SciCombinator

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Concept: Neurology

663

 To determine whether patient outcomes differ between general internists who graduated from a medical school outside the United States and those who graduated from a US medical school.

Concepts: Pathology, United States, Physician, Neurology, High school, Pediatrics, Medical school, Internal medicine

387

In recent years consumption of canola oil has increased due to lower cost compared with olive oil and the perception that it shares its health benefits. However, no data are available on the effect of canola oil intake on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. Herein, we investigated the effect of chronic daily consumption of canola oil on the phenotype of a mouse model of AD that develops both plaques and tangles (3xTg). To this end mice received either regular chow or a chow diet supplemented with canola oil for 6 months. At this time point we found that chronic exposure to the canola-rich diet resulted in a significant increase in body weight and impairments in their working memory together with decrease levels of post-synaptic density protein-95, a marker of synaptic integrity, and an increase in the ratio of insoluble Aβ 42/40. No significant changes were observed in tau phosphorylation and neuroinflammation. Taken together, our findings do not support a beneficial effect of chronic canola oil consumption on two important aspects of AD pathophysiology which includes memory impairments as well as synaptic integrity. While more studies are needed, our data do not justify the current trend aimed at replacing olive oil with canola oil.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Fatty acid, Neurology, Ratio, Semantic memory, Tau protein, Alois Alzheimer

306

Background Effective medical therapies are lacking for the treatment of neurofibromatosis type 1-related plexiform neurofibromas, which are characterized by elevated RAS-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. Methods We conducted a phase 1 trial of selumetinib (AZD6244 or ARRY-142886), an oral selective inhibitor of MAPK kinase (MEK) 1 and 2, in children who had neurofibromatosis type 1 and inoperable plexiform neurofibromas to determine the maximum tolerated dose and to evaluate plasma pharmacokinetics. Selumetinib was administered twice daily at a dose of 20 to 30 mg per square meter of body-surface area on a continuous dosing schedule (in 28-day cycles). We also tested selumetinib using a mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1-related neurofibroma. Response to treatment (i.e., an increase or decrease from baseline in the volume of plexiform neurofibromas) was monitored by using volumetric magnetic resonance imaging analysis to measure the change in size of the plexiform neurofibroma. Results A total of 24 children (median age, 10.9 years; range, 3.0 to 18.5) with a median tumor volume of 1205 ml (range, 29 to 8744) received selumetinib. Patients were able to receive selumetinib on a long-term basis; the median number of cycles was 30 (range, 6 to 56). The maximum tolerated dose was 25 mg per square meter (approximately 60% of the recommended adult dose). The most common toxic effects associated with selumetinib included acneiform rash, gastrointestinal effects, and asymptomatic creatine kinase elevation. The results of pharmacokinetic evaluations of selumetinib among the children in this trial were similar to those published for adults. Treatment with selumetinib resulted in confirmed partial responses (tumor volume decreases from baseline of ≥20%) in 17 of the 24 children (71%) and decreases from baseline in neurofibroma volume in 12 of 18 mice (67%). Disease progression (tumor volume increase from baseline of ≥20%) has not been observed to date. Anecdotal evidence of decreases in tumor-related pain, disfigurement, and functional impairment was observed. Conclusions Our early-phase data suggested that children with neurofibromatosis type 1 and inoperable plexiform neurofibromas benefited from long-term dose-adjusted treatment with selumetinib without having excess toxic effects. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01362803 .).

Concepts: Signal transduction, Brain tumor, Magnetic resonance imaging, Neurology, Area, Neurofibromatosis, Neurofibroma, Dermal and subcutaneous growths

275

Progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is a severely disabling neurological condition, and an effective treatment is urgently needed. Recently, high-dose biotin has emerged as a promising therapy for affected individuals. Initial clinical data have shown that daily doses of biotin of up to 300 mg can improve objective measures of MS-related disability. In this article, we review the biology of biotin and explore the properties of this ubiquitous coenzyme that may explain the encouraging responses seen in patients with progressive MS. The gradual worsening of neurological disability in patients with progressive MS is caused by progressive axonal loss or damage. The triggers for axonal loss in MS likely include both inflammatory demyelination of the myelin sheath and primary neurodegeneration caused by a state of virtual hypoxia within the neuron. Accordingly, targeting both these pathological processes could be effective in the treatment of progressive MS. Biotin is an essential co-factor for five carboxylases involved in fatty acid synthesis and energy production. We hypothesize that high-dose biotin is exerting a therapeutic effect in patients with progressive MS through two different and complementary mechanisms: by promoting axonal remyelination by enhancing myelin production and by reducing axonal hypoxia through enhanced energy production.

Concepts: Nervous system, Neuron, Action potential, Multiple sclerosis, Neurology, Axon, Myelin, Oligodendrocyte

254

Under economic pressure, medicine is increasingly being subjected to the efficiency principles of “Taylorism.” But applying standardization to certain vital aspects of medicine can result in inappropriate and unresponsive care, as well as clinician burnout.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Neurology, Geriatrics, Health care system

232

CCL11, a protein previously associated with age-associated cognitive decline, is observed to be increased in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) compared to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Using a cohort of 23 deceased American football players with neuropathologically verified CTE, 50 subjects with neuropathologically diagnosed AD, and 18 non-athlete controls, CCL11 was measured with ELISA in the dorsolateral frontal cortex (DLFC) and CSF. CCL11 levels were significantly increased in the DLFC in subjects with CTE (fold change = 1.234, p < 0.050) compared to non-athlete controls and AD subjects with out a history of head trauma. This increase was also seen to correlate with years of exposure to American football (β = 0.426, p = 0.048) independent of age (β = -0.046, p = 0.824). Preliminary analyses of a subset of subjects with available post-mortem CSF showed a trend for increased CCL11 among individuals with CTE (p = 0.069) mirroring the increase in the DLFC. Furthermore, an association between CSF CCL11 levels and the number of years exposed to football (β = 0.685, p = 0.040) was observed independent of age (β = -0.103, p = 0.716). Finally, a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis demonstrated CSF CCL11 accurately distinguished CTE subjects from non-athlete controls and AD subjects (AUC = 0.839, 95% CI 0.62-1.058, p = 0.028). Overall, the current findings provide preliminary evidence that CCL11 may be a novel target for future CTE biomarker studies.

Concepts: Brain, Death, Cognition, Neurology, Dementia, Cerebrospinal fluid, Receiver operating characteristic, American football

220

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurological disorder with symptom onset early in childhood. Growing evidence suggests anomalous brain development across multiple brain regions is evident in school-aged children; however, few studies have examined whether such differences are notable in the preschool years when symptom onset typically occurs.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Neurology, Educational psychology, Neurological disorder, Neurological disorders

211

To identify where a consensus can be reached between veterinary experts in feline medicine on the core signs sufficient for pain (sufficient to indicate pain when they occur, but not necessarily present in all painful conditions) and necessary for pain (necessary in the presence of pain, but not always indicative of pain).

Concepts: Neuroscience, Neurology, Acupuncture, Dentistry, Suffering, Necessity

195

Because curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may protect the brain from neurodegeneration, we studied its effect on memory in non-demented adults and explored its impact on brain amyloid and tau accumulation using 2-(1-{6-[(2-[F-18]fluoroethyl)(methyl)amino]-2-naphthyl}ethylidene)malononitrile positron emission tomography (FDDNP-PET).

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Positron emission tomography, Positron, Neurology, Hippocampus, Positron emission, Carbon-11, Fluorine-18

195

Newborn infants display strong nociceptive behavior in response to tissue damaging stimuli, and this is accompanied by nociceptive activity generated in subcortical and cortical areas of the brain [1, 2]. In the absence of verbal report, these nociceptive responses are used as measures of pain sensation in newborn humans, as they are in animals [3, 4]. However, many infants are raised in a physiologically stressful environment, and little is known about the effect of background levels of stress upon their pain responses. In adults, acute physiological stress causes hyperalgesia [5-7], and increased background stress increases pain [8-10], but these data cannot necessarily be extrapolated to infants. Here we have simultaneously measured nociceptive behavior, brain activity, and levels of physiological stress in a sample of 56 newborn human infants aged 36-42 weeks. Salivary cortisol (hypothalamic pituitary axis), heart rate variability (sympathetic adrenal medullary system), EEG event-related potentials (nociceptive cortical activity), and facial expression (behavior) were acquired in individual infants following a clinically required heel lance. We show that infants with higher levels of stress exhibit larger amplitude cortical nociceptive responses, but this is not reflected in their behavior. Furthermore, while nociceptive behavior and cortical activity are normally correlated, this relationship is disrupted in infants with high levels of physiological stress. Brain activity evoked by noxious stimulation is therefore enhanced by stress, but this cannot be deduced from observation of pain behavior. This may be important in the prevention of adverse effects of early repetitive pain on brain development.

Concepts: Hypothalamus, Infant, Brain, Neuroscience, Cerebral cortex, Neurology, Electroencephalography, Evoked potential