Lege Artis Medicinae

[What Cannot be Learned from the Books]

BORCSICZKY Dóra

SEPTEMBER 19, 2008

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2008;18(08-09)

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Lege Artis Medicinae

[Second game, 37th move and Fourth game 78th move]

VOKÓ Zoltán

[What has Go to do with making clinical decisions? One of the greatest intellectual challenges of bedside medicine is making decisions under uncertainty. Besides the psychological traps of traditionally intuitive and heuristic medical decision making, lack of information, scarce resources and characteristics of doctor-patient relationship contribute equally to this uncertainty. Formal, mathematical model based analysis of decisions used widely in developing clinical guidelines and in health technology assessment provides a good tool in theoretical terms to avoid pitfalls of intuitive decision making. Nevertheless it can be hardly used in individual situations and most physicians dislike it as well. This method, however, has its own limitations, especially while tailoring individual decisions, under inclusion of potential lack of input data used for calculations, or its large imprecision, and the low capability of the current mathematical models to represent the full complexity and variability of processes in complex systems. Nevertheless, clinical decision support systems can be helpful in the individual decision making of physicians if they are well integrated in the health information systems, and do not break down the physicians’ autonomy of making decisions. Classical decision support systems are knowledge based and rely on system of rules and problem specific algorithms. They are utilized widely from health administration to image processing. The current information revolution created the so-called artificial intelligence by machine learning methods, i.e. machines can learn indeed. This new generation of artificial intelligence is not based on particular system of rules but on neuronal networks teaching themselves by huge databases and general learning algorithms. This type of artificial intelligence outperforms humans already in certain fields like chess, Go, or aerial combat. Its development is full of challenges and threats, while it presents a technological breakthrough, which cannot be stopped and will transform our world. Its development and application has already started also in the healthcare. Health professionals must participate in this development to steer it into the right direction. Lee Sedol, 18-times Go world champion retired three years after his historical defeat from AlphaGo artificial intelligence, be­cause “Even if I become the No. 1, there is an entity that cannot be defeated”. It is our great luck that we do not need to compete or defeat it, we must ensure instead that it would be safe and trustworthy, and in collaboration with humans this entity would make healthcare more effective and efficient. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

Mid-term oral isotretinoin therapy causes a predominantly sensory demyelinating neuropathy

ALTUN Yasar, INAN Esra

Aim - The purpose of this prospective study was to investigate whether mid-term treatment with oral isotretinoin may impact peripheral nerve function. Methods - In this study, we included 28 patients with no apparent neurological or neurophysiological findings. The patients received treatment with oral isotretinoin for papulopustular or nodulocystic acne. The patients with normal findings in the first examination were given 1 mg/kg/day oral isotretinoin. Neurological examinations and electroneurographic studies were performed before and 6 months after the onset of isotretinoin treatment. Results - Clinical examinations and electroneurographic evaluations prior to treatment revealed no abnormalities in any of the patients. However, 20 patients (72%) displayed one or more abnormal values in the tested parameters after treatment. Although the mean amplitudes of compound muscle action potential of the ulnar and median nerves did not vary, significant decreases were observed in the mean sensory conduction velocities of median, ulnar, sural, medial plantar, medial dorsal cutaneous, and dorsal sural nerves 6 months after the onset of treatment. Conclusion - Systemic use of isotretinoin may cause electroneurographic changes. Probable electroneurographic alterations may be detected at a much earlier period via dorsal sural nerve tracing when electrophysiological methods used in routine clinical practice cannot detect these changes.

Lege Artis Medicinae

[OVARIAN CHORIOCARCINOMA - A MOLECULAR PATHOLOGIC APPROACH TO DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS]

ERÉNYI Éva, SZIGETVÁRI Iván, ANDRIKOVICS Hajnalka, TORDAI Attila, URBÁN Márta, SIMON Károly

[INTRODUCTION - Gestational and non-gestational choriocarcinoma, the two types of choriocarcinoma with distinct aetiologies, cannot be differentiated by conventional histological or immunohistochemical methods. In certain cases the verification of the origin of the tumour by molecular biological techniques is essential for prognostic and therapeutic reasons. CASE REPORT - A 22-year-old woman presenting with acute abdominal pain was examined and operated on. During surgery a tumour was found in the right ovary. “Pure” choriocarcinoma was histologically diagnosed and gestational origin was supposed based on the distinct clinical features and histological picture. This was subsequently confirmed by molecular genetic testing. Parallel VNTR (variable number of tandem repeats) analysis by PCR of DNA from the tumour tissue and the patient's peripheral blood was performed. The pattern showed the presence of an allele presumed to be of paternal origin. (Blood sample from the father was not available.) One regimen of Vepesid, Cisplatina and Bleomycin was applied, and more than three years after the diagnosis the patient is free of disease. CONCLUSION - Multidisciplinary cooperation led to an accurate diagnosis and successful treatment. Non-radical surgery with the preservation of fertility followed by proper early chemotherapy provided excellent results.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Genetic background of thyroid cancers]

HALÁSZLAKI Csaba, LAKATOS Péter, KÓSA P. János, BALLA Bernadett, JÁRAY Balázs, TAKÁCS István

[Molecular genetics has become an indispensable diagnostic tool in a number of diseases. The most frequent thyroid tumours are associated with genetic alterations that might be used for diagnostic purpose in the future. Somatic mutations and rearrangements in BRAF, RAS family RET/PTC and PAX8/PPAR-gamma genes may occur in papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas. Other mutations of the RET gene can be found in medullary carcinomas (in sporadic as well as hereditary types), whereas mutations of the genes TP53, RAS, and BRAF are associated with poorly differentiated and anaplastic carcinomas. At present, the most reliable diagnostic tool for the differential diagnosis of thyroid nodules is fine-needle aspiration cytology. However, the existing malignancy cannot be unequivocally proven in up to 10-40% of all samples. On the basis of previous results, genetic examination of fine needle aspiration samples from thyroid nodules can contribute to a more precise diagnosis and the timely removal of potentially malignant nodules.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[THE USE OF DIRECT VASODILATORS AND DIGITALIS IN CHRONIC HEART FAILURE]

DÉKÁNY Miklós

[For the optimal treatment of heart failure patients with systolic dysfunction, supplementation of the standard diuretics plus neurohormonal antagonists treatment with the direct vasodilator combination dihydralazine+nitrate, as well as with digitalis may be necessary. Addition of hydralazine/dihydralazine+nitrate to the treatment of chronic heart failure is recommended if ACE-inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers cannot be administered. Beta blockers should also be used in these cases. If symptoms persist or worsen, addition of this combination to the standard therapy is reasonable. Supplementation with digitalis, mostly digoxin should be considered in similar conditions. It can be especially beneficial for patients with high-ventricular-rate atrial fibrillation. To achieve maximal survival benefit, the dose of digoxin must not exceed 0.125 mg/day. Low body weight or muscle mass, significantly reduced renal function may make further dose reduction necessary. If renal function is severely limited, digitoxin instead of digoxin may be used.]