Clinical Neuroscience

[Clinical experiences with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: three case studies]

SZŰCS Anna, VÁRALLYAY Péter, OSZTIE Éva, PAPP Erzsébet, SÓLYOM András, FINTA Lehel, VARGA Dániel, BARCS Gábor, HOLLÓ András, KAMONDI Anita

NOVEMBER 20, 2012

Clinical Neuroscience - 2012;65(11-12)

[The clinical picture, electroencephalographic, imaging and cerebrospinal fluid parameters as well as the molecular background of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have been well explored. The diagnostic criteria, offering clinicians a fair chance to identify these patients in vivo, have recently been updated. However, the diagnosis is still a challenge in everyday neurological routine. We report on three of our Creutzfeldt-Jakob patients for calling attention to the classical and the recently defined features of the disease. We conclude that based on the rapidly progressing neuropsychiatric syndrome Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may be suspected; follow-up EEG may reveal the typical (pseudo)-periodic pattern with progressive deterioration of the background activity. In addition, diffusion-weighted brain MRI imaging (DWI) has high diagnostic value. Detection of 14-3-3 protein in the cerebrospinal fluid supports the in vivo diagnosis.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Vinpocetin in neurological diseases]

SZAPÁRY László, KÉSMÁRKY Gábor, TÓTH Kálmán, MISNYOVSZKY Melinda, TÓTH Tímea, BALOGH Ágnes, NAGY Krisztián, NÉMETH György, FEHÉR Gergely

[Introduction - Stroke is the third leading cause of death worldwide (following cardiovascular and cancer mortality) and associated with serious disability for the vast majority of patients. There is no salvage therapy for irreversibly damaged brain areas, improving the circulation of the surrounding hypoperfused territories may be associated with benefitial clinical states. Cerebral hypoperfusion may play a role in the pathogenesis of other kind of neurological diseases, improvement of global circulation may have a preventive effect on these conditions. Aims - The aim of our study was to review the experimental and clinical articles focusing on the role of vinpocetin in different neurological conditions. Results - Vinpocetin appears to have several different mechanisms of action that allow for its antiinflammatory, antioxidant, vasodilating, antiepileptic and neuroprotective activities in experimental conditions. On the other hand, several meta-analysis of the existing studies in acute stroke examining short and long term fatality rates with vinpocetin was unable to assess efficacy. In chronic cerebrovascular patients, vinpocetin improves impaired hemorheological variables, has significant vasodilating properties, improves endothelial dysfunction, neuroimaging studies showed selective increase in cerebral blood flow and cerebral metabolic rate, all of which are potentially beneficial in cerebrovascular disease and may improve cognitive functions. Summary - Based on the above mentioned results vinpocetin plays an important role both in basic research and in clinical management of different neurological diseases.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Rivaroxaban in prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation]


[Atrial fibrillation (AF) is well established risk factor for cardioembolic stroke. With thromboprophylatic treatment we can reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AF. Oral vitamin K antagonists (VKA) such as warfarin and acenocoumarol are effective for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. VKAs are associated with several limitations including very narrow therapeutic range, several factors (diet, drugs, alcohol consumption) affecting the effect of VKA and excessive bleeding may occur if INR value not controlled successfully. New oral anticoagulant direct Xa factor inhibitor rivaroxaban has a good therapeutic efficacy in prevention (primary and secondary) of stroke in AF patients. Its advantages are including no need for monitoring, fixed oral dose, not affected by meal, age and body weight, all of them can improve patient adherence. In ROCKET AF trial in patients with AF, rivaroxaban was noninferior to warfarin for the prevention of stroke or systemic embolism. There was no significant between-group difference in the risk of major bleeding, although intracranial and fatal bleeding occurred less frequently in the rivaroxaban group.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Clinical significance of the cardiovascular effects of fingolimod treatment in multiple sclerosis]


[Fingolimod is a sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor modulator, which is effective in the treatment of severe relapsingremitting form of multiple sclerosis. Once daily oral use of fingolimod decreased the annualized relapse rate, inflammatory brain lesion activity and the rate of brain atrophy compared both to placebo and intramuscular administered interferon beta-1a. The drug targets the cardiovascular system as well via sphingosine- 1 phosphate receptors. After initiation of fingolimod therapy transient sinus bradycardia and slowing of the atrioventricular conduction develops. The onset of the effect is as early as 1 hour post administration, while heart rate and conduction normalized in 24 hours in most of the cases. According to the clinical trials symptomatic bradycardia developed in 0.5% of the cases, responding to the appropriate therapy. The incidence of Mobitz I type II atrioventricular blocks and blocks with 2:1 atrioventricular conduction was 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. All of these cardiovascular events showed regression during observation and no higher degree atrioventricular blocks were detected at the approved therapeutic dose. Following the first dose effect, fingolimod had a moderate hypertensive effect on long-term. For the safety of fingolimod treatment detailed cardiovascular risk stratification of all patients, adequate patient monitoring after the first dose and competency in treating the possible side effects is necessary. In patients with increased cardiovascular risks, treatment should be considered only if anticipated benefits outweigh potential risks and extended monitoring is required.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Aspirin and clopidogrel resistance: possible mechanisms and clinical relevance. Part I: Concept of resistance]

VADÁSZ Dávid, SZTRIHA K László, SAS Katalin, VÉCSEI László

[Aspirin and clopidogrel are well established as antiplatelet medication in the treatment of atherothrombotic vascular disease. However, despite treatment, a substantial number of patients experience recurrent ischemic episodes, referred to as aspirin or clopidogrel treatment failure. Various laboratory techniques are available with which to evaluate the effectiveness of antiplatelet drugs. Interestingly, the agreement between the results of the different tests may be poor. The term aspirin or clopidogrel resistance denotes those conditions in which an inadequate inhibitory efficacy of the given antiplatelet agent is detected by an in vitro assay of platelet function. It has been estimated that on average some 30% of patients treated with aspirin, and 20% on clopidogrel, do not achieve an appropriate level of efficacy as concerns platelet activity.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of immobilization stress and sertindole on the expression of APP, MAPK-1 and β-actin genes in rat brain]

KÁLMÁN János, PÁKÁSKI Magdolna, SZŰCS Szabina, KÁLMÁN Sára, FAZEKAS Örsike, SÁNTHA Petra, SZABÓ Gyula, JANKA Zoltán

[Stress, depending on its level and quality, may cause adaptive and maladaptive alterations in brain functioning. As one of its multiple effects, elevated blood cortisol levels decrease the synthesis of the neuroprotective BDNF, thus leading to hippocampal atrophy and synapse loss, and rendering it a possible cause for the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) related neuropathological and cognitive changes. As a result of the stress response, intraneuronal alterations - also affecting the metabolism of β-actin - can develop. These have a role in the regulation of memory formation (LTP), but in pathological conditions (AD) they could lead to the accumulation of Hirano bodies (actin-cofilin rods). According to the dementia treatment guidelines, the behavioural and psychological symptoms of AD can be treated with certain antipsychotics. Therefore, the aim of our study was to examine the effects of sertindole (currently not used in the standard management of AD) on the transcription of some AD associated genes (amyloid precursor protein [APP], mitogen activated protein kinase-1 [MAPK-1], β-actin) in the brain of rats exposed to chronic immobilization stress (CIS). Male Wistar rats were exposed to CIS for three weeks. The four groups were: control (n=16), CIS (n=10), 10 mg/kg sertindole (n=5) and 10 mg/kg sertindole + CIS (n=4). Following transcardial perfusion, the relative levels of hippocampal and cortical mRNA of the previously mentioned genes were measured with real-time PCR. CIS induced hippocampal β-actin (p<0.01), MAPK-1 and APP (p<0.05) mRNA overexpression. The simultaneous administration of sertindole suppressed this increase in β-actin, MAPK-1 and APP expression (p<0.05). Ours is the first report about CIS induced β-actin gene overexpression. This finding, in accordance with the similar results in APP and MAPK-1 expression, underlines the significance of cytoskeletal alterations in AD pathogenesis. The gene expression reducing effect of sertindole suggests that antipsychotic drugs may have a neuroprotective effect.]

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Clinical Neuroscience



[Background - Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the most frequent human prion disease. Genetic forms are associated with mutations in the human prion protein gene (PRNP) and thought to comprise 5-15% of cases. Acquired forms include iatrogenic and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The latter is associated with the bovine spongiform encephalopathy. We recently reported the high incidence of genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Hungary. Materials and methods - In the present study we summarize the results of a widened investigation comprising Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases collected in the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hungary in the last 12 years. We examined the disease forms and their geographical distribution. Results - Our study involved 155 patients. The four major results are as follows: 1. In Hungary we detected only sporadic and genetic forms of human prion disease, while iatrogenic and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease were not observed. 2. The proportion of genetic prion disease (E200K mutation), similarly to Slovakia, is higher than reported worldwide. Our observations indicate that at least every third case is genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The mean incidence of genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (0.42/million) is unusually high. Especially the year 2006 was striking when the incidence of genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was 1.4/million. 3. More than half of genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases lack a positive family history. 4. Some counties and the eastern part of Hungary shows elevated incidence of human prion disease. Conclusions - Differences in the geographical distribution may be related to migration and historical relationship with the Slovakian population. Based on the increased incidence of E200K mutation, genetic testing of the PRNP is recommended in all cases with atypical neuropsychiatric disorder or suspicion of prion disease.]

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

[What happens to vertiginous population after emission from the Emergency Department?]

MAIHOUB Stefani, MOLNÁR András, CSIKÓS András, KANIZSAI Péter, TAMÁS László, SZIRMAI Ágnes

[Background – Dizziness is one of the most frequent complaints when a patient is searching for medical care and resolution. This can be a problematic presentation in the emergency department, both from a diagnostic and a management standpoint. Purpose – The aim of our study is to clarify what happens to patients after leaving the emergency department. Methods – 879 patients were examined at the Semmel­weis University Emergency Department with vertigo and dizziness. We sent a questionnaire to these patients and we had 308 completed papers back (110 male, 198 female patients, mean age 61.8 ± 12.31 SD), which we further analyzed. Results – Based on the emergency department diagnosis we had the following results: central vestibular lesion (n = 71), dizziness or giddiness (n = 64) and BPPV (n = 51) were among the most frequent diagnosis. Clarification of the final post-examination diagnosis took several days (28.8%), and weeks (24.2%). It was also noticed that 24.02% of this population never received a proper diagnosis. Among the population only 80 patients (25.8%) got proper diagnosis of their complaints, which was supported by qualitative statistical analysis (Cohen Kappa test) result (κ = 0.560). Discussion – The correlation between our emergency department diagnosis and final diagnosis given to patients is low, a phenomenon that is also observable in other countries. Therefore, patient follow-up is an important issue, including the importance of neurotology and possibly neurological examination. Conclusion – Emergency diagnosis of vertigo is a great challenge, but despite of difficulties the targeted and quick case history and exact examination can evaluate the central or peripheral cause of the balance disorder. Therefore, to prevent declination of the quality of life the importance of further investigation is high.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The connection between the socioeconomic status and stroke in Budapest]


[The well-known gap bet­ween stroke mortality of Eastern and Western Euro­pean countries may reflect the effect of socioeconomic diffe­rences. Such a gap may be present between neighborhoods of different wealth within one city. We set forth to compare age distribution, incidence, case fatality, mortality, and risk factor profile of stroke patients of the poorest (District 8) and wealthiest (District 12) districts of Budapest. We synthesize the results of our former comparative epidemiological investigations focusing on the association of socioeconomic background and features of stroke in two districts of the capital city of Hungary. The “Budapest District 8–12 project” pointed out the younger age of stroke patients of the poorer district, and established that the prevalence of smoking, alcohol-consumption, and untreated hypertension is also higher in District 8. The “Six Years in Two Districts” project involving 4779 patients with a 10-year follow-up revealed higher incidence, case fatality and mortality of stroke in the less wealthy district. The younger patients of the poorer region show higher risk-factor prevalence, die younger and their fatality grows faster during long-term follow-up. The higher prevalence of risk factors and the higher fatality of the younger age groups in the socioeconomically deprived district reflect the higher vulnerability of the population in District 8. The missing link between poverty and stroke outcome seems to be lifestyle risk-factors and lack of adherence to primary preventive efforts. Public health campaigns on stroke prevention should focus on the young generation of socioeconomi­cally deprived neighborhoods. ]