Clinical Neuroscience

[Rivaroxaban in prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation]

SIMONYI Gábor, MEDVEGY Mihály

NOVEMBER 20, 2012

Clinical Neuroscience - 2012;65(11-12)

[Atrial fibrillation (AF) is well established risk factor for cardioembolic stroke. With thromboprophylatic treatment we can reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AF. Oral vitamin K antagonists (VKA) such as warfarin and acenocoumarol are effective for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. VKAs are associated with several limitations including very narrow therapeutic range, several factors (diet, drugs, alcohol consumption) affecting the effect of VKA and excessive bleeding may occur if INR value not controlled successfully. New oral anticoagulant direct Xa factor inhibitor rivaroxaban has a good therapeutic efficacy in prevention (primary and secondary) of stroke in AF patients. Its advantages are including no need for monitoring, fixed oral dose, not affected by meal, age and body weight, all of them can improve patient adherence. In ROCKET AF trial in patients with AF, rivaroxaban was noninferior to warfarin for the prevention of stroke or systemic embolism. There was no significant between-group difference in the risk of major bleeding, although intracranial and fatal bleeding occurred less frequently in the rivaroxaban group.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

[Vinpocetin in neurological diseases]

SZAPÁRY László, KÉSMÁRKY Gábor, TÓTH Kálmán, MISNYOVSZKY Melinda, TÓTH Tímea, BALOGH Ágnes, NAGY Krisztián, NÉMETH György, FEHÉR Gergely

[Introduction - Stroke is the third leading cause of death worldwide (following cardiovascular and cancer mortality) and associated with serious disability for the vast majority of patients. There is no salvage therapy for irreversibly damaged brain areas, improving the circulation of the surrounding hypoperfused territories may be associated with benefitial clinical states. Cerebral hypoperfusion may play a role in the pathogenesis of other kind of neurological diseases, improvement of global circulation may have a preventive effect on these conditions. Aims - The aim of our study was to review the experimental and clinical articles focusing on the role of vinpocetin in different neurological conditions. Results - Vinpocetin appears to have several different mechanisms of action that allow for its antiinflammatory, antioxidant, vasodilating, antiepileptic and neuroprotective activities in experimental conditions. On the other hand, several meta-analysis of the existing studies in acute stroke examining short and long term fatality rates with vinpocetin was unable to assess efficacy. In chronic cerebrovascular patients, vinpocetin improves impaired hemorheological variables, has significant vasodilating properties, improves endothelial dysfunction, neuroimaging studies showed selective increase in cerebral blood flow and cerebral metabolic rate, all of which are potentially beneficial in cerebrovascular disease and may improve cognitive functions. Summary - Based on the above mentioned results vinpocetin plays an important role both in basic research and in clinical management of different neurological diseases.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Clinical significance of the cardiovascular effects of fingolimod treatment in multiple sclerosis]

SZÉPLAKI Gábor, MERKELY Béla

[Fingolimod is a sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor modulator, which is effective in the treatment of severe relapsingremitting form of multiple sclerosis. Once daily oral use of fingolimod decreased the annualized relapse rate, inflammatory brain lesion activity and the rate of brain atrophy compared both to placebo and intramuscular administered interferon beta-1a. The drug targets the cardiovascular system as well via sphingosine- 1 phosphate receptors. After initiation of fingolimod therapy transient sinus bradycardia and slowing of the atrioventricular conduction develops. The onset of the effect is as early as 1 hour post administration, while heart rate and conduction normalized in 24 hours in most of the cases. According to the clinical trials symptomatic bradycardia developed in 0.5% of the cases, responding to the appropriate therapy. The incidence of Mobitz I type II atrioventricular blocks and blocks with 2:1 atrioventricular conduction was 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. All of these cardiovascular events showed regression during observation and no higher degree atrioventricular blocks were detected at the approved therapeutic dose. Following the first dose effect, fingolimod had a moderate hypertensive effect on long-term. For the safety of fingolimod treatment detailed cardiovascular risk stratification of all patients, adequate patient monitoring after the first dose and competency in treating the possible side effects is necessary. In patients with increased cardiovascular risks, treatment should be considered only if anticipated benefits outweigh potential risks and extended monitoring is required.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Aspirin and clopidogrel resistance: possible mechanisms and clinical relevance. Part I: Concept of resistance]

VADÁSZ Dávid, SZTRIHA K László, SAS Katalin, VÉCSEI László

[Aspirin and clopidogrel are well established as antiplatelet medication in the treatment of atherothrombotic vascular disease. However, despite treatment, a substantial number of patients experience recurrent ischemic episodes, referred to as aspirin or clopidogrel treatment failure. Various laboratory techniques are available with which to evaluate the effectiveness of antiplatelet drugs. Interestingly, the agreement between the results of the different tests may be poor. The term aspirin or clopidogrel resistance denotes those conditions in which an inadequate inhibitory efficacy of the given antiplatelet agent is detected by an in vitro assay of platelet function. It has been estimated that on average some 30% of patients treated with aspirin, and 20% on clopidogrel, do not achieve an appropriate level of efficacy as concerns platelet activity.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of immobilization stress and sertindole on the expression of APP, MAPK-1 and β-actin genes in rat brain]

KÁLMÁN János, PÁKÁSKI Magdolna, SZŰCS Szabina, KÁLMÁN Sára, FAZEKAS Örsike, SÁNTHA Petra, SZABÓ Gyula, JANKA Zoltán

[Stress, depending on its level and quality, may cause adaptive and maladaptive alterations in brain functioning. As one of its multiple effects, elevated blood cortisol levels decrease the synthesis of the neuroprotective BDNF, thus leading to hippocampal atrophy and synapse loss, and rendering it a possible cause for the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) related neuropathological and cognitive changes. As a result of the stress response, intraneuronal alterations - also affecting the metabolism of β-actin - can develop. These have a role in the regulation of memory formation (LTP), but in pathological conditions (AD) they could lead to the accumulation of Hirano bodies (actin-cofilin rods). According to the dementia treatment guidelines, the behavioural and psychological symptoms of AD can be treated with certain antipsychotics. Therefore, the aim of our study was to examine the effects of sertindole (currently not used in the standard management of AD) on the transcription of some AD associated genes (amyloid precursor protein [APP], mitogen activated protein kinase-1 [MAPK-1], β-actin) in the brain of rats exposed to chronic immobilization stress (CIS). Male Wistar rats were exposed to CIS for three weeks. The four groups were: control (n=16), CIS (n=10), 10 mg/kg sertindole (n=5) and 10 mg/kg sertindole + CIS (n=4). Following transcardial perfusion, the relative levels of hippocampal and cortical mRNA of the previously mentioned genes were measured with real-time PCR. CIS induced hippocampal β-actin (p<0.01), MAPK-1 and APP (p<0.05) mRNA overexpression. The simultaneous administration of sertindole suppressed this increase in β-actin, MAPK-1 and APP expression (p<0.05). Ours is the first report about CIS induced β-actin gene overexpression. This finding, in accordance with the similar results in APP and MAPK-1 expression, underlines the significance of cytoskeletal alterations in AD pathogenesis. The gene expression reducing effect of sertindole suggests that antipsychotic drugs may have a neuroprotective effect.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Clinical experiences with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: three case studies]

SZŰCS Anna, VÁRALLYAY Péter, OSZTIE Éva, PAPP Erzsébet, SÓLYOM András, FINTA Lehel, VARGA Dániel, BARCS Gábor, HOLLÓ András, KAMONDI Anita

[The clinical picture, electroencephalographic, imaging and cerebrospinal fluid parameters as well as the molecular background of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have been well explored. The diagnostic criteria, offering clinicians a fair chance to identify these patients in vivo, have recently been updated. However, the diagnosis is still a challenge in everyday neurological routine. We report on three of our Creutzfeldt-Jakob patients for calling attention to the classical and the recently defined features of the disease. We conclude that based on the rapidly progressing neuropsychiatric syndrome Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may be suspected; follow-up EEG may reveal the typical (pseudo)-periodic pattern with progressive deterioration of the background activity. In addition, diffusion-weighted brain MRI imaging (DWI) has high diagnostic value. Detection of 14-3-3 protein in the cerebrospinal fluid supports the in vivo diagnosis.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

[The connection between the socioeconomic status and stroke in Budapest]

VASTAGH Ildikó, SZŐCS Ildikó, OBERFRANK Ferenc, AJTAY András, BERECZKI Dániel

[The well-known gap bet­ween stroke mortality of Eastern and Western Euro­pean countries may reflect the effect of socioeconomic diffe­rences. Such a gap may be present between neighborhoods of different wealth within one city. We set forth to compare age distribution, incidence, case fatality, mortality, and risk factor profile of stroke patients of the poorest (District 8) and wealthiest (District 12) districts of Budapest. We synthesize the results of our former comparative epidemiological investigations focusing on the association of socioeconomic background and features of stroke in two districts of the capital city of Hungary. The “Budapest District 8–12 project” pointed out the younger age of stroke patients of the poorer district, and established that the prevalence of smoking, alcohol-consumption, and untreated hypertension is also higher in District 8. The “Six Years in Two Districts” project involving 4779 patients with a 10-year follow-up revealed higher incidence, case fatality and mortality of stroke in the less wealthy district. The younger patients of the poorer region show higher risk-factor prevalence, die younger and their fatality grows faster during long-term follow-up. The higher prevalence of risk factors and the higher fatality of the younger age groups in the socioeconomically deprived district reflect the higher vulnerability of the population in District 8. The missing link between poverty and stroke outcome seems to be lifestyle risk-factors and lack of adherence to primary preventive efforts. Public health campaigns on stroke prevention should focus on the young generation of socioeconomi­cally deprived neighborhoods. ]

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. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

The applications of transcranial Doppler in ischemic stroke

FINNSDÓTTIR Herdis, SZEGEDI István, OLÁH László, CSIBA László

Background: This overview provides a summary of the applications of transcranial Doppler (TCD) in ischemic stroke. Results: A fast-track neurovascular ultrasound protocol has been developed for detecting occlusion or stenosis. The technique is more reliable in the carotid area than in the posterior circulation. By monitoring the pulsatility index the in­crea­sed intracranial pressure can be diagnosed. TIBI score was developed for grading residual flow. TCD has been shown to accurately predict complete or any recanalization. Regarding recanalization, TCD has a sensitivity of 92%, a specificity of 88%, a positive predictive value of 96%, a negative predictive value of 78% and an overall accuracy of 91%, respectively. Sonothrombolysis seemed to be a promising application but randomized controlled trials have shown that it does not improve clinical outcome. TCD examination can detect microembolic signals (MES) which are associated with an increased risk of stroke. Micro­em­boli were detected in symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis and during carotid endarterectomy. The number of microemboli can be decreased by antithrombotic therapy. Contrast en­chan­ced examination and Valsalva maneuver with continuous TCD monitoring can accurately screen for right-to-left shunt.

Clinical Neuroscience

Hyperhomocysteinemia in female migraineurs of childbearing ages

ALEMDAR Murat, SELEKLER Macit Hamit

Background and purpose - Migraine is a risk factor for ischemic stroke in women of childbearing ages. Previous researches revealed a higher prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia in migraineurs. Possible differences on the frequencies of hyperhomocysteinemia between migraine with aura and migraine without aura could contribute the established variances in stroke risk between these migraine types. Therefore, we aimed to search if the frequency of hyperhomocysteinemia was different between these subtypes of migraine or not. Methods - We analyzed the findings of serum homocysteine levels in female migraineurs of 16-49 years old who admitted to our outpatient clinic. Results - Homocysteine level was elevated in 13.3% of study population. There were not any significant differences on median serum homocysteine levels between migraine with aura (8.0 mikromol/L) and without aura (8.5 mikromol/L). (p=0.426) The frequencies of hyperhomocysteinemia were also similar (9.1% versus 16.7%, respectively; p=0.373). Correlation analyses did not reveal any linear correlation between ages and homocysteine levels either in group of migraine with aura or in group of migraine without aura (p=0.417 and p=0.647, respectively). Similarly, any linear correlation between disease ages and homocysteine levels either in group of migraine with aura or in group of migraine without aura was not detected (p=0.359 and p=0.849, respectively). Conclusion - The median serum homocysteine levels and the frequencies of hyperhomocysteinemia are similar between migraine with aura and without aura in women of childbearing ages. Therefore, the variances on stroke risk ratios between these types of migraine are probably not originated from the differences of serum homocysteine status.

LAM Extra for General Practicioners

[Changes in infectology over the past two decades]

SZALKA András

[Infectious diseases and various infections are the major causes of morbidity and mortality in developing as well as in industrialised countries. Despite the advances in the past decades in our understanding of microbes, efficient treatment of diseases and preventive approaches, more than 13 million people die every year due to infectious diseases. In the past two decades, more and more new pathogens and infections diseases have been emerging and old diseases that were almost forgotten have re-emerged. There are many new diseases for which we do not have or have hardly any efficient antimicrobial drugs and no efficient vaccines. Despite an increasing frequency of multi- and panresistant microbes, the development of new antibiotics to be used against these infections is unlikely to occur in the near future. The big pharmaceutical companies have stopped the research of antibiotics. In this situation, the only option we have is to use antibiotics rationally and to take prevention and control of infections seriously, both in the outpatient system and in hospitals. Preserving the effectiveness of currently used antibiotics is in everyone’s interest and is everyone’s responsibility]