Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of studies of Janos Szentagothai in developmental neurology]

KATONA Ferenc, BERÉNYI Marianne

DECEMBER 20, 2003

Clinical Neuroscience - 2003;56(11-12)

[The vestibulospinal system plays determining role in the activation processes of elementary sensorymotor patterns characterised by the verticalisation of the trunk and elevation of the head. In the thirties of the last century János Szentágothai proved that axons of the vestibulospinal tract reach the cervical and thoracic spinal cord and innervate the muscles of the neck. Later he verified existence of various connections among the labyrinth, the vestibular system, and the motor nuclei of the III., IV. and the VI. cranial nerves. His studies explain the functional neuroanatomic background of sitting up, sitting and balancing in the air, head-elevation and head control during the execution of a special elementary sensorymotor pattern: ”sitting in air”. All these functions can be activated by labyrinthine stimulation long before the maturation of the corticospinal tract.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Assessment of motor impairment with electromyography - the kinesiological EMG]


[Kinesiological electromyography means the application of the surface EMG measurement technique during movement and locomotion. The authors investigated the motor impairments of the upper limb of patients with spastic hemiparesis. Surface EMG activity in musculus biceps brachii and musculus triceps brachii were recorded during voluntary elbow flexion and extension movements. In some cases even the raw EMG signals contain the accurate information but more often the recorded signals should further be processed to achieve more valuable data concerning muscle performance. The limitations of the technique underlines the importance of the several steps of the processing. The purpose of this study is to present a systematic description of the methods and the precise application of surface EMG. The authors give a comprehensive view of different processing methods and demonstrate the application areas of the kinesiological EMG.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[HIV infection and neurology - long term follow-up of HIV infected children]


[Objectives - Before the widespread introduction of combined antiretroviral therapy (1995) complications from HIV and AIDS in the central nervous system had been reported in larger proportion in infants and children than in adults: 80-90% versus 60-70%. Particular clinical manifestations tend to occur at different stages during the evolution of HIV infection. The authors review the neurological aspects of HIV infection. Method - First, a summary of the protocol of the neurological examinations and related experience is given. Then authors present the evaluation of neuro-psychological development, prevalence of neurological impairment and neuro-imaging of nine HIV infected children (seven boys, two girls) for the period of ten years (1991-2001). Three/ten children had vertically transmitted HIV, six/nine were infected by a nosocomial route in their early childhood. Children were regularly followed up from the diagnosis of HIV. The median follow up time has been 79 month (range: 18-144 month). Four patients died during the study period. The neurological status, the motor and mental development were examined at three month intervals or monthly under one year of age. EEG was performed every six month and CT/MRI once a year. All patients received combined antiretroviral treatment and immunglobulin therapy continuously. Results - Three/nine children have normal development, one/nine has hyperactive and attention deficit disorder with normal IQ range, two/nine have slight, one/nine moderate and two/nine serious mental retardation. Mild neurological signs were found in two children, various moderate and serious neuro/psychological symptoms were found in four patients, one of them was treated with benign epilepsy too. There was also close correlation between the clinical symptoms and the results of EEG examination (diffuse background slowing) and results of neuroimaging studies (cortical atrophy, calcification of the basal ganglia, toxoplasma abscesses). According to the results of different examinations three/nine children were found to be symptom-free, one/nine case showed the static form, two/nine patients showed the plateau form, two/nine the rapid progressive form and one/nine the progressive infantile form of AIDS encephalopathy. The majority of the patients suffered from adapting problems and difficulties of socialisation since their families lives were damaged by isolation and rejection from the community. Conclusion - The regular neurological and psychological examinations completed with EEG, CT/MRI were very informative to follow the course of neuro-psychological problems of HIV infected children. Symptom-free patients have to face psychosocial problems too, which cause much more damage in their mental progress than HIV itself.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Occipital sinus in patients suspect for dural sinus thrombosis - Case report]


[Introductions - The diagnosis of dural sinus thrombosis despite of using modern imaging techniques still remains a difficult problem. For satisfactory interpretation of CT and MR scans it is indispensably important the knowledge of anatomical variations and possible imaging artifacts. One of the relatively rare developmental variations - giving chance for making false positive diagnosis - is the occipital sinus with hypoplasia or agenesis of transverse sinus. Case reports, Conclusion - The incidence, the anatomical classification, the importance and the possibility of differentiation from sinus thrombosis are reviewed based on case reports of four patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Physical and electrophysiological aspects of electroconvulsive therapy (review)]


[Personnel and technical conditions for ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) is legally determined. In this article the author reviews studies focused on the technical questions of ECT. After the comparison of the unilateral and bilateral electrode placement an analysis is given on the physical properties of the stimulus used to elicit seizures. After discussing the questions of dose, vaweform frequency and polarity, the anatomical and physiological factors of impedance are evaluated. The author then discuss gender, age and encephalopathy as factors influencing seizure threshold. The connection between symmetry, regularity, and postictal suppression registered on the EEG and efficacy is observed. The EEG and EMG concordance is supposed to be connected also with the efficacy. In the discussion the author gives recommendations based on the literature.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Serotonin dysfunctions and the „Seven Deadly Sins”]

JANKA Zoltán

[The symbolic characters of the Seven Deadly Sins can be traced from time to time in the cultural history of human mankind, being directly specified in certain artistic products. Such are, among others, the painting entitled „The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things” by Hieronymus Bosch and the poems Divina Commedia and The Faerie Queene by Dante Alighieri and Edmund Spenser, respectively. However, there are several paragraphs referring to these behaviours of the Seven Deadly Sins in the Bible and in the dramas of William Shakespeare. The objective of the present review is to propose that dysfunctions in the central serotonergic system might be involved in the the neurobiology of these ’sinful’ behaviour patterns. Evidences indicate that behaviour traits such as Accidia (Sloth), Luxuria (Lust, Lechery), Superbia (Pride), Ira (Wrath, Anger), Invidia (Envy), Avaritia (Greed, Avarice), and Gula (Gluttony) can relate to the functional alterations of serotonin in the brain. Results of biochemical and molecular genetic (polymorphism) studies on the human serotonergic system (receptor, transporter, enzyme), findings of functional imaging techniques, effects of depletion (or supplementation) of the serotonin precursor tryptophan, data of challenge probe investigations directed to testing central serotonergic functions, alterations in the peripheral serotonin measures (platelet), and the changes in the CSF 5-hydroxy-indoleacetic acid content indicate such serotonergic involvement. Furthermore, results of animal experiments on behaviour change (aggressive, dominant or submissive, appetite, alcohol preference) attributed to serotonin status modification and the clinically evidenced therapeutic efficacy of pharmacological interventions, based on the modulation and perturbation of the serotonergic system (e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), in treating the ’sinful’ behaviour forms and analogous pathological states reaching the severity of psychiatric disorders (depression, sexual disturbances, social phobia, impulsivity-aggression, obsessive-compulsive and related spectrum disorders, paranoid jealousy, eating disorders) all strongly suggest the possibility that brain serotonin dysfunctions might underlie the neurophysiology of the Seven Deadly Sins.]

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Clinical Neuroscience

[Phylo- and ontogenetic aspects of erect posture and walking in developmental neurology]

BERÉNYI Marianne, KATONA Ferenc, CARMEN Sanchez, MANDUJANO Mario

[The group or profile of elementary neuromotor patterns is different from the primitive reflex group which is now called the “primitive reflex profile.” All these elementary neuromotor patterns are characterized by a high degree of organization, persistence, and stereotypy. In many regards, these patterns are predecessors or precursors of from them the specific human motor patterns which appear spontaneously later as crawling, creeping, sitting, and walking with erect posture. On the basis of our experiences it can be stated that the elementary neuromotor patterns can be activated in all neonates and young infants as congenital motor functions. With regards to their main properties and functional forms, the normal patterns can be divided into two main groups: (1) One group is characterized by lifting of the head and complex chains of movements which are directed to the verticalization of the body; (2) The other group is characterized by complex movements directed to locomotion and change of body position. The neuromotor patterns can be activated by placing the human infant in specific body positions that trigger the vestibulospinal and the reticulospinal systems, the archicerebellum and the basal gangliae. Most of these systems display early myelinisation and are functioning very soon. Many of the elementary neuromotor patterns reflect the most important - spontaneously developing - forms of human movements such as sitting upright in space and head elevation crawling and walking. The majority of the human neuromotor patterns are human specific. When the infant is put in an activating position, crawling, sitting up, and walking begin and last as long as the activating position is maintained. Each elementary neuromotor pattern is a repeated, continuous train of complex movements in response to a special activating position. The brainstem is not sufficient to organize these complex movements, the integrity of the basal ganglia is also necessary. Elementary sensorimotor patterns during human ontogenesis reflect phylogenetic develpoment of species specific human functions. During ontogenesis spontaneous motor development gradually arises from these early specific sensorimotor predecessors.. The regular use of the elementary neuromotor patterns for diagnostic puposes has several distinct advantages. The neuromotor patterns have a natural stereotypy in normal infants and, therefore, deflections from this regular pattern may be detected easily, thus, the activation of the elementary neuromotor pattern is a more suitable method for identifying defects in the motor activity of the neonate or young infant than the assessment of the primitive reflexes. The “stiumulus positions,” which activate specific movements according to how the human neonate or young infant is positioned, do not activate such motor patterns in neonate or young primates including apes. The characteristic locomotor pattern in these adult primates, including the apes, is swinging and involves brachiation with an extreme prehensility. This species specific motor activity is reflected in the orangutan and gibbon neonates by an early extensive grasp. However, according to our investigations, no crawling, creeping, elementary walk, or sitting up can be activated in them. Neonates grasp the hair of the mother, a vital function for the survival of the young. In contemporary nonhuman primates including apes, the neonate brain is more mature. Thus, pronounced differences can be observed between early motor ontogenesis in the human and all other primates. The earliest human movements are complex performances rather than simple reflexes. The distinction between primitive reflexes and elementary neuromotor patterns is essential. Primitive reflexes are controlled by the brainstem. All can be activated in primates. These reflexes have short durations and contrary to elementary sensorimotor patterns occur only once in response to one stimulus, e.g., one head drop elicits one abduction-adduction of the upper extremities correlated to adduction and flexion of the lower extremities to a lesser degree with the Moro reflex. Elementary neuromotor patterns are much more complex and most of them including elementary walk may be elicited as early as the 19th-20th gestational week, though less perfectly than later.]

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

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.

Clinical Neuroscience

To handle the HaNDL syndrome through a case: The syndrome of headache with neurologic deficits and cerebrospinal fluid lymphocytosis


The syndrome of headache with neurologic deficits and cerebrospinal fluid lymphocytosis (HaNDL) is a rare entity. This disease has been related to migrainous headaches. It is a benign, self-limited disorder, which is characterized by fluctuating neurological symptoms and cerebrospinal fluid lymphocytosis. We describe a case of a 47 years old man with acute onset of headache and aphasia. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed a lymphocytic pleocytosis (25 cells/μl, 100% lymphocytes). Electroencephalogram showed moderate slow rhythm in the left hemisphere, with temporoparietal predominance, and without epileptiform activity. His blood tests as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results were normal. With the diagnosis of HaNDL syndrome the patient was accepted in the Department of Neurology and discharged with full recovery.