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August 2008 Briefing - Neurology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Neurology for August 2008. 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.

Proteins Regulate Brain Response to Cocaine

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A family of proteins is a key regulator of the long-lasting adaptive response of the brain to cocaine addiction, which likely attempts to limit cocaine-induced destructive behaviors, according to study findings published in the Aug. 28 issue of Neuron.

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Antipsychotic Drugs Increase Risk of Stroke

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Both typical and atypical antipsychotic medications are associated with increased risk of stroke, and patients with dementia are at greater risk than those without, according to a report published online Aug. 28 in BMJ Online First.

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Gene Affects Many Behavioral and Cognitive Domains

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) gene may play an important role in a trade-off between cognitive and affective function with increased COMT activity inhibiting cognition, but functioning as a protective factor in stressful situations, according to an article published in the Aug. 27 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Lancet Supports WHO Report on Health Inequality

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The final report by the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health contains a strong mandate for reducing global inequalities in health care, according to an editorial published in the Aug. 30 issue of The Lancet.

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Treadmill Exercise Improves Walking in Stroke Survivors

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic hemiparetic stroke, treadmill exercise improves fitness and gait function by activating cortico-subcortical neural networks, according to research published online ahead of print Aug. 28 in Stroke.

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Atrial Fibrillation Patients Not Adequately Anticoagulated

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients with known atrial fibrillation who are admitted with an ischemic stroke either do not take warfarin or have sub-therapeutic levels of the drug, according to a study published online ahead of print Aug. 28 in Stroke.

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Deep Brain Stimulation Blunts Addiction Response in Rats

THURSDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Deep brain stimulation blunts the addictive response in an animal model and may be a useful therapeutic approach in severe cocaine addiction, according to an article published in the Aug. 27 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

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New Pain Guidelines Released

THURSDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has released new medical treatment guidelines for the care of workers with chronic pain syndromes, representing the latest chapter in Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines, available online. A print version of the guidelines will be available in September.

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Orthopedic Surgery Can Help Stroke Patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Although the first six months after a stroke should be devoted to allowing for a period of spontaneous recovery, orthopedic surgery then has a role to play in reducing deformity and improving range-of-motion in affected limbs, according to a report published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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Mental Decline Can Occur Long Before Death in Elderly

THURSDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A sharp decline in cognitive abilities in elderly, non-demented individuals can begin as much as 15 years before death, according to the results of a study published online Aug. 27 in Neurology.

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Genetic Deletion Related to Obesity in WAGR Syndrome

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) haploinsufficiency is associated with onset of childhood obesity in patients with Wilms' tumor, aniridia, genitourinary abnormalities and mental retardation (WAGR) syndrome, and may be related to energy homeostasis in humans, researchers report in the Aug. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Telmisartan Fails to Reduce Risk of Recurrent Stroke

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In the prevention of recurrent stroke, telmisartan is no more effective than placebo, and aspirin plus extended-release dipyridamole is similar to clopidogrel, according to the results of two studies published online Aug. 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Magnesium Sulfate May Reduce Cerebral Palsy Rates

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Use of magnesium sulfate in mothers at high risk of early preterm delivery was associated with less occurrence of moderate or severe cerebral palsy in surviving offspring, according to study findings published in the Aug. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Large Aortic Plaques Increase Future Stroke Risk

TUESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Large aortic plaques combined with a hypercoagulable state following an acute ischemic stroke is associated with an increased risk of recurrent stroke and death, according to a report published in the Sept. 2 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Ramosetron Can Help Control Postsurgical Nausea

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Ramosetron may be superior to ondansetron in controlling the vomiting and nausea associated with opioid analgesia following surgery, according to research published in the Aug. 1 issue of Spine.

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Damage to Unirradiated Parts of Body Can Cause Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Radiation damage can spread to unirradiated parts of the body and cause cancer in mice via a bystander effect that induces cellular damage and death, according to a report published online Aug. 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Structure of Mutant Tau Protein Altered in Alzheimer's

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A mutant form of the tau protein, which forms intracellular aggregates in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, may aggregate due to sequence-specific structural changes in the protein that cause it to adopt a more extended conformation, according to study findings published online Aug. 22 in PLoS Computational Biology.

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Swedish Stroke Incidence Shows Favorable Trends

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke incidence in northern Sweden declined during a recent 19-year period, with rates falling for first and recurrent strokes in women with diabetes and men without diabetes, according to research published online Aug. 21 in the journal Stroke.

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Even 'Little' Strokes Can Lead to Major Problems

THURSDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The theme for the upcoming World Stroke Day -- which will be observed on Oct. 29 -- is "Little strokes, big trouble," according to an editorial in the September issue of Stroke.

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New Guidelines for Diagnosis, Treatment of Facial Pain

THURSDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Trigeminal neuralgia, which causes intense facial pain, can be diagnosed by head imaging and testing of the trigeminal nerves and treated by drugs or surgery, according to guidelines published online Aug. 20 in Neurology and simultaneously in the European Journal of Neurology.

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Outlook Mixed on US Presidential Candidates' Health Plans

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The health care plans proposed by John McCain and Barack Obama would have uncertain effects on health care coverage in America, but potential problems with each plan are evident, according to a perspective piece in the Aug. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Epilepsy Patients at Significant Risk of Drowning

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Epilepsy increases drowning risk by 15- to 19-fold compared with risk among those in the general population, according to the results of a study published in the Aug. 19 issue of Neurology.

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Conformal Radiation Therapy Improves Cognitive Outcomes

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Among children with ependymoma, conformal radiation therapy leads to better long-term academic results compared to conventional radiation therapy approaches, according to a report in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Variability in Cognitive Function Linked to Dementia

TUESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Within-person variability in scores across neuropsychological tests is associated with an increased risk of dementia in the elderly, according to a report in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Seniors Likely to Find Medicare Health Web Site Unusable

TUESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Even older adults with computer skills may have difficulty using the Medicare.gov Web site to determine eligibility for services and enroll in a drug plan, according to a research letter published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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FDA Approves First Drug to Treat Huntington's Chorea

MONDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Xenazine (tetrabenazine), the first drug for the treatment of chorea in people with Huntington's disease, according to a release issued by the FDA on Aug. 15.

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Studies Show Stroke Risk from Abdominal Fat, Smoking

FRIDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Abdominal fat and smoking are strongly associated with an increased risk of stroke, according to the results of two case-control studies published online Aug. 14 in the journal Stroke.

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Low-Risk Lifestyle Linked to Stroke Prevention

THURSDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A low-risk lifestyle is associated not only with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases -- such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and total cardiovascular disease -- but also with the prevention of stroke, according to the results of a study published online Aug. 12 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Scan Could Prove Useful in Diagnosing Alzheimer's

THURSDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The use of carbon 11-labeled Pittsburgh Compound B positron emission tomography ([11C]PiB PET) may be useful in assessing β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition in the brain, according to research published online Aug. 11 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Physical Frailty Linked to Alzheimer's Brain Pathology

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Physical frailty in the elderly is associated with Alzheimer's disease pathology in the brain independent of dementia and other potential variables, researchers report in the Aug. 12 issue of Neurology.

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Childhood Clumsiness Linked to Adult Obesity

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who become obese in their 30s are more likely to have been clumsy and have poor physical coordination as children, according to research published Aug. 12 in BMJ Online First.

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Cognitive Problems Linked to Longer, More Severe Diabetes

TUESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Mild cognitive impairment is associated with earlier onset, longer duration and greater severity of diabetes mellitus, according to research published in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Stem Cells Isolated from Patients with Genetic Diseases

MONDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Stem cells can be produced from cells from patients with a variety of genetic disorders, allowing investigation into disease pathogenesis and drug development, according to research published online Aug. 7 in Cell.

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Role of Homeoprotein Explored in Visual Plasticity in Mice

MONDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The homeoprotein Otx2 plays a role in postnatal maturation of parvalbumin (PV) cells and activates visual cortical plasticity in mice, according to research published in the Aug. 8 issue of Cell.

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Arteriovenous Malformation Size Affects Treatment Outcome

MONDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with cerebral arteriovenous malformations who are treated with a reduced dose of radiation during gamma knife surgery, outcomes differ according to malformation size, according to the results of a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Nearly 1 Percent of U.S. Adults Have Active Epilepsy

MONDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one in every 100 American adults has active epilepsy, and more than one-third of them are not receiving adequate treatment, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the Aug. 8 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Chronic Widespread Pain Common in Spinal Disorders

MONDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with disabling work-related spinal disorders met the criteria for the primary symptom of fibromyalgia, according to research published in the Aug. 1 issue of Spine.

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Studies Needed for Minimally Invasive Decompression

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Although direct decompression with minimally invasive surgery is widely used to treat lumbar disc herniation and lumbar stenosis, there is a lack of evidence to compare its effectiveness and possible superiority with traditional decompression, according to an article published in the August issue of Neurosurgical Focus.

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Lapatinib Inhibits Brain Metastases in Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In a mouse model of metastatic breast cancer, lapatinib reduces the number of large brain metastases, according to research published in the Aug. 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Children Face Higher Mortality After Febrile Seizures

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Children may face an increased risk of death in the two years following some febrile seizures, researchers report in the Aug. 9 issue of The Lancet.

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New Stimulation Technique Studied in Parkinson's Disease

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Parkinsonian symptoms may markedly improve in patients in whom an inhalation anesthetic and microelectrode recordings are used during deep brain stimulation procedures, according to the results of a preliminary study published in the August issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Cannabis Reduces HIV-Related Neuropathic Pain

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking cannabis reduced neuropathic pain in patients with HIV infection and was generally well tolerated, according to research published online Aug. 6 in Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Timely Brain Scans for Stroke Patients Lacking

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- There are significant disparities between suspected stroke patients in terms of the time between hospital admission and undergoing a computed tomography (CT) scan, according to a report published online Aug. 7 in Stroke.

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Radiographs Unnecessary After Neurosurgical Procedure

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who undergo single-level anterior cervical discectomy, fusion and plate placement (ACDFP), the routine administration of postoperative radiographs may be unnecessary because pseudarthrosis and construct failure rarely occur and patients with new symptoms are as likely to have either normal or abnormal radiographic findings, according to a report published in the August issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

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Physical Therapy May Prevent Deformational Plagiocephaly

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Among infants with positional preference, treatment with physical therapy may reduce the risk of developing severe deformational plagiocephaly, and in infants with deformational plagiocephaly, molding helmet therapy may be a more effective non-surgical intervention than repositioning therapy, according to two studies published in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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Over 1 Billion U.S. Doctor, Hospital Visits Logged in 2006

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In 2006, patients made an estimated 1.1 billion visits to physician offices and hospital emergency and outpatient departments in the United States, which was an average of four visits per person, according to health care statistics released Aug. 6 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Percutaneous Vertebroplasty Fracture Risks Uncovered

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of subsequent fractures after percutaneous vertebroplasty can be divided into two types, each with their own predictive risk factors, researchers report in the August issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

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Lack of Female Neurosurgeons Needs to Be Addressed

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Gender inequities are hampering the recruitment and promotion of women into the field of neurosurgery, according to a paper released online this week in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Simple Model Can Predict Brain Injury Outcome

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Out of dozens of possible factors to predict six-month outcomes in patients following traumatic brain injury, using age, motor score and pupillary reactivity discriminated adequately between those with good and poor outcomes, according to research published in the August issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Lymphocyte Brain Entry May Help in Encephalitis

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Inhibiting a chemokine receptor at the blood-brain barrier during West Nile virus infection in mice improved T-cell infiltration in the brain and improved survival, according to research published online Aug. 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Video Consultation Improves Stroke Treatment Decisions

TUESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In the management of patients in remote locations, use of stroke telemedicine consultations -- real-time, two-way audio and video, and digital imaging and communications -- results in more accurate clinical decision making compared with telephone consultations, according to an article published online Aug. 3 in The Lancet Neurology.

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International Issue of Torture Complicity Analyzed

FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- More than 100 countries condone the use of torture and have often recruited the medical community as participants without consequence, according to an editorial published online July 31 in BMJ.

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Pluripotent Stem Cells Produced from Skin of ALS Patient

FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Pluripotent stem cells, generated from the skin cells of an elderly woman with inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), were induced to differentiate into motor neurons, the cell type affected by the disease, according to a report published online July 31 in Science.

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Spousal Smoking Poses Significant Stroke Risk

FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Living with a spouse who smokes raises the risk of stroke for those who never smoked, and for former smokers it confers the same risk of stroke as that of their smoking spouses, according to a study published online July 29 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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