Clinical Neuroscience

[Experience with natalizumab-treatment at Semmelweis University]

GOMBOS Barbara, ILJICSOV Anna, BARSI Péter, HEGEDÛS Katalin, SIMÓ Magdolna

MAY 30, 2017

Clinical Neuroscience - 2017;70(05-06)


[Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system. During the last two decades, numerous disease modifying drugs have been introduced for the treatment of the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. Since 2010, natalizumab (NTZ) treatment has been used as a second-line therapy for patients with breakthrough disease. In comparison to conventional immunomodulant drugs, NTZ has a more specific effect in that it prevents the entry of immune cells into the central nervous system without interfering with systemic immune response. The efficacy and the safety of NTZ have been confirmed by several studies. The most severe side-effect of NTZ is progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, which has been associated with an increased incidence in patients with anti-JCV antibody positivity, and in those who have been undergoing NTZ treatment for over two years and who have received prior immunosuppressive therapy. In the present study, our experience with natalizumab treatment of 37 patients at the Department of Neurology of Semmelweis University during the last 6 years is presented. We have observed a significant decrease of disease activity in our patients; in many cases the disease has become inactive both clinically (36/37) and radiologically (34/37). The patients’ quality of life has improved significantly during the treatment. In accordance with the literature, we confirm that NTZ is a highly effective treatment in a carefully selected patient group, and can be administered without significant inconvenience to the patient. ]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[EEG-based cerebral networks in 14 neurological disorders]

DÖMÖTÖR Johanna, CLEMENS Béla, CSÉPÁNY Tünde, EMRI Miklós, FOGARASI András, HOLLÓDY Katalin, PUSKÁS Szilvia, FEKETE Klára, KOVÁCS Attila, FEKETE István

[Background - Brain networks have not been systematically investigated yet in most neurological disorders. Purpose - To investigate EEG functional connectivity (EEGfC) networks in 14 neurological disorders. Patients - Potentially eligible patients were collected from clinical and EEG databases. All the available clinical data and EEG records were critically revised. All the patients who suffered of a single neurological disorder (out of the 14) and had a good quality EEG recording entered the study. Confoundig factors as comorbidity and CNS-active drug effects were eliminated as far as possible. EEG analysis - Three minutes of resting-state, waking EEG activity were selected for analysis. Current source density (CSD) values were computed for 2394 cortical voxels by Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA). Thereafter, Pearson correlation coefficients were computed between all pairs of 23 cortical regions of interest (ROI) in each hemisphere (LORETA Source Correlation, LSC software). Computation was carried out for conventional EEG broad bands and very narrow bands (1 Hz bandwidth) between 1 and 25 Hz as well. Correlation coefficients of each group were statistically compared to our normative EEG (LSC) database by two-talied t-tests. Bonferroni-corrected p<0.05 values were accepted as statistically significant, and were graphically displayed as topographical networks. Results and conclusion - Group-specific networks were demonstrated. However, non-specific networks, charasteristic for most groups, were detected as well. Common finding were: decreased connectivity in the alpha band and increased connectivity in the delta, theta bands and upper-beta band. Decreased alpha-band connectivity presumably reflected primary lesional effects and on the other hand, non-specific vulnerability of “rich club connections”. Increased connectivity in the slow bands presumably indicated adaptive-compensatory activity of brain homeostasis. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

Independent validation of the Quality of Life in Essential Tremor Questionnaire (QUEST)

KOVÁCS Márton, MAKKOS Attila, JANSZKY József, KOVÁCS Norbert

Quality of Life in Essential Tremor Questionnaire (QUEST) was specially developed for essential tremor population to measure the health-related quality of life. Besides the development of the Hungarian version, we performed an independent testing of the scale adding further information on its clinimetric properties. In this study 133 ET patients treated at University of Pécs, Hungary, were enrolled. Besides QUEST, we assessed Patient’s Global Impression-Severity (PGI-S) and Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scales. After the independent validation in accordance to the Classic Theory of Tests, we evaluated cut-off values for detecting clinically meaningful ET-related disabilities based on receiver operating characteristics analysis. Cronbach’s a was 0.897. QUEST demonstrated high convergent validity with PGI and divergent validity with disease-duration, positive family history, need for deep brain stimulation surgery, and the presence of depression and anxiety. Presence of moderate ET-related disabilities was identified by scores > 11.25 points on QUEST-SI (sensitivity: 77.4%, specificity: 83.3%); whereas scores > 20.35 points indicated severe ET-related disabilities (sensitivity: 83.3%, specificity: 59.1%). We demonstrated that the fundamental clinimetric properties of the QUEST are satisfactory.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Non-contrast brain ct based systemic thrombolysis of two wake up ischemic stroke patients in rural settings]

POZSEGOVITS Krisztián, RENCZ László, CSÚSZ Lajos, SZABÓ Géza

[Background and presentation - Conventionally the acute ischemic stroke patients who wake up with symptomes (WUS - wake up stroke) cannot benefit from systemic thrombolysis due to the uncertainty of the exact onset time of the cerebrovascular event. Perfusion brain imaging could be used as patient selection tool but the method is not available in many settings. Simple non-contrast CT scan is easily accessible and reliable as it shows the different stages of the evolving ischemia with high accuracy. Early brain CT scan results of WUS patients have the same characteristics as the ones who are surely within therapeutic window. The intravenous thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rTPA) of WUS patients seems to be similarly successful as the ones with known onset time, the treatment does not come with excess complications, higher rate of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage was not found in previous reports. Purpose - In this report we present two systemic thrombolysis cases of acute ischemic stroke patients who woke up with stroke symptoms. Methods - In 2014 and 2015 we performed systemic thrombolysis for one wake up stroke patients, respectively. Both patients had large vessel occlusion. Indication was based on favourable non-contrast brain CT scan results. Results - Treatment of these two patients with rTPA proved to be safe, no hemorrhage occurred after treatment. Conclusion - We presented two acute ischemic stroke patients with symptomes at early wake up who were treated intravenously with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator based on non-contrast CT alone without complications and some moderate improvement at 90 days in the settings of a rural town hospital in a middle income country.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Prevention of invasive meningococcal infection, recognition and first treatment of the disease in primary care]


[Neisseria meningitidis, the meningococcus, is a Gram-negative diplococcal bacterium that is only found naturally in humans. The meningococcus is part of the normal microbiota of the human nasopharynx and is commonly carried in healthy individuals. In some cases systemic invasion occurs, which can lead to meningitis and/or septicemia. Invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis is potentially devastating, with a high case fatality rate and high rates of significant sequelae among survivors after septicaemia or meningitis. Between 2006-2015 every year between 34 and 70 were the numbers of the registered invasive disease because of Neisseria meningitis, the morbidity rate was 0.2-0.7⁰⁄₀₀₀₀. Half of the diseases (50.7%) were caused by B serotype N. meningitidis, 23.2% were C serotype. In this article the authors summarise what you must do and must not do as primary care physician when suddenly meeting a young patients suspected of having meningococcus infection. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Relationship between the number of hours of sunshine and the number of (violent) suicides in Hungary]

BOZSONYI Károly, ZONDA Tamás, FÜLÖP Andrea, BÁLINT Lajos

[Aim - Studying the impact of the sunshine on the numbers of suicides. The number of suicides is highest in the late spring and early summer months, while it is lowest in the cold, gloomy winter. Although the exact causes are still un-known, there are some theories about this phenomenon. A number of studies conducted in recent years have conclud-ed that the rise in suicide rate during the warm months might be due to an increased exposure to sunlight, especially in the cases of the violent method. We studied the validity of this hypothesis on a large Hungarian database. Methods and subjects - We analyzed the number of monthly hours of sunshine and the number of suicides by sex and by violent vs. non-violent method over a 360-month period. Our sample consisted of 127 877 committed suicides between 1971 and 2000. The parabolic trend of seasonality had to be removed from the suicide time series, then regression analysis was conducted on the seasonally adjusted data. Results - Our analysis revealed that in Hungary there was no statistically significant direct relationship between the number of hours of sunshine and the number of suicides. Moreover, there was no correlation between the hours of sunshine and the number of violent suicides either. Conclusion - If the above claim were confirmed in subsequent research, it would mean that our current therapeutic regime should be reconsidered during the spring-summer seasons.]

All articles in the issue

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Clinical Neuroscience

[Extending therapeutic possibilities in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: dimethyl fumarate]


[Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is a novel oral therapy that has recently been approved for the treatment of relapsing- remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Dimethyl fumarate shows anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties that are thought to be mediated primarily via activation of the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 - Nrf2 transcriptional pathway, which up-regulates the genes involved in the cellular response to oxidative stress. The drug was evaluated in 2 large, randomized, double-blind, multicentric, multinational, 2-year, phase III clinical trials. The DEFINE and CONFIRM trials, conducted with over 2600 adult patients suffering from RRMS, unequivocally confirmed the efficacy of DMF (2×240 mg daily) in reducing the annualized relapse rate (ARR) and reducing the proportion of patients with MS relapse at 2 years. Significantly reduced sustained disability progression was observed with the drug versus placebo in DEFINE, while the same tendency was seen in CONFIRM. The MRI results of the studies were also convincing: DMF significantly reduced the number of new/enlarging T2-hyperintense lesions and the number of Gd-enhancing lesions compared to placebo. Dimethyl fumarate was generally well tolerated and no safety concern has been raised. Adverse events that occurred most frequently included flushing and gastrointestinal events. The long- term efficacy and tolerability of dimethyl fumarate is currently being investigated in the ENDORSE trial, with interim results demonstrating the same results as the two previous studies. In conclusion, although further, mostly comparative data are needed to fully establish the relative efficacy and tolerability of dimethyl fumarate compared with other therapies, dimethyl-fumarate is a valuable addition to the therapeutic options available for RRMS.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Current treatment of multiple sclerosis]


[Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune and degenerative disorder. In the past decades, the introduction of parenteral immunomodulatory therapies brought significant progress. These agents increase the number of relapses (shubs) by about 30%, and some of them has been shown to halter the accumulation of neurological symptoms and the development of disability. As first-line agents, interferon beta and glatiramer acetate (consisting of amino acids) can be used. Some new therapeutic strategies have been developed as a result of biotechnological development. The advantage of humanised monoclonal antibodies is that they affect the autoimmune inflammatory process more selectively. Among monoclonal antibodies, natalizumab, which binds to alpha-4-beta-1 integrin receptors and inhibits the migration of T-lymphocytes into the central nervous system, is available from February 2010 in Hungary, recommended as second-line treatment. The efficacy of natalizumab in decreasing relapse rate is >60 %. However, its use is associated with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in one out of 1000 treated patient. Currently it is recommended as second-line treatment, if the patient has active disease despite immunomodulatory therapy. Among orally administered agents, a preparation containing fingolimod is expected to become available next year, and another pill, cladribin has been also found to be efficient in randomised, controlled phase III trials. Fingolimod acts on sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors- 1 (S1P1). Cladribine is a purine nucleotide analogue, and its efficacy is based on long-term reduction of CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes. Further promising oral immunomodulatory agents are laquinimod and BG000012 (dimethylfumarate), which are currently being tested in phase III clinical trials in relapsing-remitting MS. The most efficient treatment should be chosed on the basis of the activity, aetiology and the posited pathomechanism of the disease. With the increasing number of therapeutic options, choosing the treatment that is optimal for the patient while also considering side effects might be challenging for both the patients and physicians.]

Lege Artis Medicinae



[Multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and chronic inflammatory neuropathies share the common feature of chronic course with potential development of disability due to the damage caused by immunological processes. Early detection and precise diagnosis is very important, because most patients respond well to proper immunomodulatory treatment. The diagnosis requires extensive knowledge of the disease and is based on the clinical symptoms recognised by the GP, as well as on complex assessment of the results of special neurophysiological, radiological and laboratory examinations. The present paper reviews the major immune-mediated neurological disorders and discusses their targeted immunological treatment.]

Clinical Neuroscience


PÁL Endre, ASCHERMANN Zsuzsanna, GÖMÖRI Éva, KOVÁCS Gábor Géza, SIMON Gábor, MARÓDI László, KOMOLY Sámuel, ILLÉS Zsolt

[Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy is a rare disease caused by the reactivation of an opportunistic agent, JC virus almost in every cases in immunodeficient conditions. The disease is characterized by multifocal demyelinating lesions of the central nervous system and causes death within a few months. The authors report two patients: a 67 year-old male treated because of chronic lymphoid leukemia, and a 19 year-old male having a hereditary immunodeficiency, X-linked hyper IgM syndrome. In both cases continuously progressive right, later both hemispheric signs were detected. Cerebrospinal fluid was not helpful. Brain MRI showed bilateral large, white matter lesion. The progression was not influenced by the treatment, finally both patient died ten and six weeks after the appearance of first complaints. The diagnosis was confirmed by brain biopsy and autopsy in both cases. Our cases demonstrate that progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy can develop in various immunodeficiencies.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Immunomodulatory treatment in multiple sclerosis ]


[During the past decade, several disease-modifying agents have been established and have become available for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The disease-modifying agents could be grouped into immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive therapies altering the long-term course of multiple sclerosis. Therapy is now available for relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive and progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis. Different disease-modifying agents became also available for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in Hungary which makes the therapeutic decision difficult. This overview might help to give an answer for different questions in the management of multiple sclerosis: Which agent to choose? When to initiate the therapy? Which dose to apply? Are the drugs safe? How long to treat the patients with immunomodulatory drugs? We give a review from the literature to assess the efficacy of disease-modifying therapies and to compare the data from phase three trials of interferon β1b, two preparations of interferon β1a or glatiramer acetate for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. We analyzed the efficacy and safety of these agents on physical, inflammatory and cognitive measures of disease activity. Comparison of study results indicated similar effects of immunomodulatory agents on relapse-related and inflammatory measures in relapsing multiple sclerosis. Interferon β1a slowed the progression of disability in relapsing multiple sclerosis. One interferon β1a preparation (intramuscularly injected) demonstrated efficacy in slowing progression of cognitive dysfunction. The interferons reduced relapses at early phase of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, but their efficacy have not yet been proven in the later phase of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis without relapses. Mitoxantrone demonstrated efficacy in slowing the progression of disability in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. All of the disease modifying agents are safe and tolerable, if the indication is correct and the patients are strictly controlled.]