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October 2006 Briefing - Neurology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Neurology for October 2006. 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.

Constraint Therapy Helps Arm Function After Stroke

TUESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke patients who force themselves to use a paretic upper extremity by restraining their less-impaired arm can improve motor function in the impaired arm within a year, according to a report in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Brain Stem Changes Linked to Sudden Infant Death

TUESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Abnormalities in a region of the brain stem containing serotonergic neurons and critical for respiratory drive may play an important role in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to a report in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Pneumococcal Vaccine Still Effective with Fewer Doses

FRIDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccination of pediatric patients with two or three doses of the seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is just as effective at preventing pneumococcal disease as the currently recommended schedule of four doses, according to the results of a study published in the Oct. 28 issue of The Lancet.

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Stimulation of Rat Brain Enhances Cognitive Function

THURSDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Electrical stimulation of the central thalamus, a region implicated in alertness and memory, stimulates cognitive performance and affects gene expression in rats, according to a study published online Oct. 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. This region of the brain is of interest in treating neuropsychiatric disorders.

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Nearly Four Out of Ten Youths Migraine-Free in 10 Years

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-third of youths with migraine headaches are symptom-free 10 years later, but nearly 42 percent continue to have persistent migraines, researchers report in the Oct. 24 issue of Neurology.

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More Methylphenidate Adverse Events in Preschoolers

TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The tolerability of methylphenidate is lower than expected among preschool children with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and they may have more emotional outbursts, insomnia and repetitive behavior than older children, according to a report in the November issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Vegetable Intake Linked to Slower Cognitive Decline

TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of vegetables, but not fruit, is associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline in older age, according to study findings published in the Oct. 24 issue of Neurology.

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Neural Protein KIBRA Linked to Memory Performance

TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found that the neural protein KIBRA should be added to the many genes known to control human memory performance, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of Science. A common single-nucleotide polymorphism in the gene for KIBRA is associated with a 19 to 24 percent improvement in memory recall tests.

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Anxiety Disorders Associated with Physical Conditions

MONDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Anxiety disorders are linked with many serious physical conditions, a co-morbidity that increases the risk of disability and a poor quality of life, according to the results of a study published in the Oct. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Testosterone Levels Affect Men's Risk of Falling

MONDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Older men with low testosterone levels have an increased risk of falling, according to study findings reported in the Oct. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Stem Cells Emerge from Human Brain Tumors

MONDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Human brain tumors contain stem-like cells that migrate through tissue and multiply much like normal neuronal stem cells and they can form additional tumors without the need for angiogenesis, according to a report published online Oct. 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Popular Press Distorts Reality of Coma Patients

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although few news stories about coma contain gross inaccuracies, they are skewed toward younger victims of motor vehicle crashes and violence, according to study findings published in the October issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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Brain Abnormalities Observed in Migraine Patients

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Migraine patients appear to have increased thickness in two areas of the brain cortex associated with motion-processing, according to a study published in the October issue of the open-access journal PLoS-Medicine.

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Common Allele Confers Susceptibility to Autism

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that a common mutation in the promoter for the MET receptor tyrosine kinase gene is associated with a more than twofold increase in risk for autism, according to a report published online Oct. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. Such a genetic link to autism is so far "unprecedented" in the literature, the author of an accompanying editorial points out.

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Bacterial Meningitis Has Classic Presentation in Elderly

THURSDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients with community-acquired Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterial meningitis commonly present with classic symptoms and have a much higher incidence of morbidity and mortality compared to younger adults, according to research in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Endarterectomy Safer Than Stenting for Carotid Stenosis

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with 60 percent or greater carotid artery stenosis, endarterectomy has better survival and a lower incidence of stroke in the short term than stenting, according to the results of a randomized trial published in the Oct. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was halted early due to the clear superiority of endarterectomy.

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Fluoxetine Increases Aggression in Young Hamsters

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- While low-dose fluoxetine decreases aggression in adult male hamsters, it increases aggression in juvenile hamsters, possibly by dysregulating their immature serotonin systems. This may help explain why some human adolescents become violent when treated with fluoxetine, according to a study published in the October issue of Behavioral Neuroscience.

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Trigeminal Neuralgia Case Linked to Tongue Piercing

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- An 18-year-old woman who presented with a two-month history of neuropathic facial pain that she described as "electrical shocks" was found to have atypical trigeminal neuralgia due to a recent tongue piercing, according to a research letter published in the Oct. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Study Suggests Facial Expressions Are Hereditary

TUESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who are blind from birth move their facial muscles when expressing emotions in a similar way as their sighted relatives, suggesting that facial expressions might be hereditary, according to study findings published online Oct. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study may shed light on conditions that affect facial expression, such as autism.

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Aricept Wins FDA Approval for Severe Alzheimer's

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Aricept (donepezil hydrochloride) approval for use in Alzheimer disease patients with severe dementia. The drug, made by Eisai Inc., of Teaneck, N.J., is already approved for Alzheimer disease patients with mild to moderate dementia.

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Giant Cell Arteritis Interventions Studied

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with giant cell arteritis may benefit from antiplatelet or pulse corticosteroid therapies, according to two studies in the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Sleep Disturbance Undermines Health of Elderly Caregivers

THURSDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly caregivers of relatives with Alzheimer disease often experience disturbed sleep, which in turn adversely affects their cardiovascular health, according to the results of a study published in the October issue of Sleep.

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Race, Sex, Age Impact Level-I Trauma Center Transfers

THURSDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Even after controlling for injury severity, non-clinical factors such as race, gender, age and insurance status significantly impact a patient's risk for hospital transfer to level-I trauma centers, researchers report in the October issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

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Stress, Short Serotonin Gene May Have Role in Depression

THURSDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of stress and having a variant of the serotonin transporter gene may predispose a person to depression by causing overactivation of the amygdala, according to a report published online Oct. 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Atypical Antipsychotics Don't Help Alzheimer Patients

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse side effects outweigh the clinical benefits of second-generation atypical antipsychotics for treatment of psychosis, aggression or agitation in patients with Alzheimer disease, according to the results of a 42-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the Oct. 12 New England Journal of Medicine.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect Only Very Mild Alzheimer's

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids does not halt progression of Alzheimer disease in those with mild to moderate disease, although it slows mental decline in those with very mild cognitive dysfunction, according to a report in the October issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Questionnaire May Predict Outcome After Hip Fracture

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Use of a standard short-form questionnaire to assess cognitive dysfunction after hip fractures may help predict mortality and the ability to walk and perform daily living activities, according to the results of a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Fitness, Childhood IQ Linked to Cognitive Function in Old Age

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Physical fitness levels and childhood intelligence contribute to better cognitive function in old age, according to a report in the Oct. 10 issue of Neurology.

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High BMI Associated with Lower Cognitive Function

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Higher body mass index (BMI) in healthy, middle-aged adults is associated with lower cognitive function and a higher risk of cognitive decline, according to a report in the Oct. 10 issue of Neurology.

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Undiagnosed Stroke Symptoms Common, Especially in Blacks

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Undiagnosed stroke symptoms are common in the general U.S. population, with a higher prevalence among blacks and those with lower incomes, according to study findings published in the Oct. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Mediterranean Diet May Lower Risk of Alzheimer Disease

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer disease, even in people with vascular comorbidity, such as hypertension or heart disease, according to the results of a nested case-control study published in the Oct. 9 online issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Chemical in Curry Spice May Trigger Amyloid-β Uptake

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Curcumin, a chemical found in the spices curry and turmeric, may help the immune system clear amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques commonly associated with Alzheimer disease, according to the results of an in vitro study published online Oct. 9 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

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Risperdal Approved to Treat Autism-Related Irritability

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S Food and Drug Administration has approved the adult antipsychotic drug Risperdal (risperidone) for the treatment of irritability including aggression, deliberate self-harm and temper tantrums in autistic children and teens.

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Progesterone May Improve Outcomes in Brain Injury

FRIDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Trauma patients with moderate brain injury who are treated with progesterone soon after hospitalization have higher survival rates and may have a better outcome than patients who don't receive progesterone, according to the results of a small phase II trial published in the October issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

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Human Allele Causes Anxiety Symptoms in Mice

FRIDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have generated transgenic mice that express a version of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, that is commonly found in humans, and the mice display classic signs of anxiety when under stress, according to a report in the Oct. 6 issue of Science. The BDNF mutation may play a key role in human depressive and anxiety disorders.

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Dopamine Receptor Density May Affect Schizophrenia Risk

FRIDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A study of twins has shown that a high density of dopamine D1 receptors increases the risk of schizophrenia, researchers report in the October issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Deer Can Spread Prion Disease Through Blood and Saliva

FRIDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Deer infected with the prion disorder known as chronic wasting disease, or CWD, can transmit the infection to other deer through saliva or blood but not urine or feces, according to a study in the Oct. 6 issue of Science. Although there are currently no known cases of deer-to-human transmission, the findings suggest that it is prudent to wear gloves when coming into contact with saliva or blood from infected animals, the authors write.

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Misfolded Protein Found in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

THURSDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have discovered that TDP-43 is the major ubiquitinated and aggregated protein found in neurodegenerative diseases including frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a report in the Oct. 6 issue of Science.

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Past Chemotherapy Alters Cognitive Function

THURSDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer survivors who had received chemotherapy five to 10 years earlier have alterations in brain metabolism and worse cognitive function, according to study results published online Oct. 5 in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

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Genetic Polymorphisms Affect Antidepressant Response

TUESDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with late-life depression, antidepressant response is significantly affected by the presence of monoamine transporter gene polymorphisms, according to the results of a preliminary study published in the Oct. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. If the findings are confirmed, they could lead to a more refined selection of antidepressant treatment, the authors write.

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MRI Scans Recommended for Children with Cerebral Palsy

TUESDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- All children with cerebral palsy should have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan because there is a strong correlation with clinical findings and the scan can help predict children's future needs, as well as possibly help prevent future cases, researchers report in the Oct. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. More than 40 percent of such children have white-matter damage of immaturity and only about 12 percent have no abnormalities on MRI.

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Anti-Obesity Drug Deemed a Clinical Failure

TUESDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The investigational anti-obesity drug MK-0557, a selective neuropeptide Y5 receptor antagonist, does not lead to a clinically meaningful weight loss in obese patients, according to a study published in the October issue of Cell Metabolism.

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FDA Approves Nerve Toxin Antidote for Civilians

MONDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Duodote (atropine and pralidoxime chloride auto-injector) as an antidote for organophosphorous toxic nerve agents, including sarin and insecticides, in civilian patients. Duodote is manufactured by Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc. in Columbia, Md. In 2002, atropine and pralidoxime chloride were first approved for use in the military as a single injection to counter toxic nerve agents.

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