The aim of this study were to describe acute care of ischemic stroke patients and adherence to performance measures, as well as the outcomes of these events, in a sample of patients treated in public hospitals in Chile.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts of patients with ischemic stroke from a sample of seven public hospitals in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago. We analyzed adherence to the following evidence-based measures: clinical evaluation at admission, use of intravenous thrombolysis, dysphagia screening and prescription of antithrombotic therapy at discharge. As outcome measures we analyzed post-stroke pneumonia and 30-day case-fatality. We used a logistic regression model by each outcome with generalized estimating equations, which accounted for clustering of patients within hospitals and included sex, age (years), clinical status at admission (reduced level of consciousness, speech disturbance, aphasia and hemiplegia), comorbidities, dysphagia screening and neurological evaluation at admission as measures of acute stroke care.
We reviewed the charts of 677 patients, of which 52.3% were men. The mean age was 69.8 years in women and 66.3 years in men. Diagnosis of stroke was confirmed by a computed tomography scan within 4.5 hours of symptom onset in only 9.6% of the patients. Intravenous thrombolysis was administered in 1.7%. Dysphagia screening was performed in 12.1% (95% CI 9.7-15.0) and antithrombotic therapy was prescribed in 68.9% (95% CI 64.6-72.9). Pneumonia was diagnosed in 23.6% (95% CI 20.4-27.2). Thirty-day fatality was 8.7% (95% CI 6.7-11.3). The variables independently associated with 30-day case fatality were age (OR 1.08, 95% 1.06-1.10), pneumonia (OR 7.7, 95% 95% CI 4.0-14.7), aphasia (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1-5.6), reduced level of consciousness (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3-4.4), and speech disturbance (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.9). No association was found between 30-day case fatality and dysphagia screening or neurological evaluation at admission. The factors associated with post-stroke pneumonia were female sex (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.0-2.3), age (OR 1.04 95% CI 1.03-1.05), diagnosis of diabetes (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.4-2.4), aphasia (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.5-2.7), hemiplegia (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.4), and reduced level of consciousness on admission (OR 3.4, 95% CI 2.1-5.5). No association was found between pneumonia and dysphagia screening or neurological evaluation at admission.
Adherence to evidence-based performance measures was low. Administration of intravenous thrombolysis was particularly low and diagnostic confirmation of ischemic stroke was delayed. The occurrence of post-stroke pneumonia was frequent and should be reduced. To improve acute stroke care in Chile, organizational change in the health service is urgently needed.
Acute ischemic stroke; Stroke care; Thrombolysis
The social and medical impact of rare diseases is increasingly recognized. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most prevalent of the motor neuron diseases. It is characterized by rapidly progressive damage to the motor neurons with a survival of 2–5 years for the majority of patients. The objective of this work is to describe the study protocol and the implementation steps of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) registry Swabia, located in the South of Germany.
The ALS registry Swabia started in October 2010 with both, the retrospective (01.10.2008-30.09.2010) and prospective (from 01.10.2010) collection of ALS cases, in a target population of 8.6 million persons in Southern Germany. In addition, a population based case–control study was implemented based on the registry that also included the collection of various biological materials.
Retrospectively, 420 patients (222 men and 198 women) were identified. Prospectively data of ALS patients were collected, of which about 70% agreed to participate in the population-based case–control study. All participants in the case–control study provided also a blood sample. The prospective part of the study is ongoing.
The ALS registry Swabia has been implemented successfully. In rare diseases such as ALS, the collaboration of registries, the comparison with external samples and biorepositories will facilitate to identify risk factors and to further explore the potential underlying pathophysiological mechanisms.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Registry; Risk factors
Fibromyalgia has a plethorae of symptoms, which can be confusing and even misleading. Accurate evaluation is necessary when patients with fibromyalgia are treated. Different types of instruments are available for the clinicians to supplement evaluation. Our objective was to study the applicability of the PainDETECT instrument to screen neuropathic pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
158 patients with primary fibromyalgia underwent a neurological examination including bedside sensory testing. They also fulfilled four questionnaires: PainDETECT, Beck depression inventory IA (BDI IA), Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and a self-made questionnaire regarding present pain and pain relieving methods of the patients. The results of the clinical evaluation and questionnaires were then compared.
Clinically verified neuropathic pain was diagnosed in 53/158 [34% (95% Cl: 26 to 41)] patients. The ROC curve achieved a maximum Youden´s index at score of 17 when sensitivity was 0.79 (95% Cl: 0.66 to 0.89) and specificity 0.53 (95% Cl: 0.43 to 0.63). The PainDETECT total score (OR: 1.14 95% Cl: 1.06 to 1.22), FM as the worst current pain (OR: 0.31; 95% 0.16 to 0.62), body mass index (BMI) (OR: 1.05; 95% Cl: 1.00 to 1.11) and the intensity of current pain (OR: 1.20; 95% Cl: 1.01 to 1.41) were significantly associated with the presence of neuropathic pain in univariate analyses.
This study highlights the importance of thorough clinical examination. The Neuropathic pain screening tool PainDETECT is not as useful in patients with fibromyalgia as in patients with uncompromised central pain control.
This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and clinical relevance of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and healthy controls using extra- and intracranial colour Doppler sonography.
We examined 146 MS patients, presenting with a clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive, or primary progressive MS, and 38 healthy controls. Sonographic examination was performed according to Zamboni’s protocol and was performed by three independent sonographers. The results of sonographic examination were compared with clinical and demographic characteristics of the patients.
CCSVI, defined as the presence of at least two positive Zamboni’s criteria, was found in 76% of MS patients and 16% of control subjects. B-mode anomalies of internal jugular veins, such as stenosis, malformed valves, annuli, and septa were the most common lesions detected in MS patients (80.8%) and controls (47.4%). We observed a positive correlation between sonographic diagnosis of CCSVI and the patients’ age (p = 0.003). However, such a correlation was not found in controls (p = 0.635). Notably, no significant correlations were found between sonographic signs of CCSVI and clinical characteristics of MS, except for absent flow in the jugular veins, which was found more often in primary (p<0.005) and secondary (p<0.05) progressive patients compared with non-progressive patients. Absent flow in jugular veins was significantly correlated with patients’ age (p < 0.0001).
Sonographically defined CCSVI is common in MS patients. However, CCSVI appears to be primarily associated with the patient’s age, and poorly correlated with the clinical course of the disease.
Multiple sclerosis; Venous insufficiency; Ultrasonography
Increasing evidence provides a clear association between rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorders (RBD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD), but the clinical features that determine the co-morbidity of RBD and PD are not yet fully understood.
We evaluated the characteristics of nocturnal disturbances and other motor and non-motor features related to RBD in patients with PD and the impact of RBD on their quality of life. Probable RBD (pRBD) was evaluated using the Japanese version of the RBD screening questionnaire (RBDSQ-J).
A significantly higher frequency of pRBD was observed in PD patients than in the controls (RBDSQ-J ≥ 5 or ≥ 6: 29.0% vs. 8.6%; 17.2% vs. 2.2%, respectively). After excluding restless legs syndrome and snorers in the PD patients, the pRBD group (RBDSQ-J≥5) showed higher scores compared with the non-pRBD group on the Parkinson’s disease sleep scale-2 (PDSS-2) total and three-domain scores. Early morning dystonia was more frequent in the pRBD group. The Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39) domain scores for cognition and emotional well-being were higher in the patients with pRBD than in the patients without pRBD. There were no differences between these two groups with respect to the clinical subtype, disease severity or motor function. When using a cut-off of RBDSQ-J = 6, a similar trend was observed for the PDSS-2 and PDQ-39 scores. Patients with PD and pRBD had frequent sleep onset insomnia, distressing dreams and hallucinations. The stepwise linear regression analysis showed that the PDSS-2 domain “motor symptoms at night”, particularly the PDSS sub-item 6 “distressing dreams”, was the only predictor of RBDSQ-J in PD.
Our results indicate a significant impact of RBD co-morbidity on night-time disturbances and quality of life in PD, particularly on cognition and emotional well-being. RBDSQ may be a useful tool for not only screening RBD in PD patients but also predicting diffuse and complex clinical PD phenotypes associated with RBD, cognitive impairment and hallucinations.
Parkinson’s disease; Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder; Cognition; Quality of life; Nocturnal problems
There have been several reports concerning the survival time after symptom onset in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, little is known about how the choice of physician (i.e., general practitioner, neurologist, etc.) may affect the time it takes for a diagnosis of ALS to be made.
We conducted a retrospective study, covering a 20-year period, comparing the type of physician first consulted by an ALS patient at the time of initial symptoms and the amount of time that elapsed to the final diagnosis of ALS. A total of 202 patients were diagnosed and stratified according to the onset of ALS symptoms (bulbar onset [BO] and limb onset [LO]). We noted the type of physician first seen by the patient. The diagnostic interval was calculated as the time between onset of symptoms and the final diagnosis of ALS.
A total of 202 ALS patients were examined. Clinical BO and LO was observed in 78 (36.6%) and in 124 (61.4%) of these patients, respectively. The type of physician examining these patients at the first symptoms of disease was as follows (BO and LO): neurologist (38.5% and 25.8%), general practitioner (14.1% and 35.5%), orthopedist (12.8% and 35.5%), otolaryngologist (15.4% and 0%), and neurosurgeon (14.1% and 3.2%). Mean diagnostic interval (standard deviation) for patients with either set of symptoms was 13.1 (6.5) months; the diagnostic interval of patients with BO and LO was 9.2 (4.5) and 15.2 (7.7) months, respectively. ALS diagnosis in LO patients was delayed by more than 10 months when the patient first consulted an orthopedist rather than a neurologist.
More than 50% of the ALS patients included in this study did not visit a neurologist at the first symptoms of disease onset. The diagnosis of ALS was prolonged in LO patients visiting an orthopedist. We speculate that this increase in the diagnostic interval in LO patients visiting an orthopedist was due to a lack of bulbar symptoms in the early stages of this disease.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Initial symptom; Bulbar onset; Limb onset; Neurologist; Orthopedist
Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) are frequent and life-threatening complications of ischemic stroke. We evaluated rates of symptomatic DVT/PE, and of in-hospital and post-discharge thromboprophylaxis in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
In a retrospective US database analysis, data were extracted from the Premier Perspective™-i3 Pharma Informatics linked database for patients aged ≥18 years who were hospitalized for ischemic stroke from January 2005 to November 2007, and who had ≥6 months’ continuous plan enrollment prior to index hospitalization. Patients discharged to an acute-care facility or with atrial fibrillation were excluded. Prophylaxis was evaluated during index hospitalization and for 14 days’ post-discharge. DVT/PE rates were calculated during index hospitalization and up to 30 days post-discharge.
A total of 1524 patients were included; 46.1% received pharmacological and/or mechanical prophylaxis in-hospital (28.3%, 11.4% and 12.3% received unfractionated heparin, enoxaparin and mechanical prophylaxis, respectively). 6.4% of patients received outpatient pharmacological prophylaxis; warfarin was most frequently prescribed (5.9%). Total mean ± standard deviation length of index hospitalization was 3.0 ± 2.5 days. Mean prophylaxis duration in all patients was 0.9 ± 1.5 days in-hospital and 1.7 ± 6.9 days post-discharge. Symptomatic DVT/PE occurred in 25 patients overall (1.64%), with an inpatient rate of 0.98% and an outpatient rate of 0.66%.
Approximately 1% of patients with AIS experienced symptomatic in-hospital and/or post-discharge DVT/PE. Although 46% received prophylaxis in-hospital, only 6% received prophylaxis in the outpatient setting. This highlights the need for sustained thromboprophylaxis prescribing across the continuum of care.
Acute ischemic stroke; Care continuum; Deep-vein thrombosis; Pulmonary embolism; Thromboprophylaxis
Although intima-media thickness (IMT) was increased in several inflammatory diseases, studies investigating whether the inflammatory processes lead to macrovascular alteration with increased IMT in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) lack.
Using ultrasound (high-resolution B-mode), we compared bilaterally the IMT of the common carotid artery (CCA-IMT), the radial artery (RA-IMT), the brachial artery (BRA-IMT) and the quotient QRA/CCA, in CRPS type I (n=17), peripheral nerve injury (PNI, n=17) and pain-free controls (PFC, n=22, matched to CRPS by gender, age and traditional cardiovascular risk factors). Statistics: Spearman’s correlation, paired t-test, ANOVA (p<0.05).
Compared to PFC, RA-IMT were significantly increased in both patient groups bilaterally (mean±standard deviation, CRPS affected side vs. PFC dominant side: 0.32±0.08 mm vs. 0.19±0.08 mm, p<0.001; PNI affected side vs. PFC dominant side: 0.27±0.09 mm vs. 0.19±0.08 mm, p< 0.05; CRPS non-affected side vs. PFC non-dominant side: 0.30±0.10 mm vs. 0.19±0.09 mm, p<0.001; PNI non-affected side vs. PFC non-dominant side: 0.25±0.10 mm vs. 0.19±0.09 mm, p<0.05) and QRA/CCA (CRPS affected-side vs. PFC dominant side: 0.49±0.12 vs. 0.30±0.11, p<0.001; PNI affected side vs. PFC dominant side: 0.41±0.10 vs. 0.30±0.11, p<0.05; CRPS non-affected side vs. PFC non-dominant side: 0.43±0.19 vs. 0.30±0.13, p<0.001; PNI non-affected side vs. PFC non-dominant side: 0.39±0.14 vs. 0.30±0.13, p<0.05), and BRA-IMT - only on the affected side in CRPS (CRPS: 0.42±0.06 mm vs. PFC: 0.35±0.08 mm; p<0.05). In CRPS, QRA/CCA was significantly higher on the affected side compared to PNI (p<0.05). However, only CRPS displayed within-group side-to-side differences with a significantly increased RA-IMT and QRA/CCA on the affected side (p<0.05). The CCA-IMT was comparable between all groups and sides.
The increased IMT of peripheral arteries in CRPS suggests ongoing inflammatory process. Until now, only endothelial dysfunction has been reported. The presented morphological macrovascular alterations might explain the treatment resistance of some CRPS patients.
Complex regional pain syndrome; Macrovascular changes; Intima-media thickness; Inflammatory alterations
While mental comorbidity is considered common in multiple sclerosis (MS), its impact is poorly defined; methods are needed to support studies of mental comorbidity. We validated and applied administrative case definitions for any mental comorbidities in MS.
Using administrative health data we identified persons with MS and a matched general population cohort. Administrative case definitions for any mental comorbidity, any mood disorder, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were developed and validated against medical records using a a kappa statistic (k). Using these definitions we estimated the prevalence of these comorbidities in the study populations.
Compared to medical records, administrative definitions showed moderate agreement for any mental comorbidity, mood disorders and depression (all k ≥ 0.49), fair agreement for anxiety (k = 0.23) and bipolar disorder (k = 0.30), and near perfect agreement for schizophrenia (k = 1.0). The age-standardized prevalence of all mental comorbidities was higher in the MS than in the general populations: depression (31.7% vs. 20.5%), anxiety (35.6% vs. 29.6%), and bipolar disorder (5.83% vs. 3.45%), except for schizophrenia (0.93% vs. 0.93%).
Administrative data are a valid means of surveillance of mental comorbidity in MS. The prevalence of mental comorbidities, except schizophrenia, is increased in MS compared to the general population.
Multiple sclerosis; Administrative data; Validation; Prevalence; Depression; Anxiety; Bipolar disorder; Schizophrenia
Recent work has demonstrated that fall risk can be attributed to cognitive as well as motor deficits. Indeed, everyday walking in complex environments utilizes executive function, dual tasking, planning and scanning, all while walking forward. Pilot studies suggest that a multi-modal intervention that combines treadmill training to target motor function and a virtual reality obstacle course to address the cognitive components of fall risk may be used to successfully address the motor-cognitive interactions that are fundamental for fall risk reduction. The proposed randomized controlled trial will evaluate the effects of treadmill training augmented with virtual reality on fall risk.
Three hundred older adults with a history of falls will be recruited to participate in this study. This will include older adults (n=100), patients with mild cognitive impairment (n=100), and patients with Parkinson’s disease (n=100). These three sub-groups will be recruited in order to evaluate the effects of the intervention in people with a range of motor and cognitive deficits. Subjects will be randomly assigned to the intervention group (treadmill training with virtual reality) or to the active-control group (treadmill training without virtual reality). Each person will participate in a training program set in an outpatient setting 3 times per week for 6 weeks. Assessments will take place before, after, and 1 month and 6 months after the completion of the training. A falls calendar will be kept by each participant for 6 months after completing the training to assess fall incidence (i.e., the number of falls, multiple falls and falls rate). In addition, we will measure gait under usual and dual task conditions, balance, community mobility, health related quality of life, user satisfaction and cognitive function.
This randomized controlled trial will demonstrate the extent to which an intervention that combines treadmill training augmented by virtual reality reduces fall risk, improves mobility and enhances cognitive function in a diverse group of older adults. In addition, the comparison to an active control group that undergoes treadmill training without virtual reality will provide evidence as to the added value of addressing motor cognitive interactions as an integrated unit.
Falls; Ageing; Gait; Cognitive function; Prevention; Virtual reality
Language comprehension requires decoding of complex, rapidly changing speech streams. Detecting changes of frequency modulation (FM) within speech is hypothesized as essential for accurate phoneme detection, and thus, for spoken word comprehension. Despite past demonstration of FM auditory evoked response (FMAER) utility in language disorder investigations, it is seldom utilized clinically. This report's purpose is to facilitate clinical use by explaining analytic pitfalls, demonstrating sites of cortical origin, and illustrating potential utility.
FMAERs collected from children with language disorders, including Developmental Dysphasia, Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and also normal controls - utilizing multi-channel reference-free recordings assisted by discrete source analysis - provided demonstratrions of cortical origin and examples of clinical utility. Recordings from inpatient epileptics with indwelling cortical electrodes provided direct assessment of FMAER origin. The FMAER is shown to normally arise from bilateral posterior superior temporal gyri and immediate temporal lobe surround. Childhood language disorders associated with prominent receptive deficits demonstrate absent left or bilateral FMAER temporal lobe responses. When receptive language is spared, the FMAER may remain present bilaterally. Analyses based upon mastoid or ear reference electrodes are shown to result in erroneous conclusions. Serial FMAER studies may dynamically track status of underlying language processing in LKS. FMAERs in ASD with language impairment may be normal or abnormal. Cortical FMAERs can locate language cortex when conventional cortical stimulation does not.
The FMAER measures the processing by the superior temporal gyri and adjacent cortex of rapid frequency modulation within an auditory stream. Clinical disorders associated with receptive deficits are shown to demonstrate absent left or bilateral responses. Serial FMAERs may be useful for tracking language change in LKS. Cortical FMAERs may augment invasive cortical language testing in epilepsy surgical patients. The FMAER may be normal in ASD and other language disorders when pathology spares the superior temporal gyrus and surround but presumably involves other brain regions. Ear/mastoid reference electrodes should be avoided and multichannel, reference free recordings utilized. Source analysis may assist in better understanding of complex FMAER findings.
Frequency modulation; Auditory evoked response; FMAER; Cortical; Source analysis; Language disorder; Landau-Kleffner syndrome; Autism; Children; Epilepsy surgery
Patients with recent stroke or TIA are at high risk for new vascular events. Several evidence based strategies in secondary prevention of stroke are available but frequently underused. Support programs with multifactorial risk factor modifications after stroke or TIA have not been investigated in large-scale prospective controlled trials so far. INSPiRE-TMS is a prospective, multi-center, randomized open intervention trial for intensified secondary prevention after minor stroke and TIA.
Patients with acute TIA or minor stroke admitted to the participating stroke centers are screened and recruited during in-hospital stay. Patients are randomised in a 1:1 ratio to intervention (support program) and control (usual care) arms. Inclusion of 2.082 patients is planned. The support program includes cardiovascular risk factor measurement and feedback, monitoring of medication adherence, coaching in lifestyle modifications, and active involvement of relatives. Standardized motivational interviewing is used to assess and enhance patients’ motivation. Primary objective is a reduction of new major vascular events defined as nonfatal stroke and myocardial infarction or vascular death. Recruitment time is planned for 3.5 years, follow up time is at least 2 years for every patient resulting in a total study time of 5 years (first patient in to last patient out).
Given the high risk for vascular re-events in acute stroke and the available effective strategies in secondary prevention, the INSPIRE-TMS support program has the potential to lead to a relevant reduction of recurrent events and a prolongation of the event-free survival time. The trial will provide the basis for the decision whether an intensified secondary prevention program after stroke should be implemented into regular care. A cost-effectiveness evaluation will be performed.
TIA; Stroke; Secondary prevention; Intervention trial
To improve quality of life (QOL) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), it is important to decrease disability and prevent relapse. The aim of this study was to examine the causal and mutual relationships contributing to QOL in Japanese patients with MS, develop path diagrams, and explore interventions with the potential to improve patient QOL.
Data of 163 Japanese MS patients were obtained using the Functional Assessment of MS (FAMS) and Nottingham Adjustment Scale-Japanese version (NAS-J) tests, as well as four additional factors that affect QOL (employment status, change of income, availability of disease information, and communication with medical staff). Data were then used in structural equation modeling to develop path diagrams for factors contributing to QOL.
The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score had a significant effect on the total FAMS score. Although EDSS negatively affected the FAMS symptom score, NAS-J subscale scores of anxiety/depression and acceptance were positively related to the FAMS symptom score. Changes in employment status after MS onset negatively affected all NAS-J scores. Knowledge of disease information improved the total NAS-J score, which in turn improved many FAMS subscale scores. Communication with doctors and nurses directly and positively affected some FAMS subscale scores.
Disability and change in employment status decrease patient QOL. However, the present findings suggest that other factors, such as acquiring information on MS and communicating with medical staff, can compensate for the worsening of QOL.
Multiple sclerosis; Quality of life; Structural equation modeling; Severity; Treatment; and Intervention
Jugular venous reflux (JVR) has been reported to cause cough syncope via retrograde-transmitted venous hypertension and consequently decreased cerebral blood flow (CBF). Unmatched frequencies of JVR and cough syncope led us to postulate that there should be additional factors combined with JVR to exaggerate CBF decrement during cough, leading to syncope. The present pilot study tested the hypothesis that JVR, in addition to an increased level of plasma endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictor, is involved in the pathophysiology of cough syncope.
Seventeen patients with cough syncope or pre-syncope (Mean[SD] = 74.63(12.37) years; 15 males) and 51 age/gender-matched controls received color-coded duplex ultrasonography for JVR determination and plasma ET-1 level measurements.
Multivariate logistic analysis showed that the presence of both-side JVR (odds ratio [OR] = 10.77, 95% confident interval [CI] = 2.40-48.35, p = 0.0019) and plasma ET-1 > 3.43 pg/ml (OR = 14.57, 95% CI = 2.95-71.59, p = 0.001) were independently associated with the presence of cough syncope/ pre-syncope respectively. There was less incidence of cough syncope/ pre-syncope in subjects with the absence of both-side JVR and a plasma ET-1 ≦3.43 pg/ml. Presence of both side JVR and plasma ET-1 level of > 3.43 pg/ml, increased risk for cough syncope/pre-syncope (p < 0.001).
JVR and higher plasma levels of ET-1 are associated with cough syncope/ pre-syncope. Although sample size of this study was small, we showed a synergistic effect between JVR and plasma ET-1 levels on the occurrence of cough syncope/pre-syncope. Future studies should confirm our pilot findings.
Cough syncope; Endothelin-1; Jugular venous reflux
Residual disability after stroke is substantial; 65% of patients at 6 months are unable to incorporate the impaired upper extremity into daily activities. Task-oriented training programs are rapidly being adopted into clinical practice. In the absence of any consensus on the essential elements or dose of task-specific training, an urgent need exists for a well-designed trial to determine the effectiveness of a specific multidimensional task-based program governed by a comprehensive set of evidence-based principles. The Interdisciplinary Comprehensive Arm Rehabilitation Evaluation (ICARE) Stroke Initiative is a parallel group, three-arm, single blind, superiority randomized controlled trial of a theoretically-defensible, upper extremity rehabilitation program provided in the outpatient setting.
The primary objective of ICARE is to determine if there is a greater improvement in arm and hand recovery one year after randomization in participants receiving a structured training program termed Accelerated Skill Acquisition Program (ASAP), compared to participants receiving usual and customary therapy of an equivalent dose (DEUCC). Two secondary objectives are to compare ASAP to a true (active monitoring only) usual and customary (UCC) therapy group and to compare DEUCC and UCC.
Following baseline assessment, participants are randomized by site, stratified for stroke duration and motor severity. 360 adults will be randomized, 14 to 106 days following ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke onset, with mild to moderate upper extremity impairment, recruited at sites in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) time score is the primary outcome at 1 year post-randomization. The Stroke Impact Scale (SIS) hand domain is a secondary outcome measure.
The design includes concealed allocation during recruitment, screening and baseline, blinded outcome assessment and intention to treat analyses. Our primary hypothesis is that the improvement in log-transformed WMFT time will be greater for the ASAP than the DEUCC group. This pre-planned hypothesis will be tested at a significance level of 0.05.
ICARE will test whether ASAP is superior to the same number of hours of usual therapy. Pre-specified secondary analyses will test whether 30 hours of usual therapy is superior to current usual and customary therapy not controlled for dose.
http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00871715
Stroke; Brain infarction; Hemiparesis; Neurorehabilitation; Task-specific training; Motor recovery; Occupational therapy; Physical therapy
Responsiveness refers to a measurement tool’s ability to detect change in performance over time. The aim of the review was to summarise studies of responsiveness of lower limb physical performance measures during inpatient care after stroke.
A systematic literature review was conducted. Prospective studies that included participants with a diagnosis of stroke, were commenced in the acute or subacute phase of inpatient care and included a measure of a lower limb physical performance were included in this review.
Twenty-one studies met these inclusion criteria. A variety of measures were investigated including the Berg Balance Scale, various timed walking tests and the Rivermead Mobility Index. Ten of the included studies had small sample sizes (50 participants or less), 2 studies used a convenience sample rather than consecutive recruitment and 5 studies excluded potential participants with poor physical abilities at baseline. Responsiveness varied between and within studies but was generally large, Effect Size (ES) or Standardised Response Mean (SRM) > 0.8. Measures displaying large responsiveness included the twelve-minute walk test (SRM 1.90) and the Modified Rivermead Mobility Index (SRM 1.31) when re-measured at four weeks after stroke, and the Berg Balance Scale (ES 1.11) and Postural Assessment Scale for Stroke Patients (ES 1.12) when re-measured at approximately six months after stroke.
Studies conducted to date have generally found physical performance measures after stroke to have large responsiveness i.e., to be able to detect changes. Further investigation of the responsiveness of measurement tools after stroke in larger prospective cohort studies is required.
Stroke; Responsiveness; Walking; Mobility; Measurement; Rehabilitation
A strong inverse relationship of functional limitation and socioeconomic status has been established in western ageing society. Functional limitation can be related to chronic diseases, disuse, cognitive decline, and ageing. Among chronic diseases in the Thai population, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, and arthritis are common. These factors are known to contribute to disability and poor quality of life in the elder population. Neuropsychiatric problems, cognitive decline, dementia, and cultural issues in elderly people also can alter the quality of life of the elderly.
The Dementia and Disability Project in Thai Elderly (DDP) aims at comprehensively assessing community dwelling Thai elderly to understand the relationship between disability and motor function, neuropsychiatric symptoms, cognitive function, and chronic diseases. The DDP is the first study to look at the prevalence and etiology of dementia and of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in Thai elders and to explore the relationship of cognition, disability, small vessel diseases and cortical degeneration with neuroimaging in Thai elderly people. 1998 Thai elders were screened in 2004–2006 and diagnosed as having MCI or dementia. 223 elders with MCI or dementia and cognitively normal elderly had brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or at baseline. 319 elders from the 3 groups had blood tests to investigate the risks and possible etiologies of dementia including genotyping at baseline.
The mean age of elders in this study is 69.51(SD=6.71, min=60, max=95) years. 689(34.9%) are men and 1284(65.1%) are women. Mean body weight was 58.36(SD=11.20) kgs. The regression model reveals that performance on gait and balance and serum triglyceride predicts activity of daily living performance (adjusted r2 = 0.280, f=2.644, p=0.003). The majority of abnormal gait in Thai elders was lower level gait disturbance. Only 1.5% (29/1952) had highest level gait disorders. 39.5% of 1964 subjects were free of chronic diseases. Treatment gap (indicating those who have untreated or inadequate treatment) of diabetes mellitus and hypertension in Thai elders in this study was 37% and 55.5% respectively. 62.6% of Thai elders have ApoE3E3 allele. Prevalence of positive ApoE4 gene in this study is 22.85%. 38.6% of Thai elders who had MRI brain study have moderate to severe white matter lesions.
The large and comprehensive set of measurements in DDP allows a wide-ranging explanation of the functional and clinical features to be investigated in relation to white matter lesions or cortical atrophy of the brain in Thai elderly population. An almost 2 year follow up was made available to those with MCI and dementia and some of the cognitively normal elderly. The longitudinal design will provide great understanding of the possible contributors to disability in the elderly and to the progression of cognitive decline in Thai elders.
Mild cognitive impairment; Dementia; Alzheimer disease; Disability; White matter lesions; Thailand
It has been suggested that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) CXCL13 is a diagnostic marker of Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB), as its levels have been shown to be significantly higher in LNB than in several other CNS infections. Levels have also been shown to decline after treatment with intravenous ceftriaxone, but levels after treatment with oral doxycycline have previously not been studied. Like Borrelia burgdorferi, HIV also has neurotropic properties. Elevated serum CXCL13 concentrations have been reported in HIV patients, but data on CSF levels are limited.
We longitudinally analysed CSF CXCL13 concentrations in 25 LNB patients before and after oral doxycycline treatment. Furthermore, we analysed CSF CXCL13 concentrations in 16 untreated LNB patients, 27 asymptomatic untreated HIV-1 infected patients and 39 controls with no signs of infectious or inflammatory disease.
In the longitudinal LNB study, initially high CSF CXCL13 levels declined significantly after doxycycline treatment, which correlated to a decreased CSF mononuclear cell count. In the cross-sectional study, all the LNB patients had CSF CXCL13 levels elevated above the lowest standard point of the assay (7.8 pg/mL), with a median concentration of 500 pg/mL (range 34–11,678). Of the HIV patients, 52% had elevated CSF CXCL13 levels (median 10 pg/mL, range 0–498). There was a clear overlap in CSF CXCL13 concentrations between LNB patients and asymptomatic HIV patients. All but one of the 39 controls had CSF CXCL13 levels below 7.8 pg/mL.
We confirm previous reports of highly elevated CSF CXCL13 levels in LNB patients and that these levels decline after oral doxycycline treatment. The same pattern is seen for CSF mononuclear cells. CSF CXCL13 levels are elevated in neurologically asymptomatic HIV patients and the levels overlap those of LNB patients. The diagnostic value of CSF CXCL13 in LNB remains to be established.
Fibrates has been extensively used to improve plasma lipid levels and prevent adverse cardiovascular outcomes. However, the effect of fibrates on stroke is unclear at the present time. We therefore carried out a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of fibrates on stroke.
We systematically searched Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, reference lists of articles, and proceedings of major meetings to identify studies for our analysis. We included randomized placebo controlled trials which reported the effects of fibrates on stroke. Relative risk (RR) was used to measure the effect of fibrates on the risk of stroke under random effect model. The analysis was further stratified by factors that could affect the treatment effects.
Overall, fibrate therapy was not associated with a significant reduction on the risk of stroke (RR, 1.02, 95% CI, 0.90 to 1.16, P = 0.78). In the subgroup analyses, we observed that gemfibrozil therapy showed a beneficial effect on stroke (RR, 0.72, 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.98, P = 0.04). Similarly, fibrate therapy comparing to placebo had no effect on the incidence of fatal stroke. Subgroup analysis suggested that fibrate therapy showed an effect on fatal stroke when the Jadad score more than 3 (RR, 0.41, 95% CI, 0.17 to 1.00, P = 0.049). Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis indicated that fibrate therapy may play a role in fatal stroke (RR, 0.49, 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.93, P = 0.03) for patients with previous diabetes, cardiovascular disease or stroke.
Our study indicated that fibrate therapy might play an important role in reducing the risk of fatal stroke in patients with previous diabetes, cardiovascular disease or stroke. However, it did not have an effect on the incidence of stroke.
Fibrates; Stroke; Meta-analysis
Few studies have systematically addressed the role of epidural analgesia and caesarean delivery in predicting the post-partum disease activity in women with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The objective of this study was to assess the impact of epidural analgesia (EA) and caesarean delivery (CD) on the risk of post-partum relapses and disability in women with MS.
In the context of an Italian prospective study on the safety of immunomodulators in pregnancy, we included pregnancies occurred between 2002 and 2008 in women with MS regularly followed-up in 21 Italian MS centers. Data were gathered through a standardized, semi-structured interview, dealing with pregnancy outcomes, breastfeeding, type of delivery (vaginal or caesarean) and EA. The risk of post-partum relapses and disability progression (1 point on the Expanded Disability Status Sclae, EDSS, point, confirmed after six months) was assessed through a logistic multivariate regression analysis.
We collected data on 423 pregnancies in 415 women. Among these, 349 pregnancies resulted in full term deliveries, with a post-partum follow-up of at least one year (mean follow-up period 5.5±3.1 years). One hundred and fifty-five patients (44.4%) underwent CD and 65 (18.5%) EA. In the multivariate analysis neither CD, nor EA were associated with a higher risk of post-partum relapses. Post-partum relapses were related to a higher EDSS score at conception (OR=1.42; 95% CI 1.11-1.82; p=0.005), a higher number of relapses in the year before pregnancy (OR=1.62; 95% CI 1.15-2.29; p=0.006) and during pregnancy (OR=3.07; 95% CI 1.40-6.72; p=0.005). Likewise, CD and EA were not associated with disability progression on the EDSS after delivery. The only significant predictor of disability progression was the occurrence of relapses in the year after delivery (disability progression in the year after delivery: OR= 4.00; 95% CI 2.0-8.2; p<0.001; disability progression over the whole follow-up period: OR= 2.0; 95% CI 1.2-3.3; p=0.005).
Our findings, show no correlation between EA, CD and postpartum relapses and disability. Therefore these procedures can safely be applied in MS patients. On the other hand, post-partum relapses are significantly associated with increased disability, which calls for the need of preventive therapies after delivery.
Epidural analgesia; Caesarean delivery; Multiple sclerosis; Pregnancy
Stroke is one of the major causes of loss of independence, decreased quality of life and mortality among elderly people. About half of the elderly stroke patients discharged after rehabilitation in a nursing home still experience serious impairments in daily functioning one year post stroke, which can lead to difficulties in picking up and managing their social life. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of a new multidisciplinary transmural rehabilitation programme for older stroke patients.
A two group multicentre randomised controlled trial is used to evaluate the effects of the rehabilitation programme. The programme consists of three care modules: 1) neurorehabilitation treatment for elderly stroke patients; 2) empowerment training for patient and informal caregiver; and 3) stroke education for patient and informal caregiver. The total programme has a duration of between two and six months, depending on the individual problems of the patient and informal caregiver. The control group receives usual care in the nursing home and after discharge.
Patients aged 65 years and over are eligible for study participation when they are admitted to a geriatric rehabilitation unit in a nursing home due to a recent stroke and are expected to be able to return to their original home environment after discharge. Data are gathered by face-to-face interviews, self-administered questionnaires, focus groups and registration forms. Primary outcomes for patients are activity level after stroke, functional dependence, perceived quality of life and social participation. Outcomes for informal caregivers are perceived care burden, objective care burden, quality of life and perceived health. Outcome measures of the process evaluation are implementation fidelity, programme deliverance and the opinion of the stroke professionals, patients and informal caregivers about the programme. Outcome measures of the economic evaluation are the healthcare utilisation and associated costs. Data are collected at baseline, and after six and 12 months. The first results of the study will be expected in 2014.
International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Register Number ISRCTN62286281, The Dutch Trial Register NTR2412
Stroke; Rehabilitation; Aftercare; Elderly persons; Discharged; Nursing home
Based upon the acquainted loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra in Parkinson’s disease (PD), we hypothesised changes in magnetic resonance imaging signal intensities of the basal ganglia to be useful as an additional technical tool in the diagnostic work-up.
Region-of-interest analyses (substantia nigra and globus pallidus internus) of T2-weighted scans were performed in seventy subjects with PD, 170 age- and gender-matched controls and 38 patients with an atypical form of neurodegenerative Parkinsonian syndrome (N = 11 multisystem atrophy, N = 22 progressive supranuclear palsy, N = 5 corticobasal syndrome).
In patients with PD, significant changes in signal intensities within the substantia nigra were observed compared to controls at p < 0.001. For the globus pallidus internus, signal alterations in PD and progressive supranuclear palsy were found to be significant (p < 0.001) if compared to controls. Furthermore, signal changes of substantia nigra correlated with signal intensities of globus pallidus internus in the ipsilateral hemisphere in both groups. Sensitivity was 86% and specificity was 90% for the combined analysis of substantia nigra and globus pallidus internus in the complete patient sample versus controls.
Signal alterations of substantia nigra and globus pallidus internus in routine magnetic resonance imaging were useful to distinguish patients with PD from controls. In addition, signal changes in globus pallidus internus could be used to differentiate progressive supranuclear palsy patients from controls. These analyses have the potential to serve as an additional non-invasive technical tool to support the individual differential diagnosis of PD.
Parkinson’s disease; MRI; Substantia nigra; Globus pallidus internus; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Morphological changes
Reduced upper extremity function is one of the most common impairments after stroke and has previously been reported in approximately 70-80% of patients in the acute stage. Acute care for stroke has changes over the last years, with more people being admitted to a stroke unit as well as use of thrombolysis. The aim of the present study was to describe baseline characteristics, care pathway and discharge status in an unselected group of patients with first occasion of stroke who were at a stroke unit within 72 hours after stroke and also to investigate the frequency of impaired arm and hand function. A second aim was to explore factors associated with impaired upper extremity function and the impact of impairment on the patient’s outcome.
Patients over 18 years of age with first ever stroke, living in a geographical catchment area, being at the stroke unit within 72 hours after onset, with no prior upper extremity impairment were included. Baseline characteristics, arm and hand function within 72 hours, stroke outcome and care pathway in the acute phase were described, by gathering information retrospectively from the patients’ charts. Ischemic strokes were categorized according to the Bamford classification and the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment criteria.
Of the 969 patients with first ever stroke who were screened, 642 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria. According to the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), the patients had a mean score of 6.0, median 3.0, at arrival to the hospital. Ischemic stroke was most frequent in the anterior circulation (87.7%). Within 72 hours after stroke onset 48.0% of the patients had impaired arm and hand function and this was positively associated with higher age (p < 0.004), longer stay in the acute care (p < 0.001) and mortality in acute care (p < 0.001). Directly admitted to the stroke unit were 89.1% of the patients and 77.1% received hospital care on same day as stroke onset. Mean length of stay in the stroke unit was 9.9 days, 56.8% of the patients were discharged directly home from the stroke unit. Mortality within 72 hours after stroke onset was 5.0%.
Impaired arm and hand function is present in 48% of the patients in a non selected population with first ever stroke, estimated within 72 hours after onset. This is less than previously reported. Impaired arm and hand function early after stroke is associated with higher age, longer stay in the acute care, and higher mortality within the acute hospital care.
Stroke recovery; Upper extremity; Paresis; Outcomes; Process assessment
Physical disability in multiple sclerosis (MS) is frequently characterized by impaired ambulation. Although walking tests have been successfully employed to assess walking ability in MS patients, data analytic procedures have predominantly relied on result-oriented parameters (e.g. total distance covered during a given amount of time), whereas process-oriented, dynamic walking patterns have mostly been ignored. This is striking, since healthy individuals have been observed to display a stereotypical U-shaped pattern of walking speed during timed walking, characterized by relatively high speed during the initial phase, subsequent slowing and final acceleration. Objective of the current study was to test the utility of the 6 min Walk (6MW) and the 12 min Walk (12MW) for revealing putatively abnormal temporal dynamic features of walking in MS.
A group of 37 MS patients was divided into subgroups with regard to their level of disability analyzed with the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS; Mild MS Group, n = 20, EDSS 0 – 3.5; Moderate MS Group, n = 17, EDSS 4 – 5). Subsequently, both groups were compared to age-matched healthy controls (n = 25) on both tests with regard to result-oriented characteristics (mean walking speed), as well as dynamic features (mean decline in walking speed, degree of observed U-shape).
Both MS groups showed a significantly lower mean walking speed than healthy controls, independent of test duration. Compared to controls, the Moderate MS Group also slowed down more rapidly throughout both tests. The same pronounced decline in walking speed was observed for the Mild MS Group in case of the 12MW. Additionally, for both MS groups an attenuated U-shaped velocity pattern was observed relative to controls in the 6MW. Patients' subjective fatigue scores were more strongly correlated with the decline in walking speed than with the common parameter of mean walking speed in the 6MW.
MS patients display abnormal dynamics in their walking patterns. A pronounced linear decline in walking speed can be identified with the 12MW even in MS patients with seemingly mild disability. Similarly, the 6MW can be used to assess an abnormal walking profile. Particularly the linear decline in walking speed on this test shows a more robust association with subjective fatigue than mean walking speed. Dynamic walking parameters may hence represent valuable clinical features, serving as surrogate measures of motor fatigue. Future studies are needed to verify their prognostic value.
Multiple sclerosis; Ambulation; Walking; 6 minute walk; 6MW; 12 minute walk; 12MW; Linear trend; U-shape
This paper provides a strategy to obtain a reliable estimate of the incidence rate for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis based on data from the National Registry of Rare Diseases (NRRD). In fact, unobserved cases may be due to the fact that “a long time” may intercour between the suspect of having the disease (onset) and the date the disease is diagnosed. Potential factors that may influence the probability of experiencing the event (diagnosis) conditionally on the onset (suspected) are investigated. Since we are treating rare diseases, the role of social and economic factors is not that obvious; latent as well as observed factors may influence the delay to diagnosis.
We use a semiparametric estimator based on the distribution of delay to diagnosis to account for potential underreporting. In particular, we propose to adopt an Horvitz-Thompson based estimator to correct the incidence figure that can be derived for the period 2007-2009 from the NRRD, Italy.
The incidence estimates obtained by adopting the proposed approach are about 1 case per 100000 inhabitants and despite they let recovering a good part of underreporting, they are still far from ALS incidence international ranges between 1.5 and 2.5. However, by looking only at northern Italy, the incidence estimates we can derive are coherent with those known internationally.
These results confirm the existence of substantial differences in reporting accuracy, and point out where the system of data collection must be improved. In particular, when reliable individual characteristics will be available, they could be employed to refine the proposed estimator.
Delay to diagnosis; Horvitz-Thompson; Incidence estimate; Rare diseases; Reverse hazard