Clinical Neuroscience

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

HORVÁTH Mónika, FAZEKAS Gábor

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.]

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[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.]

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[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.]

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[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.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

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

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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.