Clinical Neuroscience

[Family planning in multiple sclerosis: conception, pregnancy, breastfeeding]

RÓZSA Csilla1

MAY 30, 2020

Clinical Neuroscience - 2020;73(05-06)



[Family planning is an exceptionally important question in multiple sclerosis, as women of childbearing age are the ones most often affected. Although it is proven that pregnancy does not worsen the long-term prognosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, many patients are still doubtful about having children. This question is further complicated by the fact that patients – and often even doctors – are not sufficiently informed about how the ever-increasing number of available disease-modifying treatments affect pregnancies. Breastfeeding is an even less clear topic. Patients usually look to their neurologists first for answers concerning these matters. It falls to the neurologist to rationally evaluate the risks and benefits of contraception, pregnancy, assisted reproduction, childbirth, breastfeeding and disease modifying treatments, to inform patients about these, and then together come to a decision about the best possible therapeutic approach, taking the patients’ individual family plans into consideration. Here we present a review of relevant literature adhering to international guidelines on the topics of conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding, with a special focus on the applicability of approved disease modifying treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The goal of this article is to provide clinicians involved in the care of MS patients with up-to-date information that they can utilize in their day-to-day clinical practice. ]


  1. Jahn Ferenc Dél-pesti Kórház és Rendelôintézet, Budapest



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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

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

ELIF Gökçal, USLU Ilgen Ferda, 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

The etiology and age-related properties of patients with delirium in coronary intensive care unit and its effects on inhospital and follow up prognosis

ALTAY Servet, GÜRDOGAN Muhammet, KAYA Caglar, KARDAS Fatih, ZEYBEY Utku, CAKIR Burcu, EBIK Mustafa, DEMIR Melik

Delirium is a syndrome frequently encountered in intensive care and associated with a poor prognosis. Intensive care delirium is mostly based on general and palliative intensive care data in the literature. In this study, we aimed to investigate the incidence of delirium in coronary intensive care unit (CICU), related factors, its relationship with inhospital and follow up prognosis, incidence of age-related delirium and its effect on outcomes. This study was conducted with patients hospitalized in CICU of a tertiary university hospital between 01 August 2017 and 01 August 2018. Files of all patients were examined in details, and demographic, clinic and laboratory parameters were recorded. Patients confirmed with psychiatry consultation were included in the groups of patients who developed delirium. Patients were divided into groups with and without delirium developed, and baseline features, inhospital and follow up prognoses were investigated. In addition, patients were divided into four groups as <65 years old, 65-75 yo, 75-84 yo and> 85 yo, and the incidence of delirium, related factors and prognoses were compared among these groups. A total of 1108 patients (mean age: 64.4 ± 13.9 years; 66% men) who were followed in the intensive care unit with variable indications were included in the study. Of all patients 11.1% developed delirium in the CICU. Patients who developed delirium were older, comorbidities were more frequent, and these patients showed increased inflammation findings, and significant increase in inhospital mortality compared to those who did not develop delirium (p<0.05). At median 9-month follow up period, rehospitalization, reinfarction, cognitive dysfunction, initiation of psychiatric therapy and mortality were significantly higher in the delirium group (p<0.05). When patients who developed delirium were divided into four groups by age and analyzed, incidence of delirium and mortality rate in delirium group were significantly increased by age (p<0.05). Development of delirium in coronary intensive care unit is associated with increased inhospital and follow up morbidity and mortality. Delirium is more commonly seen in geriatric patients and those with comorbidity, and is associated with a poorer prognosis. High-risk patients should be more carefully monitored for the risk of delirium.

Clinical Neuroscience

Autonomic nervous system may be affected after carpal tunnel syndrome surgery: A possible mechanism for persistence of symptoms after surgery

ONDER Burcu, KELES Yavuz Betul

After carpal tunnel surgery, some patients report complaints such as edema, pain, and numbness. Purpose – The aim of this study was to evaluate autonomic nervous system function in patients with a history of carpal tunnel surgery using sympathetic skin response (SSR). Thirty three patients (55 ±10 years old) with a history of unilateral operation for carpal tunnel syndrome were included in the study. The SSR test was performed for both hands. Both upper extremities median and ulnar nerve conduction results were recorded. A reduced amplitude (p=0.006) and delayed latency (p<0.0001) were detected in the SSR test on the operated side compared to contralateral side. There was no correlation between SSR and carpal tunnel syndrome severity. Although complex regional pain syndrome does not develop in patients after carpal tunnel surgery, some of the complaints may be caused by effects on the autonomic nervous system.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Neurological aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus]


[By the spring of 2020 the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has become a pandemic, requiring fast and efficient reaction from societies and health care systems all over the world. Fever, coughing and dyspnea are considered the major signs of COVID-19. In addition to the involvement of the respiratory system, the infection may result in other symptoms and signs as well. Based on reports to date, neurological signs or symptoms appear in 30-50% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, with higher incidence in those with more severe disease. Classical acute neurological syndromes have also been reported to associate with COVID-19. A drop in the volume of services for other acute diseases has been described in countries with healthcare systems focusing on COVID-19. During the COVID-19 epidemic it is also important to provide appropriate continuous care for those with chronic neurological disorders. It will be the task of the future to estimate the collateral damage caused by the COVID-19 epidemic on the outcome of other neurological disorders, and to screen for the possible late neurological complications of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

Matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis: Possible markers and treatment agents


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are synthesized by many cell groups and responsible for the destruction of matrix proteins, and endogen tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) have a role in the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by affecting the blood-brain barrier. We aimed to investigate the role of MMPs and TIMPs in the immunopathogenesis and in the course of multiple sclerosis (MS). We enrolled 25 relapsing remitting MS patients, who had a definite MS diagnosis according to McDonald criteria and 25 healthy subjects similar for age and gender as control group. MMP-9- and TIMP-1 levels were measured twice in patient group (one time during an attack and one in remission) and once in healthy subjects. MMP-9- and TIMP-levels of patients during attack and remission period and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratio were found significantly higher than in the control subjects. In patient group MMP-9 and TIMP-1 levels and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratio during attacks were not significantly different than during remission period. However, when subdivided according to their number of attacks, patients with 2 attacks had significantly higher levels during attack period comparing to remission period (p<0.05); in case of patients with more than 2 attacks did not have a statistically significant difference in attack and remission periods. Matrix metalloproteinases are important actors in MS immunopathogenesis, particularly in the early period and inhibitor agents for these enzymes can be used as a treatment option.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Health status and costs of ambulatory patients with multiple sclerosis in Hungary]

KOMOLY Sámuel, PÉNTEK Márta, GULÁCSI László, BRODSZKY Valentin, RÓZSA Csilla, SIMÓ Magdolna, ILJICSOV Anna

[Background and purpose - Data on disease burden of multiple sclerosis from Eastern-Central Europe are very limited. Our aim was to explore the quality of life, resource utilisation and costs of ambulating patients with multiple sclerosis in Hungary. Methods - Cross-sectional questionnaire survey was performed in two outpatient neurology centres in 2009. Clinical history, health care utilisation in the past 12 months were surveyed, the Expanded Disability Status Scale and the EQ-5D questionnaires were applied. Cost calculation was conducted from the societal perspective. Results - Sixty-eight patients (female 70.6%) aged 38.0 (SD 9.1) with disease duration of 7.8 (SD 6.7) years were involved. Fifty-five (80.9%) had relapsing-remitting form and 52 (76.5%) were taking immunomodulatory drug. The average scores were: Expanded Disability Status Scale 1.9 (SD 1.7), EQ-5D 0.67 (SD 0.28). Mean total cost amounted to 10 902 Euros/patient/year (direct medical 67%, direct nonmedical 13%, indirect costs 20%). Drugs, disability pension and informal care were the highest cost items. Costs of mild (Expanded Disability Status Scale 0-3.5) and moderate (Expanded Disability Status Scale 4.0-6.5) disease were 9 218 and 17 634 Euros/patient/year respectively (p<0.01), that is lower than results from Western European countries. Conclusion - Our study provides current inputs for policy making and contributes to understanding variation of costof- illness of multiple sclerosis in Europe.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Is second-line immunomodulatory treatment effective in multiple sclerosis?]


[Purpose - Natalizumab is the first evidence based monoclonal antibody, which was launched for treatment in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in Hungary in 2010. Standardized follow-up is required to use it. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy and to monitor the safety of natalizumab treatment by using an electronic database established for MS registry. Clinical activity was measured by annual relapse rates, functional status of patients measured by EDSS and MFSC. Radiological activity was evaluated by standard MRI protocol. Data, results of MS patients and side effects of natalizumab treatment were recorded in iMed software. Results - 31 patients started the natalizumab treatment after 6.5±5.8 years from the onset of MS. The efficacy of treatment was evaluated after a mean of 67 (min: 14 max: 128) infusions in December 2016. The drop-out rate was low, due to the presence of neutralising antibodies in one case, pregnancy in two cases and development of malignant disease in one case which was not related to the natalizumab treatment. The treatment was well tolerated with excellent compliance without serious side effects. The annual relapse rate reduced from a mean of 1.7 to 0.03 (p<0.000001) in the first 12 months of treatment compared to the pretreatment 12 month activity, and it stayed at low level during the whole follow up. EDSS was stable or improved with an exception of two cases. In 23 subjects (77%) lack of new/enlarging T2 lesions and lack of gadolineum-enhancing lesions on MRI were observed. 18 patients (60%) had no evidence of disease activity (NEDA-3). PASAT test improved in most of the cases. Conclusion - The natalizumab therapy was very effective in all cases including those patients who had active disease under the previous immunomodulatory treatment.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The Expanded Disability Status Scale scoring in patients with multiple sclerosis]


[Gait disturbance is a major symptom in patients with multiple sclerosis. The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) was first used in clinical trials of multiple sclerosis for the assessment of disability, however it has become more and more widely used in clinical practice as well. Nowadays its use is essential in application of the new diagnostic criteria, the new clinical form classification and in monitoring the efficacy of therapies. EDSS is based on a standardised neurological examination, but focuses on those symptoms that are frequent in multiple sclerosis. Based on the examination it assesses seven functional systems: visual, brainstem, pyramidal, cerebellar, sensory, bowel-bladder and cerebral functions. EDSS scores can be determined based on the scores given in the functional systems and on testing the walking distance. In newer versions the “Ambulation score” has been added. This chapter clarifies the scores based on the maximal walking distance and the need for a walking aid to walk this distance. The Neurostatus/EDSS training method improves the reproducibility of the standardised neurological examination that forms the basis of the EDSS scoring. Of the tests assessing walking, the Timed-25 Foot Walk Test and the self-administered 12-Item Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale are suitable for routine evaluation of walking performance. An increase of more than 20% in the Timed-25 Foot Walk may be considered a significant change in gait. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Current questions of multiple sclerosis: the secunder progressive form of the disease]


[Recent data suggest that long-term worsening is common in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients and is largely independent of relapses or new lesion formation on brain MRI. The current definition of secunder progressive multiple sclerosis is worsening of disability independent of relapses over at least 6-month interval. Early focal inflammatory disease activity and spinal cord lesion are predictors of very-long term disease outcomes in relapse - onset multiple sclerosis. The potential of PET imaging to visualize hidden inflammation in MS brain in vivo is an important contribution for better understanding the progression of the disease. Therefore, PET imaging is a promising tool in detecting the conversion from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis to secunder progressive form of multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, neuro-axonal damage is the pathological substrate of permanent disability in different neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis. The neurofilament proteins have promise in this context because their levels rise upon neuro-axonal damage not only in the cerebrospinal fluid but also in blood. Patients with increased serum levels of neurofilament at baseline, independent of other clinical and MRI variables, experience significantly more brain and spinal cord volume loss over 2 years and 5 years of follow-up. The kynurenine-pathway abnormalities may be associated with the swich from early-mild stage multiple sclerosis to debilitating progressive forms of the disease. Analysis of these metabolites in serum may have application as multiple sclerosis disease biomarkers. Free radical action has been suggested as a causal factor in the illness. Increased free radical production and consumption of the scavenger molecules were found during the active phase of the disease. Based on the clinical findings (EXPAND Study) and pathomechanism of the disease siponimod is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of relapsing remitting forms of multiple sclerosis, to include secunder progressive multiple sclerosis with active disease, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and clinically isolated syndrome.]