Clinical Neuroscience

[THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHLAMYDIA PNEUMONIAE IN SELECTED NEUROLOGIC DISORDERS]

HORVÁTH Zoltán, VÉCSEI László

JANUARY 30, 2006

Clinical Neuroscience - 2006;59(01-02)

[Chlamydia pneumoniae has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurological diseases. As an intracellular parasite with its unusual life cycle it is able to circumvent the immune system and to persist in the organism. It has the ability to modify the function of the infected cell and supposedly induce autoimmune reactions. These properties can make it pathogenic in several chronic neurological diseases including multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer dementia and giant cell arteriitis. The evaluation of the available, often contradictory, data that are based on various different methods is not easy. The importance of the issue is enhanced by the potential need for antibiotic treatment.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

[COMPLEX TREMOR ANALYSIS FOR THE DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS OF ESSENTIAL TREMOR AND PARKINSON’S DISEASE]

FARKAS Zsuzsanna, CSILLIK Anita, PÁLVÖLGYI László, TAKÁCS Annamária, SZIRMAI Imre, KAMONDI Anita

[Objective - Tremor is the most common movement disorder which is most often either essential or caused by Parkinson’s disease. The differentiation of these disorders at the initial stage may be difficult. Objective assessment of the efficacy of tremor medications is only possible by instrumental measurements. The aim of this study was to determine whether the computer assisted tremor analysis system CATSYS 2000 can help in the differentiation of parkinsonian from essential tremor. Methods - The rhythmicity and maximal frequency of fast alternating hand and finger movements, simple reaction time and postural instability were recorded in healthy controls (n=18), patients with Parkinson’s disease (n=39) and essential tremor (n=37). Data were digitally converted and statistically analyzed. Results - Tremor intensity, median frequency and frequency distribution showed characteristic differences in the three groups. Performance in fast alternating movements of hands and fingers were significantly worse in both tremor groups compared to the healthy controls. Conclusions - The data also indicated that quantitative measurements of tremor parameters must be performed on both sides, because the presence of significant side differences support the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The method presented can be used to objectively analyze tremor and performance in rhythmic movements. The results show that it helps to differentiate parkinsonian from essential tremor as well as to predict disease course and the effectiveness of therapy. Multivariate statistical analysis of tremor and movement performance also provides an opportunity to study the pathogenesis of human tremor.]

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[A NEURO-MECHANICAL TRANSDUCER MODEL FOR CONTROLLING JOINT ROTATIONS AND LIMB MOVEMENTS]

LACZKÓ József, KERRY Walton, RODOLFO Llinas

[Here we report on the development of an integrated general model for the control of limb movements. The model computes muscle forces and joint rotations as functions of activation signals from motoneuron pools. It models the relationship between neural signals, muscle forces and movement kinematics by taking into account how the discharge rates of motoneuron pools and the biomechanical characteristics of the musculoskeletal system affect the movement pattern that is produced. The lengths and inertial properties of limb segments, muscle attachment sites, the muscles’ force-length, force-frequency and force-velocity (of contraction) relationships, as well as a load parameter that simulates the effect of body weight are considered. There are a large number of possible ways to generate a planned joint rotation with muscle activation. We approach this “overcompleteness problem” by considering each joint to be controlled by a single flexor/extensor muscle pair and that only one of the two muscles is activated at a given time. Using this assumption, we have developed an inverse model that provides discharge rates of motoneuron pools that can produce an intended angular change in each joint. We studied the sensitivity of this inverse model to the muscle force-length relationship and to limb posture. The model could compute possible firing rates of motoneuron pools that would produce joint angle changes observed in rats during walking. It could also compare motoneuron activity patterns received for two different hypothetical force-length relations and show how the motoneuron pool activity would change if joints would be more flexed or extended during the entire movement.]

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[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. ]

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[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. ]

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

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[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.]

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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. ]

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[MR imaging of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis in children. A review (in English language)]

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[Inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) are relatively rare in children, but their relevance to public health is considerable due to frequent and significant long term morbidity and even mortality. As in adults, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) and multiple sclerosis (MS) and their variants are the most common entities in this group of pathologies in the pediatric patient population. Recent efforts have focused on establishing standardized diagnostic criteria schemes to facilitate the diagnosis and differential diagnosis of these diseases, however especially with multiple sclerosis those have not been fully validated yet for disease occurring in children. In recent decades the role of MRI has been constantly increasing in the diagnostic work-up of suspected inflammatory diseases of the CNS as well as in the follow-up of patients with confirmed disease. Currently, MRI is the first-line diagnostic imaging modality in ADEM and MS and is fully integrated in the most widely used diagnostic criteria schemes, but it has a key role in clinical therapeutic research trials as well. This paper provides an update on the current concepts and strategies of MRI in inflammatory diseases of the CNS, as well as a review of the imaging semiology of the various disease entities and variants with emphasis on clinical and imaging particularities relevant to the pediatric patient population.]