Clinical Neuroscience

[Assessment of motor impairment with electromyography - the kinesiological EMG]


DECEMBER 20, 2003

Clinical Neuroscience - 2003;56(11-12)

[Kinesiological electromyography means the application of the surface EMG measurement technique during movement and locomotion. The authors investigated the motor impairments of the upper limb of patients with spastic hemiparesis. Surface EMG activity in musculus biceps brachii and musculus triceps brachii were recorded during voluntary elbow flexion and extension movements. In some cases even the raw EMG signals contain the accurate information but more often the recorded signals should further be processed to achieve more valuable data concerning muscle performance. The limitations of the technique underlines the importance of the several steps of the processing. The purpose of this study is to present a systematic description of the methods and the precise application of surface EMG. The authors give a comprehensive view of different processing methods and demonstrate the application areas of the kinesiological EMG.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of studies of Janos Szentagothai in developmental neurology]

KATONA Ferenc, BERÉNYI Marianne

[The vestibulospinal system plays determining role in the activation processes of elementary sensorymotor patterns characterised by the verticalisation of the trunk and elevation of the head. In the thirties of the last century János Szentágothai proved that axons of the vestibulospinal tract reach the cervical and thoracic spinal cord and innervate the muscles of the neck. Later he verified existence of various connections among the labyrinth, the vestibular system, and the motor nuclei of the III., IV. and the VI. cranial nerves. His studies explain the functional neuroanatomic background of sitting up, sitting and balancing in the air, head-elevation and head control during the execution of a special elementary sensorymotor pattern: ”sitting in air”. All these functions can be activated by labyrinthine stimulation long before the maturation of the corticospinal tract.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Physical and electrophysiological aspects of electroconvulsive therapy (review)]


[Personnel and technical conditions for ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) is legally determined. In this article the author reviews studies focused on the technical questions of ECT. After the comparison of the unilateral and bilateral electrode placement an analysis is given on the physical properties of the stimulus used to elicit seizures. After discussing the questions of dose, vaweform frequency and polarity, the anatomical and physiological factors of impedance are evaluated. The author then discuss gender, age and encephalopathy as factors influencing seizure threshold. The connection between symmetry, regularity, and postictal suppression registered on the EEG and efficacy is observed. The EEG and EMG concordance is supposed to be connected also with the efficacy. In the discussion the author gives recommendations based on the literature.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Serotonin dysfunctions and the „Seven Deadly Sins”]

JANKA Zoltán

[The symbolic characters of the Seven Deadly Sins can be traced from time to time in the cultural history of human mankind, being directly specified in certain artistic products. Such are, among others, the painting entitled „The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things” by Hieronymus Bosch and the poems Divina Commedia and The Faerie Queene by Dante Alighieri and Edmund Spenser, respectively. However, there are several paragraphs referring to these behaviours of the Seven Deadly Sins in the Bible and in the dramas of William Shakespeare. The objective of the present review is to propose that dysfunctions in the central serotonergic system might be involved in the the neurobiology of these ’sinful’ behaviour patterns. Evidences indicate that behaviour traits such as Accidia (Sloth), Luxuria (Lust, Lechery), Superbia (Pride), Ira (Wrath, Anger), Invidia (Envy), Avaritia (Greed, Avarice), and Gula (Gluttony) can relate to the functional alterations of serotonin in the brain. Results of biochemical and molecular genetic (polymorphism) studies on the human serotonergic system (receptor, transporter, enzyme), findings of functional imaging techniques, effects of depletion (or supplementation) of the serotonin precursor tryptophan, data of challenge probe investigations directed to testing central serotonergic functions, alterations in the peripheral serotonin measures (platelet), and the changes in the CSF 5-hydroxy-indoleacetic acid content indicate such serotonergic involvement. Furthermore, results of animal experiments on behaviour change (aggressive, dominant or submissive, appetite, alcohol preference) attributed to serotonin status modification and the clinically evidenced therapeutic efficacy of pharmacological interventions, based on the modulation and perturbation of the serotonergic system (e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), in treating the ’sinful’ behaviour forms and analogous pathological states reaching the severity of psychiatric disorders (depression, sexual disturbances, social phobia, impulsivity-aggression, obsessive-compulsive and related spectrum disorders, paranoid jealousy, eating disorders) all strongly suggest the possibility that brain serotonin dysfunctions might underlie the neurophysiology of the Seven Deadly Sins.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[HIV infection and neurology - long term follow-up of HIV infected children]


[Objectives - Before the widespread introduction of combined antiretroviral therapy (1995) complications from HIV and AIDS in the central nervous system had been reported in larger proportion in infants and children than in adults: 80-90% versus 60-70%. Particular clinical manifestations tend to occur at different stages during the evolution of HIV infection. The authors review the neurological aspects of HIV infection. Method - First, a summary of the protocol of the neurological examinations and related experience is given. Then authors present the evaluation of neuro-psychological development, prevalence of neurological impairment and neuro-imaging of nine HIV infected children (seven boys, two girls) for the period of ten years (1991-2001). Three/ten children had vertically transmitted HIV, six/nine were infected by a nosocomial route in their early childhood. Children were regularly followed up from the diagnosis of HIV. The median follow up time has been 79 month (range: 18-144 month). Four patients died during the study period. The neurological status, the motor and mental development were examined at three month intervals or monthly under one year of age. EEG was performed every six month and CT/MRI once a year. All patients received combined antiretroviral treatment and immunglobulin therapy continuously. Results - Three/nine children have normal development, one/nine has hyperactive and attention deficit disorder with normal IQ range, two/nine have slight, one/nine moderate and two/nine serious mental retardation. Mild neurological signs were found in two children, various moderate and serious neuro/psychological symptoms were found in four patients, one of them was treated with benign epilepsy too. There was also close correlation between the clinical symptoms and the results of EEG examination (diffuse background slowing) and results of neuroimaging studies (cortical atrophy, calcification of the basal ganglia, toxoplasma abscesses). According to the results of different examinations three/nine children were found to be symptom-free, one/nine case showed the static form, two/nine patients showed the plateau form, two/nine the rapid progressive form and one/nine the progressive infantile form of AIDS encephalopathy. The majority of the patients suffered from adapting problems and difficulties of socialisation since their families lives were damaged by isolation and rejection from the community. Conclusion - The regular neurological and psychological examinations completed with EEG, CT/MRI were very informative to follow the course of neuro-psychological problems of HIV infected children. Symptom-free patients have to face psychosocial problems too, which cause much more damage in their mental progress than HIV itself.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Thallium poisoning induced polyneuropathy - clinical and electrophysiological data]


[Introduction - The aim of the study was the electrophysiological investigation of thallium induced polyneuropathy. Beyond the rarity of the illness, the motivation of this work was the possibility of following up the pattern of neuronal damage. Thallium is one of the most toxic heavy metal and its wide use increases the chance of chronic or accidental acute poisoning. The entero-hepatic circulation makes the accumulation of this toxic agent in tissues possible, mostly in neurons, in the epithelial cells of the digestive tract, in the germinative cells of the skin and testicles. In addition to alopecia and digestive complaints, the clinical picture of thallium poisoning is dominated by neurological signs. Severe axonal polyneuropathy develops in almost all cases, with further damage to the retina and impairment of cognitive functions being not unusual. The diagnosis is confirmed by finding high levels of thallium in body fluids, especially in saliva and urine. Case report - Electrophysiological examination of our accidentally poisoned patient revealed severe, sensory-motor, predominant motor axonal polyneuropathy and pointed out some aspects of the pattern of neurotoxic process: the initially distal lesion, the dying-back course and the capacity for regeneration. Conclusion - Because thallium has the same molecular targets as potassium ion thus impairing the energetical supply of the nerve cell, the most effective treatment is carefully loading with potassium. If recognized and treated early, thallium poisoning has a favourable prognosis.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

Alexithymia is associated with cognitive impairment in patients with Parkinson’s disease

SENGUL Yildizhan, KOCAK Müge, CORAKCI Zeynep, SENGUL Serdar Hakan, USTUN Ismet

Cognitive dysfunction (CD) is a common non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Alexithy­mia is a still poorly understood neuropsychiatric feature of PD. Cognitive impairment (especially visuospatial dysfunction and executive dysfunction) and alexithymia share com­mon pathology of neuroanatomical structures. We hypo­thesized that there must be a correlation between CD and alexithymia levels considering this relationship of neuroanatomy. Objective – The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between alexithymia and neurocognitive function in patients with PD. Thirty-five patients with PD were included in this study. The Toronto Alexithymia Scale–20 (TAS-20), Geriatric Depression Inventory (GDI) and a detailed neuropsychological evaluation were performed. Higher TAS-20 scores were negatively correlated with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) similarities test score (r =-0.71, p value 0.02), clock drawing test (CDT) scores (r=-0.72, p=0.02) and verbal fluency (VF) (r=-0.77, p<0.01). Difficulty identifying feelings subscale score was negatively correlated with CDT scores (r=-0.74, p=0.02), VF scores (r=-0.66, p=0.04), visual memory immediate recall (r=-0.74, p=0.01). VF scores were also correlated with difficulty describing feelings (DDF) scores (r=-0.66, p=0.04). There was a reverse relationship bet­ween WAIS similarities and DDF scores (r=-0.70, p=0.02), and externally oriented-thinking (r=-0.77,p<0.01). Executive function Z score was correlated with the mean TAS-20 score (r=-62, p=0.03) and DDF subscale score (r=-0.70, p=0.01) Alexithymia was found to be associated with poorer performance on visuospatial and executive function test results. We also found that alexithymia was significantly correlated with depressive symptoms. Presence of alexithymia should therefore warn the clinicians for co-existing CD.

Clinical Neuroscience

[The Comprehensive Aphasia Test in Hungarian]


[In this paper we present the Comprehensive Aphasia Test-Hungarian (CAT-H; Zakariás and Lukács, in preparation), an assessment tool newly adapted to Hungarian, currently under standardisation. The test is suitable for the assessment of an acquired language disorder, post-stroke aphasia. The aims of this paper are to present 1) the main characteristics of the test, its areas of application, and the process of the Hungarian adaptation and standardisation, 2) the first results from a sample of Hungarian people with aphasia and healthy controls. Ninety-nine people with aphasia, mostly with unilateral, left hemisphere stroke, and 19 neurologically intact control participants were administered the CAT-H. In addition, we developed a questionnaire assessing demographic and clinical information. The CAT-H consists of two parts, a Cognitive Screening Test and a Language Test. People with aphasia performed significantly worse than the control group in all language and almost all cognitive subtests of the CAT-H. Consistent with our expectations, the control group performed close to ceiling in all subtests, whereas people with aphasia exhibited great individual variability both in the language and the cognitive subtests. In addition, we found that age, time post-onset, and type of stroke were associated with cognitive and linguistic abilities measured by the CAT-H. Our results and our experiences clearly show that the CAT-H provides a comprehensive profile of a person’s impaired and intact language abilities and can be used to monitor language recovery as well as to screen for basic cognitive deficits in aphasia. We hope that the CAT-H will be a unique resource for rehabilitation professionals and aphasia researchers in aphasia assessment and diagnostics in Hungary. ]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Second game, 37th move and Fourth game 78th move]

VOKÓ Zoltán

[What has Go to do with making clinical decisions? One of the greatest intellectual challenges of bedside medicine is making decisions under uncertainty. Besides the psychological traps of traditionally intuitive and heuristic medical decision making, lack of information, scarce resources and characteristics of doctor-patient relationship contribute equally to this uncertainty. Formal, mathematical model based analysis of decisions used widely in developing clinical guidelines and in health technology assessment provides a good tool in theoretical terms to avoid pitfalls of intuitive decision making. Nevertheless it can be hardly used in individual situations and most physicians dislike it as well. This method, however, has its own limitations, especially while tailoring individual decisions, under inclusion of potential lack of input data used for calculations, or its large imprecision, and the low capability of the current mathematical models to represent the full complexity and variability of processes in complex systems. Nevertheless, clinical decision support systems can be helpful in the individual decision making of physicians if they are well integrated in the health information systems, and do not break down the physicians’ autonomy of making decisions. Classical decision support systems are knowledge based and rely on system of rules and problem specific algorithms. They are utilized widely from health administration to image processing. The current information revolution created the so-called artificial intelligence by machine learning methods, i.e. machines can learn indeed. This new generation of artificial intelligence is not based on particular system of rules but on neuronal networks teaching themselves by huge databases and general learning algorithms. This type of artificial intelligence outperforms humans already in certain fields like chess, Go, or aerial combat. Its development is full of challenges and threats, while it presents a technological breakthrough, which cannot be stopped and will transform our world. Its development and application has already started also in the healthcare. Health professionals must participate in this development to steer it into the right direction. Lee Sedol, 18-times Go world champion retired three years after his historical defeat from AlphaGo artificial intelligence, be­cause “Even if I become the No. 1, there is an entity that cannot be defeated”. It is our great luck that we do not need to compete or defeat it, we must ensure instead that it would be safe and trustworthy, and in collaboration with humans this entity would make healthcare more effective and efficient. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Advanced Parkinson’s disease characteristics in clinical practice: Results from the OBSERVE-PD study and sub-analysis of the Hungarian data]

TAKÁTS Annamária, ASCHERMANN Zsuzsanna, VÉCSEI László, KLIVÉNYI Péter, DÉZSI Lívia, ZÁDORI Dénes, VALIKOVICS Attila, VARANNAI Lajos, ONUK Koray, KINCZEL Beatrix, KOVÁCS Norbert

[The majority of patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease are treated at specialized movement disorder centers. Currently, there is no clear consensus on how to define the stages of Parkinson’s disease; the proportion of Parkinson’s patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, the referral process, and the clinical features used to characterize advanced Parkinson’s disease are not well delineated. The primary objective of this observational study was to evaluate the proportion of Parkinson’s patients identified as advanced patients according to physician’s judgment in all participating movement disorder centers across the study. Here we evaluate the Hungarian subset of the participating patients. The study was conducted in a cross-sectional, non-interventional, multi-country, multi-center format in 18 countries. Data were collected during a single patient visit. Current Parkinson’s disease status was assessed with Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) parts II, III, IV, and V (modified Hoehn and Yahr staging). Non-motor symptoms were assessed using the PD Non-motor Symptoms Scale (NMSS); quality of life was assessed with the PD 8-item Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (PDQ-8). Parkinson’s disease was classified as advanced versus non-advanced based on physician assessment and on questions developed by the Delphi method. Overall, 2627 patients with Parkinson’s disease from 126 sites were documented. In Hungary, 100 patients with Parkinson’s disease were documented in four movement disorder centers, and, according to the physician assessment, 50% of these patients had advanced Parkinson’s disease. Their mean scores showed significantly higher impairment in those with, versus without advanced Parkinson’s disease: UPDRS II (14.1 vs. 9.2), UPDRS IV Q32 (1.1 vs. 0.0) and Q39 (1.1 vs. 0.5), UPDRS V (2.8 vs. 2.0) and PDQ-8 (29.1 vs. 18.9). Physicians in Hungarian movement disorder centers assessed that half of the Parkinson’s patients had advanced disease, with worse motor and non-motor symptom severity and worse QoL than those without advanced Parkinson’s disease. Despite being classified as eligible for invasive/device-aided treatment, that treatment had not been initiated in 25% of these patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

The effects of the level of spinal cord injury on life satisfaction and disability

GULSAH Karatas, NESLIHAN Metli, ELIF Yalcin, RAMAZAN Gündüz, FATIH Karatas, MÜFIT Akyuz

Introduction - Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) may often lead to significant disability in affected individuals and reduce life satisfaction. Herein we aimed to investigate the effects of the level of injury on disability and life satisfaction as well as the relation between life satisfaction and disability. Methods - Patients with at least one-year history of SCI were included. Demographic-clinical data of patients were recorded. The Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique-Short Form (CHART-SF) was used for quantifying the degree of patients’ disability. Life satisfaction was assessed by the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). Results - Of the 76 patients, 21 (27.6%) were tetraplegic and 55 (72.4%) were paraplegic. SWLS was found to be similar in tetraplegic vs. paraplegic patients (P=0.59), whereas CHART parameters such as physical independence, mobility, occupation, and total CHART value were significantly higher in paraplegic patients (P=0.04, P=0.04, P=0.001 and P=0.01, respectively). Social integration was found similarly high in both groups. There was a positive correlation between elapsed time after the injury and CHART physical independence, occupation and the level of economic sufficiency (P<0.01, P<0.01, P=0.01). Excluding the economic sufficiency (P=0.02), there was not any other association between the rest of CHART parameters and SWLS. Conclusions - According to our findings, although the level of injury seems to be influential on disability, it seems to have no significant effect on life satisfaction. Since the only thing that positively affects life satisfaction is economic sufficiency, more emphasis should be placed on regulations that increase the return to work in patients.