Dec. 2005 Briefing - Neurology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in neurology for December 2005. 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.

Wernicke Encephalopathy A Risk After Bariatric Surgery

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Bariatric surgery for obesity can result in Wernicke encephalopathy, which may have an atypical clinical presentation, according to a case study published in the Dec. 27 issue of Neurology.

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PCB Work Exposure Linked To Neurodegenerative Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women who had occupational exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) between the 1940s and the 1970s may have an excess in mortality due to neurodegenerative diseases, according to a study in the January issue of Epidemiology. The study found no association in men and is limited by the small number of cases, the authors say.

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Nursing Home More Likely If Patient Has Unmet Needs

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Dementia patients who have unmet needs as assessed by their caregiver are more likely to die or be placed in a nursing home, according to a study in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The finding suggests that unmet needs are a better predictor of health outcome than functional or cognitive impairment, the authors say.

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Nearly 60% of Older Americans Have Hearing Loss

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Hearing loss is present in nearly 60% of elderly Americans, and it is more common in whites than blacks, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Depression Declines As Alzheimer Disease Progresses

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Depression is common in Alzheimer disease (AD) patients and may be caused by a decline in functional activity rather than a decline in cognitive ability, according to a study in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. In addition, depression tends to decline as the disease progresses, the authors found.

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Coma Outcomes on Soap Operas Too Good to Be True

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Coma patients in soap operas experience significantly rosier outcomes than their real-life counterparts, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Sorry, Celebrants: Hangover Cures Don't Work

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that there is no conventional or complementary intervention that will prevent or treat a hangover, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Gene Linked to Tumor-Like Properties of Brain Stem Cells

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Genetically engineered mice that lack a key tumor suppressor gene have neural stem cells that self-renew and act like tumor cells when grown in culture, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. The findings suggest that loss of the tumor suppressor PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10) allows cells to take an important first step in the path to tumorigenesis.

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Chromosome 22 Implicated in Abnormal Behavior in Mice

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A region of human chromosome 22 previously associated with schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders can cause behavioral abnormalities when it is overexpressed in mice, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Age No Barrier to Cochlear Implant Success

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Patients aged 65 and older who have profound hearing loss receive similar benefits from cochlear implants as younger patients, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

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FDA Proposes Lower Lead Levels in Candy

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials proposed new guidelines this week to further reduce trace levels of lead found in certain candies. The proposed new guidance level is 0.1 part per million (ppm) of lead, as opposed to the previous level of 0.5 ppm for candy products likely to be consumed frequently by children.

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Initial Pattern of Brain Activity Recreated at Memory Recall

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- People who are asked to recall a specific memory recreate the same pattern of brain activity as when the memory initially occurred, according to a report in the Dec. 23 issue of Science. Indeed, researchers found they were able to predict what object a person was thinking about roughly five seconds before they talked about it.

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Low Estrogen in Brain Linked to Alzheimer Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of estrogen in the brain is associated with Alzheimer disease, which could explain why women are more likely to develop the disease than men, according to a study of postmortem human brain tissue and transgenic mice published online Dec. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Oxygen Deprivation Produces Autism-Like Changes in Rats

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Rats briefly deprived of oxygen shortly after birth develop auditory system deficits similar to those seen in autism and other developmental disorders, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Hospital 'Handoffs' Common Source of Medical Errors

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Poor communication during hospital "handoffs," when patient care transitions from one physician or team of physicians to the next, may be responsible for many of the estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths that occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors, according to a study published in the December issue of Academic Medicine.

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Yoga Reduces Symptoms of Chronic Low Back Pain

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga appears to be more effective than traditional exercise at reducing chronic lower back pain, according to a study published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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S. Korean Researcher Requests Cloning Paper Retraction

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Following a worldwide flurry of fraud and ethics charges, the editors of Science announced Friday that South Korean scientist Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk has requested that his cloning study published online by the journal in May be withdrawn because of errors. However, Hwang still maintains that, despite the errors, the findings are sound.

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Study Sheds Light on Rare Respiratory Syndrome

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Mice with a mutation in the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene have less norepinephrine and serotonin as well as drastically fewer tyrosine hydroxylase neurons in their medullas, according to a study in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. The finding sheds light on Rett syndrome, a severe neurological condition seen in one in 10,000 children, mostly females, that is characterized by mental retardation and respiratory problems.

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Researchers Predict 81 Million Dementia Cases By 2040

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The number of dementia cases will double every 20 years worldwide and will increase most rapidly in India, China and their south Asian and western Pacific neighbors, according to a study in the Dec. 17 issue of The Lancet.

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Brain Chemical Stimulates Cocaine Craving in Animals

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Brain infusions of the neuropeptide hypocretin-1 (Hcrt-1) can cause rats to seek cocaine again after being weaned from the drug, possibly by inducing a stress-like state, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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More Hospitals Offer Palliative Care Programs

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Palliative care programs are a rapidly growing trend in U.S. hospitals, and widely regarded as an improvement in the care of advanced, chronic illness, according to a study published Dec. 12 in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

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Epilepsy Surgery Improves Depression and Anxiety

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Seizure-controlling surgery can reduce anxiety and depression, especially in patients with treatment-refractory epilepsy who are seizure-free after the operation, according to a report in the Dec. 13 issue of Neurology.

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Azathioprine Reduces New Brain Lesions in MS Patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The immunosuppressive drug azathioprine reduces new brain lesions in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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U.S. Hospitals Lag in Adopting Safety Recommendations

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some improvements in hospital patient safety systems, many hospitals have made slow progress in adopting 1998 recommendations from the Institute of Medicine National Roundtable on Health Care Quality or from subsequent reports, according to a study published in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Parkinson Patients Benefit from Retinal Cell Implant

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Implanting human retinal pigment epithelial cells in the brain appears to improve motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson disease, according to the results of a pilot study published in the December issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Patients Control Pain with Real-Time Functional MRI

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients can control chronic pain by learning to use real-time functional MRI (rtfMRI), according to a study published Dec. 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Testosterone May Improve Quality of Life In Alzheimer's

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Testosterone replacement therapy may improve the quality of life in men with mild Alzheimer disease, but it has little effect on cognition, according to a study posted online Dec. 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Untreated Stroke Kills 1.9 Million Neurons Per Minute

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A typical untreated stroke patient loses an estimated 1.9 million neurons a minute, according to a study published in the January issue of Stroke. In all, the average stroke lasts 10 hours, and patients experiencing a typical large vessel acute ischemic stroke lose 120 million neurons, 830 billion synapses and 714 km of myelinated fibers each hour.

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Sleep Quality, Social Factors Predict IL-6 in Women

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who have good sleep quality and social relationships have lower levels of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6, according to study findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Cochlear Implants at Early Age Help Link Sight, Sound Stimuli

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Children who receive cochlear implants at an early age are more likely to acquire the ability to perceive speech by linking visual information from lip movements with auditory stimuli, according to a report published Dec. 5 online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Myocardial Infarction Increases Stroke Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of stroke in patients rises markedly after myocardial infarction, according to study findings published in the Dec. 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Myo-inositol Levels Higher in Adults with Down Syndrome

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with Down syndrome have a higher concentration of myo-inositol in the hippocampus and this may predispose them to development of Alzheimer disease later in life, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. The transporter gene for myo-inositol, which affects neuron survival and function, is located on chromosome 21.

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Childhood Headache Often Persists into Adulthood

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who experience headaches in early childhood are likely to continue having them much later in life, researchers report in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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Some Injured Children Have Long-Term Impairment

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Eight percent of injured children have some long-term residual impairment, with girls three times more likely than boys to experience long-lasting problems, according to the results of a Dutch study published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

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Enlargement of Cerebral Matter in Children with Autism

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- There is a generalized enlargement of gray and white matter cerebral volumes in young children with autism, although cerebellar volume remains normal, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Creativity Associated with More Sexual Partners

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Creative people tend to have more sexual partners than those who are less artistic, and also have personality traits that are predictive of schizophrenia, according to a study published online Nov. 29 in The Proceedings of the Royal Society (B).

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Physician's Briefing