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September 2008 Briefing - Neurology

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

News Media Under-Report Drug Company Funding of Research

TUESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Reports on medication research published in general news media often fail to disclose that the research received pharmaceutical company funding and frequently refer to drugs by brand name rather than using the generic name, according to an article published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Warfarin Use Linked to Larger Intracerebral Hemorrhage

TUESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with intracerebral hemorrhage who are using warfarin and have an international normalized ratio (INR) greater than 3.0 may be at risk of larger hemorrhage, according to research published in the Sept. 30 issue of Neurology.

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Statins Don't Raise Risk of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

TUESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Using statins does not raise the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to research conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and published online Sept. 29 in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

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Opioid Dependence Linked to Poorer Post-Rehab Outcomes

MONDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Prescription opioid dependence was found to be relatively common in patients with chronic disabling occupational spinal disorders beginning a functional rehabilitation program, according to research published in the Sept. 15 issue of Spine.

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Early Warning About Increased Mortality in Epoetin Alfa Trial

MONDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to researchers conducting clinical trials of epoetin alfa in the treatment of stroke patients, after a German trial of the drug to treat acute ischemic stroke reported increased mortality among the study group versus controls.

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Minimally Invasive Procedures Changing Spinal Surgery

FRIDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Minimally invasive surgery of the spine is an emerging neurosurgical field with multifaceted uses, according to a report in the August issue of Neurosurgical Focus.

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Inhaled Anticholinergics Increase Cardiovascular Risk

TUESDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Use of inhaled anticholinergics raises the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack or stroke in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a meta-analysis published in the Sept. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Family History Increases Brain Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a family history of astrocytoma or glioblastoma are at a significantly increased risk for developing primary brain cancer, researchers report in the Sept. 23 issue of Neurology.

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American Indians Have More Strokes Than US Whites, Blacks

TUESDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- American Indians have a higher incidence of stroke, as well as a higher case-fatality rate following a first stroke, than some other segments of the U.S. population, according to an article published online Sept. 22 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Passive Smoking Linked to Peripheral Arterial Disease

TUESDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Secondhand smoke appears to be a risk factor for peripheral arterial disease in older Chinese women who have never smoked, according to research published online Sept. 22 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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No Change to 2009 Part B Medicare Premium

MONDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- There will be no change to the Part B Standard Medicare premium in 2009 compared with 2008. This is the first time since 2000 that the premium has not risen over the prior year, according to an announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Radiosurgery May Benefit Patients with Spinal Tumors

MONDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Radiosurgery for spinal and paraspinal metastases is a relatively new treatment that provides a minimally invasive option for pain relief and tumor control, according to a review in the August issue of Neurosurgical Focus.

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Physician's Office Hours Affect Time to Stroke Treatment

FRIDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- People who experience a transient ischemic attack or a minor stroke outside their primary physician's office hours wait longer before seeking treatment than those who have a stroke during general practice opening hours, according to a report published online Sept. 18 in BMJ.

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Antibiotic Resistance Has Become a Global Pandemic

FRIDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A concerted international and national response, behavior change by consumers and providers, and the development of antibacterial agents are all urgently needed to tackle the global problem of rapidly increasing antibiotic resistance, according to an article published online Sept. 18 in BMJ.

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Limited Research Supports Non-Cancer Pain Surgeries

THURSDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Although the field of neurosurgery has long offered destructive surgical procedures for pain treatment, evidence supporting the efficacy of such procedures in non-malignant settings is limited, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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MRI Can Detect Carotid Plaque Hemorrhage

THURSDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- MRI offers a non-invasive method of assessing intraplaque hemorrhage in carotid arteries to identify patients at greater risk of atherosclerotic disease, according to a report in the October issue of Radiology.

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MRI Improves Diagnosis in Children with Hearing Loss

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- An abnormal cochlea and abnormal cochlear nerve are the most common inner ear abnormalities in sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), and inner ear abnormalities are more common among patients with severe and profound SNHL and in children with unilateral hearing loss, according to a report in the September issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

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Human Adult Stem Cells Benefit Mice After Stroke

TUESDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Injection of human adult stem cells from the bone marrow into the brains of mice after a stroke can improve neurologic function, evidently due to modulation of inflammatory and immune responses, according to study findings published online Sept. 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Link Between Migraine and Atherosclerosis Is Debunked

TUESDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Migraine patients do not have a higher risk of atherosclerosis than other patients, but they appear to have a higher risk of venous thromboembolism, according to research published in the Sept. 16 issue of Neurology.

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Methylprednisolone Shows Benefits After Disc Surgery

TUESDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The use of epidural methylprednisolone immediately after lumbar discectomy may improve patients' recovery from the procedure, according to research published in the Sept. 1 issue of Spine.

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Surgery May Benefit Some Epileptic Children

MONDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Up to 30 percent of epileptic children have medically refractory epilepsy and may benefit from surgery, according to a review published in the September issue of Neurosurgical Focus.

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Brain Stimulation May Help in Dystonia, Torticollis

MONDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Deep brain stimulation may be beneficial for patients with secondary dystonia and primary torticollis, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Alteplase Still Safe Treatment Up to 4.5 Hours

MONDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Although intravenous alteplase has been approved for use in stroke patients within three hours of onset, it can be safely and effectively used up to 4.5 hours after onset, according to the results of a study published online Sept. 15 in The Lancet.

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3-T MRI Holds Advantage in Epilepsy Assessment

FRIDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- MRI at 3 T was associated with better rates of lesion detection and accurate assessment of lesions than 1.5-T MRI in evaluating epilepsy, according to research published in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

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Mediterranean Diet Lowers Risk of Death and Cancer

FRIDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Adherence to a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals and fish, and involving a moderate intake of red wine with meals is associated with a lower risk of death, cancer and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, according to research published online Sept. 11 in BMJ.

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Spinal Surgery Appears to Be Cost-Effective Choice

THURSDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical treatment of lumbar disc herniation was more costly than non-operative care but offered better health outcomes in subsequent years, making it a moderately cost-effective choice, according to research published in the Sept. 1 issue of Spine.

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Age Affects Dopamine Response to Oxycodone in Mouse Study

THURSDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of dopamine in adult and adolescent mice differ in response to oxycodone infusions, indicating that understanding behavioral and neurobiological changes produced by oxycodone may be important in discovering mechanisms related to oxycodone addiction, according to a report published online Sept. 10 in Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Heparin, Enoxaparin Bridging Linked to Serious Bleeding

TUESDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In the management of cardioembolic stroke patients, the use of heparin or enoxaparin bridging may increase the risk for serious bleeding, according to an article published in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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New Parkinson's Disease Patients Report More Pain

TUESDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- During or after the clinical onset of Parkinson's disease, pain should be considered a non-motor feature of the disease, researchers report in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Vitamin B12 Status Predicts Brain Atrophy in Elderly

TUESDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In older community-dwelling adults, plasma vitamin B12 status may be an early marker of brain atrophy, according to a study published in the Sept. 9 issue of Neurology.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Higher Stroke Risk

MONDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an elevated risk of ischemic strokes and other strokes, and measures of arthritis severity help predict stroke, according to research published Aug. 15 in Arthritis Care & Research.

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Migraines Commonly Affect Military Members, Impair Duties

MONDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Studies demonstrate that migraine headaches are common among returning active duty military and officer trainees, and significantly inhibit work duties, according to two reports published in the June issue of Headache.

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Genetic Mutations Found in Deadly Cancers

MONDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Comprehensive genomic analyses have uncovered genetic alterations in pancreatic and brain cancer that may point the way toward treatments for the diseases, according to research from a pair of articles published online Sept. 4 in Science, and another published online Sept. 4 in Nature.

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Stenting and Endarterectomy Have Similar Results

MONDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Carotid endarterectomy and stent-protected angioplasty produce similar results at the two-year mark when used to treat severe symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, according to research published online Sept. 6 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Herniation Level Affects Operative Treatment Outcomes

FRIDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with lumbar disc herniations, the herniation level has a significant effect on the outcomes of operative and non-operative care, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Heavy Snoring Linked to Carotid Atherosclerosis

FRIDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Heavy snoring is associated with a more than 10-fold higher risk of carotid atherosclerosis but not with femoral atherosclerosis, researchers report in the Sept. 1 issue of Sleep.

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Study Analyzes Atorvastatin Use in Elderly Post-Stroke

THURSDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Age does not affect efficacy in patients treated with atorvastatin for stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), according to a report published online Sept. 3 in Neurology.

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Exercise Improves Cognition in At-Risk Older Adults

TUESDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In older adults with subjective memory impairment, a six-month program of physical activity may lead to modest improvements in cognition, suggesting that exercise may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, according to research published in the Sept. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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