Clinical Neuroscience

[Changes of cognitive functions in healthy aging]


MARCH 30, 2018

Clinical Neuroscience - 2018;71(03-04)


[Introduction - Mental health has crucial role in our life. Cognitive changes or decline can lead to many difficulties in daily routine of older people (e.g. organization of daily activities), which can, consequently, influence their well-being. Therefore it is an important question, which cognitive abilities are affected by age-related decline. Methods - In our study we aimed to investigate the changes of cognitive abilities in healthy older adults between 61 and 85 years of age compared to the performance of younger adults. Digit span, counting span, listening span, letter fluency, semantic fluency and action fluency tests were used to assess cognitive abilities, namely working memory and executive functions. Results - The results showed that younger adults performed significantly better in all tests than older adults. Importantly, the performance of older adults was better on tests requiring less complex mental computations (e.g. digit span test) than on more complex tests where both storing and mani-pulating information was required (e.g., counting span test). We also showed that within the older age group, cognitive functions’ decline was linearly associated with increasing age. Conclusion - The present study used several, well-established neuropsychological tests to map the changes of working memory and executive functions in healthy older adults between 61 and 85 years of age compared to younger adults. Our findings can contribute to the development of prevention programs aimed at improving the quality of life of older adults and preventing age-related cognitive decline.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

Long-term follow-up results of concomitant chemoradiotherapy followed by adjuvant temozolomide therapy for glioblastoma multiforme patients. The importance of MRI information in survival: Single-center experience

LUKÁCS Gábor, TÓTH Zoltán, SIPOS Dávid, CSIMA Melinda, HADJIEV Janaki, BAJZIK Gábor, CSELIK Zsolt, SEMJÉN Dávid, REPA Imre, KOVÁCS Árpád

Introduction - Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant primary anomaly of central nervous system. The GBM infiltrates the nearly sturctures from the initial tumor and its metastatic attribution is well known. The aim of our single-centered retrospective study was to introduce the importance of postoperative medical imaging confirmation of total tumor resection for patient with GBM combined concomitant and adjuvant chemoradiotherapy on a 10 year long patient follow up. Methods - From January 2006 to April 2015 we registered 59 patients with newly diagnosed GBM at the University of Kaposvár Health Center Institute of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiation Oncology. The histological diagnosis was confirmed by a proficient neuropathologist (World Health Organisation WHO; grade IV astrocytoma). According to histological status if the ECOG performance status of patients allowed it the mutidisciplinary oncoteam recommended adjuvant chemoradiotherapy all features strictly by Stupp protocol. (60 Gy dose on the gross tumor volume and 2-3 cm margin for the clinical target volume with parallel 75 mg/m2 TMZ. Four weeks after monotherapial phase patients had to recieve 6 cycles of TMZ first cycle with 150 mg/m2 up to 200 mg/m2). The irradiation was carried out by a conformal three dimensional planning system. Results - 59 patients with the median age of 63 (range 17-84) year. Our sample counted 34 male patients and 25 woman patients. 14 patients underwent gross total tumor resection while, 39 patients underwent partial resection and the rest from our sample 6 patients passed through biopsy. Statistical analysis showed a lengthier survival among males than females, with a median survival of 13 months for males and females, the OS of 26.209 for males, meanwhile 15.625 for females. However, the difference is not considerable (log-rank p=0.203). Our study found that the estimated survival of patients at least 50 years old is significantly shorter at a median survival of 12 months (log rank p=0.027) than that of patients below 50 years of age at a median survival of 23 months. The longest estimated median survival was calculated with patients of ECOG '0' condition (16 months). However, no significant difference was found in the estimated survival of patients of different ECOG conditions (log-rank p=0.146). Based on the extent of surgery, complete resection resulted in the longest average survival of 36.4 months, followed by 21.5 months among patients with biopsy, and 15.8 months among patients with partial resection. Different surgical procedures, however, did not result in significant differences in survival (log-rank p=0.059). The overal survival of patients who had complete resection confirmed by MRI compared with the overal survival of patients with residual tumor confirmed by MRI as well we can estimate that there is significant difference between these two groups (p=0,004). Conclusion - Despite complex and intense treatment, recurrence is inevitable and causes relatively rapid death. In our analysis complete resection, as defined from the neurosurgeon’s report and postoperative MRI, resulted in an independently significant improvement in OS. Our results are the evidences that the treatment of patients with glioblastoma multiforme in Hungary is at least on the same level as any other developed European countries.

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of MRI in measuring the effectivity of disease modifying treatments II]

KINCSES Zsigmond Tamás, TÓTH Eszter, FRICSKA-NAGY Zsanett, FÜVESI Judit, RAJDA Cecília, BENCSIK Krisztina, VÖRÖS Erika, CSOMOR Angéla, PALKÓ András, VÉCSEI László

[The paraclinical examinations, principally the MRI have an increasing significance in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. However, MRI markers also have a prominent role in monitoring of the disease-course and activity, and also in the planning of possible therapeutic changes. In accordance with previously published international guidelines, in this article we propose a protocol for the monitoring the treatment efficacy in multiple sclerosis. This could be the basis of a consensus based guideline to be implemented in Hungary.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Perinatal stroke - from symptoms to follow-up]

VOJCEK Eszter, CSÉCSEI Márta, FLACH Edina, RUDAS Gábor, GRÁF Rózsa, PRINCZKEL Erzsébet

[Background and purpose - We aimed to analyze patient characteristics of term neonates with the diagnosis of stroke between 2006 and 2017 at the 3rd level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Szent János Hospital. Method - We conducted a retrospective and prospective analysis including 18 newborns with stroke. Presentation, imaging methods, etiology and clinical context were discussed. All patients had a follow-up at 2 years of age or later. Subject of the study - In the past 10 years 17 term born and one premature neonate born at 36 weeks of age were diagnosed with stroke in our unit. All patients were born at good condition generally with high Apgar scores (9±1). Cesarean section was performed in 4 cases. Results - With an estimated incidence of one in 1600-4000 births, the incidence of perinatal stroke in our unit was found to be the same as mentioned in the international databeses. Regarding imaging method, cranial ultrasound scan do not visualise arterial ischaemic stroke therefore head MRI is recommended. Neurological symptoms of the patients presented in the first two days of life. Etiology included thrombophilia (4/18), infection (4/18), vascular malformation (2/18), moderate asphyxia (2/18) and pre-eclampsia (2/18). Middle cerebral artery was involved in 50% while the anterior cerebral artery was affected in 33%. The stroke occured in the left hemisphaerium in 44%, in the right side in 39% and was bilateral in 17%. In two cases the stroke was diagnosed in utero. Early childhood developmental support resulted in average or above average gross and fine motor development and cognitive outcome. Conclusion - Presenting neurological symptoms tipically occur in the first few days after birth when perinatal stroke need to be considered among the broad spectrum of neonatal illnesses. Normal developmental outcome can be achieved even in cases of extensive brain damage with early childhood developmental support. Severely impaired development was observed in the cases of in utero stroke. Inherited prothrombotic disorders may have implications for subsequent pregnancies of the mother. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of MRI in measuring the effectivity of disease modifying treatments I]

TÓTH Eszter, BENCSIK Krisztina, VÖRÖS Erika, FRICSKA-NAGY Zsanett, FÜVESI Judit, RAJDA Cecília, CSOMOR Angéla, PALKÓ András, VÉCSEI László, KINCSES Zsigmond Tamás

[MRI has a significant role in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The newer and newer treatment options of the disease make it necessary to monitor the effectiveness of the therapy. Besides the clinical signs (clinical relapses and progression), the different MRI parameters can also reflect the disease activity. In our current article we summarize those MRI markers, which best predict the long-term disability, based on the international standards.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Nusinersen in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy]

SINKÓ Gabriella, KISS Zsuzsanna, BERNADETTE Kalman

[Until recently, the diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has been associated with severe life-long motor disability in adults and with early death in infants. The new experimental therapeutic approaches of the last few years have become more and more promising, while nusinersen was approved for the treatment of SMA in December 2016 in the USA, and in May 2017 in Hungary. Our paper presents mechanisms and clinical benefits of this new medication, and highlights some of the other therapeutic strategies still in experimental stages.]

All articles in the issue

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Clinical Neuroscience

Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer and non-Alzheimer dementias


In aging societies, the morbidity and mortality of dementia is increasing at a significant rate, thereby imposing burden on healthcare, economy and the society as well. Patients’ and caregivers’ quality of life and life expectancy are greatly determined by the early diagnosis and the initiation of available symptomatic treatments. Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine have been the cornerstones of Alzheimer’s therapy for approximately two decades and over the years, more and more experience has been gained on their use in non-Alzheimer’s dementias too. The aim of our work was to provide a comprehensive summary about the use of cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimers’s dementias.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Diabetes, dementia, depression, distress]

SZATMÁRI Szabolcs, ORBÁN-KIS Károly, MIHÁLY István, LÁZÁR Alpár Sándor

[The number of people living with diabetes continues to rise. Therefore neurologists or other health care practitioners may be increasingly faced with comorbid neuropsychiatric disorders commonly presented by diabetic patients. More recently there has been an increasing research interest not only in the interactions between diabetes and the nervous system, the fine structure and functional changes of the brain, but also in the cognitive aspects of antidiabetic treatments. Patients with both types of diabetes mellitus may show signs of cognitive decline, and depression. Comorbid insomnia, anxiety, and distress may also occur. The bi-directional relationships between all these phenomena as well as their connection with diabetes can lead to further health and quality of life deterioration. Therefore it is important that all practitioners involved in the care of diabetic patients recognize the presence of comorbid neuropsychiatric disturbances early on during the healthcare process. Identifying higher risk patients and early screening could improve the prognosis of diabetes and may prevent complications.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Pulmonary physiotherapy and aerobic exercise programs can improve cognitive functions and functional ability

TEKESIN Aysel, TUNC Abdulkadir, GÜNGEN Dogan Belma, AVCI Nalan, BAKIS Muhammed, PERK Seyma

Objective - The increasing prevalence of dementia over the previous decades has been accompanied by numerous social and economic problems. The importance of exercise in the prevention of dementia coupled with the impact of aspiration pneumonia on the mortality and morbidity of dementia patients cannot be overstated. This study investigates the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation combined with aerobic stretching exercises on the cognitive function, life quality, effort capacity, and level of depression in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the early stages of dementia. Methods - Sixty-nine patients with MCI diagnosis were routinely monitored, and six were excluded because they did not attend the follow-up appointments. The remaining 63 patients undertook pulmonary physiotherapy (PPT) and extremity exercises for six months. The mini-mental state examination (MMSE), six-minute walk test (6MWT), Nottingham health profile (NHP), and Beck depression inventory (BDI) scores were evaluated before and after exercise. Results - PPT plus extremity exercises appeared to significantly improve the MMSE scores and increase the 6MWT (p < 0.001) by an average of 25 m. No significant improvement was observed in the BDI and NHP scores. Conclusion - PPT and aerobic exercise positively affected the cognitive ability of MCI patients and improved their walking distance. These results underscore the importance of combining medical treatment with physical rehabilitation at the onset of dementia, a disease which exerts a significantly negative impact on the economy.

Hypertension and nephrology

[Hypertension, cognitive function and dementia – Significance of antihypertensive therapy]

GAJDÁN Nikolett, ÁBRAHÁM György

[The significance of hypertension as one of the major cardiovascular risk factor is unquestionable. By achieving target blood pressure values differentiated by age and comorbidities, the risk of cardiovascular events can be significantly reduced. However, it is essential to the quality of life the patient spends the extra years of life thus gained. This is a really complex issue affecting many co-disciplines, but one of the most important of these is the mental health, maintaining cognitive functions, and avoiding dementia. High blood pressure impairs the blood supply to the target organs, including the brain, by damaging the smooth muscle of the arteries and accelerating atherosclerosis, which increases the risk, the frequency and the severity of mental decline in proportion to the degree of tension. This means serious implications not only for the individual, but for the family and the society, as well. A particular contradiction is that treating blood pressure to the target range does not automatically means preserving cognitive functions and avoiding the risk of dementia. Meta-analyzes of large studies have shown differences between the individual antihypertensive groups have been confirmed in this respect as well. Inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system and calcium antagonists – mainly dihydropyridines – appear to be a priority in this regard. The authors provide an overview of the relationship between hypertension and mental abilities, with a review of the literature on the effects of antihypertensive therapy, with particular reference to the effects on cognitive function and dementia. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Mentalizing deficit in neurological disorders: a review article]

HEROLD Róbert, VARGA Eszter, MIKE Andrea, TÉNYI Tamás, SIMON Mária, HAJNAL András, FEKETE Sándor, ILLÉS Zsolt

[Introduction – Mentalization is the ability to attribute mental states (intentions, desires, thoughts, emotions) to others, and hence to predict their behaviour. This ability fundamentally determines our participation in social relationships and adaptation to society. A significant proportion of the disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) affects those brain structures and neurotransmitter systems that play a role in the mentalizing processes. Accordingly, a number of CNS disorders may be associated with mentalizing deficits, which may affect the outcome of these diseases. Here, we review recent research on mentalizing abilities in neurological diseases. Methods – An internet database search was performed to identify publications on the subject. Results – Sixty-two publications in English corresponded to the search criteria. These publications reported impaired mentalization in several neurological disorders (e.g. epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, dementias, traumatic brain injury). Discussion – The results indicate that a number of neurological disorders associate with mentalizing deficit. This deficit is often present in the early stages of the diseases and has a prognostic value, which in turn emphasizes the importance of the early detection and adequate rehabilitation.]