sabato 28 febbraio 2015

Amantadine extended release for levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease (EASED Study)

ADS-5102 is a long-acting, extended-release capsule formulation of amantadine HCl administered once daily at bedtime. This study investigated the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of ADS-5102 in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients with levodopa-induced dyskinesia. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of 83 PD patients with troublesome dyskinesia assigned to placebo or one of three doses of ADS-5102 (260 mg, 340 mg, 420 mg) administered daily at bedtime for 8 weeks. The primary efficacy analysis compared change from baseline to week 8 in Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale (UDysRS) total score for 340 mg ADS-5102 versus placebo. Secondary outcome measures included change in UDysRS for 260 mg, 420 mg, Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS), patient diary, Clinician's Global Impression of Change, and Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39). ADS-5102 340 mg significantly reduced dyskinesia versus placebo (27% reduction in UDysRS, P = 0.005). In addition, ADS-5102 significantly increased ON time without troublesome dyskinesia, as assessed by PD patient diaries, at 260 mg (P = 0.004), 340 mg (P = 0.008) and 420 mg (P = 0.018). Adverse events (AEs) were reported for 82%, 80%, 95%, and 90% of patients in the placebo, 260-mg, 340-mg, and 420-mg groups, respectively. Constipation, hallucinations, dizziness, and dry mouth were the most frequent AEs. Study withdrawal rates were 9%, 15%, 14%, and 40% for the placebo, 260-mg, 340-mg, and 420-mg groups, respectively. All study withdrawals in the active treatment groups were attributable to AEs. ADS-5102 was generally well tolerated and resulted in significant and dose-dependent improvements in dyskinesia in PD patients.

Movement Disorders 2015 

Workshop on neurobiology of epilepsy: Molecular and cellular imaging in epilepsy

Great advancements have been made in understanding the basic mechanisms of ictogenesis using single-cell electrophysiology (e.g., patch clamp, sharp electrode), large-scale electrophysiology (e.g., electroencephalography [EEG], field potential recording), and large-scale imaging (magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], positron emission tomography [PET], calcium imaging of acetoxymethyl ester [AM] dye-loaded tissue). Until recently, it has been challenging to study experimentally how population rhythms emerge from cellular activity. Newly developed optical imaging technologies hold promise for bridging this gap by making it possible to simultaneously record the many cellular elements that comprise a neural circuit. Furthermore, easily accessible genetic technologies for targeting expression of fluorescent protein–based indicators make it possible to study, in animal models of epilepsy, epileptogenic changes to neural circuits over long periods. In this review, we summarize some of the latest imaging tools (fluorescent probes, gene delivery methods, and microscopy techniques) that can lead to the advancement of cell- and circuit-level understanding of epilepsy, which in turn may inform and improve development of next generation antiepileptic and antiepileptogenic drugs.
Epilepsia 2015

Alteplase versus tenecteplase for thrombolysis after ischaemic stroke (ATTEST): a phase 2, randomised, open-label, blinded endpoint study


In most countries, alteplase given within 4·5 h of onset is the only approved medical treatment for acute ischaemic stroke. The newer thrombolytic drug tenecteplase has been investigated in one randomised trial up to 3 h after stroke and in another trial up to 6 h after stroke in patients selected by advanced neuroimaging. In the Alteplase-Tenecteplase Trial Evaluation for Stroke Thrombolysis (ATTEST), we aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of tenecteplase versus alteplase within 4·5 h of stroke onset in a population not selected on the basis of advanced neuroimaging, and to use imaging biomarkers to inform the design of a definitive phase 3 clinical trial.


In this single-centre, phase 2, prospective, randomised, open-label, blinded end-point evaluation study, adults with supratentorial ischaemic stroke eligible for intravenous thrombolysis within 4·5 h of onset were recruited from The Institute of Neurological Sciences, Glasgow, Scotland. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive tenecteplase 0·25 mg/kg (maximum 25 mg) or alteplase 0·9 mg/kg (maximum 90 mg). Treatment allocation used a mixed randomisation and minimisation algorithm including age and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, generated by an independent statistician. Patients were not informed of treatment allocation; treating clinicians were aware of allocation but those assessing the primary outcome were not. Imaging comprised baseline CT, CT perfusion, and CT angiography; and CT plus CT angiography at 24–48 h. The primary endpoint was percentage of penumbra salvaged (CT perfusion-defined penumbra volume at baseline minus CT infarct volume at 24–48 h). Analysis was per protocol. This study is registered, number NCT01472926.


Between Jan 1, 2012, and Sept 7, 2013, 355 patients were screened, of whom 157 were eligible for intravenous thrombolysis, and 104 patients were enrolled. 52 were assigned to the alteplase group and 52 to tenecteplase. Of 71 patients (35 assigned tenecteplase and 36 assigned alteplase) contributing to the primary endpoint, no significant differences were noted for percentage of penumbral salvaged (68% [SD 28] for the tenecteplase group vs 68% [23] for the alteplase group; mean difference 1·3% [95% CI −9·6 to 12·1]; p=0·81). Neither incidence of symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage (by SITS-MOST definition, 1/52 [2%] tenecteplase vs 2/51 [4%] alteplase, p=0·55; by ECASS II definition, 3/52 [6%] vs 4/51 [8%], p=0·59) nor total intracerebral haemorrhage events (8/52 [15%] vs 14/51 [29%], p=0·091) differed significantly. The incidence of serious adverse events did not differ between groups (32 in the tenecteplase group, three considered probably or definitely related to drug treatment; 16 in the alteplase group, five were considered drug-related).


Neurological and radiological outcomes did not differ between the tenecteplase and alteplase groups. Evaluation of tenecteplase in larger trials of patients with acute stroke seems warranted.

Lancet Neurology 2015

End-of-life management in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Most health-care professionals are trained to promote and maintain life and often have difficulty when faced with the often rapid decline and death of people with terminal illnesses such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). By contrast, data suggest that early and open discussion of end-of-life issues with patients and families allows time for reflection and planning, can obviate the introduction of unwanted interventions or procedures, can provide reassurance, and can alleviate fear. Patients' perspectives regarding end-of-life interventions and use of technologies might differ from those of the health professionals involved in their care, and health-care professionals should recognise this and respect the patient's autonomy. Advance care directives can preserve autonomy, but their legal validity and use varies between countries. Clinical management of the end of life should aim to maximise quality of life of both the patient and caregiver and, when possible, incorporate appropriate palliation of distressing physical, psychosocial, and existential distress. Training of health-care professionals should include the development of communication skills that help to sensitively manage the inevitability of death. The emotional burden for health-care professionals caring for people with terminal neurological disease should be recognised, with structures and procedures developed to address compassion, fatigue, and the moral and ethical challenges related to providing end-of-life care.

Lancet Neurology 2015

A Multiancestral Genome-Wide Exome Array Study of Alzheimer Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Importance  Previous studies have indicated a heritable component of the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). However, few have examined the contribution of low-frequency coding variants on a genome-wide level.
Objective  To identify low-frequency coding variants that affect susceptibility to AD, FTD, and PSP.
Design, Setting, and Participants  We used the Illumina HumanExome BeadChip array to genotype a large number of variants (most of which are low-frequency coding variants) in a cohort of patients with neurodegenerative disease (224 with AD, 168 with FTD, and 48 with PSP) and in 224 control individuals without dementia enrolled between 2005-2012 from multiple centers participating in the Genetic Investigation in Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease (GIFT) Study. An additional multiancestral replication cohort of 240 patients with AD and 240 controls without dementia was used to validate suggestive findings. Variant-level association testing and gene-based testing were performed.
Main Outcomes and Measures  Statistical association of genetic variants with clinical diagnosis of AD, FTD, and PSP.
Results  Genetic variants typed by the exome array explained 44%, 53%, and 57% of the total phenotypic variance of AD, FTD, and PSP, respectively. An association with the known AD gene ABCA7 was replicated in several ancestries (discovery P = .0049, European P = .041, African American P = .043, and Asian P = .027), suggesting that exonic variants within this gene modify AD susceptibility. In addition, 2 suggestive candidate genes, DYSF (P = 5.53 × 10−5) and PAXIP1 (P = 2.26 × 10−4), were highlighted in patients with AD and differentially expressed in AD brain. Corroborating evidence from other exome array studies and gene expression data points toward potential involvement of these genes in the pathogenesis of AD.
Conclusions and Relevance  Low-frequency coding variants with intermediate effect size may account for a significant fraction of the genetic susceptibility to AD and FTD. Furthermore, we found evidence that coding variants in the known susceptibility gene ABCA7, as well as candidate genes DYSF and PAXIP1, confer risk for AD.

JAMA Neurology 2015

Tracking Early Decline in Cognitive Function in Older Individuals at Risk for Alzheimer Disease Dementia The Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study Cognitive Function Instrument

Importance  Several large-scale Alzheimer disease (AD) secondary prevention trials have begun to target individuals at the preclinical stage. The success of these trials depends on validated outcome measures that are sensitive to early clinical progression in individuals who are initially asymptomatic.
Objective  To investigate the utility of the Cognitive Function Instrument (CFI) to track early changes in cognitive function in older individuals without clinical impairment at baseline.
Design, Setting, and Participants  Longitudinal study from February 2002 through February 2007 at participating Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study sites. Individuals were followed up annually for 48 months after the baseline visit. The study included 468 healthy older individuals (Clinical Dementia Rating scale [CDR] global scores of 0, above cutoff on the modified Mini-Mental State Examination and Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test) (mean [SD] age, 79.4 [3.6] years; age range, 75.0-93.8 years). All study participants and their study partners completed the self and partner CFIs annually. Individuals also underwent concurrent annual neuropsychological assessment and APOE genotyping.
Main Outcomes and Measures  The CFI scores between clinical progressors (CDR score, ≥0.5) and nonprogressors (CDR score, 0) and between APOE ε4 carriers and noncarriers were compared. Correlations of change between the CFI scores and neuropsychological performance were assessed longitudinally.
Results  At 48 months, group differences between clinical progressors and non-progressors were significant for self (2.13, SE=0.45, P < .001), partner (5.08, SE=0.59, P < .001), and self plus partner (7.04, SE=0.83, P < .001) CFI total scores. At month 48, APOE ε4 carriers had greater progression than noncarriers on the partner (1.10, SE=0.44, P < .012) and self plus partner (1.56, SE=0.63, P < .014) CFI scores. Both self and partner CFI change were associated with longitudinal cognitive decline (self, ρ=0.32, 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.46; partner, ρ=0.56, 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.68), although findings suggest self-report may be more accurate early in the process, whereas accuracy of partner report improves when there is progression to cognitive impairment.
Conclusions and Relevance  Demonstrating long-term clinical benefit will be critical for the success of recently launched secondary prevention trials. The CFI appears to be a brief, but informative potential outcome measure that provides insight into functional abilities at the earliest stages of disease.

JAMA Neurology 2015

PI3K/AKT pathway mutations cause a spectrum of brain malformations from megalencephaly to focal cortical dysplasia

Malformations of cortical development containing dysplastic neuronal and glial elements, including hemimegalencephaly and focal cortical dysplasia, are common causes of intractable paediatric epilepsy. In this study we performed multiplex targeted sequencing of 10 genes in the PI3K/AKT pathway on brain tissue from 33 children who underwent surgical resection of dysplastic cortex for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. Sequencing results were correlated with clinical, imaging, pathological and immunohistological phenotypes. We identified mosaic activating mutations in PIK3CA and AKT3 in this cohort, including cancer-associated hotspot PIK3CA mutations in dysplastic megalencephaly, hemimegalencephaly, and focal cortical dysplasia type IIa. In addition, a germline PTEN mutation was identified in a male with hemimegalencephaly but no peripheral manifestations of the PTEN hamartoma tumour syndrome. A spectrum of clinical, imaging and pathological abnormalities was found in this cohort. While patients with more severe brain imaging abnormalities and systemic manifestations were more likely to have detected mutations, routine histopathological studies did not predict mutation status. In addition, elevated levels of phosphorylated S6 ribosomal protein were identified in both neurons and astrocytes of all hemimegalencephaly and focal cortical dysplasia type II specimens, regardless of the presence or absence of detected PI3K/AKT pathway mutations. In contrast, expression patterns of the T308 and S473 phosphorylated forms of AKT and in vitro AKT kinase activities discriminated between mutation-positive dysplasia cortex, mutation-negative dysplasia cortex, and non-dysplasia epilepsy cortex. Our findings identify PI3K/AKT pathway mutations as an important cause of epileptogenic brain malformations and establish megalencephaly, hemimegalencephaly, and focal cortical dysplasia as part of a single pathogenic spectrum

Brain 2015

Mutations in PNKP Cause Recessive Ataxia with Oculomotor Apraxia Type 4

Hereditary autosomal-recessive cerebellar ataxias are a genetically and clinically heterogeneous group of disorders. We used homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing to study a cohort of nine Portuguese families who were identified during a nationwide, population-based, systematic survey as displaying a consistent phenotype of recessive ataxia with oculomotor apraxia (AOA). The integration of data from these analyses led to the identification of the same homozygousPNKP (polynucleotide kinase 3′-phosphatase) mutation, c.1123G>T (p.Gly375Trp), in three of the studied families. When analyzing this particular gene in the exome sequencing data from the remaining cohort, we identified homozygous or compound-heterozygous mutations in five other families. PNKP is a dual-function enzyme with a key role in different pathways of DNA-damage repair. Mutations in this gene have previously been associated with an autosomal-recessive syndrome characterized by microcephaly; early-onset, intractable seizures; and developmental delay (MCSZ). The finding of PNKP mutations associated with recessive AOA extends the phenotype associated with this gene and identifies a fourth locus that causes AOA. These data confirm that MCSZ and some forms of ataxia share etiological features, most likely reflecting the role of PNKP in DNA-repair mechanism

Am J Hum Genet 2015

Early-onset chronic axonal neuropathy, strokes, and hemolysis Inherited CD59 deficiency

Objective: To identify the underlying etiology of 3 patients in a multiplex family with strokes, chronic immune-mediated peripheral neuropathy, and hemolysis. All had onset in infancy.
Methods: We performed genome-wide linkage analysis followed by whole exome sequencing (WES) in the proband, Sanger sequencing, and segregation analysis of putative mutations. In addition, we conducted flow cytometry studies to assess CD59 expression.
Results: In a 2-generation–3-affected family with early-onset immune-mediated axonal neuropathy, cerebrovascular event both in the anterior and posterior circulation, and chronic Coombs-negative hemolysis, we detected CD59 deleterious mutation as the underlying cause. Linkage analysis and homozygosity mapping using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays in the family followed by WES in one index case allowed identification of a homozygous missense mutation in the CD59 gene (c.A146T:p.Asp49Val). Sanger sequencing validated the mutation, showing cosegregation with the disease phenotype. Flow cytometry using blood cells in the 3 patients showed a lack of CD59 expression at the cell membrane compared to control and CD55 labeling.

Neurology 2015

Randomized phase III study of whole-brain radiotherapy for primary CNS lymphoma

Objective: This is the final report of a phase III randomized study to evaluate whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) in primary therapy of primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) after a median follow-up of 81.2 months.
Methods: Patients with newly diagnosed PCNSL were randomized to high-dose methotrexate (HDMTX)–based chemotherapy alone or followed by WBRT. We hypothesized that the omission of WBRT would not compromise overall survival (OS; primary endpoint), using a noninferiority design with a margin of 0.9.
Results: In the per-protocol population (n = 320), WBRT nonsignificantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) (median 18.2 vs 11.9 months, hazard ratio [HR] 0.83 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.65–1.06], p = 0.14) and significantly PFS from last HDMTX (25.5 vs 12.0 months, HR 0.65 [95% CI 0.5–0.83], p = 0.001), but without OS prolongation (35.6 vs 37.1 months, HR 1.03 [95% CI 0.79–1.35], p = 0.82). In the intent-to-treat population (n = 410), there was a prolongation by WBRT of both PFS (15.4 vs 9.9 months, HR 0.79 [95% CI 0.64–0.98], p = 0.034) and PFS from last HDMTX (19.4 vs 11.9 months, HR 0.72 [95% CI 0.58–0.89], p = 0.003), but not of OS (32.4 vs 36.1 months, HR 0.98 [95% CI 0.79–1.26], p = 0.98).
Conclusion: Although the statistical proof of noninferiority regarding OS was not given, our results suggest no worsening of OS without WBRT in primary therapy of PCNSL.
Classification of evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that in PCNSL HDMTX-based chemotherapy followed by WBRT does not significantly increase survival compared to chemotherapy alone. The study lacked the precision to exclude an important survival benefit or harm from WBRT.

Neurology 2015

sabato 21 febbraio 2015

Dementia: Type 2 diabetes has a slow and insidious effect on cognition

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been linked with cognitive impairment and dementia. A new cross-sectional study reports that T2DM is also associated with dementia in Parkinson disease, and another study describes the long-term clinical course of diabetes-associated cognitive dysfunction; however, the mechanisms through which T2DM affects the brain are not completely understood.

Nature Reviews Neurology 2015

Multiple sclerosis—a quiet revolution

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has been thought to be a complex and indecipherable disease, and poorly understood with regards to aetiology. Here, we suggest an emphatically positive view of progress over several decades in the understanding and treatment of MS, particularly focusing on advances made within the past 20 years. As with virtually all complex disorders, MS is caused by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. In recent years, formidable biochemical, bioinformatic, epidemiological and neuroimaging tools have been brought to bear on research into the causes of MS. While susceptibility to the disease is now relatively well accounted for, disease course is not and remains a salient challenge. In the therapeutic realm, numerous agents have become available, reflecting the fact that the disease can be attacked successfully at many levels and using varied strategies. Tailoring therapies to individuals, risk mitigation and selection of first-line as compared with second-line medications remain to be completed. In our view, the MS landscape has been comprehensively and irreversibly transformed by this progress. Here we focus on MS therapeutics—the most meaningful outcome of research efforts

Nature Reviews Neurology 2015

Modulation of GluN3A Expression in Huntington Disease A New N-Methyl-d-Aspartate Receptor–Based Therapeutic Approach?

Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder with no cure or effective palliative treatment. An ideal therapy would arrest pathogenesis at early stages before neuronal damage occurs. However, although the genetic mutation that causes HD is known, the molecular chain of events that leads from the mutation to disease is not well understood. Accumulating evidence suggests that synaptic dysregulation may be involved, and the earliest known deficit is hyperfunction of glutamate-type N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) in the selectively vulnerable medium spiny neurons of the striatum. A previous study found that the mutant Htt protein interferes with downregulation of juvenile NMDAR subtypes that contain GluN3A subunits by sequestering the endocytic adaptor PACSIN1 and preventing their removal from the cell surface. Loss of PACSIN1 and consequent gain of GluN3A function reactivate a synapse pruning mechanism that is important during development but harmful when active at later stages. Suppressing the GluN3A reactivation corrected the NMDAR hyperfunction and prevented the full range of HD signs and symptoms in mouse models, encouraging efforts to develop GluN3A-selective antagonists and/or explore alternative therapeutic approaches to block GluN3A expression.

JAMA Neurology 2015

Primary Familial Brain Calcification With Known Gene Mutations A Systematic Review and Challenges of Phenotypic Characterization

Importance  In the past 2 years, 3 genes (SLC20A2, PDGFRB, and PDGFB) were identified as causative of primary familial brain calcification (PFBC), enabling genotype-specific phenotyping.
Objectives  To provide a systematic literature review on the neuroimaging and clinical phenotype of genetically confirmed PFBC and summarize known pathophysiological mechanisms, to improve and harmonize future phenotype description and reporting by addressing data gaps, and to develop uniform definitions for clinical characterization.
Evidence Review  We systematically searched the MEDLINE database among articles published from January 1, 2012, through May 31, 2014, for the 3 genes and selected 25 articles from all records (n = 75) and from sources cited in the reference lists. Only genetically confirmed cases with individual clinical information were included, leaving 15 reports. Predefined categories for data extraction were different neurologic and psychiatric symptoms, imaging results, and age at onset (AAO). We also assessed availability of information to estimate possible bias.
Findings  We included a total of 179 cases, 162 of which belong to 25 families. Availability of information ranged from 96.6% for ethnicity to 24.4% for AAO. All cases had calcifications on comprehensive cranial computed tomography, most frequently located in the basal ganglia (70.6%), subcortical white matter (40.8%), cerebellum (34.1%), or thalamus (28.5%). Mean (SD) AAO was 27.9 (22.3) years, and the AAO was comparable across genes (P = .77). The most frequently described signs were movement disorders, such as parkinsonism (12%) and dystonia (19%). Penetrance of the imaging phenotype was 100% compared with only 61% of the clinical phenotype. We propose a novel definition of disease status by specifying PFBC into genetic, clinical, and imaging phenotypes. Pathophysiological pathways converge on impaired phosphorus homeostasis and integrity of the blood-brain barrier.
Conclusions and Relevance  Especially in rare conditions, meta-analyses are the most suitable tool to extract reliable information on the natural course of a disease. For future analyses, we provide a minimal data set that can be used for systematic clinical and imaging data collection in PFBC and that will also improve informed counseling of patients.

JAMA Neurology 2015

Effects of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Motor Symptoms in Parkinson Disease A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Importance  Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a noninvasive neuromodulation technique that has been closely examined as a possible treatment for Parkinson disease (PD). However, results evaluating the effectiveness of rTMS in PD are mixed, mostly owing to low statistical power or variety in individual rTMS protocols.
Objectives  To determine the rTMS effects on motor dysfunction in patients with PD and to examine potential factors that modulate the rTMS effects.
Data Sources  Databases searched included PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Knowledge, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library from inception to June 30, 2014.
Study Selection  Eligible studies included sham-controlled, randomized clinical trials of rTMS intervention for motor dysfunction in patients with PD.
Data Extraction and Synthesis  Relevant measures were extracted independently by 2 investigators. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) were calculated with random-effects models.
Main Outcomes and Measures  Motor examination of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale.
Results  Twenty studies with a total of 470 patients were included. Random-effects analysis revealed a pooled SMD of 0.46 (95% CI, 0.29-0.64), indicating an overall medium effect size favoring active rTMS over sham rTMS in the reduction of motor symptoms (P < .001). Subgroup analysis showed that the effect sizes estimated from high-frequency rTMS targeting the primary motor cortex (SMD, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.46-1.08; P < .001) and low-frequency rTMS applied over other frontal regions (SMD, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.13-0.87; P = .008) were significant. The effect sizes obtained from the other 2 combinations of rTMS frequency and rTMS site (ie, high-frequency rTMS at other frontal regions: SMD, 0.23; 95% CI, −0.02 to 0.48, and low primary motor cortex: SMD, 0.28; 95% CI, −0.23 to 0.78) were not significant. Meta-regression revealed that a greater number of pulses per session or across sessions is associated with larger rTMS effects. Using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation criteria, we characterized the quality of evidence presented in this meta-analysis as moderate quality.
Conclusions and Relevance  The pooled evidence suggests that rTMS improves motor symptoms for patients with PD. Combinations of rTMS site and frequency as well as the number of rTMS pulses are key modulators of rTMS effects. The findings of our meta-analysis may guide treatment decisions and inform future research.

JAMA Neurology 2015

Rapidly progressive Alzheimer’s disease features distinct structures of amyloid-β

Genetic and environmental factors that increase the risk of late-onset Alzheimer disease are now well recognized but the cause of variable progression rates and phenotypes of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease is largely unknown. We aimed to investigate the relationship between diverse structural assemblies of amyloid-β and rates of clinical decline in Alzheimer’s disease. Using novel biophysical methods, we analysed levels, particle size, and conformational characteristics of amyloid-β in the posterior cingulate cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum of 48 cases of Alzheimer’s disease with distinctly different disease durations, and correlated the data with APOE gene polymorphism. In both hippocampus and posterior cingulate cortex we identified an extensive array of distinct amyloid-β42 particles that differ in size, display of N-terminal and C-terminal domains, and conformational stability. In contrast, amyloid-β40present at low levels did not form a major particle with discernible size, and both N-terminal and C- terminal domains were largely exposed. Rapidly progressive Alzheimer’s disease that is associated with a low frequency of APOE e4 allele demonstrates considerably expanded conformational heterogeneity of amyloid-β42, with higher levels of distinctly structured amyloid-β42 particles composed of 30–100 monomers, and fewer particles composed of < 30 monomers. The link between rapid clinical decline and levels of amyloid-β42 with distinct structural characteristics suggests that different conformers may play an important role in the pathogenesis of distinct Alzheimer’s disease phenotypes. These findings indicate that Alzheimer’s disease exhibits a wide spectrum of amyloid-β42 structural states and imply the existence of prion-like conformational strains.

Brain 2015

Prevalence and prognosis of Alzheimer’s disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage

Three sets of research criteria are available for diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the International Working Group-1, International Working Group-2, and National Institute of Aging-Alzheimer Association criteria. We compared the prevalence and prognosis of Alzheimer’s disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage according to these criteria. Subjects with mild cognitive impairment (n = 1607), 766 of whom had both amyloid and neuronal injury markers, were recruited from 13 cohorts. We used cognitive test performance and available biomarkers to classify subjects as prodromal Alzheimer’s disease according to International Working Group-1 and International Working Group-2 criteria and in the high Alzheimer’s disease likelihood group, conflicting biomarker groups (isolated amyloid pathology or suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology), and low Alzheimer’s disease likelihood group according to the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria. Outcome measures were the proportion of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage and progression to Alzheimer’s disease-type dementia. We performed survival analyses using Cox proportional hazards models. According to the International Working Group-1 criteria, 850 (53%) subjects had prodromal Alzheimer’s disease. Their 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer’s disease-type dementia was 50% compared to 21% for subjects without prodromal Alzheimer’s disease. According to the International Working Group-2 criteria, 308 (40%) subjects had prodromal Alzheimer’s disease. Their 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer’s disease-type dementia was 61% compared to 22% for subjects without prodromal Alzheimer’s disease. According to the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria, 353 (46%) subjects were in the high Alzheimer’s disease likelihood group, 49 (6%) in the isolated amyloid pathology group, 220 (29%) in the suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology group, and 144 (19%) in the low Alzheimer’s disease likelihood group. The 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer’s disease-type dementia was 59% in the high Alzheimer’s disease likelihood group, 22% in the isolated amyloid pathology group, 24% in the suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology group, and 5% in the low Alzheimer’s disease likelihood group. Our findings support the use of the proposed research criteria to identify Alzheimer’s disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage. In clinical settings, the use of both amyloid and neuronal injury markers as proposed by the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria offers the most accurate prognosis. For clinical trials, selection of subjects in the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association high Alzheimer’s disease likelihood group or the International Working Group-2 prodromal Alzheimer’s disease group could be considered.

Neurology 2015

Resting brain activity in disorders of consciousness A systematic review and meta-analysis

Objective: To quantitatively synthesize results from neuroimaging studies that evaluated patterns of resting functional activity in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC).
Methods: We performed a systematic review and coordinate-based meta-analysis of studies published up to May 2014. Studies were included if they compared resting-state functional neuroimaging data acquired in patients with DOC (coma, minimally conscious state, emergence from minimally conscious state, or vegetative state) with a group of healthy controls. Coordinate-based meta-analysis was performed in studies that included voxel-based comparisons at the whole-brain level and if analysis was accomplished with data-driven approaches.
Results: A total of 36 studies (687 patients, 637 healthy controls) were included in the systematic review. Reported DOC were vegetative state (43.2%), coma (23.4%), minimally conscious state (22.8%), and emergence from minimally conscious state (1.6%); the most common etiologies of DOC were traumatic brain injury (37.7%) and anoxic brain injury (36.9%). Functional neuroimaging was accomplished using fMRI (16 studies), PET (15 studies), SPECT (4 studies), and both PET and SPECT in one study. Meta-analysis in 13 studies (272 patients, 259 healthy controls) revealed consistently reduced activity in patients with DOC in bilateral medial dorsal nucleus of the thalamus, left cingulate, posterior cingulate, precuneus, and middle frontal and medial temporal gyri.
Conclusions: In patients with DOC evaluated in the resting state, functional neuroimaging indicates markedly reduced activity within midline cortical and subcortical sites, anatomical structures that have been linked to the default-mode network. Studies are needed to determine the relation between activation (and coherence) within these structures and the emergence of conscious awareness.

Neurology 2015

Prevalence and distribution of VZV in temporal arteries of patients with giant cell arteritis

Objective: Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection may trigger the inflammatory cascade that characterizes giant cell arteritis (GCA).
Methods: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded GCA-positive temporal artery (TA) biopsies (50 sections/TA) including adjacent skeletal muscle and normal TAs obtained postmortem from subjects >50 years of age were examined by immunohistochemistry for presence and distribution of VZV antigen and by ultrastructural examination for virions. Adjacent regions were examined by hematoxylin & eosin staining. VZV antigen–positive slides were analyzed by PCR for VZV DNA.
Results: VZV antigen was found in 61/82 (74%) GCA-positive TAs compared with 1/13 (8%) normal TAs (p < 0.0001, relative risk 9.67, 95% confidence interval 1.46, 63.69). Most GCA-positive TAs contained viral antigen in skip areas. VZV antigen was present mostly in adventitia, followed by media and intima. VZV antigen was found in 12/32 (38%) skeletal muscles adjacent to VZV antigen–positive TAs. Despite formalin fixation, VZV DNA was detected in 18/45 (40%) GCA-positive VZV antigen–positive TAs, in 6/10 (60%) VZV antigen–positive skeletal muscles, and in one VZV antigen–positive normal TA. Varicella-zoster virions were found in a GCA-positive TA. In sections adjacent to those containing VZV, GCA pathology was seen in 89% of GCA-positive TAs but in none of 18 adjacent sections from normal TAs.
Conclusions: Most GCA-positive TAs contained VZV in skip areas that correlated with adjacent GCA pathology, supporting the hypothesis that VZV triggers GCA immunopathology. Antiviral treatment may confer additional benefit to patients with GCA treated with corticosteroids, although the optimal antiviral regimen remains to be determined

Neurology 2015