August 2006 Briefing - Neurology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Neurology for August 2006. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Neurostimulation Improves Motor Symptoms in Parkinson's

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus improves quality of life and symptom severity better than medication alone in those experiencing severe motor complications of Parkinson's disease, although serious adverse events are more common, according to a study published in the Aug. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Early Neurologic Symptoms Can Forecast Tardive Dyskinesia

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Extrapyramidal symptoms induced by antipsychotic drugs could forecast tardive dyskinesia in about 50 percent of schizophrenics, researchers report in the August issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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'Major' Venous-to-Arterial Circulation Shunts Pose Risk

FRIDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- 'Major' venous-to-arterial circulation shunts are linked to ischemic stroke, but not myocardial infarction, in young adults, according to a study in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Brain Chemical Increases Anxiety, Reduces Depression

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Transgenic brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) over-expression increases anxiety, which may be mediated by increased spine density in the amygdala. But it also reduces depression, according to an animal study published online Aug. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Radiation for Childhood Leukemia Can Affect Cognition

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- High dose methotrexate is better than cranial radiation therapy for treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with respect to long-term neurocognitive outcomes, according to a report in the Aug. 20 Journal of Clinical Oncology. Radiation may be detrimental to brain development, the authors say.

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New Neurons Near Brain's Stroke-Damaged Areas

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found that newborn-like neurons are present in regions surrounding stroke-damaged areas in human brain biopsies, according to a report in the Aug. 21 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. Harnessing the process which causes new neuron growth may provide a potential therapeutic strategy for post-ischemic recovery.

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Optical Radiation Can Stimulate Auditory Nerves

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The auditory nerve can be stimulated using optical radiation, a discovery that has potential clinical implications for cochlear implants, according to a study published online July 26 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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Delirium in Elderly Stroke Patients Linked to Mortality

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients who experience delirium within three days of a stroke are more likely to die and have worse functional outcomes than stroke patients who do not experience delirium, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Catastrophic Antiphospholipid Syndrome Mortality Assessed

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke, cerebral hemorrhage and encephalopathy are major causes of death in patients with catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (CAPS), and the risk of death increases in those with systemic lupus erythematosus, according to a study published in the August issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Metabolic Disorder More Common Than Thought

TUESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency (SCADD) is a more common metabolic disorder than previously recognized, but is not currently suitable for inclusion in newborn screening programs, according to a study in the Aug. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Air, Car, Bus or Train Travel Linked to Thrombosis Risk

TUESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Long trips by air, car, bus or train are associated with a two-fold increase in the risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in the following weeks, according to a study in the August issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Ethnic Differences Observed in Stroke Recurrence

TUESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Mexican-Americans who experience a first ischemic stroke have a higher risk of stroke recurrence than their non-Hispanic white counterparts, according to a study published online Aug. 22 in the Annals of Neurology.

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Cognitive Performance Linked to Risk of Falls in Elderly

TUESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Among very elderly patients, there is an association between cognitive performance and risk of falls, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

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Future Cost of Ischemic Stroke May Exceed $2.2 Trillion

MONDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The costs of ischemic stroke in the United States may exceed $2.2 trillion in the next fifty years, with blacks and Hispanics facing the highest burden, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in Neurology.

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Brain Abnormality Found in Children With Autism

MONDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Children with autism have prolonged T2 relaxation in their cortical gray matter compared with other children, an abnormal finding that may be specific to autism, according to a report in the Aug. 22 issue of Neurology.

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Drug Promotion for Off-Label Gabapentin Examined

MONDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Advisory boards, continuing medical education, influential physicians, and sponsorship of research and publications were used in the marketing and promotion of gabapentin (Neurontin), particularly to encourage off-label prescribing, according to a report in the Aug. 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Skin Test May Identify Early Alzheimer's Disease

MONDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A simple skin test can accurately detect the early stages of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia and might be developed into a diagnostic tool, according to a report published online Aug. 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Stroke Type Determined by Circadian Variation

FRIDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Different types of stroke are more prevalent during different periods of the circadian rhythm, according to a report published online Aug. 17 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.

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Socioeconomic Status Linked to Late-Life Disability

THURSDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- While the link between extreme poverty and poor health has long been recognized, a new report in the Aug. 17 New England Journal of Medicine extends the socioeconomic disparity to functional limitation and disability later in life.

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Neonatal MRI May Predict Outcomes in Preterm Infants

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Neonatal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may help predict adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in very preterm infants, according to a study in the Aug. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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High Dietary Copper Linked to Faster Cognitive Decline

TUESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly individuals who consume 1.6 mg or more of copper per day and whose diets are high in saturated and trans fats have a faster rate of cognitive decline than other patients, according to a report in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Combination Treatment for Ischemic Stroke Promising

TUESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The first clinical trial testing the ability of argatroban to augment the benefit of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) after ischemic stroke has shown preliminary promising results, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Neurology.

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Doctors' Views on Disclosure of Errors Varies Widely

TUESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- There is a wide variation across the medical profession when it comes to disclosing medical errors to patients, with the visibility of the error and medical specialty both playing a role, according to two studies in the August 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Excessive Ultrasound Leads to Abnormal Neuronal Migration

FRIDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A small but significant number of neurons in the embryonic mouse brain do not migrate to their proper position after excessively long exposures to ultrasound waves, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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CPR Knowledge is Lacking in Seriously Ill Patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Seriously ill hospitalized patients lack information about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and more than one-third of them do not wish to discuss end-of-life preferences with their physician, according to study results published in the August issue of Chest.

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Cigarette Smoke Saturates Brain Acetylcholine Receptors

THURSDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Typical daily smokers show nearly complete saturation of α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α4β2 nAChR) in the brain throughout the day, according to a study in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Allergic Rhinitis, Inflammation Linked to Parkinson Disease

THURSDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A tendency toward inflammation, such as that associated with allergic rhinitis, may also be linked to developing Parkinson disease later in life, according to a report from the Mayo Clinic in the Aug. 8 issue of Neurology.

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Anakinra Effective for Inflammatory Disease

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The interleukin-1β blocker anakinra is safe and effective for patients with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease, according to new research published in the Aug. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Fewer Ischemic Strokes for Those Taking Atorvastatin

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Daily atorvastatin can reduce the incidence of stroke and cardiovascular events in recent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients, according to results from the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) trial published in the Aug. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Irritable Bowel Patients Show Visceral Hypersensitivity

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- While irritable bowel syndrome patients have hypersensitivity to visceral stimuli, repeated exposure to such stimuli results in habituation of visceral perception and central arousal despite no decline in activation of brain networks that process visceral pain and anticipation, according to a study in the August issue of Gastroenterology.

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Ice-Skaters at High Risk for Concussions, Head Injuries

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Children who engage in ice-skating, roller-skating and in-line skating should wear helmets to reduce the risk of head injury, with ice-skaters particularly vulnerable to concussions and other head injuries, according to a study in the August issue of Pediatrics.

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Gene Variation Linked to Parkinson Disease

TUESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Variations in the α-Synuclein (SNCA) gene are linked with increased susceptibility for Parkinson disease, according to a study published in the Aug. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Brain Study Shows Infants Can Detect Errors in Arithmetic

TUESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Infants tend to look longer at incorrect visual arithmetic problems and have brain activity similar to adults who detect math errors, suggesting the brain network responsible for error detection is present during infancy, according to a report published online Aug. 7 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Magnetic Brain Stimulation Enhances Peripheral Vision

TUESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have shown that magnetic stimulation of the brain in the visual cortex can stimulate activity in other remote but connected regions of the visual cortex and possibly enhance peripheral vision, according to a report in the Aug. 8 issue of Current Biology.

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Birth Defect Risk Higher from Valproate Use in Epilepsy

MONDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women who use the antiepileptic drug valproate are at greater risk for teratogenic effects than those who take other antiepilepsy medications, according to a report in the August issue of Neurology.

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Variations in Oligodendrocyte Gene Linked to Schizophrenia

MONDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Variations in the oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (OLIG2) gene, which encodes a transcription factor responsible for oligodendrocyte development, are associated with schizophrenia, according to a report published online August 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Severe Sleep Apnea in Elderly Doubles Stroke Risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients with severe sleep apnea have more than twice the risk of ischemic stroke compared to their counterparts with only mild or no apnea, according to a study published online Aug. 3 in Stroke.

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Vascular-Measuring Risk Score Helps Predict Dementia

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A new risk prediction method that highlights the role of vascular factors in the development of dementia may help identify at-risk individuals in need of intervention, according to a study published online Aug. 3 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Cold Oxygen May Block Recovery of Comatose Patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Giving oxygen to intubated, comatose patients at temperatures significantly below body temperature may block their recovery due to prolonged cooling of the brain, so heated nebulizers should be used, according to a case report in the August issue of Medical Science Monitor.

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T-Cell Subset Inhibits Multiple Sclerosis in Mice

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A subset of T cells that express the Vα19i T-cell receptor chain can impede the development and progression of multiple sclerosis in mice, according to a report in the July 30 advance online publication of Nature Immunology.

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Antiretrovirals Don't Increase Primary Central Lymphoma

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In HIV-positive patients, exposure to highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, is not associated with an increased risk of primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCL), according to a report published in the Aug. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Small Group of Physicians Are Frequent Expert Witnesses

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In most neurologic birth injury lawsuits, a small group of physicians act as frequent expert witnesses, and plaintiff witnesses tend to have fewer publications and are less likely to have subspecialty board certification than defendant witnesses, according to a study published in the Aug. 1 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Physician's Briefing