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1.  Clinical, genetic, neurophysiological and functional study of new mutations in episodic ataxia type 1 
Background and objective
Heterozygous mutations in KCNA1 cause episodic ataxia type 1 (EA1), an ion channel disorder characterised by brief paroxysms of cerebellar dysfunction and persistent neuromyotonia. This paper describes four previously unreported families with EA1, with the aim of understanding the phenotypic spectrum associated with different mutations.
Methods
15 affected individuals from four families underwent clinical, genetic and neurophysiological evaluation. The functional impact of new mutations identified in the KCNA1 gene was investigated with in vitro electrophysiology and immunocytochemistry.
Results
Detailed clinical documentation, dating back to 1928 in one family, indicates that all patients manifested episodic ataxia of varying severity. Four subjects from three families reported hearing impairment, which has not previously been reported in association with EA1. New mutations (R167M, C185W and I407M) were identified in three out of the four families. When expressed in human embryonic kidney cells, all three new mutations resulted in a loss of Kv1.1 channel function. The fourth family harboured a previously reported A242P mutation, which has not been previously described in association with ataxia.
Conclusions
The genetic basis of EA1 in four families is established and this report presents the earliest documented case from 1928. All three new mutations caused a loss of Kv1.1 channel function. The finding of deafness in four individuals raises the possibility of a link between Kv1.1 dysfunction and hearing impairment. Our findings broaden the phenotypic range associated with mutations in KCNA1.
doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-304131
PMCID: PMC4332158  PMID: 23349320
Cerebellar Ataxia; Epilepsy; Neurogenetics; Neuromuscular; Neurophysiol, Clinical
2.  Single-subject oscillatory gamma responses in tinnitus 
Brain  2012;135(10):3089-3100.
This study used magnetoencephalography to record oscillatory activity in a group of 17 patients with chronic tinnitus. Two methods, residual inhibition and residual excitation, were used to bring about transient changes in spontaneous tinnitus intensity in order to measure dynamic tinnitus correlates in individual patients. In residual inhibition, a positive correlation was seen between tinnitus intensity and both delta/theta (6/14 patients) and gamma band (8/14 patients) oscillations in auditory cortex, suggesting an increased thalamocortical input and cortical gamma response, respectively, associated with higher tinnitus states. Conversely, 4/4 patients exhibiting residual excitation demonstrated an inverse correlation between perceived tinnitus intensity and auditory cortex gamma oscillations (with no delta/theta changes) that cannot be explained by existing models. Significant oscillatory power changes were also identified in a variety of cortical regions, most commonly midline lobar regions in the default mode network, cerebellum, insula and anterior temporal lobe. These were highly variable across patients in terms of areas and frequency bands involved, and in direction of power change. We suggest a model based on a local circuit function of cortical gamma-band oscillations as a process of mutual inhibition that might suppress abnormal cortical activity in tinnitus. The work implicates auditory cortex gamma-band oscillations as a fundamental intrinsic mechanism for attenuating phantom auditory perception.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws220
PMCID: PMC3470708  PMID: 22975389
tinnitus; gamma oscillations; mutual inhibition; auditory cortex; magnetoencephalography
3.  Non-verbal sound processing in the primary progressive aphasias 
Brain  2009;133(1):272-285.
Little is known about the processing of non-verbal sounds in the primary progressive aphasias. Here, we investigated the processing of complex non-verbal sounds in detail, in a consecutive series of 20 patients with primary progressive aphasia [12 with progressive non-fluent aphasia; eight with semantic dementia]. We designed a novel experimental neuropsychological battery to probe complex sound processing at early perceptual, apperceptive and semantic levels, using within-modality response procedures that minimized other cognitive demands and matching tests in the visual modality. Patients with primary progressive aphasia had deficits of non-verbal sound analysis compared with healthy age-matched individuals. Deficits of auditory early perceptual analysis were more common in progressive non-fluent aphasia, deficits of apperceptive processing occurred in both progressive non-fluent aphasia and semantic dementia, and deficits of semantic processing also occurred in both syndromes, but were relatively modality specific in progressive non-fluent aphasia and part of a more severe generic semantic deficit in semantic dementia. Patients with progressive non-fluent aphasia were more likely to show severe auditory than visual deficits as compared to patients with semantic dementia. These findings argue for the existence of core disorders of complex non-verbal sound perception and recognition in primary progressive aphasia and specific disorders at perceptual and semantic levels of cortical auditory processing in progressive non-fluent aphasia and semantic dementia, respectively.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp235
PMCID: PMC2801322  PMID: 19797352
auditory perception; non-verbal sound; agnosia; dementia; environmental sounds

Results 1-3 (3)