Study purposes were to determine the prevalence of persistent pain in the breast; characterize distinct persistent pain classes using growth mixture modeling, and evaluate for differences among these pain classes in demographic, preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative characteristics. In addition, differences in the severity of common symptoms and quality of life outcomes measured prior to surgery, among the pain classes, were evaluated. Patients (n=398) were recruited prior to surgery and followed for six months. Using growth mixture modeling, patients were classified into no (31.7%), mild (43.4%), moderate (13.3%), and severe (11.6%) pain groups based on ratings of worst breast pain. Differences in a number of demographic, preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative characteristics differentiated among the pain classes. In addition, patients in the moderate and severe pain classes reported higher preoperative levels of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance than the no pain class. Findings suggest that approximately 25% of women experience significant and persistent levels of breast pain in the first six months following breast cancer surgery.
breast pain; persistent postsurgical pain; risk factors; breast cancer surgery; growth mixture modeling; latent class analysis
High adiposity is deleteriously associated with brain health, and may disproportionately affect white matter integrity; however, limited information exists regarding the mechanisms underlying the association between body mass (BMI) and white matter integrity. The present study evaluated whether vascular and inflammatory markers influence the relationship between BMI and white matter in healthy aging. We conducted a cross-sectional evaluation of white matter integrity, BMI, and vascular/inflammatory factors in a cohort of 138 healthy older adults (mean age: 71.3 years). Participants underwent diffusion tensor imaging, provided blood samples, and participated in a health evaluation. Vascular risk factors and vascular/inflammatory blood markers were assessed. The primary outcome measure was fractional anisotropy (FA) of the genu, body, and splenium (corpus callosum); exploratory measures included additional white matter regions, based on significant associations with BMI. Regression analyses indicated that higher BMI was associated with lower FA in the corpus callosum, cingulate, and fornix (p<.001). Vascular and inflammatory factors influenced the association between BMI and FA. Specifically, BMI was independently associated with the genu [β=-.21; B=-.0024; 95% CI, -.0048 to -.0000; p=.05] and cingulate fibers [β=-.39; B=-.0035; 95% CI,-.0056 to -.0015; p<.001], even after controlling for vascular/inflammatory risk factors and blood markers. In contrast, BMI was no longer significantly associated with the fornix and middle/posterior regions of the corpus callosum after controlling for these markers. Results partially support a vascular/inflammatory hypothesis, but also suggest a more complex relationship between BMI and white matter characterized by potentially different neuroanatomic vulnerability.
A minority of patients with Ewing sarcoma present with regional lymph node involvement. We investigated if patient characteristics and outcomes differ between patients with Ewing sarcoma with and without regional node involvement.
Patients < 40 years of age with Ewing sarcoma or peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) reported to the SEER database from 1973 to 2008 were evaluated based on the presence (n=91) or absence (n=1361) of regional node involvement. Patient characteristics were analyzed using Fisher exact tests. Overall survival was estimated by Kaplan-Meier methods and evaluated using log-rank tests and Cox models.
Patients with regional node involvement were more likely to have extraskeletal primary tumors (65.9% vs. 31.2%; p < 0.001) and axial tumors (71.1% vs. 59.6%; p = 0.03) compared to patients without regional node involvement. The incidence of regional node involvement was 12.4% for patients with extraskeletal primary tumors compared to 3.2% for patients with skeletal tumors. Five-year overall survival from diagnosis was inferior for patients with regional node involvement compared to those without regional node involvement (45.9% vs. 60.3%; p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, regional node involvement was predictive of inferior overall survival independent of age, metastatic status, tumor site, and soft tissue origin (hazard ratio 1.59; 95% CI 1.16–2.19).
Patients with extraskeletal Ewing sarcoma should undergo evaluation for regional node involvement. If validated, our findings indicate that regional node involvement may be an independent adverse prognostic factor in Ewing sarcoma, and potentially useful in risk-stratifying patients with otherwise localized disease.
Ewing sarcoma (ES) is a malignant tumor of bone and soft tissue of children and young adults. Patients with ES are treated with intensive chemotherapy regimens. We describe predictors of acute chemotherapy-associated toxicity in this population.
In this retrospective cohort study, records of ES patients treated at two academic medical centers between 1980 and 2010 were reviewed. Grade 3 and 4 non-hematologic chemotherapy-associated toxicities during frontline therapy were recorded for each patient, along with potential clinical and demographic predictors of toxicity. Bivariate analyses were performed using the Fisher exact test. Multivariate analysis was performed using logistic regression.
The cohort included 142 patients with ES and toxicity data. In bivariate analyses, age <12 years at diagnosis, Latino ethnicity, low family income, and treatment on a clinical trial were associated with higher incidence of toxicity (p <0.01). Tumor size, site, stage, mode of local control, body mass index, overall chemotherapy exposure and dose-intensity were not associated with toxicity. In multivariate analysis, low income (odds ratio (OR) 4.97, 95% CI 1.9–13.1), clinical trial enrollment (OR 3.67, 95% CI 1.2–10.9), pelvic tumor site (OR 3.88, 95% CI 1.17–12.88), and age <12 years (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.0–7.5) were independent predictors of toxicity.
ES patients who are younger, of Latino ethnicity, have pelvic tumors or low income have higher rates of toxicity that may require increased supportive care. Treatment on a clinical trial was also associated with higher rates of toxicity, though this finding may reflect better reporting in these patients.
Ewing sarcoma; toxicity; income; ethnicity; age
Autism spectrum disorders are reported to affect nearly one out of every one hundred children, with over 90% of these children showing behavioral disturbances related to the processing of basic sensory information. Behavioral sensitivity to light touch, such as profound discomfort with clothing tags and physical contact, is a ubiquitous finding in children on the autism spectrum. In this study, we investigate the strength and timing of brain activity in response to simple, light taps to the fingertip. Our results suggest that children with autism show a diminished early response in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1). This finding is most evident in the left hemisphere. In exploratory analysis, we also show that tactile sensory behavior, as measured by the Sensory Profile, may be a better predictor of the intensity and timing of brain activity related to touch than a clinical autism diagnosis. We report that children with atypical tactile behavior have significantly lower amplitude somatosensory cortical responses in both hemispheres. Thus sensory behavioral phenotype appears to be a more powerful strategy for investigating neural activity in this cohort. This study provides evidence for atypical brain activity during sensory processing in autistic children and suggests that our sensory behavior based methodology may be an important approach to investigating brain activity in people with autism and neurodevelopmental disorders.
The neural underpinnings of sensory processing differences in autism remain poorly understood. This prospective magnetoencephalography (MEG) study investigates whether children with autism show atypical cortical activity in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) in comparison to matched controls. Tactile stimuli were clearly detectable, painless taps applied to the distal phalanx of the second (D2) and third (D3) fingers of the right and left hands. Three tactile paradigms were administered: an oddball paradigm (standard taps to D3 at an inter-stimulus interval (ISI) of 0.33 and deviant taps to D2 with ISI ranging from 1.32–1.64s); a slow-rate paradigm (D2) with an ISI matching the deviant taps in the oddball paradigm; and a fast-rate paradigm (D2) with an ISI matching the standard taps in the oddball. Study subjects were boys (age 7–11 years) with and without autism disorder. Sensory behavior was quantified using the Sensory Profile questionnaire. Boys with autism exhibited smaller amplitude left hemisphere S1 response to slow and deviant stimuli during the right hand paradigms. In post-hoc analysis, tactile behavior directly correlated with the amplitude of cortical response. Consequently, the children were re-categorized by degree of parent-report tactile sensitivity. This regrouping created a more robust distinction between the groups with amplitude diminution in the left and right hemispheres and latency prolongation in the right hemisphere in the deviant and slow-rate paradigms for the affected children. This study suggests that children with autism have early differences in somatosensory processing, which likely influence later stages of cortical activity from integration to motor response.
Cognitive Neuroscience; Event Related Potential; School age; Low-level perception; Magnetoencephalography
Memantine has been used off-label to treat frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTD). A previous 26 week open label study suggested a transient, modest benefit on neuropsychiatric symptoms as measured by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI).
We performed a randomized, parallel group, double blind, placebo controlled trial of 20 mg memantine taken orally daily for 26 weeks in FTD. Participants met Neary criteria for behavioral variant (bvFTD) or semantic dementia (SD) and had characteristic brain atrophy. Use of cholinesterase inhibitors was prohibited. The objective of the study was to determine whether memantine is an effective treatment for FTD. Individuals were randomized to memantine or matched placebo tablets in blocks of two and four. Primary endpoints were the change in total NPI score and Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC) scores after 26 weeks. Secondary outcomes included a neuropsychological battery, and other cognitive, global and activity of daily living measures. Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00545974
100 subjects were screened, 81 were randomized, 5 (6%) discontinued and 76 completed all visits. Enrollment numbers were lower than planned due to many subjects’ preference to take memantine or cholinesterase inhibitors off-label rather than participate in a clinical trial. 39 memantine and 42 placebo subjects entered the primary intent to treat analysis. There was no effect of memantine treatment on either the NPI (mean difference [MD] 2.2, 95%CI: −3.9, 8.3, p = 0.47) or CGIC (MD 0, 95%CI: −0.4, 0.4, p = 0.90) after 26 weeks of treatment. Memantine was generally well tolerated, however there were more frequent cognitive adverse events in the memantine group.
There was no benefit of memantine treatment in bvFTD or SD. These data do not support memantine use in FTD.
Forest Research Institute
To assess the neuropsychological and anatomical correlates of anti-saccade (AS) task performance in normal elders.
The AS task correlates with neuropsychological measures of executive function and frontal lobe volume in neurological diseases, but has not been studied in a well-characterized normal elderly population. Because executive dysfunction can indicate an increased risk for cognitive decline in cognitively normal elders, we hypothesized that AS performance might be a sensitive test of age-related processes that impair cognition.
The percentage of correct AS responses was evaluated in forty-eight normal elderly subjects and compared with neuropsychological test performance using linear regression analysis and gray matter volume measured on MRI scans using voxel-based morphometry.
The percentage of correct AS responses was associated with measures of executive function, including modified trails, design fluency, Stroop inhibition, abstraction, and backward digit span, and correlated with gray matter volume in two brain regions involved in inhibitory control: the left inferior frontal junction and the right supplementary eye field. The association of AS correct responses with neuropsychological measures of executive function was strongest in individuals with fewer years of education.
The AS task is sensitive to executive dysfunction and frontal lobe structural alterations in normal elders.
anti-saccade; normal aging; executive function; frontal lobe; cognitive reserve
In some older adults, higher blood pressure (BP) is associated with a lower risk of mortality. We hypothesized that higher BP would be associated with greater mortality in high-functioning elders and lower mortality in elders with lower functional status.
Participants were 1,562 Latino adults aged 60–101 years in the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging. Functional status was measured by self-reported walking speed, and BP was measured by automatic sphygmomanometer. Death information was determined from vital statistics records.
There were 442 deaths from 1998 to 2010; 53% were cardiovascular. Mean BP levels (mmHg) varied across fast, medium, and slow walkers: 136, 139, and 140 mmHg (systolic), p = .02 and 75, 76, and 77 mmHg (diastolic), p = .08, respectively. The relationship between systolic BP and mortality varied by self-reported walking speed: The adjusted hazard ratio for mortality in slow walkers was 0.96 per 10 mmHg higher systolic BP (95% confidence interval: 0.89, 1.02) and 1.29 (95% confidence interval: 1.08, 1.55) in fast walkers (p value for interaction <.001). We found a similar pattern for diastolic BP, although the interaction did not reach statistical significance; the adjusted hazard ratio per 10 mmHg higher diastolic BP was 0.89 (95% confidence interval: 0.78, 1.02) in slow walkers and 1.20 (95% confidence interval: 0.82, 1.76) in fast walkers (p value for interaction = .06).
In high-functioning older adults, elevated systolic BP is a risk factor for all-cause mortality. If confirmed in other studies, the assessment of functional status may help to identify persons who are most at-risk for adverse outcomes related to high BP.
Blood pressure; Functional status; Latinos
Analyses from double-blind randomized trials have reported lower mortality among participants who were more adherent to placebo compared with those who were less adherent. We explored this phenomenon by analyzing data from the placebo arm of the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS), a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of estrogen plus progestin for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in postmenopausal women.
Our primary aim was to measure and explain the association between adherence to placebo and total mortality among the placebo-allocated participants in the HERS trial. Secondary aims included assessment of the association between placebo adherence and cause-specific morbidity and mortality.
Participants with "higher placebo adherence" were defined as having taken at least 75% of their placebo study medication during each individual’s participation in the study, while those with “lower placebo adherence” took <75%. The primary outcome was in-study all-cause mortality.
More adherent participants had significantly lower total mortality compared to less-adherent participants (HR = 0.52, 95% Confidence Interval: 0.29–0.93). Adjusting for available confounders did not change the magnitude or significance of the estimates. Analyses revealed that the association of higher adherence and mortality might be explained, in part, by time-dependent confounding.
Analyses of the HERS trial data support a strong association between adherence to placebo study medication and mortality. While probably not due to simple confounding by healthy lifestyle factors, the underlying mechanism for the association remains unclear. Further analyses of this association are necessary to explain this observation.
Double-blind clinical trials; Placebo; Adherence
Central obesity is a risk factor for cognitive decline. Leptin is secreted by adipose tissue and has been associated with better cognitive function. Aging Mexican-Americans have higher levels of obesity than Non-Hispanic Whites, but no investigations examined the relationship between leptin and cognitive decline among them or the role of central obesity in this association.
We analyzed 1480 dementia-free older Mexican-Americans who were followed over ten years. Cognitive function was assessed every 12 to 15 months with the Modified Mini Mental State Exam (3MSE) and the Spanish and English Verbal Learning Test (SEVLT).
For females with small waist circumference (≤35inches), an interquartile range (IQR) difference in leptin was associated with 35% less 3MSE errors and 22% less decline in SEVLT score over 10 years. For males with small waist circumference (≤40inches), an IQR difference in leptin was associated with 44% less 3MSE errors and 30% less decline in SEVLT score over 10 years. There was no association between leptin and cognitive decline among females or males with large waist circumference.
Leptin interacts with central obesity in shaping cognitive decline. Our findings provide valuable information about the effects of metabolic risk factors on cognitive function.
Aging; cognition; obesity; leptin; longitudinal study; Mexican Americans
Determine levels of agreement among intensive care unit patients and their family members, nurses, and physicians (proxies) regarding patients’ symptoms and compare levels of mean intensity (i.e., the magnitude of a symptom sensation) and distress (i.e., the degree of emotionality that a symptom engenders) of symptoms among patients and proxy reporters.
Prospective study of proxy reporters of symptoms in seriously ill patients.
Two intensive care units in a tertiary medical center in the Western United States.
Two hundred and forty-five intensive care unit patients, 243 family members, 103 nurses, and 92 physicians.
Measurements and Main Results
On the basis of the magnitude of intraclass correlation coefficients, where coefficients from .35 to .78 are considered to be appropriately robust, correlation coefficients between patients’ and family members’ ratings met this criterion (≥.35) for intensity in six of ten symptoms. No intensity ratings between patients and nurses had intraclass correlation coefficients >.32. Three symptoms had intensity correlation coefficients of ≥.36 between patients’ and physicians’ ratings. Correlation coefficients between patients and family members were >.40 for five symptom-distress ratings. No symptoms had distress correlation coefficients of ≥.28 between patients’ and nurses’ ratings. Two symptoms had symptom-distress correlation coefficients between patients’ and physicians’ ratings at >.39. Family members, nurses, and physicians reported higher symptom-intensity scores than patients did for 80%, 60%, and 60% of the symptoms, respectively. Family members, nurses, and physicians reported higher symptom-distress scores than patients did for 90%, 70%, and 80% of the symptoms, respectively.
Patient–family intraclass correlation coefficients were sufficiently close for us to consider using family members to help assess intensive care unit patients’ symptoms. Relatively low intraclass correlation coefficients between intensive care unit clinicians’ and patients’ symptom ratings indicate that some proxy raters overestimate whereas others underestimate patients’ symptoms. Proxy overestimation of patients’ symptom scores warrants further study because this may influence decisions about treating patients’ symptoms.
concordance; critical care; intensive care unit; proxy reporters; symptoms; symptom assessment
Changes in personality differ qualitatively and quantitatively between patients with different neurodegenerative diseases, likely due to divergent patterns of regional neurodegeneration. Regional damage to circuits underlying various cognitive and emotional functions have been associated with interpersonal traits like dominance, extraversion, and warmth in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, suggesting that personality may in part be mediated by these more basic neuropsychological functions. In this study, we hypothesized that different combinations of cognitive, neuropsychiatric, and emotional measures would predict different interpersonal traits in patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
A battery of cognitive, neuropsychiatric, and emotional measures was administered to 286 patients with various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia, and progressive supranuclear palsy, and informants described patients’ dominance, extraversion, and warmth using the Interpersonal Adjective Scales (IAS) personality questionnaire. Regression modeling was performed to identify which neuropsychological factors uniquely predicted current personality, controlling for age, gender, and premorbid personality.
Social dominance covaried with patients’ capacity for cognitive control and verbal fluency. Conversely, warmth did not rely on these executive or verbal skills, but covaried primarily with patients’ capacity for emotional responsiveness. Extraversion, representing a blend of dominance and warmth, demonstrated an intermediate degree of relationship to both executive/verbal and emotional functions.
These findings suggest that different personality traits are partly subserved by specific cognitive and emotional functions in neurodegenerative disease patients. While this study was performed in the context of brain damage, the results raise the question of whether individual differences in these neuropsychological abilities may also underlie variability in normal personality.
personality; neurodegenerative disease; cognition; emotion
Randomized controlled trials have reported lower mortality among patients who adhere to placebo compared with those who do not. We explored this phenomenon by reanalyzing data from the placebo arm of the Beta Blocker Evaluation of Survival Trial (BEST), a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of bucindolol and mortality.
Our primary aim was to measure and explain the association between adherence to placebo and total mortality among the placebo-allocated participants in the BEST trial. Secondary aims included assessment of the association between placebo adherence and cause-specific mortality.
Participants with "higher placebo adherence" were defined as having taken at least 75% of their placebo study medication over the entire course of each individual’s participation in the study, while those with “lower placebo adherence” took <75%. Primary outcome was in-study all-cause mortality. To account for confounding, we adjusted for all available modifiable, non-modifiable and psychosocial variables.
Adherent participants had a significantly lower total mortality compared to less-adherent participants (HR = 0.61, 95% Confidence Interval: 0.46–0.82). Adjusting for available confounders did not change the magnitude or significance of the estimates. When considering cause-specific mortality, CVD and pump failure showed similar associations.
Analyses of the BEST trial data support a strong association between adherence to placebo study medication and total mortality. While probably not due to publication bias or simple confounding by healthy lifestyle factors, the underlying explanation for the association remains a mystery. Prospective examination of this association is necessary to better understand the underlying mechanism of this observation.
Double-blind clinical trials; Placebo; Adherence
Study purposes were to determine the occurrence rate for preoperative breast pain; describe the characteristics of this pain; evaluate for differences in demographic and clinical characteristics; and evaluate for variations in pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine genes between women who did and did not report pain. Patients (n=398) were recruited prior to surgery and completed self-report questionnaires on a number of pain characteristics. Genotyping was done using a custom genotyping array. Women (28.2%) who reported breast pain were significantly younger (p < 0.001); more likely to be non-white (p= 0.032); reported significantly lower Karnofsky Performance Status scores (p = 0.008); were less likely to be post menopausal (p = 0.012), and had undergone significantly more biopsies (p=0.006). Carriers of the minor allele for a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in interleukin (IL)1-receptor 1 (IL1R1) (rs2110726) were less likely to report breast pain prior to surgery (p = 0.007). Carriers of the minor allele for a SNP in IL13 (rs1295686) were more likely to report breast pain prior to surgery (p= 0.019). Findings suggest that breast pain occurs in over a quarter of women who are about to undergo breast cancer surgery. Based on phenotypic and genotypic characteristics found, inflammatory mechanisms contribute to preoperative breast pain.
breast pain; inflammation; cytokine genes; preoperative pain
The purposes of this study were to evaluate for differences in phenotypic and genotypic characteristics in women who did and did not develop lymphedema (LE) following breast cancer treatment. Breast cancer patients completed a number of self-report questionnaires. LE was evaluated using bioimpedance spectroscopy. Genotyping was done using a custom genotyping array. No differences were found between patients with (n = 155) and without LE (n = 387) for the majority of the demographic and clinical characteristics. Patients with LE had a significantly higher body mass index, more advanced disease and a higher number of lymph nodes removed. Genetic associations were identified for four genes (i.e., lymphocyte cytosolic protein 2 (rs315721), neuropilin-2 (rs849530), protein tyrosine kinase (rs158689), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (rs3176861)) and three haplotypes (i.e., Forkhead box protein C2 (haplotype A03), neuropilin-2 (haplotype F03), vascular endothelial growth factor-C (haplotype B03)) involved in lymphangiogensis and angiogenesis. These genetic associations suggest a role for a number of lymphatic and angiogenic genes in the development of LE following breast cancer treatment.
Genetic epidemiologists often gather outcome-dependent samples of family data to measure within-family associations of genetic factors with disease outcomes. Generalized linear mixed models provide effective methods to estimate within-family associations but typically require parametric specification of the random effects distribution. Although misspecification of the random effects distribution often leads to little bias in estimated regression coefficients in standard, prospective clustered data settings, some recent studies suggest that such misspecification will impact parameter estimates from outcome-dependent cluster sampling designs. Using analytic results, simulation studies and fits to example data, this study examines the effect of misspecification of random effects distributions on parameter estimates in clustered data settings with outcome-dependent sampling. We show that the effects are consistent with results from prospective cluster sampling settings. In particular, ascertainment corrected mixed model methods that assume normally distributed random intercepts and conditional likelihood approaches provide accurate estimates of within-family covariate effects even under a misspecified random effects distribution.
Ascertainment correction; conditional likelihood; generalized linear mixed models; misspecified mixing distributions
Most longitudinal studies of depressive symptoms reported mean symptom scores that tend to obscure interindividual heterogeneity in the symptom experience. The identification of subgroups of patients with distinct trajectories of depressive symptoms may help identify high risk individuals who require an intervention. This study aimed to identify subgroups of breast cancer patients (n=398) with distinct trajectories of depressive symptoms in the first six months after surgery, as well as predictors of these trajectories.
Growth mixture modeling was used to identify the latent classes based on Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale scores completed prior to and monthly for six months after surgery.
Four latent classes of patients with distinct depressive symptom trajectories were identified: Resilient (38.9%), Subsyndromal (45.2%), Delayed (11.3%), and Peak (4.5%). Patients in the Subsyndromal class were significantly younger than patients in the Resilient class. Compared to the Resilient class, Subsyndromal, Delayed, and Peak classes had higher mean trait and state anxiety scores prior to surgery. Except for axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), disease- and treatment-related characteristics did not differ across the classes. A greater proportion of women in the Subsyndromal class had an ALND compared to those in the Resilient class.
Breast cancer patients experience different trajectories of depressive symptoms after surgery. Of note, over 60% of these women were classified into one of three distinct subgroups with clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms. Identification of phenotypic and genotypic predictors of symptom trajectories after cancer treatment warrants additional investigation.
breast cancer; depression; anxiety; growth mixture modeling; latent profiles; psychological distress
Purpose. 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) is used for the diagnostic evaluation of neuroblastoma. We evaluated the relationship between norepinephrine transporter (NET) expression and clinical MIBG uptake. Methods. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (N = 82) and immunohistochemistry (IHC; N = 61) were performed for neuroblastoma NET mRNA and protein expression and correlated with MIBG avidity on diagnostic scans. The correlation of NET expression with clinical features was also performed. Results. Median NET mRNA expression level for the 19 MIBG avid patients was 12.9% (range 1.6–73.7%) versus 5.9% (range 0.6–110.0%) for the 8 nonavid patients (P = 0.31). Median percent NET protein expression was 50% (range 0–100%) in MIBG avid patients compared to 10% (range 0–80%) in nonavid patients (P = 0.027). MYCN amplified tumors had lower NET protein expression compared to nonamplified tumors (10% versus 50%; P = 0.0002). Conclusions. NET protein expression in neuroblastoma correlates with MIBG avidity. MYCN amplified tumors have lower NET protein expression.
Based on the recent literature and collective experience, an international consortium developed revised guidelines for the diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. The validation process retrospectively reviewed clinical records and compared the sensitivity of proposed and earlier criteria in a multi-site sample of patients with pathologically verified frontotemporal lobar degeneration. According to the revised criteria, ‘possible’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia requires three of six clinically discriminating features (disinhibition, apathy/inertia, loss of sympathy/empathy, perseverative/compulsive behaviours, hyperorality and dysexecutive neuropsychological profile). ‘Probable’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia adds functional disability and characteristic neuroimaging, while behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia ‘with definite frontotemporal lobar degeneration’ requires histopathological confirmation or a pathogenic mutation. Sixteen brain banks contributed cases meeting histopathological criteria for frontotemporal lobar degeneration and a clinical diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies or vascular dementia at presentation. Cases with predominant primary progressive aphasia or extra-pyramidal syndromes were excluded. In these autopsy-confirmed cases, an experienced neurologist or psychiatrist ascertained clinical features necessary for making a diagnosis according to previous and proposed criteria at presentation. Of 137 cases where features were available for both proposed and previously established criteria, 118 (86%) met ‘possible’ criteria, and 104 (76%) met criteria for ‘probable’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. In contrast, 72 cases (53%) met previously established criteria for the syndrome (P < 0.001 for comparison with ‘possible’ and ‘probable’ criteria). Patients who failed to meet revised criteria were significantly older and most had atypical presentations with marked memory impairment. In conclusion, the revised criteria for behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia improve diagnostic accuracy compared with previously established criteria in a sample with known frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Greater sensitivity of the proposed criteria may reflect the optimized diagnostic features, less restrictive exclusion features and a flexible structure that accommodates different initial clinical presentations. Future studies will be needed to establish the reliability and specificity of these revised diagnostic guidelines.
behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia; diagnostic criteria; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FTD; pathology
Deficits in the generation and control of saccades have been described in clinically-defined frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Because clinical FTD syndromes can correspond to a number of different underlying neuropathologic FTD and non-FTD diagnoses, we sought to determine the saccade abnormalities associated with autopsy-defined cases of FTLD and AD.
Participants and design
An infrared eye tracker was used to record visually guided saccades to ten degree targets and antisaccades in 28 autopsy-confirmed FTD and 10 AD subjects, an average of 35.6 ± 10 months prior to death and 27 age-matched normal controls (NC). 12 FTD subjects had FTLD-TDP pathology, 15 had FTLD-tau pathology and one showed FTLD-FUS pathology. Receiver operating curve (ROC) statistics were used to determine diagnostic value of oculomotor variables. Neuroanatomical correlates of oculomotor abnormalities were investigated using voxel-based morphometry (VBM).
All FTD and AD subjects were impaired relative to NC on the antisaccade task. However, only FTLD-tau and AD cases displayed reflexive visually-guided saccade abnormalities. AD cases displayed prominent increases in horizontal saccade latency that differentiated them from FTD cases. Impairments in velocity and gain were most severe in individuals with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) but were also present in other tauopathies. Vertical and horizontal saccade velocity and gain were able to differentiate PSP cases from other patients. Vertical saccade velocity was strongly correlated with dorsal midbrain volume.
Decreased visually-guided saccade velocity and gain are suggestive of underlying tau pathology in FTD, with vertical saccade abnormalities most diagnostic of PSP.
Frontotemporal Dementia; Corticobasal Degeneration; Progressive Supranuclear Palsy; Ocular Motility
Ewing sarcoma can arise in either bone or soft tissue locations. We sought to investigate if patient characteristics, treatment strategies, and outcomes differ between skeletal Ewing sarcoma and extraskeletal Ewing sarcoma (EES).
Patients < 40 years of age with Ewing sarcoma or peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) reported to the US SEER database from 1973 to 2007 were evaluated based on skeletal (n=1519) vs. extraskeletal (n=683) site of origin. Patient characteristics were compared using Fisher exact tests. Overall survival was estimated by Kaplan-Meier methods and compared using log-rank tests and Cox models.
Patients with EES had a higher mean age (19.5 vs. 16.3 years; p < 0.001) and were less likely to be male (53.4% vs. 63.3%; p < 0.001) or white (84.8% vs. 92.5%; p < 0.001) compared to patients with skeletal tumors. Extraskeletal tumors were more likely to arise in axial locations (72.9% vs. 54.2%; p = 0.001), though less likely to arise specifically in the pelvis (19.8% vs. 26.6%; p < 0.001). Metastatic status or tumor size did not differ by group. Five-year overall survival was superior for localized EES compared to localized skeletal tumors (69.7% vs. 62.6%; p = 0.02). The hazard ratio for death in patients with localized skeletal tumors compared to localized EES was 2.36 (95% CI 1.61-3.44) beyond 24 months from initial diagnosis.
Patient characteristics and outcomes differ among patients with EES compared to patients with skeletal Ewing sarcoma. These findings may have important implications for patient care.
Ewing sarcoma; extraskeletal; extraosseous; PNET; SEER
Different degenerative brain diseases result in distinct personality changes as a result of divergent patterns of brain damage, however, little is known about the natural history of these personality changes throughout the course of each disease.
To investigate how interpersonal traits change as a function of degenerative brain disease type and severity.
Using the Interpersonal Adjective Scales, informant ratings of retrospective premorbid and current scores for dominance, extraversion, warmth, and ingenuousness were collected annually for one to four years on 188 patients [67 behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), 40 semantic dementia (SemD), 81 Alzheimer’s disease (AD)] and 65 older healthy controls. Using random coefficient models, interpersonal behaviour scores at very mild, mild, or moderate-to-severe disease stages were compared within and between patient groups.
Group-level changes from premorbid personality occurred as a function of disease type and severity, and were apparent even at a very mild disease stage (Clinical Dementia Rating=0.5) for all three diseases. Decreases in interpersonal traits associated with emotional affiliation (i.e., extraversion, warmth, and ingenuousness) and more rigid interpersonal behaviour differentiated bvFTD and SemD patients from AD patients.
Specific changes in affiliative interpersonal traits differentiate degenerative brain diseases even at a very mild disease stage, and patterns of personality change differ across bvFTD, SemD, and AD with advancing disease. This study describes the typical progression of change of interpersonal traits in each disease, improving the ability of clinicians and caregivers to predict and plan for symptom progression.
neurodegenerative diseases; dementia; personality; affiliation; mixed effects model
To develop a practical informant-based screening tool that reliably identifies patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, we analyzed data from a sample of patients and normal controls seen in a memory clinic. All subjects were evaluated with the Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR). Individual CDR responses were dichotomized and entered into a forward stepwise multivariable logistic regression model. Four independent predictors of MCI and dementia thus identified were combined into a prediction rule that was validated in a separate cohort drawn from the same clinic. Using a cut point of 2 or more positive responses to the four questions, the final prediction rule had sensitivity of 95% (95% CI 92 – 97%) for MCI or dementia, and a specificity of 91% (95% CI 86 – 95%). When applied to the validation cohort, the sensitivity for MCI or dementia was 96% (95% CI 94 – 98%), and the specificity was 96% (95% CI 92 – 98%). Using both cohorts, the positive likelihood ratio for MCI or dementia was 15.6 (95% CI 14.0 – 17.3) and the negative likelihood ratio 0.05 (95% CI 0.04 – 0.07). This tool has the potential to identify patients who warrant further cognitive evaluation in busy outpatient or emergency department settings.
Dementia; Mild Cognitive Impairment; Screening; Diagnosis
To provide a focused, detailed assessment of the symptom experiences of intensive care unit patients at high risk of dying and to evaluate the relationship between delirium and patients' symptom reports.
Prospective, observational study of patients' symptoms.
Two intensive care units in a tertiary medical center in the western United States.
One hundred seventy-one intensive care unit patients at high risk of dying.
Measurements and Main Results
Patients were interviewed every other day for up to 14 days. Patients rated the presence, intensity (1 = mild; 2 = moderate; 3 = severe), and distress (1 = not very distressing; 2 = moderately distressing; 3 = very distressing) of ten symptoms (that is, pain, tired, short of breath, restless, anxious, sad, hungry, scared, thirsty, confused). The Confusion Assessment Method–Intensive Care Unit was used to ascertain the presence of delirium. A total of 405 symptom assessments were completed by 171 patients. Patients' average age was 58 ± 15 yrs; 64% were males. Patients were mechanically ventilated during 34% of the 405 assessments, and 22% died in the hospital. Symptom prevalence ranged from 75% (tired) to 27% (confused). Thirst was moderately intense, and shortness of breath, scared, confusion, and pain were moderately distressful. Delirium was found in 34.2% of the 152 patients who could be evaluated. Delirious patients were more acutely ill and received significantly higher doses of opioids. Delirious patients were significantly more likely to report feeling confused (43% vs. 22%, p = .004) and sad (46% vs. 31%, p = .04) and less likely to report being tired (57% vs. 77%, p = .006) than nondelirious patients.
Study findings suggest that unrelieved and distressing symptoms are present for the majority of intensive care unit patients, including those with delirium. Symptom assessment in high-risk intensive care unit patients may lead to more focused interventions to avoid or minimize unnecessary suffering.
critical care; pain; symptoms; symptom assessment; palliative care; delirium
Litière et al. (2007) presented the results of simulation studies that they claimed showed that misspecification of the shape of the random effects distribution can produce marked increases in Type II error (decreases in power) of tests based on fits of generalized linear mixed models. However, the paper contains a logical fallacy that invalidates this claim. We present logically correct simulation studies that demonstrate little increase in Type II error, consistent with the earlier work that shows little effect due to misspecification.
Conditional likelihood; generalized linear mixed models; misspecified random effect distributions; power