Clinical Neuroscience

[Recommendations for a brief international cognitive assessment for multiple sclerosis]

BENCSIK Krisztina

JULY 30, 2012

Clinical Neuroscience - 2012;65(07-08)

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Clinical Neuroscience

[Editorial message]

TAJTI János, RAJNA Péter

Clinical Neuroscience

[Neurophobia]

SZIRMAI Imre

[Neurophobia is the fear of neurological diseases. Its main symptom is that medical students and young doctors are not able to utilize their basic neurological knowledge at the bedside. According to statistics, every second student suffers from neurophobia. This attitude could explain why in the last two decades less and less young doctors wanted to become neurologist. Medical students complain that they receive no instructions, and are afraid of loosing their interest and of facing the failure of their competency. The hardship of neurology was explained by the insufficient knowledge of anatomy and the infrequent encounter with patients. Even general practitioners have anxiety about neurological patients. The loss of interest in neurosciences seems to associate with insensitivity of human-centered culture and corruption of empathic thinking. The burnout syndrome of medical doctors and students can be explained by stress, loss of respect, permanent competition, independency that interferes with responsibility, stiff hierarchy of medical society, fear of diagnostic failures and of economical difficulties. The scores of depression in female students were higher than in male. The idea of the “good neurologist” has been changed. The business oriented care, the shortage of time, and the financial restrictions corroded the conventional practice and ceased the vocational idealism. At present, personal teaching is going to transform into impersonal multimedia learning. Because of the drastic change of values, the age of inner-oriented professionals has terminated also in the medicine. Medical doctors follow even less the traditional troll of professional behavior, but according the social demands, they choose their specialization for subsistence. The highly esteemed social status of neurologists and psychiatrists is going to sink in Europe. To reduce neurophobia it would be desirable 1. to introduce neurology training in the early years of medical school; 2. to teach neurology in all semesters, 3. to assure the effective teaching of neuro-anatomy and physiology, 4. to organize more one-to-one teacher-student communication. In the United States, residents participate in teaching during their residency training. To master neurology dedicated teachers are necessary whom neurology residents ought to meet personally with optimal frequency. However, these requirements seem to fail because of the chiefly technical characters of the actual reforms.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Diagnosis and therapy of mitochondrial diseases]

PÁL Endre

[Mitochondrial diseases are a significant part of neuromuscular diseases. Majority of them is multisystemic disorder. The diagnosis can be established in more and more cases. Beyond the routine neurological examination imaging methods (MRI and MR-spectroscopy) and electrophysiology (EMG, ENG, EEG, evoked potential tests) might be helpful in setting the diagnosis. Raised blood lactate level supports the diagnosis. Muscle biopsy demonstrates mitochondrial abnormalities in the majority of cases. The positivity of genetic tests is low, because the amount of mitochondrial DNA alterations is different in tissues. Therefore other tissue than blood (mainly muscle) is necessary for genetic tests. The other reason is that the respiratory chain is under double -mitochondrial and nuclear - genetic control, and testing the nuclear genes are available only in selected laboratories. The treatment is limited, mainly symptomatic.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The absence of the common LRRK2 G2019S mutation in 120 young onset Hungarian Parkinon’s disease patients]

BALICZA Péter, BEREZNAI Benjámin, TAKÁTS Annamária, KLIVÉNYI Péter, DIBÓ György, HIDASI Eszter, BALOGH István, MOLNÁR Mária Judit

[Parkinson’s disease is a promising target of applying personalized medicine. For this purpose it is crucial to reveal the genetic and environmental factors, which contribute to the disease, also to collect epidemiologic data and to preserve the patients samples and data in a proper biobank. In our investigation we examined the prevalence of the most frequent Parkinson’s disease causing LRRK2 G2019S mutation in a Hungarian Parkinson-patient group. From 120 patients, we haven’t detected this substitution in anyone. Our investigation suggest that the mutation LRRK2 G2019S may be a rare cause of Parkinson disease in the Hungarian population.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Results of intrathecal baclofen therapy on spasticity in patients with brain injury]

DÉNES Zoltán, KLAUBER András, BOTH Béla, ERÕSS Loránd

[Objectives - To evaluate the results of intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy on the spasticity in patients with brain injury. Method - Retrospective study in Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit between January 2001 and December 2010. Results - During the last ten years, in our unit 13 patients were involved into ITB therapy on severe spasticity, after brain injury, while more than 100 Baclofen pumps were implantated in Hungary with Hungary with coordination of the Multidisciplinary Team. ITB therapy was indicated in severe spasticity developed after seven cases of traumatic brain injuries, five cases of strokes and one case of anoxic brain injury. The mean age of patients was 26 years (18- 52). At the time of pump implantation three patients were in vegetative state. The shortest period elapsed between the brain injury and pump implantation was three months and the longest period was nine years, mean 15 months. Baclofen pump had to be changed in six cases after six years, and was removed in three cases due to decreasing spasticity. Catheter revision was performed in two cases due to flow problem. We had no complication in association with ITB therapy. Conclusions - Intrathecal baclofen therapy seems to be an effective and safe treatment in patients with severe spasticity of cerebral origin. We suggest team (neurosurgeon and rehabilitation professionals) decision in a spasticity center before involving the patient into ITB therapy, and follow up in the rehabilitation unit. The severity of spasticity as a consequence of brain injury can change during years and it is necessery to follow it with dosage and dynamics of baclofen therapy. Baclofen pump removal is suggested if the ITB therapy is further not reasonable.]

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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

[The role of sleep in the relational memory processes ]

CSÁBI Eszter, ZÁMBÓ Ágnes, PROKECZ Lídia

[A growing body of evidence suggests that sleep plays an essential role in the consolidation of different memory systems, but less is known about the beneficial effect of sleep on relational memory processes and the recognition of emotional facial expressions, however, it is a fundamental cognitive skill in human everyday life. Thus, the study aims to investigate the effect of timing of learning and the role of sleep in relational memory processes. 84 young adults (average age: 22.36 (SD: 3.22), 21 male/63 female) participated in our study, divided into two groups: evening group and morning group indicating the time of learning. We used the face-name task to measure relational memory and facial expression recognition. There were two sessions for both groups: the immediate testing phase and the delayed retesting phase, separated by 24 hours. 84 young adults (average age: 22.36 (SD: 3.22), 21 male/63 female) participated in our study, divided into two groups: evening group and morning group indicating the time of learning. We used the face-name task to measure relational memory and facial expression recognition. There were two sessions for both groups: the immediate testing phase and the delayed retesting phase, separated by 24 hours. Our results suggest that the timing of learning and sleep plays an important role in the stabilizing process of memory representation to resist against forgetting.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The Comprehensive Aphasia Test in Hungarian]

ZAKARIÁS Lilla, RÓZSA Sándor, LUKÁCS Ágnes

[In this paper we present the Comprehensive Aphasia Test-Hungarian (CAT-H; Zakariás and Lukács, in preparation), an assessment tool newly adapted to Hungarian, currently under standardisation. The test is suitable for the assessment of an acquired language disorder, post-stroke aphasia. The aims of this paper are to present 1) the main characteristics of the test, its areas of application, and the process of the Hungarian adaptation and standardisation, 2) the first results from a sample of Hungarian people with aphasia and healthy controls. Ninety-nine people with aphasia, mostly with unilateral, left hemisphere stroke, and 19 neurologically intact control participants were administered the CAT-H. In addition, we developed a questionnaire assessing demographic and clinical information. The CAT-H consists of two parts, a Cognitive Screening Test and a Language Test. People with aphasia performed significantly worse than the control group in all language and almost all cognitive subtests of the CAT-H. Consistent with our expectations, the control group performed close to ceiling in all subtests, whereas people with aphasia exhibited great individual variability both in the language and the cognitive subtests. In addition, we found that age, time post-onset, and type of stroke were associated with cognitive and linguistic abilities measured by the CAT-H. Our results and our experiences clearly show that the CAT-H provides a comprehensive profile of a person’s impaired and intact language abilities and can be used to monitor language recovery as well as to screen for basic cognitive deficits in aphasia. We hope that the CAT-H will be a unique resource for rehabilitation professionals and aphasia researchers in aphasia assessment and diagnostics in Hungary. ]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Focus on Lege Artis Medicinae (LAM)]

VASAS Lívia, GEGES József

[Three decades ago, LAM was launched with the goal of providing scientific information about medicine and its frontiers. From the very beginning, LAM has also concerned a special subject area while connecting medicine with the world of art. In the palette of medical articles, it remained a special feature to this day. The analysis of the history of LAM to date was performed using internationally accepted publication guidelines and scientific databases as a pledge of objectivity. We examined the practice of LAM if it meets the main criteria, the professional expectations of our days, when publishing contents of the traditional printed edition and its electronic version. We explored the visibility of articles in the largest bibliographic and scientific metric databases, and reviewed the LAM's place among the Hun­ga­rian professional journals. Our results show that in recent years LAM has gained international reputation des­pite publishing in Hungarian spoken by a few people. This is due to articles with foreign co-authors as well as references to LAM in articles written exclusively by foreign researchers. The journal is of course full readable in the Hungarian bibliographic databases, and its popularity is among the leading ones. The great virtue of the journal is the wide spectrum of the authors' affiliation, with which they cover almost completely the Hungarian health care institutional sys­tem. The special feature of its columns is enhanced by the publication of writings on art, which may increase Hungarian and foreign interest like that of medical articles.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Neuroscience highlights: Main cell types underlying memory and spatial navigation

KRABOTH Zoltán, KÁLMÁN Bernadette

Interest in the hippocampal formation and its role in navigation and memory arose in the second part of the 20th century, at least in part due to the curious case of Henry G. Molaison, who underwent brain surgery for intractable epilepsy. The temporal association observed between the removal of his entorhinal cortex along with a significant part of hippocampus and the developing severe memory deficit inspired scientists to focus on these regions. The subsequent discovery of the so-called place cells in the hippocampus launched the description of many other functional cell types and neuronal networks throughout the Papez-circuit that has a key role in memory processes and spatial information coding (speed, head direction, border, grid, object-vector etc). Each of these cell types has its own unique characteristics, and together they form the so-called “Brain GPS”. The aim of this short survey is to highlight for practicing neurologists the types of cells and neuronal networks that represent the anatomical substrates and physiological correlates of pathological entities affecting the limbic system, especially in the temporal lobe. For that purpose, we survey early discoveries along with the most relevant neuroscience observations from the recent literature. By this brief survey, we highlight main cell types in the hippocampal formation, and describe their roles in spatial navigation and memory processes. In recent decades, an array of new and functionally unique neuron types has been recognized in the hippocampal formation, but likely more remain to be discovered. For a better understanding of the heterogeneous presentations of neurological disorders affecting this anatomical region, insights into the constantly evolving neuroscience behind may be helpful. The public health consequences of diseases that affect memory and spatial navigation are high, and grow as the population ages, prompting scientist to focus on further exploring this brain region.