Clinical Neuroscience

[EXECUTIVE DYSFUNCTION IN FRONTAL LESIONS AND FRONTAL EPILEPSY]

TÁRNOK Zsanett, BARSI Péter, GÁDOROS Júlia, HALÁSZ Péter

JULY 30, 2006

Clinical Neuroscience - 2006;59(07-08)

[Background - To explore the functions of the frontal lobe that are associated with high order cognitive and behavioral aspects such as the organization and execution of thoughts and behavior by neuropsychological methods is difficult. These so called executive functions are in close connection with the prefrontal thalamocortical circuits, damage of which can cause deficits in cognitive functions and even changes in personality. Methods - The aim of this study is to present a neuropsychological battery for testing frontal lobe functions. 31 patients (with frontal epilepsy and/or frontal lesion) and 38 healthy control subjects participated in the study. The control subjects were matched to the patient group in age, gender and education. Results - Comparing to the controls the patient group showed significant deficits in most of the measured executive functions, except two tests which show that the short time selective attention is preserved. We divided the patient group into three subgroups (frontal epilepsy only FLE, frontal lesion only FL, frontal lesion and epilepsy FLE+FL) and we found that except working memory deficits and problems in inhibition, there were no difference between the FLE patients and the control group. We found most frequently perseveration and errors in a strategy making task among the FL (mainly medial) patients. We didn’t find any difference in these tests according to the lateralization of the lesion. Conclusion - In conclusion we found that working memory deficits and problems in inhibition differentiated the frontal patient group from the controls in all cases. We emphasize that in frontal epilepsy (with no reported MR lesion) there are the same type, however more limited neuropsychological alterations as in lesional frontal dysfunction.]

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[PARALLEL PROCESSING OF VISUAL INFORMATION]

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[This is a survey on the function of parallel visual pathway with a special emphasis on its clinical implications. It is based on data in the literature and own results of our group. The paper primarily deals with the X, Y, W pathways and by the magnocellular, parvocellular and koniocellular visual pathways characterized by cells of various size as well as by nerve fibers of various thickness. Electrophysiological, microelectrode recording of single-unit activity makes the distinction between the pathways available in animal modell. Much more difficulties arise if we intend to characterize the pathways in humans or to detect the selective damage of one of these pathways in patients. The non-invasive diagnostic methods that could be used in the diagnosis are detailed here, too. Finally, the neurological, ophtalmological and psychological diseases are discussed in which a selective damage of any visual pathway is suspected. Summing it up, the survey provides evidences for the introduction of the novel concept of parallel pathways into the diagnostic aspects of ophthalmology, neurology and psychiatry.]

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GAZDAG Gábor, KOCSIS-FICZERE Nárcisz, TOLNA Judit

[Objectives - The assessment, in terms of safety and efficacy, of augmenting clozapine monotherapy, as well as combined psychopharmacotherapy involving clozapine, with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Method - Reviewed were the charts of patients who received clozapine-ECT treatment in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of Semmelweis University between November 1999 and December 2003. Results - During the studied period there were altogether 43 patients treated with the combination of clozapine and electroconvulsive therapy. In the schizoaffective group, the values for post-electroconvulsive therapy CGI were significantly lower than either in the catatonic (Z=-3.72, p<0.01) or in the hebephrenic (Z=-3.17, p<0.01) group. Among the groups created on the basis of the number of augmentation strategies utilized, the clozapine+3 group consisted of patients significantly older than the clozapine+1 group (Z=2.45, p=0.01). In the clozapine monotherapy group, the values for post-electroconvulsive therapy CGI were significantly lower than in any of the groups that had received a combination of augmentations (monotherapy-1 augmentation: Z=-3.01, p<0.01; monotherapy-2 augmentation: Z=-2.89, p<0.01; monotherapy- 3 augmentation: Z=-2.41, p=0.01). Conclusions - According to our examinations, the augmentation of clozapine treatment with electroconvulsive therapy should be tried primarily on schizoaffective patients, in case the clozapine monotherapy is ineffective. The simultaneous use of different augmentation strategies is expected to increase only the side effects not the efficacy of the treatment.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[THE ROLE OF MICRO-AROUSALS IN THE REGULATION OF SLEEP]

HALÁSZ Péter

[This work give a short account about a three decades research of the sleep microstructure. The studies, executed by the Strassbourg, Budapest and Parma schools, paved the way of exploring the participation of micro-arousals in the sleep regulation. It was shown that micro-arousals, not leading to instant arousal but influencing the later course of sleep are weaved into the network of sleep. A certain class of microarousals differs from the traditional desyncronisation-type and in a paradox way result a rebound like mobilisation of sleeplike activity with deltas and K-complexes. The desynchronisation- and synchronisation-type micro-arousals show different distribution along the sleep cyclicity and may play different role in sleep regulation. On the basis of the studies dealing with micro-arousals we can assume that beside the traditional long time constant, brain stem driven tonic chemical regulation, an other phasic regulation, with shorter time constant, underlied by the micro-arousals, also exist. This kind of phasic regulation makes sleep flexible and possible to adapt the actual sleep course to the inner and outer demands. An other important role of micro-arousals in pathological sleeps is to provide a gate for the different pathological events, pinpointing the key-points where these events could be expected in the sleep process.]

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[The most frequent neurological manifestations of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome- (AIDS) are Cerebral Toxoplasmosis, Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL), Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) and AIDS-encephalitis (AIDS-dementia complex, multinucleated giant cell encephalitis, HIV-encephalopathy). Neurological complications usually occur in the advanced stages of the disease, and they are uncommon in the beginning as presenting illness, but may result in lifethreatening condition or in death. Rarely the disease presents as a neuropsychiatric illness in an undiagnosed AIDS patient, delaying a proper diagnosis. We present the case of a 34 years old patient treated for AIDS-related Toxoplasma-encephalitis in our department. His illness started as an acute psychosis followed by rapid mental and somatic decline, leading to death in three months. His HIV-seropositivity was not known at his admission, and the extraneural manifestations were slight. The diagnosis was established by serology, imaging methods and histopathological investigation. After presenting the medical history and results of autopsy studies of the patient we discuss the problems of the differential diagnosis, especially regarding the findings of the imaging methods.]

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