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1.  Neurologists’ diagnostic accuracy of depression and cognitive problems in patients with parkinsonism 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:37.
Depression and cognitive impairment (CI) are important non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and related syndromes, but it is not clear how well they are recognised in daily practice. We have studied the diagnostic performance of experienced neurologists on the topics depression and cognitive impairment during a routine encounter with a patient with recent-onset parkinsonian symptoms.
Two experienced neurologists took the history and examined 104 patients with a recent-onset parkinsonian disorder, and assessed the presence of depression and cognitive impairment. On the same day, all patients underwent a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale test, and a Scales for Outcomes in Parkinson’s Disease-Cognition-test (SCOPA-COG).
The sensitivity of the neurologists for the topic depression was poor: 33.3%. However, the specificity varied from 90.8 to 94.7%. The patients’ sensitivity was higher, although the specificity was lower. On the topic CI, the sensitivity of the neurologists was again low, in a range from 30.4 up to 34.8%: however the specificity was high, with 92.9%. The patients’ sensitivity and specificity were both lower, compared to the number of the neurologists.
Neurologists’ intuition and clinical judgment alone are not accurate for detection of depression or cognitive impairment in patients with recent-onset parkinsonian symptoms because of low sensitivity despite of high specificity.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3465198  PMID: 22702891
Mood disorder; Dementia; Non-motor; Parkinson’s disease
2.  Deterioration of Parkinson's disease during hospitalization: survey of 684 patients 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:13.
A substantial fraction of Parkinson's disease patients deteriorate during hospitalisation, but the precise proportion and the reasons why have not been studied systematically and the focus has been on surgical wards and on Accident & Emergency departments. We assessed the prevalence and risk factors of deterioration of Parkinson's disease symptoms during hospitalization, including all wards.
We invited Parkinson's disease patients from three neurology departments in The Netherlands to answer a standardised questionnaire on general, disease and hospital related issues. Patients who had been hospitalized in the previous year were included and analysed. Possible risk factors for Parkinson's disease deterioration were identified. Proportions were analysed using the Chi-Square test and a logistic regression analysis was performed.
Eighteen percent of 684 Parkinson's disease patients had been hospitalized at least once in the last year. Twenty-one percent experienced deterioration of motor symptoms, 33% did have one or more complications and 26% had received incorrect anti-Parkinson's medication. There were no statistically significant differences for these variables between admissions on neurologic or non-neurologic wards and between having surgery or not. Incorrect medication during hospitalization was significantly associated with higher risk (OR 5.8, CI 2.5-13.7) of deterioration, as were having infections (OR 6.7 CI 1.8-24.7). A higher levodopa equivalent dose per day was a significant risk factor for deterioration. When adjusting for different variables, wrong medication distribution was the most important risk factor for deterioration.
Incorrect medication and infections are the important risk factors for deterioration of Parkinson's disease patients both for admissions with and without surgery and both for admissions on neurologic and non-neurologic wards. Measures should be taken to improve care and incorporated in guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3314577  PMID: 22400982
3.  The predictive value of transcranial duplex sonography for the clinical diagnosis in undiagnosed parkinsonian syndromes: comparison with SPECT scans 
BMC Neurology  2008;8:42.
Transcranial duplex sonography (TCD) of the substantia nigra has emerged as a promising, non-invasive tool to diagnose idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD). However, its diagnostic accuracy in patients with undefined parkinsonism remains to be determined.
In this study we determined the predictive value of TCD for the clinical diagnosis in undiagnosed parkinsonian syndromes. Additionally we compared the predictive value of TCD with that of presynaptic and postsynaptic single photon emission computer tomography (SPECT) scans.
We studied 82 patients with an unclassified parkinsonian syndrome. All 82 patients were subjected to a TCD, 59 of them underwent a presynaptic SPECT scans and 32 underwent a postsynaptic SPECT scan.
We determined the diagnostic accuracy of TCD and SPECT scans in differentiating:
1) IPD patients from patients without nigrostriatal degeneration and 2) IPD patients from patients with atypical parkinsonian syndromes (APS).
To compare the diagnostic accuracy of TCD and SPECT scans, we used the clinical diagnosis after follow-up according to generally accepted clinical criteria as the gold standard. This clinical diagnosis was determined by a movement disorder specialist.
3) Finally, we ascertained the predictive value of the TCD for the SPECT result.
The clinical diagnoses after follow-up resulted in 51 cases of IPD, 7 patients with APS and 17 patients without nigrostriatal degeneration. In total 7 patients remained undiagnosed.
1) The accuracy of TCD, assessed by sensitivity and specificity, to differentiate IPD patients from patients without nigrostriatal degeneration was 50% and 82% respectively.
For the presynaptic SPECT scans sensitivity was 97% and specificity 100%.
2) In differentiating IPD patients from APS patients, the sensitivity and specificity of TCD was 50% and 43% respectively. For presynaptic SPECT scans this was 97% and 0%. For the postsynaptic SPECT scans the sensitivity was 75% and the specificity 81%.
3) The positive predictive value (PPV) of an abnormal TCD for an abnormal presynaptic SPECT scan was 88%.
Presynaptic SPECT scanning has a higher predictive value for the clinical diagnosis than TCD. However, since the PPV of an abnormal TCD for parkinsonism with nigrostriatal degeneration is high, TCD might be used as screening tool, before ordering a presynaptic SPECT.
PMCID: PMC2628347  PMID: 18992168
4.  Protocol of a prospective study on the diagnostic value of transcranial duplex scanning of the substantia nigra in patients with parkinsonian symptoms 
BMC Neurology  2007;7:28.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. As there is no definitive diagnostic test, its diagnosis is based on clinical criteria. Recently transcranial duplex scanning (TCD) of the substantia nigra in the brainstem has been proposed as an instrument to diagnose PD. We and others have found that TCD scanning of substantia nigra duplex is a relatively accurate diagnostic instrument in patients with parkinsonian symptoms. However, all studies on TCD so far have involved well-defined, later-stage PD patients, which will obviously lead to an overestimate of the diagnostic accuracy of TCD.
We have therefore set out to conduct a prospective study testing the diagnostic accuracy of TCD in patients with a parkinsonism of unclear origin.
We will enrol 250 consecutive patients, who are referred to neurology outpatient clinics of two teaching hospitals, for analysis of clinically unclear parkinsonism. Patients, whose parkinsonism is clearly diagnosable at the first visit, will be excluded from the study. All patients will undergo a TCD of the substantia nigra. As a surrogate gold standard we will use the consensus clinical diagnosis reached by two independent, blinded, movement disorder specialist neurologists after 2 years follow-up. At the time of TCD, patients will also undergo a SPECT scan of the brain.
As this prospective trial enrols only patients with an early-stage parkinsonism, it will yield data on the diagnostic accuracy of TCD that is relevant to daily clinical practice: The neurologist needs a diagnostic tool that provides additional information in patients with a clinically indefinable parkinsonian syndrome. The above described observational longitudinal study was designed to explicitly study this aspect in the diagnostic process.
Trial registration
(ITRSCC) NCT00368199
PMCID: PMC2034584  PMID: 17784944
5.  Meta-analysis of the literature on diagnostic accuracy of SPECT in parkinsonian syndromes 
BMC Neurology  2007;7:27.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. One of the most widely used techniques to diagnose PD is a Single Photon Emission Computer Tomography (SPECT) scan to visualise the integrity of the dopaminergic pathways in the brain. Despite this there remains some discussion on the value of SPECT in the differential diagnosis of PD. We did a meta-analysis of all the existing literature on the diagnostic accuracy of both pre- and post-synaptic SPECT imaging in the differential diagnosis of PD.
Relevant studies were searched in Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane databases with back-searching of their reference lists. We limited our analysis to studies with a clinically relevant methodology: i.e. when they assessed the ability of the SPECT to provide 1. diagnosis of PD in an early phase vs. normalcy; 2 diagnostic differentiation between PD and essential tremor (ET); 3. distinguishing between PD and vascular parkinsonism (VP); 4. delineation of PD from atypical parkinsonian syndromes (APS). Gold standard was, dependent on the study type, clinical examination at initial visit or follow-up, and/or response to dopaminergic agents.
The search gave 185 hits, of which we deemed 32 suitable for our analysis. From these we recalculated the diagnostic odds ratio of SPECT for the clinical questions above. The pooled odds ratio (with 95%CI) for presynaptic SPECT scan's ability to distinguish between early PD and normalcy was 60 (13 – 277). For the ability to differentiate between PD and ET this ratio was 210 (79–562). The ratio for presynaptic SPECT's ability to delineate PD from VP was 105 (32 – 348). The mean odds ratio for the presynaptic SPECT scans to differentiate between PD and the two APS was 2 (1 – 4), and for the postsynaptic SPECT imaging this was 19 (9–36).
SPECT with presynaptic radiotracers is relatively accurate to differentiate patients with PD in an early phase from normalcy, patients with PD from those with ET, and PD from VP.
The accuracy of SPECT with both presynaptic and postsynaptic tracers to differentiate between PD and APS is relatively low.
PMCID: PMC2064928  PMID: 17764571
6.  Randomised controlled trial of gabapentin in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type 1 [ISRCTN84121379] 
BMC Neurology  2004;4:13.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type one (CRPS I) or formerly Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a disabling syndrome, in which a painful limb is accompanied by varying symptoms. Neuropathic pain is a prominent feature of CRPS I, and is often refractory to treatment. Since gabapentin is an anticonvulsant with a proven analgesic effect in various neuropathic pain syndromes, we sought to study the efficacy of the anticonvulsant gabapentin as treatment for pain in patients with CRPS I.
We did a randomized double blind placebo controlled crossover study with two three-weeks treatment periods with gabapentin and placebo separated by a two-weeks washout period. Patients started at random with gabapentin or placebo, which was administered in identical capsules three times daily. We included 58 patients with CRPS type 1.
Patients reported significant pain relief in favor of gabapentin in the first period. Therapy effect in the second period was less; finally resulting in no significant effect combining results of both periods. The CRPS patients had sensory deficits at baseline. We found that this sensory deficit was significantly reversed in gabapentin users in comparison to placebo users.
Gabapentin had a mild effect on pain in CRPS I. It significantly reduced the sensory deficit in the affected limb. A subpopulation of CRPS patients may benefit from gabapentin.
PMCID: PMC523854  PMID: 15453912

Results 1-6 (6)