Clinical Neuroscience

[Cortico-striatal circuitry in visual perception]

KINCSES Tamás Zsigmond1,2,3

JULY 30, 2008

Clinical Neuroscience - 2008;61(07-08)

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Department of Neurology, University of Szeged, Szeged
  2. Department of Physiology, University of Szeged, Szeged
  3. Department of Neurophysiology, Georg August University, Göttingen

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[In memoriam professor Klára Majerszky]

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[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.]

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[IDIOPATHIC TOLOSA-HUNT SYNDROME: FOUR ADDITIONAL CASES]

D Kirbas, B Topcular, ME Ozcan, N Sakalli Karagoz, G Gul, I Aslan Kalyoncu

[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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[BRAIN LATERALIZATION AND SEIZURE SEMIOLOGY: ICTAL CLINICAL LATERALIZING SIGNS]

HORVÁTH A. Réka, KALMÁR Zsuzsanna, FEHÉR Nóra, FOGARASI András, GYIMESI Csilla, JANSZKY József

[Clinical lateralizing signs are the phenomena which can unequivocally refer to the hemispheric onset of epileptic seizures. They can improve the localization of epileptogenic zone during presurgical evaluation, moreover, their presence can predict a success of surgical treatment. Primary sensory phenomena such as visual aura in one half of the field of vision or unilateral ictal somatosensory sensation always appear on the contralateral to the focus. Periictal unilateral headache, although it is an infrequent symptom, is usually an ipsilateral sign. Primary motor phenomena like epileptic clonic, tonic movements, the version of head ubiquitously appear contralateral to the epileptogenic zone. Very useful lateralization sign is the ictal hand-dystonia which lateralizes to the contralateral hemisphere in nearly 100%. The last clonus of the secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizure lateralizes to the ipsilateral hemisphere in 85%. The fast component of ictal nystagmus appears in nearly 100% on the contralateral side of the epileptic focus. Vegetative symptoms during seizures arising from temporal lobe such as spitting, nausea, vomiting, urinary urge are typical for seizures originating from non-dominant (right) hemisphere. Ictal pallor and cold shivers are dominant hemispheric lateralization signs. Postictal unilateral nose wiping refers to the ipsilateral hemispheric focus compared to the wiping hand. Ictal or postictal aphasia refers to seizure arising from dominant hemisphere. Intelligable speech during complex partial seizures appears in non-dominant seizures. Automatism with preserved consciousness refers to the seizures of non-dominant temporal lobe.]

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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.

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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.

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[Sturge Weber syndrome is the third most common neurocutaneous syndrome after neurofibromatosis and tuberous sclerosis. Three distinct types were identified. Type 3 with leptomeningeal involvement alone is the rarest among other types. The reported case is a 21-years-old female patient without any known chronic disease. She admitted to the emergency department after visual symptoms and headache, followed by generalized tonic clonic seizure. EEG of the patient showed left occipital seizure activity. The contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed left occipital leptomeningeal angioma. Digital substraction angiography (DSA) revealed minimal blushed contrast enhancement on late venous phase and lack of superficial cortical veins. Her focal seizures were under control with levatiracetam and lacosamide treatment. The reported case is unique because of the late onset presentation with focal seizure without mental retardation.]