Lege Artis Medicinae

[Changing of the guard - The end of an era]

KAPÓCS Gábor

MARCH 20, 2010

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2010;20(03-04)

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Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor and non-motor symptoms. Levodopa is the most effective drug in the symptomatic treatment of the disease. Dopamine receptor agonists provide sustained dopamin-ergic stimulation and have been found to delay the initiation of levodopa treatment and reduce the frequency of various motor complications due to the long-term use of levodopa. The primary aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of potent nonergoline dopamine agonists pramipexole and ropinirole in both “dopamine agonist monotherapy group” and “levodopa add-on therapy group” in Parkinson’s disease. The secondary aims were to evaluate the effects of these agents on depression and the safety of pramipexole and ropinirole. A total of 44 patients aged between 36 and 80 years who were presented to the neurology clinic at Ministry of Health Diskapi Yildirim Beyazit Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey and were diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, were included into this randomized parallel-group clinical study. Dopamine agonist monotherapy and levodopa add-on therapy patients were randomized into two groups to receive either pramipexole or ropinirole. The maximum daily dosages of pramipexole and ropinirole were 4.5 mg and 24 mg respectively. Patients were followed for 6 months and changes on Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness, Clinical Global Impression-improvement, Beck Depression Inven­tory scores, and additionally in advanced stages, changes in levodopa dosages were evaluated. Drug associated side effects were noted and compared. In dopamine agonist monotherapy group all of the subsections and total scores of Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale and Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness of the pramipexole subgroup showed significant improvement particularly at the end of the sixth month. In the pramipexole subgroup of levodopa add-on therapy group, there were significant improvements on Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness and Beck Depression Inventory scores, but we found significant improvement on Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness score at the end of the sixth month in ropinirole subgroup too. The efficacy of pramipexole and ropinirole as antiparkinsonian drugs for monotherapy and levodopa add-on therapy in Parkinson’s disease and their effects on motor complications when used with levodopa treatment for add-on therapy have been demonstrated in several previous studies. This study supports the effectiveness and safety of pramipexole and ropinirole in the monotherapy and levodopa add-on therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

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Liver transplantation is the only curative treatment in patients with end-stage liver failure. It has been associated with neurological disorders more frequently than other solid organ transplantations. We aimed to detect neurological disorders in liver transplantation patients and determine those that affect mortality. One hundred eighty-five patients, 105 with and 80 without neurological disorders, were included in this study. The follow-up was categorized into three periods: preoperative, early postoperative and late postoperative. We analyzed all medical records, including demographic, laboratory, radiological, and clinical data. Neurological disorders were observed in 52 (28.1%) patients in the preoperative period, in 45 (24.3%) in the early postoperative, and in 42 (22.7%) in the late postoperative period. Hepatic encephalopathy in the preoperative and altered mental state in the post­operative period were the most common neurological disorders. Both hepatic encephalopathy (37.5%) and altered mental state (57.7%) caused high mortality (p=0.019 and 0.001) and were determined as indepen­dent risk factors for mortality. Living donor transplantation caused less frequent mental deterioration (p=0.049). The mortality rate (53.8%) was high in patients with seizures (p=0.019). While mortality was 28.6% in Wilson’s disease patients with neurological disorders, no death was observed in patients without neurological disorders. We identified a wide variety of neurological disorders in liver transplantation patients. We also demonstrated that serious neurological disorders, including hepatic encephalopathy and seizures, are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Therefore, in order to avoid poor outcomes, hepatic encephalopathy should be considered as a prioritization criterion for liver transplantation.

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Purpose - To develop an evidence-based, standardized structured reporting (SR) method for brain MRI examinations in neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) suitable both for clinical and research use. Materials and methods - SR template development was based on comprehensive review of the pertinent literature with the basic sections and subdivisions of the template defined according to MRI sequences (both conventional and diffusion-weighted, MR-spectroscopy (MRS), and T2*-weighted imaging), and the items targeted on age-related imaging patterns of HIE. In order to evaluate the usability of the proposed SR template we compared data obtained from the brain MR image analysis of 87 term and 19 preterm neonates with the literature. The enrolled 106 infants were born between 2013 and 2015, went through therapeutic hypothermia according to the TOBY criteria due to moderate to severe asphyxia and had at least one brain MRI examination within the first two weeks of life. Ethical approval was obtained for this retrospective study. Descriptive statistical analysis was also performed on data exported from the structured reporting system as feasibility test. Results - The mean gestational age of the study population was 38.3±2.2 weeks; brain MRI was performed on 5.8±2.9 day of life, hence in 78% of our patients after the conclusion of therapeutic hypothermia. Our main imaging findings were concordant to the pertinent literature. Moreover, we identified a characteristic temporal evolution of diffusion changes. Interestingly 18% (n=19/106) of the clinically asphyxiated infants had isolated axial-extraaxial haemorrhage without any imaging sign of HIE. Conclusion - In this article our approach of reporting HIE cases with our novel SR template is described. The SR template was found suitable for reporting HIE cases, moreover it uncovered time and location dependent evolution of diffusion abnormalities (and pseudonormalization, as well), suggesting its usefulness in clinical research applications. The high number of isolated intracranial haemorrhages, and the changing diffusion pattern emphasizes the importance of early imaging in HIE.