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November 2007 Briefing - Neurology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Neurology for November 2007. 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.

Lyme Disease Arthritis Can Be Slow to Respond to Antibiotics

FRIDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Some Lyme disease patients respond more slowly than others to antibiotic treatment for arthritis, but they do respond, suggesting that synovial inflammation persists in non-responsive patients after the period of infection, according to a report published online Nov. 29 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Cholesterol Link to Heart, Not Stroke, Mortality Affirmed

FRIDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A meta-analysis of mortality related to ischemic heart disease found that lower levels of total cholesterol were associated with a decreased risk of death in middle and old age, however, a similar association was not found in stroke mortality, researchers report in the Dec. 1 issue of The Lancet.

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Social Comparison Important in Brain's Reward Processing

FRIDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Receiving a larger monetary reward compared to a peer is associated with increased activity in the ventral striatum of the brain seen on functional MRI (fMRI), providing evidence for the importance of social comparison in reward processing, according to an article published in the Nov. 23 issue of Science.

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Progesterone, Estrogen Show Promise in Alzheimer's Study

THURSDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Estrogen and progesterone, taken together or separately, may cut the risk of Alzheimer's disease in postmenopausal women, according to the results of a study in mice published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Stress Protein Shows Promise in Lou Gehrig's Disease

THURSDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Injecting a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with a protein that protects cells from stress increases their life span and delays disease progression, according to research published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

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PET Scans Show Brain Changes After Gene Therapy

THURSDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Following gene therapy delivered into the subthalamic nucleus, patients with Parkinson's disease showed improvements in regional and network-related metabolic activity as observed by positron emission tomography, according to research published online Nov. 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Careful Lamotrigine Monitoring Needed in Pregnancy

THURSDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnancy-related changes in drug metabolism lead to increased clearance of lamotrigine (Lamictal) and resultant lower drug levels, which means that pregnant women may experience seizure worsening if their drug levels are not carefully monitored, according to an article published online Nov. 28 in Neurology.

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Patent Foramen Ovale Linked with Cryptogenic Stroke

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Patent foramen ovale is independently associated with cryptogenic stroke in both older and younger patients, according to an article published in the Nov. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Virus Modifies Glioma Microenvironment in Rats

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- An oncolytic virus that targets gliomas in rats modulates the tumor vasculature and increases the infiltration of leukocytes into the tumor, according to a report published online Nov. 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Metabolic Stress May Play Important Role After Stroke

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes, lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and higher homocysteine are all linked with poorer cognitive function in stroke survivors, indicating that metabolic stress may play a role in determining post-stroke recovery, according to research published in the Nov. 27 issue of Neurology.

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Blood Vessels Reveal Response of Brain Mets to Treatment

TUESDAY, Nov. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Using magnetic resonance angiography to follow changes in blood vessel shape in the brain may allow earlier assessment of the response to treatment in patients with cancer and brain metastases, researchers report in a new study published in the December issue of Radiology.

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U.K. Stroke Care Does Not Serve High-Risk Patients Well

MONDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Transient ischemic attack patients at high risk of a secondary attack are not served well in the United Kingdom by the country's health services because delays to assessment do not allow for timely intervention with high-risk patients, according to a report published online Nov. 22 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

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Practice Parameter Issued for Evaluating First Seizure

TUESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In patients presenting with an apparent unprovoked first seizure, EEG and brain imaging with computed tomography or MRI should be considered as part of the routine neurodiagnostic evaluation, according to a practice parameter published in the Nov. 20 issue of Neurology.

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Essential Tremor Linked to Increased Risk of Death

TUESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In older adults, essential tremor is independently associated with an increased risk of death, researchers report in the Nov. 20 issue of Neurology.

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Uncontrolled Hypertension Linked to Disability

MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Arterial stiffness is associated with subsequent cognitive decline in older adults, and hypertension raises the risk of disability, according to two studies published online Nov. 19 in Hypertension.

Abstract - Hajjar
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Abstract - Waldstein
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Migraine Linked to Thickening of Somatosensory Cortex

MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with migraine are more likely to have a thickening in the somatosensory cortex compared to patients without migraine, according to study findings published in the Nov. 20 issue of Neurology.

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Correcting Defect in Myotonic Dystrophy Restores Function

MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Correcting the splicing defect in the muscle-specific chloride channel (ClC-1) restores channel function and eliminates myotonic discharges in two mouse models of myotonic dystrophy, according to study findings published online Nov. 15 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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CNS Infections Rare, Serious in Heart Transplant Patients

MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In a cohort of patients who'd undergone heart transplantation, 3 percent developed central nervous system (CNS) infections, all of which occurred within four years of the transplant, according to research published online Oct. 8 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Search for Alzheimer's Genetic Link Finds Candidates

MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A genomewide association analysis found that the APOE linkage disequilibrium region was the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, although others warrant further investigation. The research was published online Nov. 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Two Studies Provide New Insights Into Parkinson's

FRIDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Two studies published in the Archives of Neurology in November provide new tools and insight into managing Parkinson's disease. One study describes transcranial brain sonography as a diagnostic tool that accurately distinguishes between idiopathic Parkinson's disease and atypical parkinsonian disorders in patients younger than 60. A second study reports that plasma homocysteine levels correlate with the presence of mild parkinsonian signs in older individuals, suggesting a possible link between cerebrovascular disease and parkinsonianism.

Abstract - Walter
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Abstract - Louis
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Heart Syndrome May Be More Common in Those with MELAS

THURSDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- People with MELAS syndrome (mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes) and a common underlying genetic mutation appear to be at higher risk of Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, according to research published in the November issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Race and Ethnicity Impact Survival in Alzheimer's Disease

THURSDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- African American and Latino patients appear to survive longer than white patients following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, according to research published online Nov. 14 in Neurology.

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Alcohol Binge in Pregnancy May Affect Fetal Brain

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Binge drinking during pregnancy -- defined as consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in a single setting -- is not consistently associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, with the exception of a possible effect on neurodevelopmental outcomes, according to a systematic review published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in December.

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Patient Reporting of Seizures in Epilepsy Is Inaccurate

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Asking patients with epilepsy to record the number of seizures they have is an inaccurate measure of seizure frequency, and therefore only electroencephalographic (EEG) data should be used to assess the efficacy of new treatments, researchers report in the November issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Long-Term Beta Carotene May Be Neuroprotective in Men

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Beta carotene appears to modestly improve cognitive measures in men who take it for more than 15 years, according to study findings published in the Nov. 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Diet Rich in Fruits, Veggies May Protect Against Dementia

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and omega-3 fatty acids may be protective against Alzheimer's disease and dementia, particularly in ApoE e4 non-carriers, according to research published in the Nov. 13 issue of Neurology.

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Risk of Stroke After Transient Ischemic Attack Reported

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The reported risk of suffering a stroke in the days after a transient ischemic attack (TIA) varies widely among studies, though this heterogeneity is likely due to differences in study design and treatment, according to research published online Nov. 13 in The Lancet Neurology. Emergency treatment by a specialized stroke team was associated with the lowest risk of stroke.

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Peculiar Sleep Modifications Seen in Asperger Syndrome

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome have peculiar alterations in their cyclic alternating pattern, according to research published in the November issue of Sleep.

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Neural-Machine Interface May Improve Prosthesis Function

MONDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Targeted muscle reinnervation -- a novel neural-machine interface -- may help improve the function of prosthetic limbs because the central motor control system is capable of eliciting complex efferent commands for a missing limb, researchers report in the November issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

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Congenital Heart Disease Linked to Brain Abnormalities

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Term infants with severe congenital heart disease requiring surgery often have widespread brain abnormalities similar to those seen in premature infants, which may reflect abnormal brain development in utero, according to the results of a study published in the Nov. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Caffeine Therapy Beneficial in Apnea of Prematurity

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In very low birth weight infants with apnea of prematurity, caffeine therapy increases the odds of survival without neurodevelopmental disability at 18 to 21 months, according to a report published in the Nov. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Vascular Disease Predicts Alzheimer's Progression

TUESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Alzheimer's disease patients with atrial fibrillation, hypertension or angina have a greater rate of decline than their counterparts without these vascular factors, while those with a history of coronary artery bypass graft surgery, diabetes and antihypertensive medications have a slower rate of decline, according to study findings published in the Nov. 6 issue of Neurology.

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Sleep Duration Linked to Overweight in Schoolchildren

TUESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Short sleep duration independently increases the risk of overweight in children aged 9 and 12, researchers report in the November issue of Pediatrics.

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NSAIDs May Be Neuroprotective

TUESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The neuroprotective function of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may give them a protective role against Parkinson's disease, according to research published in the Nov. 6 issue of Neurology.

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Protein Tyrosine Nitration Blocks Morphine Tolerance

FRIDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Biochemical changes that produce morphine tolerance in mice can be blocked by inhibition of NO synthesis or removal of superoxide, pointing to peroxynitrite (ONOO-) as a signaling mediator in this setting, researchers report in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Antibiotic Worsens Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

THURSDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), minocycline leads to more rapid disease deterioration, reduced forced vital capacity and muscle strength, and higher mortality, according to a report published online Nov. 1 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Nervous System Decline Useful Tool for Risk Prediction

THURSDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Autonomic nervous system activity is a useful prognostic indicator of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular events within the general population, according to the results of a study published online Sept. 24 in Neuroepidemiology.

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Alzheimer's Disease Study Guidelines Laid Out

THURSDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The recruitment criteria and methods for a longitudinal study on milestones in the progression of Alzheimer's disease have been laid out in a paper published online Sept. 24 in Neuroepidemiology.

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Physicians Use Imaging More Within Their Own Ranks

THURSDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who refer patients to themselves or physicians in the same specialty for diagnostic imaging are more likely to use imaging than practitioners who refer their patients to radiologists, according to research published in the November issue of Radiology.

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Aphasia Not Always Considered in Stroke Studies

THURSDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Studies on depression in stroke patients often do not report exclusion and inclusion criteria for subjects with aphasia, which in turn undermines the validity of study findings, according to an article published online Sept. 24 in Neuroepidemiology.

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