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June 2008 Briefing - Neurology

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

Sudden Hearing Loss Linked to Increased Stroke Risk

MONDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- After an acute episode of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), individuals have an increased risk of stroke, according to research published online June 26 in the journal Stroke.

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Silent Infarcts Found in Many Without Stroke History

FRIDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- More than 10 percent of subjects without a history of clinical stroke showed at least one silent cerebral infarction on MRI, according to research from a Framingham Offspring Study sample published online June 26 in the journal Stroke.

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Error in CALHM1 Gene Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

FRIDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- A single-nucleotide polymorphism in the gene CALHM1, found on chromosome 10, may increase the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease, researchers report in the June 27 issue of Cell.

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Marijuana Component is Anti-Inflammatory

FRIDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- A compound found in marijuana acts as an anti-inflammatory agent without the psychoactive effects of the drug, according to research published online June 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Variant Linked to Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- In children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, those with the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val108/158Met polymorphism are more likely to demonstrate poor task-oriented behavior, according to a report published online June 25 in Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Childhood Intelligence Affects Vascular Dementia Risk

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with vascular dementia are more likely to have had lower cognitive ability scores in childhood than their counterparts without vascular dementia, although there is no association between lower childhood cognitive ability and risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to the results of a study published online June 25 in Neurology.

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Pain Measurement Tools May Be Too Blunt for Infants

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral assessment may not give an accurate picture of pain in infants because they may process pain at the cortical level and not exhibit any behavioral changes, according to research published in the June issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Mouse Model Replicates Some Aspects of Learning Disorders

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- A mouse model of tuberous sclerosis, a disorder associated with mental retardation, autism and epilepsy, replicates some aspects of the disorder such as the defects in learning and memory, which can be reversed with a drug, according to study findings published online June 22 in Nature Medicine.

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Cannabinoids Don't Alleviate Acute Nociceptive Pain

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Orally administered cannabis extract did not produce significant analgesic or anti-hyperalgesic effects in two well-established human pain models -- sunburn and intradermal capsaicin -- according to study findings published in the July issue of Anesthesiology.

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Seniors Can Sustain Brain Trauma from Falls

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 8,000 American seniors died in 2005 due to traumatic brain injury sustained as the result of a fall, and almost 56,000 were hospitalized, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the June issue of the Journal of Safety Research.

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Automated Imaging Method Identifies Alzheimer's Patients

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- An automated method to measure hippocampal volume can accurately distinguish between patients with Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment or healthy elderly patients, according to research published in the July issue of Radiology.

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Subtle Signs Can Reveal Cognitive Decline

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Older community-dwelling adults who have no overt signs of neurological disease but who have multiple subtle neurological abnormalities are at increased risk of cerebrovascular events and mortality, according to study findings published in the June 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Saturated Fat Linked to Poorer Memory, Brain Changes

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- A diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat was associated with memory impairment and hippocampal changes in rats, according to research published in June in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

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Mechanism Explains Toxicity of Late tPA After Stroke

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- A protein activated by tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may explain why administering tPA more than three hours after a stroke can lead to hemorrhagic complications, according to the results of a study published online June 22 in Nature Medicine.

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Article Examines Use of 'Key Opinion Leaders' in Drug Sales

FRIDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Influential doctors known as "key opinion leaders" are paid generous fees to influence their peers to prescribe a company's drugs and may in fact be considered salespeople by the industry, according to an article in the June 21 issue of BMJ.

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Editorial - Buckwell
Editorial - Fava

Multiple Sclerosis Drug Reduces Active Lesions

FRIDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, treatment with a higher dosage of laquinimod reduces the formation of active lesions and is well tolerated, according to the results of a study published in the June 21 issue of The Lancet.

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Non-Adherence Raises Mortality Risk for Epilepsy Patients

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Epilepsy patients who regularly fail to take their anti-epileptic drugs have increased risks of mortality and serious clinical events, according to a study published online June 18 in Neurology.

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Apnea Linked to Lower Mammillary Body Volume

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) showed lower mammillary body volumes compared to control subjects, which may be a factor in the memory deficits known to accompany the condition, according to research published in the June 27 Neuroscience Letters.

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Olfactory Bulb Volume Is Indicator of Smell Function

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Olfactory bulb volume is a useful prognostic indicator of impaired sense of smell caused by trauma or infection because of its plasticity and responsiveness to individual changes in olfactory function, according to a report in the June issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

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Cardiac Abnormality Predicts Death in Myotonic Dystrophy

WEDNESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Severe electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities and diagnosis of atrial tachyarrhythmia are independent predictors of sudden death in adults with myotonic dystrophy type 1, according to research published in the June 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Drugs Modulate Protein Important in Alzheimer's

WEDNESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can bind to the amyloid-β protein, affecting the production of a pathogenic peptide and inhibiting its aggregation, which may be useful in reducing the deposition of amyloid-β in patients with Alzheimer's disease, researchers report in the June 12 issue of Nature.

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FDA Issues Safety Warning for Older Antipsychotic Drugs

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Labels for older or so-called "conventional" antipsychotic drugs will have to carry boxed warnings of increased risk of death among elderly dementia patients who take the drugs off-label for behavioral problems, similar to warnings already required for newer or "atypical" antipsychotic drugs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced June 16.

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U.S. Death Rates Declined Sharply in 2006

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Death rates in the United States dropped significantly in 2006, and life expectancy reached a record high, according to a report released this week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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Early Stroke Risk High After Transient Ischemic Attack

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have recently had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and intracranial atherosclerosis are at high risk of having a subsequent stroke in the region of the blocked artery within 90 days, researchers report in the June issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Hereditary Rickets and Multiple Sclerosis Linked

THURSDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Hereditary rickets due to altered vitamin D metabolism is associated with multiple sclerosis, according to study findings published in the June issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Brain Hemorrhage Risk Higher Among Mexican Americans

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Mexican Americans and women appear to be at higher risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage compared with non-Hispanic whites and men, respectively, according to a report published online June 11 in Neurology.

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Myeloma Drug Relieves Lupus Pathology in Mice

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Treating mice with lupus with bortezomib, a drug approved to treat multiple myeloma, eliminates autoreactive plasma cells, reduces glomerulonephritis and improves survival, according to study findings published online June 8 in Nature Medicine.

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ASIC1a May Have Role in Stopping Seizures

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Adding to previous discoveries linking acidosis with seizure inhibition, investigations with mice found that acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a) may mediate the seizure-terminating effects when brain pH falls, according to research published online June 8 in Nature Neuroscience.

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Middle-Aged Smokers at Risk of Memory Loss

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged smokers are at greater risk of poor memory, but studying the impact of smoking on cognition is hampered by the greater rate of loss to follow-up by death and non-participation in tests compared to non-smokers, according to study findings published in the June 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Bright Light Can Help Treat Dementia Symptoms

TUESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Bright light can be used to treat patients with dementia and has a modest positive effect on some cognitive and non-cognitive symptoms, but melatonin should be used only in combination with lights to counteract its negative impact on mood, according to a report published in the June 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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St. John's Wort Does Not Help Treat Hyperactivity Disorder

TUESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- The herb Hypericum perforatum, more commonly known as St. John's wort, has no effect on the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the results of a study published in the June 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Blocking TGF-β Signaling Reduces Plaques in Mice

TUESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Blocking innate immune transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling in mice resulted in up to a 90 percent reduction of β-amyloid plaques in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, contrary to expectations of researchers who were anticipating the opposite scenario, according to research published online June 1 in Nature Medicine.

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Serotonin Affects Response to Perceived Unfairness

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Changing serotonin function can affect the way individuals react to perceived unfairness, according to a brief report published online June 5 in Science.

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Endovascular Aneurysm Treatment Rises; Mortality Falls

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- During a recent 10-year period, endovascular treatment for cerebral aneurysms became more common, and mortality fell significantly for endovascular therapy and surgical clipping to treat aneurysms, according to research published in the June issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Obesity in Pregnancy Increases Risk of Neural Tube Defects

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Being overweight or obese increases the risk of having a pregnancy affected by neural tube defects, with the risk for severely obese women triple that of normal weight women, according to a review published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Human Fetal Cells Rescue Mouse Myelination Defect

FRIDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Transplanting human fetal cells into the brains of newborn mice lacking myelin leads to widespread myelination, restoration of normal neural function and increased survival, according to research published in the June issue of Cell Stem Cell.

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Mild Hypothermia Can Reduce Post-Ischemic Injury

FRIDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Use of mild hypothermia following an ischemic injury appears to reduce permanent damage to tissue function if treatment is administered within hours of the event and, following treatment, the body is re-warmed slowly, researchers report in the June 7 issue of The Lancet.

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Meningitis C Vaccine Booster Dose May Help Protect Teens

FRIDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the fact that meningitis C vaccination is part of the United Kingdom's routine infant vaccination program, one in five adolescents has insufficient protection from the disease and may need a booster shot to maintain immunity, according to a report published June 5 in BMJ Online First.

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Fewer U.S. Physicians Training in Pediatric Neurosurgery

FRIDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Very few physicians are training and becoming certified in pediatric neurosurgery, suggesting an upcoming crisis in the workforce of this subspecialty that may put children at risk, according to a report in the June issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

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Low Doses of Resveratrol Slow Aging in Mice

FRIDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Resveratrol, a natural molecule found in red wine, appears to be as effective as calorie-restricted diets in slowing some aspects of aging in mice, based on gene expression profiling analysis, according to study findings published in the June 4 issue of PLoS One.

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Researchers Find Childhood Epilepsy Genetic Link

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in the GABAA receptor β3 subunit gene (GABRB3) are implicated in childhood absence epilepsy, according to research published online May 29 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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Stimulation May Help Gait in Parkinson's Patients

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Functional electrical stimulation can improve some gait-related measurements and reduce falls in patients with Parkinson's disease, with some lasting benefits after discontinuation of use, according to research published in Neuromodulation in April.

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Hypothermia Ineffective in Severe Childhood Brain Injury

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Severely head-injured children who were treated with hypothermia post-injury fared worse than those who did not receive hypothermia treatment and had higher mortality rates, according to a research paper published June 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Gene Variants May Influence Smoking Cessation Success

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- An investigation into genes that may help smokers achieve successful cessation suggests that molecular genetics may soon help provide anti-smoking therapies to those most likely to benefit from them, according to research published in the June Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Schizophrenia Linked to Genetic Copy Number

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Sporadic cases of schizophrenia lacking a family history are strongly associated with newly arising variations in genetic copy numbers, according to study findings published online May 30 in Nature Genetics.

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Drug Reduced Symptoms in Parkinson's Patients

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with istradefylline resulted in a reduction in daily awake time in the "off" state in patients with Parkinson's disease, without a significant increase in "on" time with troublesome dyskinesia, according to research published in the June 3 issue of Neurology.

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Low Birth Weight May Increase Autism Risk

TUESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of autism is higher among low birth weight or preterm children, particularly in females and in children with other developmental disabilities, according to research published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

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Heavy Cannabis Use Causes Structural Brain Damage

TUESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Heavy daily use of cannabis over a prolonged period of time causes structural damage to the hippocampus and amygdala, researchers report in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Compound Promising for Neurodegenerative Diseases

MONDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have discovered that a small polyphenol molecule that interferes with protein folding can be used to block the formation of toxic β-sheet-rich amyloid aggregates implicated in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, according to an article published online May 30 in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

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Low-Dose Rotigotine Can Help Treat Restless Legs Syndrome

MONDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Both the daytime and nighttime symptoms of restless legs syndrome can be relieved using a 24-hour transdermal patch containing low-dose rotigotine, according to study findings published online May 31 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Physician's Briefing