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December 2008 Briefing - Neurology

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

Managed Care Not Beneficial for Some Medicare Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing carotid endarterectomies, managed care plans do not have a positive impact on inappropriateness, referral patterns or outcomes, according to a report published in the November/December issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality.

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Longer Radiation Delay Improves Glioblastoma Survival

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Glioblastoma patients who wait four to six weeks after surgery before starting radiation treatment have better survival than patients who start sooner, according to a study published online Dec. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Conditioning Program Benefits Lumbar Surgery Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who undergo lumbar fusion and who are managed by workers' compensation, a sports performance-based work conditioning/hardening program can significantly increase strength determined by physical demand level job classification, according to research published in the January issue of The Spine Journal.

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Posterior Fusion Linked to Increased Complications

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with diffuse cervical spondylosis, posterior fusion is associated with a significantly higher rate of complications and resource utilization than anterior fusion, according to a report published in the January issue of The Spine Journal.

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Anatomical Landmarks Found for Optic Nerve Surgery

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Identification of anatomic landmarks surrounding the ophthalmic artery is an important basis for optic nerve localization and prevention of ophthalmic artery injury during transsphenoidal optic nerve decompression surgery, according to a report published in the November issue of the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.

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Abnormal Sleep Predicts Later Neurodegeneration

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder is a substantial risk factor for the development of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, according to study findings published online Dec. 24 in Neurology.

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Recurrence of Non-Specific Low Back Pain Not Likely

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- About one in four patients will have a recurrence of low back pain within one year following an acute episode, a much lower incidence than previously estimated, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Internet Searching Increases Brain Function in Elderly

THURSDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Searching the Internet results in greater brain activation in older adults already experienced in using the Internet, activating brain areas associated with decision making and complex reasoning not observed in less-experienced users, according to an article to be published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

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Non-Surgical Treatment of Some Spine Fractures Effective

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Most elderly patients with cervical spine fractures can be effectively treated non-operatively in cervical collars or halothoracic braces, according to a report in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Device More Effective Than Iliac Crest Bone Graft for Fusion

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A bone graft device that delivers a bone growth-promoting protein is safe and more effective than iliac crest bone graft (ICBG) in promoting spinal fusion in older adults, according to a report in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Odontoid Fractures Linked to Morbidity in Elderly

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Regardless of whether they're treated surgically or non-surgically, type II odontoid fractures in the elderly are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

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Surgery Can Improve Lumbar Nerve Root Injuries

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Techniques for repairing intradural nerve root injuries of the brachial plexus can be used on these injuries in the lumbar spine, according to a report in the December issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

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Thromboembolic Prophylaxis Practices Vary by Surgeon

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Spinal surgeons vary widely in their practices for thromboembolic prophylaxis after high-risk surgery and often base their decisions on personal experience over scientific evidence, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Imaging Reveals Age-Related Memory Differences

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Activity in the amygdala linked to subsequent memory of negative images was preserved in older adults, but older individuals had less subsequent-memory activity for negative pictures in visual cortices, according to research published in the January issue of Psychological Science.

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Adverse Long-Term Consequences Follow Stroke

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Caregivers of stroke patients experience reduced psychosocial functioning in the years after the stroke, and stroke patients experience long-term reductions in emotional and social function, according to two studies published online Dec. 18 in Stroke.

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Depression in Parkinson's Responds to Treatment

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Depression in patients with Parkinson's disease responds to nortriptyline but not paroxetine CR, according to the results of a placebo-controlled trial showing Parkinson's-associated depression can be treated with antidepressant therapy, published online Dec. 17 in the journal Neurology.

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Desmoteplase Not Effective to Treat Stroke Patients

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke patients treated with the plasminogen activator desmoteplase are at increased risk of mortality and intracranial hemorrhage, according to an article published online Dec. 18 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Low-Dose Carbon Monoxide Protective After Stroke in Mice

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Mice exposed to low doses of carbon monoxide (CO) after a stroke have reduced brain damage, according to study findings published online Dec. 17 in Neurotoxicity Research.

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Cardiovascular Death Rates Have Declined Since 1995

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although death rates from cardiovascular disease have declined in the United States, the overall disease burden remains significant, according to a report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee published online Dec. 15 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Get With the Guidelines Program Improves Stroke Care

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Participation in the Get With the Guidelines-Stroke program results in sustained improvements in the care of patients with acute stroke and transient ischemic attack, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Alzheimer's Disease Can Have Long Prodromal Phase

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with Alzheimer's disease develop symptoms of cognitive decline as early as 12 years before the onset of dementia, according to an article published online Dec. 9 in the Annals of Neurology.

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Study Points to Genetic Factors in Prion Disease

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic factors may play a role in individuals' susceptibility to prion diseases and the length of their incubation period, according to research published in the January issue of The Lancet Neurology.

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Adverse Brain Development Studied in Preterm Infants

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Premature birth is associated with long-term defects in neurological development; correlated with this, there is a decreased risk of adverse neurological consequences as gestational age increases, according to research published online Dec. 11 in the Journal of Pediatrics.

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Syndrome Suggestive of Later Multiple Sclerosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- MRI anomalies are highly suggestive of demyelinating disease, and predictive of subsequent multiple sclerosis-related events, according to research published online Dec. 10 in Neurology.

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Radiographs Predict Spondylolisthesis Outcomes

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis, baseline radiographic findings may predict outcomes after operative or non-operative treatment, according to a report published in the December issue of Spine.

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Blood Protein Signature May Identify Early Alzheimer's

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A blood-based panel of 18 secreted signaling proteins may predict which patients with mild cognitive impairment are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Trial Participants Value Quick Feedback on Results

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Participants in clinical trials highly value direct communication on the trial results, researchers report in the December issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Brain Hemorrhage Linked to Traumatic Stress in Loved Ones

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Subarachnoid hemorrhage can result in an elevated occurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the significant other of the patient experiencing the bleeding, explaining an increased incidence of psychiatric and psychosocial disability, according to an article published in the December issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Stem Cell Web Sites Often Overly Optimistic

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- "Direct-to-consumer" Web sites on stem cell treatments are overly optimistic and make claims that are not supported by the scientific and clinical literature, according to an article in the Dec. 4 issue of Cell Stem Cell. A related editorial describes new guidelines for the responsible transition of basic stem cell research into clinical applications.

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Brain Pathway Activated by Weight-Loss Drug Identified

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The brain receptor activated by the weight-loss drug fen-phen, which was withdrawn from the market in the 1990s due to toxic side effects, plays an important role in food intake and energy balance, and its presence on neurons in the hypothalamus is particularly important, according to research published in the Nov. 26 issue of Neuron. The findings could help researchers develop safer weight-loss drugs.

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Guidelines Issued for Distal Symmetric Polyneuropathy

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although the evaluation of distal symmetric polyneuropathy is not standardized, a growing body of research has produced evidence-based guidelines that may be useful for clinicians, according to two Practice Parameters released online Dec. 3 in advance of publication in the Jan. 13 issue of Neurology.

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Possible Link Between Epilepsy Drug and Autism Examined

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Children born to mothers who took the epilepsy drug valproate during pregnancy may have an up to sevenfold increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder compared to children who were not exposed to epilepsy drugs in utero, according to a report published in the Dec. 2 issue of Neurology.

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High Health, Financial Burdens for Families of Autistic Child

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Children with special health care needs (CSHCN) who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are significantly more likely than other CSHCN to have unmet health care needs, and their families are more likely to experience financial, employment and time burdens, researchers report in the December issue of Pediatrics.

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Surgery Offers Some Epileptics Life Expectancy Gains

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Anterior temporal lobe resection can give patients with pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy longer life expectancy and better quality of life, provided they meet the criteria for surgery, researchers report in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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General and Local Anesthetic Both Good for Carotid Surgery

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The outcomes of carotid surgery are similar whether the patient is under local or general anesthesia, according to a report published online Nov. 27 in The Lancet.

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Physician's Briefing
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