Clinical Neuroscience

[Diffusion MRI measured white matter microstructure as a biomarker of neurodegeneration in preclinical Huntington’s disease]

KINCSES Tamás Zsigmond1,2, SZABÓ Nikoletta2,1, TÓTH Eszter3,1, ZÁDORI Dénes1, FARAGÓ Péter1, NÉMETH Dezsõ4, JANACSEK Karolina4, BABOS Magor5, KLIVÉNYI Péter1, VÉCSEI László6,1

NOVEMBER 30, 2013

Clinical Neuroscience - 2013;66(11-12)

[Background - Huntington’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, genetically determined by CAG trinucleotide expansions in the IT15 gene. The onset of the symptoms is related to the number of CAG triplets. Because the patients are asymptomatic in the early phase of the disease, in vivo biomarkers are needed to follow up the neurodegeneration and to test putative neuroprotective approaches. One such promising biomarker is the diffusion MRI measured microstructural alteration of the white matter. Methods - Seven presymtomatic, mutation carriers and ten age-matched healthy controls were included in the study. Diffusion parameters were compared between groups and correlated with measures describing neurodegeneration. In order to reduce the possible misregistration bias due to atrophy the analysis was restricted to the core of each fibre bundles as defined by maximal fractional anisotropy (Tract- Based Spatial Statistics). Results - Decreased fractional anisotropy, along with increased mean, parallel and perpendicular diffusivity was found in white matter tracts, mainly in the corpus callosum. An inverse correlation was detected between the fractional anisotropy and neurodegeneration score (derived from the number of CAG triplets and the patient age) from the areas of the left precentral gyrus, frontal lobe, corpus callosum and the capsula extrema. Altered diffusion parameters are promising biomarkers of the neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease.]

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Department of Neurology, Albert Szent-Györgyi Clinical Center, University of Szeged, Szeged
  2. International Clinical Research Center, St. Anne’s University Hospital, Brno, Czech Republic
  3. International Clinical Research Center, St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, Brno, Czech Republic
  4. Department of Clinical Psychology and Addiction, Institute of Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
  5. Euromedic Hungary Ltd., Szeged
  6. Neuroscience Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and University of Szeged

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Clinical Neuroscience

[Post-operative management of primary glioblastoma multiforme in patients over 60 years of age]

DARÓCZI Borbála, SZÁNTÓ Erika, TÓTH Judit, BARZÓ Pál, BOGNÁR László, BAKÓ Gyula, SZÁNTÓ János, MÓZES Petra, HIDEGHÉTY Katalin

[Background and purpose - Optimal treatment for elderly patients with glioblastoma multiforme is not well defined. We evaluated the efficacy of post-operative radiotherapy with or without concomitant and/or adjuvant temozolomide in patients aged ≥60 years to assess survival and identify prognostic factors of survival. Methods - A retrospective analysis of overall survival and progression-free survival in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme aged ≥60 years treated with postoperative radiotherapy with or without temozolomide chemotherapy was conducted at our institutions. Prognostic factors were determined by univariate and multivariate analyses. Results - Of 75 study participants (54.7% male; median age at first diagnosis, 65.1 years), 29 (38.7%) underwent gross total resection, whereas others underwent partial resection or biopsy only. All but 1 patient received radiotherapy. Twenty patients received concomitant temozolomide only. Adjuvant temozolomide (1-50 cycles) was administered in 42 patients; 16 received ≥6 cycles. Median overall survival was 10.3 months. One- and 2-year overall survival rates were 42.6% and 6.7%, respectively. Median progression-free survival was 4.1 months. Radiochemotherapy was generally well tolerated. Median overall survival was 15.3 and 29.6 months for patients who received 6-12 cycles and >12 cycles of adjuvant temozolomide, respectively. There were no significant differences in overall survival between age groups (60-64, 65-69, and ≥70 years). Adjuvant temozolomide, Karnofsky performance status ≥70, and additional surgery after progression were significant prognostic factors of longer overall survival (p<0.05). Conclusions: Radiochemotherapy, including ≥6 cycles of adjuvant temozolomide, was safe and prolonged survival of glioblastoma patients aged ≥60 years. Aggressive therapy should not be withheld from patients aged ≥60 years with good performance status because of age.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Treatment possibilities in advanced Parkinson’s disease]

TAKÁTS Annamária, NAGY Helga, RADICS Péter, TÓTH Adrián, GERTRÚD Tamás

[In the course of Parkinson’s disease, advanced and late stages can be distinguished. In the advanced stage, levodopa has good effect on motor symptoms, but patient care is often hindered by levodopa-induced complications such as motor fluctuation and dyskinesias. In the late stage levodopa response becomes poor, falls, dementia and psychotic symptoms appear and patients often need hospitalization. In the advanced stage, the quality of life may be improved better by device-aided therapy than by best oral medical treatment. The alternatives are apomorhin pump, levodopa carbidopa intestinal gel with pump and deep brain stimulation. The therapy plan should be based on the principle: “the right treatment, to the right patient, in the right time”.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Status epilepticus and its treatment - Update 2013]

GYIMESI Csilla, JUHOS Vera, HORVÁTH Réka, BÓNÉ Beáta, TÓTH Márton, FOGARASI András, KOMOLY Sámuel, JANSZKY József

[Our study provides an overview of the results and guidelines published on the treatment of status epilepticus in the last five years. In recent years, as a result of scientific observations and collected data, the definition of and treatment approach to status epilepticus have been refined and novel therapeutic methods have been developed. The updated guidelines provide guidance in everyday medical practice. However, only a relatively small number of randomized studies are available on status epilepticus, especially in second-line treatment and third-line treatment, thus it is difficult to transfer the newest methods into clinical practice and into updates to treatment protocols. Due to the nature and epidemiology of the disease, the treatment of status epilepticus remains a daily challenge for healthcare providers. The key points of an effective treatment are: expeditiously initiating appropriate therapy, concurrent causal treatment and anticonvulsant therapy, early detection of nonconvulsive status epilepticus, as well as avoiding "overtreatment" and side effects.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Psychosis as a process - New implications of staging models of schizophrenia]

HALMAI Tamás, TÉNYI Tamás

[The article discusses contributing factors in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. In the last fifteen years, the emphasis has shifted from curative to prodromal and premorbid characteristics of later schizophrenia patients. Nevertheless, most studies are limited to the area of early detection and intervention of schizophrenia with much fewer focusing on actual prevention. A more general preventive approach not limited to psychotic condition is clearly underestimated. Following a review of current literature on prodromal approaches and identified premorbid markers of schizophrenia, the article outlines a possible trajectory of later psychotic condition with detectable, distinct stages from birth on. Based on this extended staging model involving neurotoxic impact and early prefrontal-limbic dysfunction, it argues for a refined, phase-specific treatment protocol including preventive interventions. Accepting a model of schizophrenia as an illness with detectable, phase-specific signs and symptoms from infancy on leads to the need to implement preventive interventions. Through this approach, we could, in the optimal case, be able to identify early signs of neuromotoric and cognitive dysfunction not specific for psychosis. Furthermore, it would be useful to lay greater emphasis on the detection of these early signs in the training of health care professionals. This approach calls for a close cooperation between psychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists and special education experts and a change in the way we view psychotic illness.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[EDITORIAL COMMENT]

KOZÁK Lajos Rudolf

[Editorial comment 2013;66(11-12)]

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Clinical Neuroscience

[ANIMAL MODELS OF HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE]

GÁRDIÁN Gabriella

[Huntington’s disease is an autosomal dominantly inherited progressive neurodegenerative disorder. The main symptoms are choreiform, involuntary movements, personality changes and dementia. Huntington’s disease is a member of a group of diseases caused by CAG repeat expansions. One research aim is to determine the earliest molecular changes associated with Huntington’s disease. There is no possibility for this in humans, but various early changes have been identified in an animal model of Huntington’s disease. They are constructed by excitotoxin causing striatal lesion, or mitochondrial toxins inducing energy impairment, or by generating transgenic mice.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Gray matter atrophy in presymptomatic Huntington’s patients

KIRÁLY András, KINCSES Zsigmond Tamás, SZABÓ Nikoletta, TÓTH Eszter, CSETE Gergő, FARAGÓ Péter, VÉCSEI László

Background - Huntington’s disease is a progressive disease in which neurodegeneration is on-going from the early presymptomatic phase. Development of sensitive biomarkers in this presymptomatic stage that are able to monitor the disease progression and test the efficacy of putative neuroprotective treatments are essential. Methods - Seven presymptomatic Huntington mutation carriers and ten age-matched healthy controls were recruited. Six of the patients participated in a 24 months longitudinal study having MRI scans 12 and 24 months after the baseline measurements. High resolution T1 weighted images were carried out and voxel based morphometry was used to analyse the data. Apart of group differences, correlation of CAG repeat number with focal cortical thickness and with global gray matter volume was calculated. Results - Focal cortical atrophy was found bilaterally in the superior temporal sulcus and in the left middle frontal gyrus in presymptomatic Huntington patients in whom no sign of cognitive or motor deterioration was detected. Global gray matter atrophy (p<0.048) and decreased total brain volume was found. The number of CAG triplets showed no correlation with the focal gray matter atrophy and total brain volume. Strong correlation between the CAG repeat number and global gray matter volume was found (p<0.016). Conclusion - Cortical atrophy is apparent in the early, presymptomatic stage of the disease. With further validation in large patient sample atrophy measure could be biomarker of disease progression and putatively of neurodegeneration.

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.