Clinical Neuroscience

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

BERECZKI Dániel1,2,3, STANG Rita1, BÖJTI Péter1, KOVÁCS Tibor1,2

MAY 30, 2020

Clinical Neuroscience - 2020;73(05-06)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18071/isz.73.0171

[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.]

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Semmelweis Egyetem, Neurológiai Klinika, Budapest
  2. MTA-SE Neuroepidemiológiai Kutatócsoport, Budapest
  3. European Academy of Neurology, EANcore COVID-19 Taskforce

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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

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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.

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

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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

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[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. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

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

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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.

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