Clinical Neuroscience

[Alemtuzumab: benefits and challenges of new therapy in multiple sclerosis]

ILLÉS Zsolt, TOBIAS Sejbaek, CSÉPÁNY Tünde

MAY 30, 2015

Clinical Neuroscience - 2015;68(05-06)


[The widening spectrum of MS treatment is partially due to increasing knowledge about the pathogenesis of MS. The humanized monoclonal antibody against CD52, alemtuzumab has been approved in Europe for the treatment of MS, which results in long-term depletion of B and T cells due to complement- and antibody-mediated cytotoxicity. Based on phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, alemtuzumab decreases the risk of sustained neurological deficit and progression compared to high-dose subcutaneous interferon- β1a in patients with active relapsing-remitting MS, either treatment-naïve or with breakthrough disease. We review advantages and benefits of the treatment, discuss safety concerns, and present a case to describe practical issues.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Zonisamide: one of the first-line antiepileptic drugs in focal epilepsy ]


[Chronic administration of antiepileptic drugs without history of unprovoked epileptic seizures are not recommended for epilepsy prophylaxis. Conversely, if the patient suffered the first unprovoked seizure, then the presence of epileptiform discharges on the EEG, focal neurological signs, and the presence of epileptogenic lesion on the MRI are risk factors for a second seizure (such as for the development of epilepsy). Without these risk factors, the chance of a second seizure is about 25-30%, while the presence of these risk factors (for example signs of previous stroke, neurotrauma, or encephalitis on the MRI) can predict >70% seizure recurrence. Thus the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) re-defined the term ’epilepsy’ which can be diagnosed even after the first seizure, if the risk of seizure recurrence is high. According to this definition, we can start antiepileptic drug therapy after a single unprovoked seizure. There are four antiepileptic drugs which has the highest evidence (level „A”) as first-line initial monotherapy for treating newly diagnosed epilepsy. These are: carbamazepine, phenytoin, levetiracetam, and zonisamide (ZNS). The present review focuses on the ZNS. Beacuse ZNS can be administrated once a day, it is an optimal drug for maintaining patient’s compliance and for those patients who have a high risk for developing a non-compliance (for example teenagers and young adults). Due to the low interaction potential, ZNS treatment is safe and effective in treating epilepsy of elderly people. ZNS is an ideal drug in epilepsy accompanied by obesity, because ZNS has a weight loss effect, especially in obese patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Watershed infarction in hypereosinophilic syndrome: a diagnostic dilemma in FIP1L1-PDGFR alpha-associated myeloid neoplasm

IMELDA Marton, PÓSFAI Éva, ANNUS János Kristóf, BORBÉNYI Zita, NEMES Attila, VÉCSEI László, VÖRÖS Erika

Introduction - The FIP1L1-PDGFR alpha-positive, hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) is a new category of hematological entities. Various clinical symptoms may occur, with no specific characteristics in either the clinical picture or the neuroimaging findings, and this may give rise to a diagnostic dilemma. A report on a long follow-up period (10 years) in a case of HES that presented with neuropsychiatric symptoms appears to be unique. Besides the complexity of the diagnostic process, the successful treatment is discussed. Case report - The HES was diagnosed in a male patient at the age of 33 years, with involvement of the central nervous system and the myocardium. After the onset of the clinical signs, the MRI indicated bilateral cerebral and cerebellar cortico-subcortical lesions involving the watershed areas, mainly in the parieto-occipital regions. High-dose intravenous steroid (methylprednisolone 500 mg/day) alleviated the neurological symptoms within a few weeks, and the administration of imatinib (200 mg/day) resulted in an impressive regression of the hypereosinophilia and splenomegaly within 6 weeks. During the follow-up, the patient has continued to receive imatinib. The molecular remission has persisted, no new complaints have developed and the condition of the patient has remained stable. Conclusion - The timely recognition of the HES and identification of the disease subtype which led to the administration of imatinib may be the key to successful treatment. The long stable follow-up period gives rise to a new dilemma in the treatment of the HES in these special cases: for how long should a patient receive a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and may the treatment be suspended?

Clinical Neuroscience

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency - disease or misdiagnosis?

PÁNCZÉL Gyula, SZIKORA István, BERENTEI Zsolt, GUBUCZ István, MAROSFŐI Miklós, KOVÁCS Krisztina, RÓZSA Anikó, RÓZSA Csilla

Background and purpose - Former studies reported internal jugular vein stenosis in patients with multiple sclerosis. We aimed to evaluate if these venous stenoses were real and cerebral venous outflow of patients with multiple sclerosis differed from that of normal controls. Methods - 20 controls were prospectively investigated by angiography and duplex ultrasound. Seven patients with multiple sclerosis underwent angiography in other centers; we reviewed these registrations and performed venous ultrasound examinations. Results - Angiography displayed >50% stenosis of internal jugular vein in 19 controls (69±17% on the right and 73±13% on the left side) and <50% stenosis in 1 control (43.5% and 44.6%). All 7 patients had at least one-sided stenosis. The mean degree of stenosis was 63±16% on the right and 67±13% on the left side. There was no significant difference in the degree of stenosis between patients and controls. However, these “stenoses” disappeared if the contrast agent was injected at a catheter position below the orifice of the subclavian vein during venography. The venous flow volume was also similar between groups: 479.7±214.1 and 509.8±212.0 ml/min (right and left side) in the patients and 461.3±224.3 and 513.6±352.2 ml/min in the control group; p=0.85 and 0.98 (right and left). Color and power duplex imaging also revealed normal blood flow of the internal jugular vein in all patients and controls. Conclusion - The cerebral venous status of patients with multiple sclerosis and controls were similar. The angiographic “stenoses” were virtual, caused by the contrast dilution effect of the non-contrast blood stream of the subclavian vein.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Acoustic CR®-neuromodulation - first experiencies in Hungary with novel patented method in therapy of chronic subjectiv tinnitus]


[Objective - Acoustic CR®-neuromodulation is a novel patented method for the therapy of chronic subjective tinnitus and has been tested in Hungary, as one of the first European countries introducing this procedure. It can be used for the treatment of monaural or binaural tonal tinnitus. Suitability of patients for this therapy was assessed by the help of an appropriate set of criteria. Aim of our study was to analyze 6-month therapy and related measurement data of patients first treated with this method in Hungary and evaluate the results. Method - 27 outpatients (20 males, seven females) with a minimum of 6-month long history of subjective tinnitus were assessed (four detected on the right side, six on the left side, 17 on both sides) who were treated for six months by Acoustic CR®-neuromodulation. On 44 treated ears (21 right, 23 left), changes of tinnitus frequency and loudness were measured and analysed, using Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) loudness/annoyance/pitch scores and Tinnitus Handicap Inventory tests, which were performed at defined intervals during the treatment period. Results - During this 6-month treatment period, significant decrease was detected in tinnitus frequency and loudness by tinnitometry (irrespective of the affected side), and an improvement in VAS annoyance/pitch scores and THI test results. VAS loudness did not show any significant changes. Conclusion - Acoustic CR®-neuromodulation therapy may be a useful treatment of subjective chronic tinnitus, but its efficacy should be proved in controlled clinical trials.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Characteristics and differential diagnostics of sleep related pathological movements. Update 2013]

FALUDI Béla, KOVÁCS Norbert, JANSZKY József, KOMOLY Sámuel

[Wide variety of the movements (from the physiologic body position changes to different pathologic events) can be seen during the sleep period. The most important types of these movements are the sleep related events (from the parasomnias to the restless leg related movements), the movement disorders and the epilepsy related events. To differentiate between these events is required special skill, which is based on appropriate characterisation of the events (for example timing, repetition, pattern), the polysomnographic and video-EEG examination and validated questionnaires (FLEP scale). The appropriate differential diagnostics and therapy must be based on the knowledge of the relationship of the sleep architecture and movement events. This review would like to provide guideline for the understanding and recognizing the nature of the sleep related movements.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

Matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis: Possible markers and treatment agents


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are synthesized by many cell groups and responsible for the destruction of matrix proteins, and endogen tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) have a role in the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by affecting the blood-brain barrier. We aimed to investigate the role of MMPs and TIMPs in the immunopathogenesis and in the course of multiple sclerosis (MS). We enrolled 25 relapsing remitting MS patients, who had a definite MS diagnosis according to McDonald criteria and 25 healthy subjects similar for age and gender as control group. MMP-9- and TIMP-1 levels were measured twice in patient group (one time during an attack and one in remission) and once in healthy subjects. MMP-9- and TIMP-levels of patients during attack and remission period and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratio were found significantly higher than in the control subjects. In patient group MMP-9 and TIMP-1 levels and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratio during attacks were not significantly different than during remission period. However, when subdivided according to their number of attacks, patients with 2 attacks had significantly higher levels during attack period comparing to remission period (p<0.05); in case of patients with more than 2 attacks did not have a statistically significant difference in attack and remission periods. Matrix metalloproteinases are important actors in MS immunopathogenesis, particularly in the early period and inhibitor agents for these enzymes can be used as a treatment option.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Family planning in multiple sclerosis: conception, pregnancy, breastfeeding]

RÓZSA Csilla

[Family planning is an exceptionally important question in multiple sclerosis, as women of childbearing age are the ones most often affected. Although it is proven that pregnancy does not worsen the long-term prognosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, many patients are still doubtful about having children. This question is further complicated by the fact that patients – and often even doctors – are not sufficiently informed about how the ever-increasing number of available disease-modifying treatments affect pregnancies. Breastfeeding is an even less clear topic. Patients usually look to their neurologists first for answers concerning these matters. It falls to the neurologist to rationally evaluate the risks and benefits of contraception, pregnancy, assisted reproduction, childbirth, breastfeeding and disease modifying treatments, to inform patients about these, and then together come to a decision about the best possible therapeutic approach, taking the patients’ individual family plans into consideration. Here we present a review of relevant literature adhering to international guidelines on the topics of conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding, with a special focus on the applicability of approved disease modifying treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The goal of this article is to provide clinicians involved in the care of MS patients with up-to-date information that they can utilize in their day-to-day clinical practice. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Controversies in neurology: Diagnosis, follow up and therapy of multiple sclerosis with pathomechanismal approach]


[The clinical boundaries between the relapsing and progressive course of multiple sclerosis are often indistinct. Despite the variable patterns of evolution, there are no biological reasons for discerning different multiple sclerosis phenotypes. Indeed, both primary progressive and secondary forms of the disease share similar pathological features in respect of the extent of inflammatory infiltrates, axonal damage, and cortical demyelination. The data indicating that primary progressive multiple sclerosis is preceded by an asymptomatic relapsing remitting phase. The proposed definition of secondary progressive multiple slcerosis, the attainment of at least EDSS of 4 is required to mark the transition to the progressive phase. Therefore, the clinical progress can be uncovered in the early phase of the disease. Furthermore, a continuous progression independent of relapsing activity is commonly observed during the relapsing remitting phase. A continuous smouldering process underpins the subtle clinical deterioration, which stands out as an important unmet treatment target. Concerning cognitive dysfunction of the patients pro-inflammatory cytokines have been associated with worse cognition in active multiple sclerosis, and this inflammatory milieu could also contribute to altered mentation during relapses. Therefore, long before people with multiple sclerosis become physically disabled, they have usually acquired hidden disabilities related to cognitive impairment. Silent progression appears during the relapsing remitting phase and it associates with brain atrophy. This suggests that the same process that underlies secondary progressive multiple sclerosis likely begins far earlier than is generally recognized. This supports a unitary view of multiple sclerosis biology. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Current questions of multiple sclerosis: the secunder progressive form of the disease]


[Recent data suggest that long-term worsening is common in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients and is largely independent of relapses or new lesion formation on brain MRI. The current definition of secunder progressive multiple sclerosis is worsening of disability independent of relapses over at least 6-month interval. Early focal inflammatory disease activity and spinal cord lesion are predictors of very-long term disease outcomes in relapse - onset multiple sclerosis. The potential of PET imaging to visualize hidden inflammation in MS brain in vivo is an important contribution for better understanding the progression of the disease. Therefore, PET imaging is a promising tool in detecting the conversion from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis to secunder progressive form of multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, neuro-axonal damage is the pathological substrate of permanent disability in different neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis. The neurofilament proteins have promise in this context because their levels rise upon neuro-axonal damage not only in the cerebrospinal fluid but also in blood. Patients with increased serum levels of neurofilament at baseline, independent of other clinical and MRI variables, experience significantly more brain and spinal cord volume loss over 2 years and 5 years of follow-up. The kynurenine-pathway abnormalities may be associated with the swich from early-mild stage multiple sclerosis to debilitating progressive forms of the disease. Analysis of these metabolites in serum may have application as multiple sclerosis disease biomarkers. Free radical action has been suggested as a causal factor in the illness. Increased free radical production and consumption of the scavenger molecules were found during the active phase of the disease. Based on the clinical findings (EXPAND Study) and pathomechanism of the disease siponimod is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of relapsing remitting forms of multiple sclerosis, to include secunder progressive multiple sclerosis with active disease, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and clinically isolated syndrome.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Health status and costs of ambulatory patients with multiple sclerosis in Hungary]

PÉNTEK Márta, GULÁCSI László, RÓZSA Csilla, SIMÓ Magdolna, ILJICSOV Anna, KOMOLY Sámuel, BRODSZKY Valentin

[Background and purpose - Data on disease burden of multiple sclerosis from Eastern-Central Europe are very limited. Our aim was to explore the quality of life, resource utilisation and costs of ambulating patients with multiple sclerosis in Hungary. Methods - Cross-sectional questionnaire survey was performed in two outpatient neurology centres in 2009. Clinical history, health care utilisation in the past 12 months were surveyed, the Expanded Disability Status Scale and the EQ-5D questionnaires were applied. Cost calculation was conducted from the societal perspective. Results - Sixty-eight patients (female 70.6%) aged 38.0 (SD 9.1) with disease duration of 7.8 (SD 6.7) years were involved. Fifty-five (80.9%) had relapsing-remitting form and 52 (76.5%) were taking immunomodulatory drug. The average scores were: Expanded Disability Status Scale 1.9 (SD 1.7), EQ-5D 0.67 (SD 0.28). Mean total cost amounted to 10 902 Euros/patient/year (direct medical 67%, direct nonmedical 13%, indirect costs 20%). Drugs, disability pension and informal care were the highest cost items. Costs of mild (Expanded Disability Status Scale 0-3.5) and moderate (Expanded Disability Status Scale 4.0-6.5) disease were 9 218 and 17 634 Euros/patient/year respectively (p<0.01), that is lower than results from Western European countries. Conclusion - Our study provides current inputs for policy making and contributes to understanding variation of costof- illness of multiple sclerosis in Europe.]