Clinical Neuroscience

[Theoretical and practical considerations of rational polytherapy in epilepsy]

RAJNA Péter

NOVEMBER 30, 2011

Clinical Neuroscience - 2011;64(11-12)

[Author analyses the consideration of rational polytherapy for epilepsy. Among the theoretical aspects he points the different effect of seizure inhibitory drugs on the epilepsy models but didn’t find data enough for the basis of any successful combination. Combinations of compounds having different way of action are more promising. Rational polytherapy can serve also the epileptic patients’ tailored therapy in the daily routine. There have already been some proved synergisms concerning drug interactions. Based on detailed analysis of side effects a possibility occurs for neutralization of side effects when anticonvulsants with side effects of opposite nature are combined. Considering both the side effect profiles and the different (somatic and psychic) habits of the patients we can create a special list of favourable combinations. Co-morbid states and their treatments play a significant role in the application of rational polytherapy. Combination of anticonvulsants of lower potential but without drug-interactions can be the choice in these cases. The non-epileptic indications of the anticonvulsants can also be utilized in polymorbid patients. Based on the theoretical and practical considerations the author defines the ten-step-cognitive-preparation-process in planning the optimal (poly)therapy. On speculative basis he suggests eight beneficial versions of seizure inhibitory rational polytherapy.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

[The carrier model of neurology in Hungary: a proposal for the solution until 2020]

BERECZKI Dániel, CSIBA László, KOMOLY Sámuel, VÉCSEI László, AJTAY András

[Based on our previous survey on the capacities of neurological services and on the predictable changes in the neurologist workforce in Hungary, we present a proposal for the organization of the structure of neurological services in the future. We discuss the diagnostic groups treated by neurologists, the neurological services and their progressive organization. Using the current capacities as baseline, we propose patient groups to be treated by neurologists in the future, and the levels of services. Based on the tendencies seen in the last years we suggest to consider to allocate acute stroke services exclusively to stroke units in neurological departments, and we identify a few other diagnostic groups where neurology should have a larger share in patient care. We define three levels for inpatient care: university departments, regional/county hospitals, city hospitals. Instead of minimum criteria we assign outpatient and inpatient standards that are functional from the economic point of view as well. University departments cover all areas of neurological services, have a function in graduate and postgraduate training, and on a regional basis they participate in professional quality assurance activities at the county and city hospital levels, and would have a more independent role in residency training. As far as patient care is concerned, the task of the regional/county hospitals would be similar to that of university departments - without the exclusively university functions. A general neurological service would be offered at the city hospital level - the representation of all subspecialties of neurology is not required. Neurorehabilitation would be organized at special units of neurological wards at the city hospital level, at independent neurorehabilitation wards in regional/county hospitals, and also as an outpatient service offered at the patients’ home. The most significant organizational change would affect the outpatient neurological services. In addition to the special outpatient units associated with university departments and regional/county hospitals, the general neurological outpatient services would be organized as private practices, similarly to the current system of general practitioners, where the individual practices contract independently with the health insurance fund. Their task would be a general neurological service offered 30 hours per week, and also basic, screening neurophysiological and neurosonological examinations, with proper equipment and trained assistance. A transformation in residency training and a change in financing is needed for this plan to fulfill.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Vascular or “lower body parkinsonism”. Rise and fall of one diagnosis]

SZIRMAI Imre

[The “arteriosclerotic parkinsonism”, which is called vascular parkinsonism (VP), was first described by Critchley1. The broad based slow gait, reduced stride lenght, start hesitation, freezing and paratonia was mentioned as “lower body parkinsonism” (LBP) which can be associated by slow speech, dysexecutive syndrome, and hand tremor of predominantly postural character. In VP the DAT-scan proved normal dopamine content of the striatum in contrast with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Additionally, Lewy bodies of brainstem type were not found in VP. Probability of VP increases if central type pathologic gait is prominent; the hands are slightly involved, the MRI indicates transparent periventricular white substance and/or brain atrophy. In some cases differentiation of gait apraxia and parkinsonism could be challenging. There is no rigor of the lower limbs at rest in neither of them, the disturbance of movement is evoked by the gait itself. Three subtypes of “gait ignition failure” has been recently described: (1) ignition apraxia, (2) equilibrium apraxia and (3) mixed gait apraxia. The primary progressive freesing gait was considered as a Parkinson-plus syndrome. Freesing occurs more frequently in diseases with pakinsonism than in PD. The grade of ventricle dilatation and the frontal leukoaraiosis was similar in LBP and gait apraxia. In cases of normal pressure hydrocephalus the impaired gait may mimic PD. Pathologic gait in VP can be explained by the lesions of the senso-motor association pathways in dorsal paramedian white substance within the vulnerable borderzone region. These may be colocalized with the representation of the lower extremities in the posterior third of the supplementer motor area. Rektor2 proposed to change the name of LBP to “cerebrovascular gait disorder”. Notwithstandig central type gait disorder develops also in many degenerative diseases other than cerebro-vascular origin. The neuronal net controling the regulation of movement is widespread, therefore several cortical and subcortical lesions could elicit large variations of pathologic gait, ie.: ataxia, apraxia, ignition failure, akinesis etc. In conclusion: most of the central gait disorders regarding the pathology and their appearance can not be called “parkinsonism”; these are much closer related to the localization of lesions rather than to the diagnostic categories.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Subarachnoid hemorrhage in Hungary. Analysis based on the reports of the hospitals to the National Health Insurance Fund in 2009]

KOZÁK Norbert, SZABÓ Sándor, AJTAY András, BERECZKI Dániel

[Background and purpose - We analyzed the statistical characteristics of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in Hungary in 2009. Methods - Using data supplied by the hospitals about their inpatient services to the National Health Insurance Fund with ICD-10 code I60. Results - 1403 SAH hospital cases were recorded in 1028 patients. That is much more than we expected from previous data. 63.6% were women, hospital case fatality was 12.2%. The average hospital stay was 6.47 days. 763 CT examinations were done (74.2% of the patients). Hypertension was recorded in 61.3% of the patients. The incidence was increasing with age till the age group of 51- 60 years, and decreased beyond that. In 531 patients the source of bleeding could be verified. Aneurysm of the anterior communicating artery was more frequent in men, aneurysm of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and internal carotid artery in women. In total MCA aneurysm was the most frequent. Arteriovenous malformation was present in 7.6% of the patients. SAH was most frequent in January and February, rarest in April and August. Conclusion - SAH is more frequent in Hungary than previously thought.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[A8344G mutation of the mitochondrial DNA with typical mitochondrial encephalomyopathy with lactic acidosis and stroke like episodes syndrome]

VASTAGH Ildikó, GÁL Anikó, REMÉNYI Viktória, SEMJÉN Judit, LUKÁCS Tímea

[We report an unusual case of juvenile ischaemic stroke syndrome associated with the A8344G mutation in tRNALys gene of mitochondrial DNA. The clinical phenotype of patient was typical for MELAS (mitochondrial ecephalomyopathy with lactate acidosis and stroke like episodes). The MELAS has been related to mutation A3243G in most cases, but some other mitochondrial DNA mutations were described in the background of this syndrome as well. A 22-years-old man and his family were investigated. Throughout clinical investigation as well as Doppler sonography, neuroradiological, and immunserological examinations were performed. Molecular studies included the analysis of the Leiden, prothrombin G20210A and the most common mitochondrial DNA mutations. The DNA analysis of the proband revealed a heteroplasmic A8344G substitution in the T-loop of the tRNALys gene. The mutation could not been detected in her mother blood. We can conclude that A8344G mutation of the mitochondrial DNA resulted in juvenile ischemic stroke, which is associated only rarely to this genetic alteration. In young age onset of a stroke-like episode with undetermined etiology the mtDNA alterations always have to be excluded.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Common variable immunodeficiency with coexisting central nervous system sarcoidosis. Case report and literature review with implications for diagnosis and pathogenesis]

MAGDALENA Dziadzio, HORTOBÁGYI Tibor, DESMOND Kidd, RONNIE Chee

[We describe a patient with a history of longstanding primary generalised epilepsy, on anticonvulsant therapy, who presented with fever, headache, worsening seizures and hallucinations. Among various investigations, the patient had high CSF protein and ACE levels, leptomeningeal nodular enhancement on MRI brain and non-caseating granulomas in the brain and meninges on the biopsy. The patient was diagnosed with neurosarcoidosis. Subsequently, he was found to be panhypogammaglobulinaemic and was diagnosed with probable common variable immunodeficiency (CVID). The coexistence of common variable immunodeficiency and neurosarcoidosis is rare. Typically, non-caseating granulomas in CVID patients are localised in the lymphatic tissue and solid organs. To our knowledge, there are only five reports of the granulomas of the central nervous system (CNS) in CVID. We discuss the diagnostic difficulties in this case and review the literature.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

Effects of valproate, carbamazepine and levetiracetam on Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QT and Tp-e/QTc ratio

YASAR Altun, ERDOGAN Yasar

Aim - To evaluate P-wave dispersion before and after antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment as well as to investigate the risk of ventricular repolarization using the Tpeak-Tend (Tp-e) interval and Tp-e/QT ratio in patients with epileptic disorder. Methods - A total of 63 patients receiving AED therapy and 35 healthy adults were included. ECG recordings were obtained before and 3 months after anti-epileptic treatment among patients with epilepsy. For both groups, Tp-e and Tp-e/QT ratio were measured using a 12-lead ECG device. Results - Tp-e interval, Tpe/QT and Tp-e/QTc ratios were found to be higher in the patient group than in the control group (p<0.05, for all), while QTmax ratio was significantly lower in the patient group. After 3 months of AED therapy, significant increases in QT max, QTc max, QTcd, Tp-e, Tp-e/QT, and Tp-e/QTc were found among the patients (p<0.05). When the arrhythmic effects of the drugs before and after treatment were compared, especially in the valproic acid group, there were significant increases in Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QT and Tp-e/QTc values after three months of treatment (p<0.05). Carbamazepine and levetiracetam groups were not statistically significant in terms of pre- and post-treatment values. Conclusions - It was concluded that an arrhythmogenic environment may be associated with the disease, and patients who received AED monotherapy may need to be followed up more closely for arrhythmia.

Clinical Neuroscience

Management of bone metabolism in epilepsy

UÇAN TOKUÇ Ezgi Firdevs , FATMA Genç, ABIDIN Erdal, YASEMIN Biçer Gömceli

Many systemic problems arise due to the side effects of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) used in epilepsy patients. Among these adverse effects are low bone mineral density and increased fracture risk due to long-term AED use. Although various studies have supported this association with increased risk in recent years, the length of this process has not been precisely defined and there is no clear consensus on bone density scanning, intervals of screening, and the subject of calcium and vitamin D supplementation. In this study, in accordance with the most current recommendations, our applications and data, including the detection of possible bone mineralization disorders, treatment methods, and recommendations to prevent bone mineralization disorders, were evaluated in epilepsy patients who were followed up at our outpatient clinic. It was aimed to draw attention to the significance of management of bone metabolism carried out with appropriate protocols. Epilepsy patients were followed up at the Antalya Training and Research Hospital Department of Neurology, Epilepsy Outpatient Clinic who were at high risk for osteoporosis (use of valproic acid [VPA] and enzyme-inducing drugs, using any AED for over 5 years, and postmenopausal women) and were evaluated using a screening protocol. According to this protocol, a total of 190 patients suspected of osteoporosis risk were retrospectively evaluated. Four patients were excluded from the study due to secondary osteoporosis. Of the 186 patients who were included in the study, 97 (52.2%) were women and 89 (47.8%) were men. Prevalence of low bone mineral density (BMD) was 42%, in which osteoporosis was detected in 11.8% and osteopenia in 30.6% of the patients. Osteoporosis rate was higher at the young age group (18-45) and this difference was statistically significant (p=0.018). There was no significant difference between male and female sexes according to osteoporosis and osteopenia rates. Patients receiving polytherapy had higher osteoporosis rate and lower BMD compared to patients receiving monotherapy. Comparison of separate drug groups according to osteoporosis rate revealed that osteoporosis rate was highest in patient groups using VPA+ carbamazepine (CBZ) (29.4%) and VPA polytherapy (19.4%). Total of osteopenia and osteoporosis, or low BMD, was highest in VPA polytherapy (VPA+ non-enzyme-inducing AED [NEID]) and CBZ polytherapy (CBZ+NEID) groups, with rates of 58.3% and 55.1%, respectively. In addition, there was no significant difference between drug groups according to bone metabolism markers, vitamin D levels, and osteopenia-osteoporosis rates. Assuming bone health will be affected at an early age in epilepsy patients, providing lifestyle and diet recommendations, avoiding polytherapy including VPA and CBZ when possible, and evaluating bone metabolism at regular intervals are actions that should be applied in routine practice.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Personalised epilepsy treatment]

ALTMANN Anna

[Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disease in childhood. Patients with epilepsy – even with so-called benign epilepsy – need medication for years. During this time, children go through a very big change, not only gaining weight and height, but also changing hormonal and metabolic processes. Maturation processes in different brain areas also take place at different rates depending on age. All of these should be considered when preparing a therapeutic plan. In everyday practice after the diagnosis of epilepsy, the applied drug is most often selected based on the shape and type of seizure. However, a number of other factors need to be considered when designing a therapeutic strategy: 1. efficacy (form of epilepsy, type of seizure), 2. age, gender, 3. pharmacological properties of the drug, 4. adverse drug reaction profile, 5. lifestyle (community), figure (skinny, corpulent, obese), 6. other comorbidities (nutrition, behavioral and learning problems, circulatory disorders, kidney or liver disease), 7. expected interactions with other drugs already used, 8. genetics, 9. other aspects (drug registration and prescription rules). The purpose of this article is to help to decide which antiepileptic drugs are expected to have the least side effects in a particular child with different comorbidities and which medications should be avoided if possible.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Epilepsy in coronavirus pandemic]

SZŰCS Anna, HALÁSZ Péter, NARULA Lalit

[We aim to review the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy and epilepsy-care. While the virus has no specific link with epilepsy, it may affect the nervous system both directly and indirectly, leading to seizures in several ways. The hyper-coagulable state occurring with the infection may cause strokes leading to seizures. The infection may first manifest in the form of disturbances of consciousness and behaviour, seizures, and even status epilepticus. The interactions of antiviral/antiepileptic drugs need to be taken into account during treatment. The hypercoagulable state induced by COVID-2 infection may cause stroke, which leads to seizures. The infection can occur also as an impaired consciousness of non-epileptic origin. Interactions of antiviral/antiepileptic drugs have also to be taken into account. The pandemic itself as well as quarantines and social distancing may cause anxiety and insomnia, challenge continuous antiepileptic supply; each one carrying the risk of seizing. Young epilepsy patients with learning disabilities and mental health issues are most vulnerable, justifying their hyper-protection. The danger of infection has highlighted the role of telemedicine. Internet-based video communication may ensure full care for chro­nic patients. Those methods favour bes­­ted patients with higher education. Epilepsy does not increase directly the risk of infection, but its comorbidities may worsen the course of the disease. Brain lesions and hypoxia, stress, insomnia and fever joining the infection increase seizure susceptibility. Because the danger of infection ma­de telemedicine an essential tool of pa­tient care, education and better computer supply for those in need is crucial. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of zonisamide in the treatment of women with epilepsy]

JUHOS Vera

[The antiepileptic drugs can effect fertility, development of gynecological diseases and occurence of sexual problems. They can cause a number of “cosmetic” problem and also influence the selection of safe contraceptive method. Many antiepileptic drugs can cause congenital malformations or affect the new-born child’s psychomotor and cognitive development, therefore during pregnancy should be treated with extreme caution in women with epilepsy. Most types of epilepsies accompany the patient through their whole life. Women spend almost the third of their lives after menopause and - due to the formation of associated diseases as well - this period is also special. According to the 2013 recommendation of International League Epilepsy (ILAE), zonisamide is one of the first-line antiepileptic drugs in focal epilepsy. In my review I discuss women’s epilepsy in the viewpoint of the application of zonisamid. ]