September 2007 Briefing - Neurology

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

Genetics Plays Role in Efficacy of Naltrexone

FRIDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol-induced highs are blunted more strongly by naltrexone in patients who have at least one copy of the G allele of the OPRM1 gene, according to study findings published in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Vaccine Preservative Not Linked to Neurological Deficits

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Early mercury exposure from thimerosal is not associated with later deficits in neuropsychological outcomes in children, although autism spectrum disorders were not examined, according to a report in the Sept. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Norepinephrine May Improve Survival in Hemorrhagic Shock

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In the treatment of trauma victims with uncontrolled bleeding and shock, early-phase fluid resuscitation plus norepinephrine may offer a new strategy for improving the odds of survival, according to the results of an animal study published in the October issue of Anesthesiology.

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Hippocampus Affected During Memory Process in Psychosis

TUESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Memory formation in patients with a first episode of psychosis is selectively affected in the hippocampus only during the encoding of arbitrary pairs of images and not during successful memory encoding and associative processing, according to a report in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Protein S100B a Marker for Post-Stroke Hemorrhage

TUESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke patients who have elevated blood levels of the calcium-binding protein S100B are more likely to develop brain hemorrhages after receiving thrombolytic therapy, researchers report in the September issue of Stroke.

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Familiar Doctor Linked to More Satisfaction for Urgent Care

TUESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who receive urgent medical care from family physicians or after-hours clinics affiliated with their physicians are more likely to be satisfied with the encounter than patients who use other sources of urgent care, according to research published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Acupuncture May Benefit Patients with Low Back Pain

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with low back pain, both traditional Chinese verum acupuncture and sham acupuncture may be more effective than conventional therapy, researchers report in the Sept. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Obesity in Old Age Not Linked to Cognitive Decline

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obesity in old age does not appear to predispose to cognitive decline, according to study findings published online Sept. 19 in Neurology.

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Region of Brain Found to Play Role in Sensory Perception

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The ventrolateral nucleus of the thalamus (VL) in the brain is believed to be involved in motor functions, but new research suggests it is also involved in sensory processing, and damage to the area results in neural reorganization that impacts sensory perception, according to a report published online Sept. 24 in the Annals of Neurology.

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Risk of Stroke May Be Due to Childhood Residence

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- People who grew up in the group of seven southern states known as the "Stroke Belt" or who live there as adults are at greater risk of stroke than people elsewhere in the United States, according to a report in the September issue of Stroke.

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FDA, AHRQ to Investigate the Cardiac Risk of ADHD Drugs

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have launched a two-year study to examine the cardiovascular risks of prescription drugs used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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Poor Outcomes for Spina Bifida Patients with Bladder Cancer

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with spina bifida who develop bladder cancer do so at a relatively young age with an advanced-stage disease at diagnosis, researchers report in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Repeat Prenatal Low-Dose Corticosteroids Probably Safe

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Repeat doses of prenatal corticosteroids do not significantly increase the risks for major adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes or delayed growth in children, but higher doses may be linked to an increased rate of cerebral palsy, according to two studies published in the Sept. 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Winter Serotonin Drops in Seasonal Depression

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Depressed patients with seasonal affective disorder have an overactivity of serotonin transport during the winter, which normalizes after light treatment and in the summer, according to study findings published online Sept. 19 in Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Medical Schools Vary in Approach to Case Reports

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Most medical school institutional review boards (IRBs) don't treat individual case reports as "research," as it's defined by the United States Government Code of Federal Regulations, according to a research letter published in the Sept. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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In U.S., Only One in Four Aware of Peripheral Arterial Disease

MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The risks associated with peripheral arterial disease are poorly understood by the general public, and only one in four people over age 50 report that they've heard of the condition, according to a survey in the Sept. 18 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Gene Mutation Linked to Early Onset of Parkinson Disease

MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in the glucocerebrosidase (GBA) gene are associated with Parkinson disease, especially in Jewish patients, and those with early onset of the disease regardless of ethnicity, according to a report in the Sept. 18 issue of Neurology.

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Halt of Multiple Sclerosis Drug Linked to Disease Rebound

MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with multiple sclerosis who discontinue treatment with natalizumab may face a rebound of increased disease activity, according to research published in the Sept. 18 issue of Neurology.

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Gene is Key to Immunity from Herpes Encephalitis

FRIDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Human Toll-like receptor 3 is essential for natural immunity against herpes simplex-1 infection of the central nervous system, but not other infections, suggesting that it evolved in response to this specific viral challenge, according to research published in the Sept. 14 issue of Science.

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Isolated Polymyoclonus Often Mistaken for Tremor

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Isolated generalized polymyoclonus is easily mistaken for tremor, and distinguishing the two is important because polymyoclonus may be due to malignancy, autoimmunity or use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or other drugs, researchers report in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Tamoxifen May Help Reduce Mania in Bipolar Disorder

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Tamoxifen reduces mania in patients with bipolar disorder in as little as five days, researchers report in the September issue of Bipolar Disorders.

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Epidural Injections Can Lead to Hematoma and Paralysis

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Cervical nerve-root epidural injections can lead to cervical epidural hematomas and paralysis, according to a case report published in the September issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Children of Trauma Survivors Display Lower Cortisol Levels

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Holocaust survivors with post-traumatic stress disorder tend to have children with lower cortisol levels than the children of Holocaust survivors without post-traumatic stress disorder or those with parents who have not experienced trauma, according to a study in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. The finding may shed light on why such children are at higher risk of PTSD themselves.

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Higher Serum Calcium Linked to Smaller Infarct Volumes

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with acute ischemic stroke, those with the highest serum calcium levels had the smallest infarct volume, according to a report published in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Antipsychotic Drugs Normalize Prefrontal Cortex Activity

TUESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol may act by normalizing disrupted activity in the prefrontal cortex, according to the results of a study in a rat model of schizophrenia published in the Sept. 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Gene Variants Associated with Smoking Response

TUESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Certain variants of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene are associated with a greater sensitivity to smoking, including heart pounding, dizziness and experiencing a "rush" or "high," according to a report in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. In addition, patients with such variants may respond better to faster-acting types of smoking cessation treatments, such as nicotine sprays.

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Tadalafil Improves Sexual Function After Spinal Injury

TUESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Men with spinal cord injury are more likely to have erections and engage in sexual activity if they use 10 or 20 milligrams of tadalafil, according to research published online Sept. 10 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Drop in Platelets Linked to Later HIV-Related Dementia

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-infected patients tend to have a drop in the number of circulating platelets before developing HIV-associated dementia, according to results from a prospective cohort study published in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Mediterranean Diet May Benefit Alzheimer's Patients

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The Mediterranean diet -- already linked to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer disease -- may also increase the longevity of patients with established disease, researchers report in the Sept. 11 issue of Neurology.

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Citalopram Benefits Dementia Patients with Psychosis

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In dementia patients with psychotic symptoms and agitation, treatment with the antidepressant citalopram may be just as effective -- and safer -- than treatment with the antipsychotic risperidone, according to study findings published online Sept. 10 in advance of publication in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

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Kneeling Increases Leg Pressure During Spinal Surgery

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The kneeling position adopted during spinal surgery increases intramuscular pressure in the anterior compartment of the leg, which may increase the risk of acute compartment syndrome, researchers report in the September issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Depression Hinders Heart Rate Recovery in Coronary Patients

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The heart rate variability of depressed acute coronary syndrome patients decreases when their depression fails to improve, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Less Sleep in Early Childhood May Impact Learning

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Children who slept fewer than 10 hours a night as infants are more likely to be described as hyperactive-impulsive and to score lower on cognitive performance tests than children who consistently slept 10 hours or more, according to a report published in the Sept. 1 issue of Sleep.

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FDA Approves Drug for Treatment of Acromegaly

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted approval for Somatuline Depot (lanreotide acetate) to be used for the treatment of patients with acromegaly who don't respond to or who are not candidates for surgery or radiation. The injectable drug, which was approved under the orphan drug program, is marketed by Tercica, Inc., of Brisbane, Calif.

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New Class of Antidepressants May Act Faster

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Serotonin receptor agonists may represent a new class of antidepressants that act within days in rats compared with weeks for classical antidepressants, according to study findings published in the Sept. 6 issue of Neuron.

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Mutation Linked to Impaired Synaptic Transmission

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A mutated protein -- the neuroligin-3 synaptic cell adhesion molecule -- increases inhibitory synaptic transmission in mice, which could have implications for how autism spectrum disorders develop in humans, according to the results of an animal study published in the Sept. 6 issue of Science.

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Newer Cell Phones Still Interrupt Medical Equipment

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- New-generation mobile phones should still be kept at least one meter away from hospital equipment, as they can cause electromagnetic interference with critical care devices, according to a report published online Sept. 6 in Critical Care.

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New Atrial Fibrillation Treatments Found Effective

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Dronedarone, a new antiarrhythmic agent, and dual-chamber minimal ventricular pacing are effective treatments for patients with atrial fibrillation, according to two studies published in the Sept. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Procrit Does Not Reduce Need for Transfusion in Critically Ill

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Procrit (epoetin alfa) does not reduce the need for a blood transfusion in patients in the intensive care unit, although it may lower mortality in trauma patients and increase hemoglobin concentration and thrombotic events, according to the results of a trial published in the Sept. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Smoking Linked to Dementia, But Varies With Apolipoprotein

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of Alzheimer disease is increased in patients who smoke, but this effect is restricted to those without the apolipoprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4) allele, researchers report in a study published in the Sept. 4 issue of Neurology.

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Childhood Abuse Common in Depressed Women with Migraine

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have migraines and who are also depressed are more likely to have experienced childhood abuse than non-depressed women, researchers report in the Sept. 4 issue of Neurology.

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Resident Work-Hour Limits May Have Improved Mortality

TUESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Resident work-hour reform, implemented by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in 2003, does not appear to have had a negative effect on patient outcomes and may actually have improved mortality rates, according to two studies published in the Sept. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Children's Television Viewing Linked to Short Attention Later

TUESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Television viewing during childhood is associated with attention difficulties during adolescence, according to the results of a longitudinal study that followed a cohort from age 5 into their teenage years. The research is published in the September issue of Pediatrics.

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FDA Approves Test for West Nile Virus in Blood Donors

TUESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an additional test that can detect the West Nile virus in donated blood, cells and other tissues shortly after infection. The cobas TaqScreen WNV test, which is made by Roche Molecular Systems Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., is the second such test to be approved.

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