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Journal: BMC neurology


BACKGROUND: The autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) confine a group of rare and heterogeneous disorders, which present with progressive ataxia and numerous other features e.g. peripheral neuropathy, macular degeneration and cognitive impairment, and a subset of these disorders is caused by CAG-repeat expansions in their respective genes. The diagnosing of the SCAs is often difficult due to the phenotypic overlap among several of the subtypes and with other neurodegenerative disorders e.g. Huntington’s disease, CASE PRESENTATION: We report a family in which the proband had rapidly progressing cognitive decline and only subtle cerebellar symptoms from age 42. Sequencing of the TATA-box binding protein gene revealed a modest elongation of the CAG/CAA-repeat of only two repeats above the non-pathogenic threshold of 41, confirming a diagnosis of SCA17. Normally, repeats within this range show reduced penetrance and result in a milder disease course with slower progression and later age of onset. Thus, this case presented with an unusual phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: The current case highlights the diagnostic challenge of neurodegenerative disorders and the need for a thorough clinical and paraclinical examination of patients presenting with rapid cognitive decline to make a precise diagnosis on which further genetic counseling and initiation of treatment modalities can be based.

Concepts: Gene, Evolution, Phenotype, Neurodegenerative disorders, Ataxia, Macular degeneration, Huntington's disease, Spinocerebellar ataxia


BACKGROUND: The prognostic value of evoked potentials (EPs) in multiple sclerosis (MS) has not been fully established. The correlations between the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) at First Neurological Evaluation (FNE) and the duration of the disease, as well as between EDSS and EPs, have influenced the outcome of most previous studies. To overcome this confounding relations, we propose to test the prognostic value of EPs within an appropriate patient population which should be based on patients with low EDSS at FNE and short disease duration. METHODS: We retrospectively selected a sample of 143 early relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) patients with an EDSS < 3.5 from a larger database spanning 20 years. By means of bivariate logistic regressions, the best predictors of worsening were selected among several demographic and clinical variables. The best multivariate logistic model was statistically validated and prospectively applied to 50 patients examined during 2009--2011. RESULTS: The Evoked Potentials score (EP score) and the Time to EDSS 2.0 (TT2) were the best predictors of worsening in our sample (Odds Ratio 1.10 and 0.82 respectively, p=0.001). Low EP score (below 15--20 points), short TT2 (lower than 3--5 years) and their interaction resulted to be the most useful for the identification of worsening patterns. Moreover, in patients with an EP score at FNE below 6 points and a TT2 greater than 3 years the probability of worsening was 10% after 4--5 years and rapidly decreased thereafter. CONCLUSIONS: In an appropriate population of early RRMS patients, the EP score at FNE is a good predictor of disability at low values as well as in combination with a rapid buildup of disability. Interestingly, an EP score at FNE under the median together with a clinical stability lasting more than 3 years turned out to be a protective pattern. This finding may contribute to an early identification of benign patients, well before the term required to diagnose Benign MS (BMS).

Concepts: Logistic regression, Medical terms, Demography, Chaos theory, Multiple sclerosis, Value, Expanded Disability Status Scale, David Bowie


BACKGROUND: In previous studies we found that MHC2TA +1614 genotype frequency was very different when MS patients with and without human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) in serum samples were compared; a different clinical behavior was also described. The purpose of the study was: 1. To evaluate if MHC2TA expression in MS patients was influenced by interferon beta (IFN-beta) treatment. 2. To study MHC2TA expression in MS patients with and without minor allele C. 3. To analyze the relation between MHC2TA mRNA levels and HHV-6 active infection in MS patients. METHODS: Blood and serum samples of 154 MS patients were collected in five programmed visits: basal (prior to beginning IFN-beta treatment), six, twelve, eighteen and twenty-four months later. HHV-6 in serum and MHC2TA mRNA levels were evaluated by PCR and RT-PCR, respectively. Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against IFN-beta were analyzed by the cytopathic effect assay. RESULTS: We found that MHC2TA mRNA levels were significantly lower among MS patients with HHV-6 active infection at the basal visit (without treatment) than in those MS patients without HHV-6 active infection at the basal visit (p = 0.012); in all the positive samples we only found variant A. Furthermore, 58/99 (58.6%) MS patients without HHV-6 along the five programmed visits and an increase of MHC2TA expression after two-years of IFN-beta treatment were clinical responders vs. 5/21 (23.8%) among those MS patients with HHV-6 and a decrease of MHC2TA mRNA levels along the two-years with IFN-beta treatment (p = 0.004); no differences were found between patients with and without NAbs. CONCLUSIONS: MHC2TA mRNA levels could be decreased by the active replication of HHV-6; the absence of HHV-6 in serum and the increase of MHC2TA expression could be further studied as markers of good clinical response to IFN-beta treatment.

Concepts: Immune system, Genetics, Virus, Multiple sclerosis, Herpesviridae, Herpesviruses, Human herpesvirus 6, Roseolovirus


Myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder, occurs owing to autoantibodies against acetylcholine receptors. MG symptoms can be triggered by various vaccines. Many studies have evaluated the safety and adverse events of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Here, we present a life-threatening case of ocular and bulbar MG symptoms after HPV vaccination and a brief literature review.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults worldwide and approximately half of those affected are in Europe. The assessment of differential incidence and prevalence across populations can reveal spatial, temporal and demographic patterns which are important for identifying genetic and environmental factors contributing to MS. However, study methodologies vary and the quality of the methods can influence the estimates. This study aimed to systematically review European studies of incidence and prevalence of MS and to provide a quantitative assessment of their methodological quality.

Concepts: Scientific method, Evaluation, Sociology, Multiple sclerosis, Metaphysics


There are considerable phenotypic and neuroimmune overlaps between myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and multiple sclerosis (MS). While the precise aetiologies of both MS and ME/CFS are unclear, evidence suggests that deterioration in cognitive function is widely prevalent in patients with either condition. Little is known about differing risk factors or exposures, which may lead to severe cognitive or sleep symptoms. This study aims to gauge the extent of cognitive and sleep symptoms in ME/CFS and MS patients participating in the UK ME/CFS Biobank and identify the characteristics of those experiencing severe symptoms.

Concepts: Disease, Medical statistics, The Canon of Medicine, Avicenna, Multiple sclerosis, Cognition, Knowledge, Fatigue


As little is known of association(s) between gut microbiota profiles and host immunological markers, we explored these in children with and without multiple sclerosis (MS).


Aspiration pneumonia is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Clinical characteristics of PD patients in addition to specific alterations in swallowing mechanisms contribute to higher swallowing times and impairment in the effective clearance of the airway. These issues may render patients more prone to dysphagia and aspiration events. We aimed to determine the frequency of aspiration events in a hospitalized PD cohort, and to report the number of in-hospital swallow evaluations.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Pneumonia, Actuarial science, Aspiration pneumonia, Dysphagia, Swallowing


The association between multiple sclerosis (MS) and cancer has long been investigated with conflicting results. Several reports suggest an increased cancer risk among MS patients treated with immunosuppressant (IS) drugs.

Concepts: Multiple sclerosis


Recent exercise guidelines for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) recommend a minimum of 30 min moderate intensity aerobic exercise and resistance exercise twice per week. This trial compared the secondary outcomes of a combined 10-week guideline based intervention and a Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) education programme with the same exercise intervention involving an attention control education.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Exercise, Multiple sclerosis, Educational psychology, Cycling, Strength training, Weight training, Exercise physiology