Clinical Neuroscience

[Cortico-striatal circuitry in visual perception]

KINCSES Zsigmond Tamás

JULY 30, 2008

Clinical Neuroscience - 2008;61(07-08)



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Péter Rajna: The traps of the age. Generations for and against]

PERCZEL Forintos Dóra

Clinical Neuroscience



[Statin’s treatment clearly is authorized in prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). According to the results of many studies and meta-analyses statins can inhibit the first cerebrovascular infarct (stroke). The greater the decrease of LDL-cholesterol level the more prominent the efficacy. The effect is not so robustic compared to coronaria vessels moreover clear pleiotropic (cholesterol independent) action takes also part. It has been nowadays revealed that high dose (80 mg) atorvastatin can confine first time the development of recurrence stroke (SPARCL study), which is an important fact in the field of secondary prevention.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[In memoriam professor Klára Majerszky]


Clinical Neuroscience

[Evolution of human brain and intelligence]

LAKATOS László, JANKA Zoltán

[The biological evolution, including human evolution is mainly driven by environmental changes. Accidental genetic modifications and their innovative results make the successful adaptation possible. As we know the human evolution started 7-8 million years ago in the African savannah, where upright position and bipedalism were significantly advantageous. The main drive of improving manual actions and tool making could be to obtain more food. Our ancestor got more meat due to more successful hunting, resulting in more calory intake, more protein and essential fatty acid in the meal. The nervous system uses disproportionally high level of energy, so better quality of food was a basic condition for the evolution of huge human brain. The size of human brain was tripled during 3.5 million years, it increased from the average of 450 cm3 of Australopithecinae to the average of 1350 cm3 of Homo sapiens. A genetic change in the system controlling gene expression could happen about 200 000 years ago, which influenced the development of nervous system, the sensorimotor function and learning ability for motor processes. The appearence and stabilisation of FOXP2 gene structure as feature of modern man coincided with the first presence and quick spread of Homo sapiens on the whole Earth. This genetic modification made opportunity for human language, as the basis of abrupt evolution of human intelligence. The brain region being responsible for human language is the left planum temporale, which is much larger in left hemisphere. This shows the most typical human brain asymmetry. In this case the anatomical asymmetry means a clearly defined functional asymmetry as well, where the brain hemispheres act differently. The preference in using hands, the lateralised using of tools resulted in the brain asymmetry, which is the precondition of human language and intelligence. However, it cannot be held anymore, that only humans make tools, because our closest relatives, the chimpanzees are able not only to use, but also to make tools, and they can be tought how to produce quite difficult ones. Some brain characteristics connected to human consciousness and intelligence, like brain asymmetry, the “consciousness” or “theory of mind” based on mirror neurons are surprisingly present in monkeys. Nevertheless, the human intelligence is extremly flexible and different, while the animal intelligence is specialised, producing one thing at high level. Based on recent knowledge the level of intelligence is related anatomically to the number of cortical neurons and physiologically to the speed of conductivity of neural pathways, the latter being dependent on the degree of myelinisation. The improvement of cognitive functions including language is driver by the need of more effective communication requiring less energy, the need of social dominance, the competitive advantages within smaller groups and species or against other species, which improves the opportunity for obtaining food. Better mental skills give also sexual dominance, which is beneficial for stabilising “cleverness” genes. The evolutionary history of human consciousness emphasises its adaptive survival helping nature. The evolution of language was the basic condition of conscious thinking as a qualitative change, which fundamentally differentiate us from all other creatures.]

Clinical Neuroscience



[Idiopathic Tolosa-Hunt syndrome (ITHS) is a very rare cause of painful ophthalmoplegia characterized by unilateral orbital pain, ipsilateral oculomotor paralysis and prompt response to steroids. In this paper we report 4 additional cases of ITHS. This rare cause of painful ophthalmoplegia effects the cranial nerves due to a granulomatous lesion of unknown etiology in the cavernous sinus or superior orbital fissure. The International Headache Society redefined the diagnostic criteria for ITHS but it is still mostly a diagnosis of exclusion. Careful evaluation and follow-up is essential for diagnosis. Optimal therapy duration and dosage and prophylactic treatment in recurrent cases needs further research.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: A single center experience and systemic analysis of cases in Turkey

USLU Ilgen Ferda, ELIF Gökçal, GÜRSOY Esra Azize, KOLUKISA Mehmet, YILDIZ Babacan Gulsen

We aimed to analyze the clinical, laboratory and neuroimaging findings in patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in a single center as well as to review other published cases in Turkey. Between January 1st, 2014 and June 31st, 2017, all CJD cases were evaluated based on clinical findings, differential diagnosis, the previous misdiagnosis, electroencephalography (EEG), cerebrospinal fluid and cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in our center. All published cases in Turkey between 2005-2018 were also reviewed. In a total of 13 patients, progressive cognitive decline was the most common presenting symptom. Two patients had a diagnosis of Heidenhain variant, 1 patient had a diagnosis of Oppenheimer-Brownell variant. Seven patients (53.3%) had been misdiagnosed with depression, vascular dementia, normal pressure hydrocephalus or encephalitis. Eleven patients (87%) had typical MRI findings but only 5 of these were present at baseline. Asymmetrical high signal abnormalities on MRI were observed in 4 patients. Five patients (45.4%) had periodic spike wave complexes on EEG, all appeared during the follow-up. There were 74 published cases in Turkey bet­ween 2005 and 2018, with various clinical presentations. CJD has a variety of clinical features in our patient series as well as in cases reported in Turkey. Although progressive cognitive decline is the most common presenting symptom, unusual manifestations in early stages of the disease might cause misdiagnosis. Variant forms should be kept in mind in patients with isolated visual or cerebellar symptoms. MRI and EEG should be repeated during follow-up period if the clinical suspicion still exists.

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

Evaluation of anxiety, depression and marital relationships in patients with migraine


Aim - The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency and characteristics of attacks in patients with migraine, to determine the effects of anxiety or depressive symptoms, and to evaluate the marital relationships of patients with migraine. Method - Thirty patients who were admitted to the neurology outpatient clinic of our hospital between July 2018 and October 2018 and were diagnosed with migraine according to the 2013 International Headache Society (IHS) diagnostic criteria were included in this cross-sectional study. Age, sex, headache frequency and severity, depressive traits, marital satisfaction and anxiety status were examined. We used the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Maudsley Marital Questionnaire (MMQ) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for measuring relevant parameters. Results - The mean severity of migraine pain according to VAS scale was 6.93 ± 1.41 and the mean number of migraine attacks was 4.50 ± 4.24. The mean BDI score of the patients was 12.66 ± 8.98, the mean MMQ-M score was 19.80 ± 12.52, the mean MMQ-S score was 13.20 ± 9.53, the mean STAI-state score was 39.93 ± 10.87 and the mean STAI-trait score was 45.73 ± 8.96. No significant correlation was found between age, number of migraine attacks, migraine duration, migraine headache intensity, and BDI, STAI and MMQ scores (p>0.05). But there was a positive correlation between MMQ-S and scores obtained from the BDI and STAI-state scales (p<0.05). Conclusion - In this study more than half of the migraine patients had mild, moderate or severe depression. A positive correlation was found between sexual dissatisfaction and scale scores of depression and anxiety.

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Fear of medical care: epidemiology and prevention among 5-6 years old children]

PÓCS Dávid, SIKLÓSI Réka, NYÁRI Tibor, BARABÁS Katalin

[INTRODUCTION - At least 5-10% of the adult population is afraid of medical care. These fears may begin in preschool years. Therefore, the aim of our study was to assess the rates of medical fears among 5-6 year old children, and to prove that medical fears can be reduced by a health promotion program for children called “Teddy Bear Hospital” POPULATION AND METHODS - 248 children participated in the study (average age: 5.5 years, 45% girl, 55% boy). The “Teddy group” (129 children) took part in the Teddy Bear hospital program (Teddy group). The control group (119 children) did not take part in this program (control group). Questionnaires, including a Visual Analog Scale, a picture test, and drawing analyses were completed on two separate occasions three weeks apart difference. RESULTS - Fear of needles was the most frequent fear (59%) among the participating children, followed by the fear of medical environment (33%), the fear because of the lack of information (27%), the fear of doctors (20%), and the fear of pain (15%). On the basis of the picture test the fear of doctors significantly decreased in the Teddy group (from 18% to 7%) compared with the control group (from 10% to 11%, p<0.05). Drawing analyses also showed that children in the Teddy group had significantly lower levels of medical anxiety (29% and from 19.3 point to 17.6 point) than the control group (19% p<0.05 and from 18.8 point to 18,33 point p<0.05). On the drawings of the Teddy group we found significantly more new medical information (38%) compared with the control group (21%, p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS - Medical fears are frequently present among 5-6 year old children, therefore, their prevention is greatly needed. A potential way of the prevention is the “Teddy Bear Hospital” program, which efficiently reduces children's medical fears and anxiety.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Investigation of the dopamine dysregulation hypothesis of schizophrenia with neuroimaging techniques]

SZEKERES György, PÁVICS László, JANKA Zoltán

[The most elaborated biochemical concept of schizophrenia is the dopamine hypothesis. However, this classical theory is based on indirect observations. It has recently become possible to study this theory directly by means of advanced functional neuroimaging techniques, the development of specific radioligands and study protocols that are eligible to monitor dynamic changes in the neurotransmitter systems. According to the early concept, the essence of schizophrenia is the hyperactivity of the dopamine system. Nevertheless, this idea has gone through many modifications. In accordance with the modified dopamine hypothesis, the cognitive deficit and negative symptoms are related to the hypoactivity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex while the acute phasis of the disease associates with hyperactivity of the ventral striatal elements of the dopaminergic system. Between these dysfunctions there is causality via their exuberant connections. Beyond that, the interactions between the prefrontal and striatal anomalies implicate the involvement of other neurotransmitters than dopamine. Observations from model psychosis induced by N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonists and in vivo neuroimaging investigations in humans support primarily the role of glutamatergic system. Our developing knowledge about the neurochemical mechanism of schizophrenia can significantly affect therapeutic strategies as well.]