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Journal: BMC neurology


Recent evidence has indicated an association between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and multiple sclerosis. Small internal jugular veins (IJVs) (with a cross-sectional area of less than 0.4 cm2) have been previously described as difficult to catheterize, and their presence may potentially affect cerebrospinal venous drainage. In this blinded extracranial color-Doppler study we had two principal aims: first, to assess prevalence of CCSVI among Serbian MS patients compared to healthy controls; and second, to assess prevalence of small IJVs (with a CSA <= 0.4 cm2) among MS patients and controls.

Concepts: Multiple sclerosis, Internal jugular vein, Jugular vein, Common facial vein, Area, Sclerotherapy, Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, Veins of the head and neck


BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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). CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Childbirth, Obstetrics, Multiple sclerosis, Caesarean delivery on maternal request, Epidural, Caesarean section, Placenta accreta


BACKGROUND: 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSION: 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.

Concepts: Cerebral cortex, Temporal lobe, Cerebrum, Superior temporal gyrus, Wernicke's area, Autism, Modulation, Frequency modulation


BACKGROUND: The recent SLEEMSA study that evaluated excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in Caucasian patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) demonstrated that EDS was more frequent in patients (28%) than in healthy subjects (2%). However, the prevalence and determinants of EDS in other ethnic populations have not been reported to date. METHODS: We performed a single-hospital prospective study on patients with probable MSA. To ascertain the prevalence and determinants of EDS in Japanese MSA patients, we assessed the patients' degree of daytime sleepiness by using the Japanese version of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). In addition, we investigated the effects of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and abnormal periodic leg movements in sleep (PLMS), which were measured by polysomnography, on the patients' ESS scores. RESULTS: A total of 25 patients with probable MSA (21 patients with cerebellar MSA and 4 patients with parkinsonian MSA) were included in this study. All patients underwent standard polysomnography. The mean ESS score was 6.2 +/- 0.9, and EDS was identified in 24% of the patients. SDB and abnormal PLMS were identified in 24 (96%) and 11 (44%) patients, respectively. The prevalences of EDS in patients with SDB and abnormal PLMS were 25% and 18%, respectively. No correlations were observed between ESS scores and the parameters of SDB or abnormal PLMS. CONCLUSIONS: The frequency of EDS in Japanese patients with MSA was similar to that in Caucasian MSA patients. SDB and abnormal PLMS were frequently observed in MSA patients, although the severities of these factors were not correlated with EDS. Further investigations using objective sleep tests need to be performed.

Concepts: Sleep, Sleep disorder, Parkinson's disease, Sleep apnea, Sleep medicine, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Excessive daytime sleepiness, Sleep disorders


BACKGROUND: POLG1 mutations have been associated to MELAS-like phenotypes. However given several clinical differences it is unknown whether POLG1 mutations are possible causes of MELAS or give raise to a distinct clinical and genetic entity, named POLG1-associated encephalopathy. CASE PRESENTATION: We describe a 74 years old man carrying POLG1 mutations presenting with strokes, myopathy and ragged red fibers with some atypical aspects for MELAS such as late onset, lack of cerebral calcification and presence of frontal and occipital MRI lesions better consistent with the POLG associated-encephalopathy spectrum. CONCLUSION: The lack of available data hampers a definite diagnosis in our patient as well as makes it difficult to compare MELAS, which is a clearly defined clinical syndrome, with POLG1-associated encephalopathy, which is so far a purely molecularly defined syndrome with a quite heterogeneous clinical picture. However, the present report contributes to expand the phenotypic spectrum of POLG1 mutations underlining the importance of searching POLG1 mutations in patients with mitochondrial signs and MELAS like phenotypes but negative for common mtDNA mutations.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Natural selection, Evolution, Mitochondrial DNA, Mitochondrial diseases, MT-TH, MT-TL1


BACKGROUND: Using surrogate biomarkers for disease progression as endpoints in neuroprotective clinical trials may help differentiate symptomatic effects of potential neuroprotective agents from true disease-modifying effects. A systematic review was undertaken to determine what biomarkers for disease progression in Parkinson’s disease (PD) exist. METHODS: MEDLINE and EMBASE (1950–2010) were searched using five search strategies. Abstracts were assessed to identify papers meriting review in full. Studies of participants with idiopathic PD diagnosed by formal criteria or clearly described clinical means were included. We made no restriction on age, disease duration, drug treatment, or study design. We included studies which attempted to draw associations between any tests used to investigate disease progression and any clinical measures of disease progression. The electronic search was validated by hand-searching the two journals from which most included articles came. RESULTS: 183 studies were included: 163 (89%) cross-sectional, 20 (11%) longitudinal. The electronic search strategy had a sensitivity of 71.4% (95% CI 51.1-86.0) and a specificity of 97.1% (95% CI 96.5-97.7). In longitudinal studies median follow-up was 2.0 years (IQR 1.1-3.5). Included studies were generally poor quality - cross-sectional with small numbers of participants, applying excessive inclusion/exclusion criteria, with flawed methodologies and simplistic statistical analyses. CONCLUSION: We found insufficient evidence to recommend the use of any biomarker for disease progression in PD clinical trials, which may simply reflect the poor quality of research in this area. We therefore present a provisional ‘roadmap’ for conducting future disease progression biomarker studies, and recommend new quality criteria by which future studies may be judged.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Cohort study, Medicine, Experimental design, Epidemiology, Cross-sectional study, Effectiveness, Parkinson's disease


Many brain-injured patients referred for outpatient rehabilitation have executive deficits, notably difficulties with planning, problem-solving and goal directed behaviour. Goal Management Training (GMT) has proven to be an efficacious cognitive treatment for these problems. GMT entails learning and applying an algorithm, in which daily tasks are subdivided into multiple steps. Main aim of the present study is to examine whether using an errorless learning approach (preventing the occurrence of errors during the acquisition phase of learning) contributes to the efficacy of Goal Management Training in the performance of complex daily tasks.

Concepts: Time, Psychology, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Management, Efficacy, Learning, Problem solving


Phase 3 trials supporting dextromethorphan/quinidine (DM/Q) use as a treatment for pseudobulbar affect (PBA) were conducted in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or multiple sclerosis (MS). The PRISM II study provides additional DM/Q experience with PBA secondary to dementia, stroke, or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Concepts: Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, Multiple sclerosis, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Excitotoxicity, Jean-Martin Charcot, Minocycline, Dysarthria


Stroke is a major complication of sickle cell anaemia (SCA). It occurs commonly in childhood with about 10 % of children with sickle cell anaemia getting affected by this complication. In Uganda, there is paucity of data on the prevalence of stroke in children admitted in a tertiary institution. We determined the prevalence of stroke amongst children with SCA admitted to Mulago National Referral Hospital in Uganda and described the ir co-morbidities.

Concepts: Red blood cell, Sickle-cell disease, Sickle, Anemias


Migraine is included in the top-ten disabling diseases and conditions among the Western populations. Non-invasive neurostimulation, including the Cefaly® device, for the treatment of various types of pain is a relatively new field of interest. The aim of the present study was to explore the clinical experience with Cefaly® in a cohort of migraine patients previously refractory or intolerant to topiramate prophylaxis.

Concepts: Nervous system, Present, Cohort study, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Demography, The Western, Supraorbital nerve