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1.  A new explanation for recessive myotonia congenita 
Neurology  2012;78(24):1953-1958.
To assess whether exon deletions or duplications in CLCN1 are associated with recessive myotonia congenita (MC).
We performed detailed clinical and electrophysiologic characterization in 60 patients with phenotypes consistent with MC. DNA sequencing of CLCN1 followed by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification to screen for exon copy number variation was undertaken in all patients.
Exon deletions or duplications in CLCN1 were identified in 6% of patients with MC. Half had heterozygous exonic rearrangements. The other 2 patients (50%), with severe disabling infantile onset myotonia, were identified with both a homozygous mutation, Pro744Thr, which functional electrophysiology studies suggested was nonpathogenic, and a triplication/homozygous duplication involving exons 8–14, suggesting an explanation for the severe phenotype.
These data indicate that copy number variation in CLCN1 may be an important cause of recessive MC. Our observations suggest that it is important to check for exon deletions and duplications as part of the genetic analysis of patients with recessive MC, especially in patients in whom sequencing identifies no mutations or only a single recessive mutation. These results also indicate that additional, as yet unidentified, genetic mechanisms account for cases not currently explained by either CLCN1 point mutations or exonic deletions or duplications.
PMCID: PMC3369509  PMID: 22649220
2.  The non-dystrophic myotonias: molecular pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment 
Brain  2009;133(1):9-22.
The non-dystrophic myotonias are an important group of skeletal muscle channelopathies electrophysiologically characterized by altered membrane excitability. Many distinct clinical phenotypes are now recognized and range in severity from severe neonatal myotonia with respiratory compromise through to milder late-onset myotonic muscle stiffness. Specific genetic mutations in the major skeletal muscle voltage gated chloride channel gene and in the voltage gated sodium channel gene are causative in most patients. Recent work has allowed more precise correlations between the genotype and the electrophysiological and clinical phenotype. The majority of patients with myotonia have either a primary or secondary loss of membrane chloride conductance predicted to result in reduction of the resting membrane potential. Causative mutations in the sodium channel gene result in an abnormal gain of sodium channel function that may show marked temperature dependence. Despite significant advances in the clinical, genetic and molecular pathophysiological understanding of these disorders, which we review here, there are important unresolved issues we address: (i) recent work suggests that specialized clinical neurophysiology can identify channel specific patterns and aid genetic diagnosis in many cases however, it is not yet clear if such techniques can be refined to predict the causative gene in all cases or even predict the precise genotype; (ii) although clinical experience indicates these patients can have significant progressive morbidity, the detailed natural history and determinants of morbidity have not been specifically studied in a prospective fashion; (iii) some patients develop myopathy, but its frequency, severity and possible response to treatment remains undetermined, furthermore, the pathophysiogical link between ion channel dysfunction and muscle degeneration is unknown; (iv) there is currently insufficient clinical trial evidence to recommend a standard treatment. Limited data suggest that sodium channel blocking agents have some efficacy. However, establishing the effectiveness of a therapy requires completion of multi-centre randomized controlled trials employing accurate outcome measures including reliable quantitation of myotonia. More specific pharmacological approaches are required and could include those which might preferentially reduce persistent muscle sodium currents or enhance the conductance of mutant chloride channels. Alternative strategies may be directed at preventing premature mutant channel degradation or correcting the mis-targeting of the mutant channels.
PMCID: PMC2801326  PMID: 19917643
ion channels; neuromuscular; genetics; EMG
3.  Treatment of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy with methotrexate 
We discovered many reports of other immunosuppressive drugs being used in adults with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) but none of methotrexate. As weekly low dose oral methotrexate is safe, effective, and well tolerated in other diseases, we treated 10 patients with otherwise treatment resistant CIDP. Seven showed improvement in strength by at least two points on the MRC sum score and three worsened. Only two showed an improvement in disability and both were also receiving corticosteroids. We discuss the difficulty of detecting an improvement in treatment resistant CIDP and propose methotrexate as a suitable agent for testing in a randomised trial.
PMCID: PMC2077507  PMID: 16543541
peripheral neuropathy; chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy; methotrexate; treatment
4.  Predicting response to treatment in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy 
To discover whether Inflammatory Neuropathy Cause and Treatment Group (INCAT) electrophysiological criteria for demyelinating neuropathy predict response to immunotherapy in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP).
This was a retrospective case note study of patients who had attended Guy's Hospital Peripheral Nerve Clinic between January 2001 and March 2004, been diagnosed as having CIDP, and given treatment with corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), or plasma exchange (PE). Patients' nerve conduction studies (NCS) were reviewed for evidence of demyelination and whether the abnormalities fulfilled modified INCAT electrophysiological criteria. Patients whose NCS fulfilled the criteria were assigned to the neurophysiologically definite CIDP group, while those that did not were labelled as neurophysiologically probable CIDP. Responses to any of the three immunotherapy agents were compared between the two groups.
Out of 50 patients, 27 (54%) were classified as neurophysiologically definite and 23 (46%) as neurophysiologically probable CIDP patients. Twenty (74%) neurophysiologically definite and 17 (73.9%) neurophysiologically probable CIDP patients responded to treatment.
INCAT electrophysiological criteria did not predict a higher rate of response to immunotherapy. Neurophysiologically probable CIDP patients should be given a trial of immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2117406  PMID: 16361609
chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy; electrophysiological criteria; immunotherapy

Results 1-4 (4)