrospective study enrolled 180 patients. Prognostic variables independently associated with seizures or fatality were analyzed using stepwise logistic regression.
Twenty-eight patients with HIV-negative cryptococcal meningitis had seizures, including 13 with early seizures and 15 with late seizures. The mean time interval from HIV-negative cryptococcal meningitis to first seizure in the early and late seizure groups were 1.5 and 51.4 days, respectively. Nine out of the 28 cases (32%) occurred within 24 hours of presentation. The overall mortality rate was 54% (15/28) and two patients progressed to epilepsy.
Patients with seizure have worse outcomes and longer hospitalization. Most first seizures occur within one year after the diagnosis of HIV-negative cryptococcal meningitis.
PMCID: PMC4203868  PMID: 25307800
Outcome; Risk factors; Seizures; HIV-negative cryptococcal meningitis
16.  Risk Factors of Hyperammonemia in Patients With Epilepsy Under Valproic Acid Therapy 
Medicine  2014;93(11):e66.
Hyperammonemia has been reported to be associated with patients who receive valproic acid (VPA) therapy. This study aimed to determine the risk factors for hyperammonemia in patients with epilepsy treated with VPA. One hundred and fifty-eight adult patients with epilepsy aged older than 17 years who received VPA therapy were enrolled into this study. Blood samples were taken during the interictal state and analyzed for the blood level of ammonia. Statistical analysis was conducted between different groups of patients. The results showed that the frequency of hyperammonemia associated with VPA therapy was 27.8% (ammonia level >93 µg/dL), and 5.1% of the patients had severe hyperammonemia (ammonia level >150 µg/dL). The blood ammonia level was significantly correlated with the dosage of VPA and the plasma concentration of VPA. An increase of 1 mg in the dosage of VPA increased the risk of hyperammonemia by 0.1%. In addition, combination treatment with liver enzyme inducing antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and antipsychotic drugs increased the risk of hyperammonemia. In conclusion, the use of VPA in adult patients with epilepsy was associated with a dose-dependent increase in blood concentrations of ammonia. Combination treatment with liver enzyme-inducing AEDs and antipsychotic drugs increased the risk of VPA-induced hyperammonemia. Most of the patients with VPA-induced hyperammonemia were asymptomatic; however, if patients taking VPA present with symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, somnolence, ataxia, and consciousness disturbance, the blood ammonia level should be measured.
PMCID: PMC4616274  PMID: 25192484
17.  Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study of White Matter Damage in Chronic Meningitis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98210.
Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) and cryptococcal meningitis (CM) are two of the most common types of chronic meningitis. This study aimed to assess whether chronic neuro-psychological sequelae are associated with micro-structure white matter (WM) damage in HIV-negative chronic meningitis. Nineteen HIV-negative TBM patients, 13 HIV-negative CM patients, and 32 sex- and age-matched healthy volunteers were evaluated and compared. The clinical relevance of WM integrity was studied using voxel-based diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) magnetic resonance imaging. All of the participants underwent complete medical and neurologic examinations, and neuro-psychological testing. Differences in DTI indices correlated with the presence of neuro-psychological rating scores and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis during the initial hospitalization. Patients with CM had more severe cognitive deficits than healthy subjects, especially in TBM. There were changes in WM integrity in several limbic regions, including the para-hippocampal gyrus and cingulate gyrus, and in the WM close to the globus pallidus. A decline in WM integrity close to the globus pallidus and anterior cingulate gyrus was associated with worse CSF analysis profiles. Poorer DTI parameters directly correlated with worse cognitive performance on follow-up. These correlations suggest that WM alterations may be involved in the psychopathology and pathophysiology of co-morbidities. Abnormalities in the limbic system and globus pallidus, with their close relationship to the CSF space, may be specific biomarkers for disease evaluation.
PMCID: PMC4043527  PMID: 24892826
18.  The Roles of Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant in Alzheimer's Disease: A Systematic Review 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:182303.
Purpose. Oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This paper aims to examine whether biomarkers of oxidative stress and antioxidants could be useful biomarkers in AD, which might form the bases of future clinical studies. Methods. PubMed, SCOPUS, and Web of Science were systematically queried to obtain studies with available data regarding markers of oxidative stress and antioxidants from subjects with AD. Results and Conclusion. Although most studies show elevated serum markers of lipid peroxidation in AD, there is no sufficient evidence to justify the routine use of biomarkers as predictors of severity or outcome in AD.
PMCID: PMC4053273  PMID: 24949424
19.  Association between Oxidative Stress and Outcome in Different Subtypes of Acute Ischemic Stroke 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:256879.
Objectives. This study investigated serum thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and free thiol levels in different subtypes of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) and evaluated their association with clinical outcomes. Methods. This prospective study evaluated 100 AIS patients, including 75 with small-vessel and 25 with large-vessel diseases. Serum oxidative stress (TBARS) and antioxidant (thiol) were determined within 48 hours and days 7 and 30 after stroke. For comparison, 80 age- and sex-matched participants were evaluated as controls. Results. Serum TBARS was significantly higher and free thiol was lower in stroke patients than in the controls on days 1 and 7 after AIS. The level of free thiol was significantly lower in the large-vessel disease than in the small-vessel disease on day 7 after stroke. Using the stepwise logistic regression model for potential variables, only stroke subtype, NIHSS score, and serum TBARS level were independently associated with three-month outcome. Higher TBARS and lower thiol levels in the acute phase of stroke were associated with poor outcome. Conclusions. Patients with large-vessel disease have higher oxidative stress but lower antioxidant defense compared to those with small-vessel disease after AIS. Serum TBARS level at the acute phase of stroke is a potential predictor for three-month outcome.
PMCID: PMC4034452  PMID: 24895559
20.  The Association among Antioxidant Enzymes, Autoantibodies, and Disease Severity Score in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Comparison of Neuropsychiatric and Nonneuropsychiatric Groups 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:137231.
Background. Antioxidative capacity plays an important role in the severity of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is characterized by autoantibodies. This study aimed to determine the relationship among autoantibody titers, antioxidative stress reserve, and severity of SLE. Methods. The autoantibody titers, clinical markers, antioxidant enzyme levels, and disease activity index (SLEDAI-2k) of 32 SLE patients and 16 healthy controls were compared. We also compared both the neuropsychiatric (NPSLE) and nonneuropsychiatric (non-NPSLE) groups. Results. Superoxide dismutase in red blood cells was significantly lower in the SLE than in the control group. CRP levels are significant higher in SLE patients than in control group (P = 0.034). Among the autoantibodies, anti-U1RNP (P = 0.008), a-Sm (P = 0.027), and anti-ribosomal p (P = 0.028) significantly negatively correlated with glutathione levels. There has no significant correlation between SLE disease activity indexes (SLEDAI) and levels of C3, C4, and antioxidant enzymes. Conclusions. Erythrocyte superoxide dismutase is significantly lower in both NPSLE and non-NPSLE groups. SLE patients have both higher CRP and autoantibodies level and decreased superoxide dismutase level than the healthy control group.
PMCID: PMC4024413  PMID: 24877055
21.  The Association between Autoantibodies and Peripheral Neuropathy in Lupus Nephritis 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:524940.
Background and Aim. The sensitivity and specificity of biomarkers used for predicting peripheral neuropathy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and nephritis (SLE-LN) remain unsatisfactory. This study aimed to determine the autoantibodies levels in SLE-LN patients with peripheral neuropathy. Methods. Data of 559 SLE-LN patients were collected retrospectively, including titers of autoantibodies, electrodiagnostic studies, and clinical manifestations. Results. The neurologic manifestations of the SLE-LN patients were diverse and nonspecific. The prevalence rate of peripheral polyneuropathy was 2.68%, of which about 73.33% was mixed sensory-motor polyneuropathy. Numbness and functional gastrointestinal problems were the most prevalent symptoms and these were noted in every subtype of peripheral neuropathy. Among all the serology markers, anti-Ro was significantly associated with neuropathy related to SLE (P = 0.009). Conclusion. Peripheral neuropathy among LN patients is rare and may be easily overlooked. This study demonstrated that positive anti-Ro antibody may imply neuropathy in LN patients. Thus, anti-Ro can be considered a biomarker that should be added to the panel of conventional autoantibodies in LN patients.
PMCID: PMC4017733  PMID: 24864250
22.  The Association between Serological Biomarkers and Primary Sjogren's Syndrome Associated with Peripheral Polyneuropathy 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:902492.
Background and Aim. The sensitivity and specificity of biomarkers used for predicting peripheral neuropathy of Sjogren's syndrome (SJS) patients remain unsatisfactory. This study aimed to determine the prognostic value of circulating autoantibodies levels in SJS patients with peripheral neuropathy. Methods. Two hundred and fifty serological positive (either anti-Ro or anti-La positive) SJS patients' data were collected retrospectively. The titers of autoantibodies, electrophysiology reports, and clinical manifestation were reviewed. Results. The prevalence rate of peripheral neuropathy is 7.2% in our study. Regarding classification of peripheral neuropathy, 12 had mixed sensorimotor polyneuropathy, six had cranial neuropathy. After stepwise logistic regression analysis, anti-β2 glycoprotein I (aβ2GP I) and perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (p-ANCA) were significantly associated with peripheral neuropathy in serology positive SJS (P = 0.01, P = 0.046, resp.). Conclusion. The occurrence of peripheral neuropathy among SJS patients is not frequent and easily overlooked. Our study demonstrated that aβ2GP I and p-ANCA levels may imply the danger of the occurrence of neuropathy in SJS patients, and they can be considered a biomarker that should be added to the panel of conventional autoantibody in SJS patients.
PMCID: PMC4005097  PMID: 24822219
23.  The Prognostic Values of Leukocyte Rho Kinase Activity in Acute Ischemic Stroke 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:214587.
Objective. It has been reported that leukocyte ROCK activity is elevated in patients after ischemic stroke, but it is unclear whether leukocyte ROCK activity is associated with clinical outcomes following acute stroke events. The objective of this study is to investigate if leukocyte ROCK activity can predict the outcomes in patients with acute ischemic stroke. Materials and Methods. We enrolled 110 patients of acute ischemic stroke and measured the leukocyte ROCK activity and plasma level of inflammatory cytokines to correlate the clinical outcomes of these patients. Results. The leukocyte ROCK activity at 48 hours after admission in acute ischemic stroke patients was higher as compared to a risk-matched population. The leukocyte ROCK activity significantly correlated with National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) difference between admission and 90 days after stroke event. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates showed lower stroke-free survival during follow-up period in patients with high leukocyte ROCK activity or plasma hsCRP level. Leukocyte ROCK activity independently predicted the recurrent stroke in patients with atherosclerotic stroke. Conclusions. This study shows elevated leukocyte ROCK activity in patients with ischemic stroke as compared to risk-matched subjects and is an independent predictor for recurrent stroke.
PMCID: PMC3955656  PMID: 24716192
24.  Statin therapy reduces oxidized low density lipoprotein level, a risk factor for stroke outcome 
Critical Care  2014;18(1):R16.
Statins are reported to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects aside from cholesterol-lowering effects. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of statin therapy on oxidized LDL (Ox-LDL) and the clinical outcome of patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
This prospective study enrolled 120 patients with AIS divided in the statin (n = 55) and non-statin (n = 65) groups. Eighty sex- and age- matched participants were recruited as risk controls. Ox-LDL was measured using a monoclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked immune-sorbent assay at different time points after AIS. The clinical outcomes were analyzed between the statin and non-statin groups.
Plasma Ox-LDL was significantly higher in stroke patients than in the controls (P < 0.001). Plasma Ox-LDL level was significantly reduced in the statin group on day 7 and day 30 compared to the non-statin group (P < 0.01). The plasma Ox-LDL positively correlated with serum total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Among the potential risk factors, only National Institutes of Health stroke scale (NIHSS) score and Ox-LDL level on admission were independently associated with 3-month outcome.
Our study demonstrates that statin therapy reduces plasma Ox-LDL level after AIS. Plasma Ox-LDL may be a more powerful predictor than serum LDL, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein or white blood cell counts for stroke outcome. Therefore, assay of plasma Ox-LDL should be added as a predictor among the panel of conventional biomarkers in stroke outcome.
PMCID: PMC4056016  PMID: 24423248
25.  Long-term effects on carotid intima-media thickness after radiotherapy in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Vascular abnormalities are the predominant histologic changes associated with radiation in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). This study examined if the duration after radiotherapy correlates with the progression of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and investigated its relationship with inflammatory markers.
One hundred and five NPC patients post-radiotherapy for more than one year and 25 healthy control subjects were examined by B-mode ultrasound for IMT measurement at the far wall of the common carotid artery (CCA). Surrogate markers including lipid profile, HbA1c, and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) were assessed.
The IMT of CCA was significantly increased in NPC patients and carotid plaque was detected in 38 NPC patients (38/105, 36.2%). Significant risk factors for carotid plaques included age, duration after radiotherapy, and HbA1c levels. Age, duration after radiotherapy, hs-CRP, HbA1c, and platelet count positively correlated with IMT. The cut-off value of age and duration after radiotherapy for the presence of plaque was 52.5 years and 42.5 months, respectively. In NPC subjects, multiple linear regression analysis revealed that age, gender, duration after radiotherapy and platelet counts were independently associated with CCA IMT. After adjustments for age, gender and platelet counts, IMT increased in a linear manner with duration after radiotherapy.
Radiation-induced vasculopathy is a dynamic and progressive process due to late radiation effects. Extra-cranial color-coded duplex sonography can be part of routine follow-up in NPC patients aged ≥50 years at 40 months post-radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3827874  PMID: 24196030
Atherosclerosis; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Radiotherapy; Risk factors

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