The latest medical research on Neurology

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Translational animal models for Alzheimer's disease: An Alzheimer's Association Business Consortium Think Tank.

Alzheimers & Dementia trans research)

Over 5 million Americans and 50 million individuals worldwide are living with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The progressive dementia associated with AD...

Association of Pharmacological Interventions With Symptom Burden Reduction in Patients With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Systematic Review.

JAMA Neurology

Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is experienced by 55.9 million people globally each year. The symptoms of mild TBI are diverse and sometimes long-lasting, requiring frequent use of pharmacological interventions to mitigate them. A thorough understanding of the data supporting pharmacological interventions is important for decision-making among clinicians treating this common injury.

To systematically review studies of pharmacological interventions and their associations with symptom burden reduction among patients with mild TBI and to use an evidence-based model to identify potential directions for future research that may aid in clinical decision-making.

A systematic review was performed in PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science. Search strings modified for the advanced search interfaces of each search engine were developed in consultation with a librarian and included combinations of search terms, such as brain concussion, post-concussion syndrome, mild traumatic brain injury, and pharmacological treatment. Articles published between January 1, 2000, and July 1, 2020, were analyzed. Studies were included if (1) they were clinical studies with discrete analyses of participants with mild TBI or complicated mild TBI, (2) they were assessments of a pharmacological intervention, (3) they included human participants, and (4) they were published in a peer-reviewed journal in the English language. Studies were excluded if the severity of TBI among participants could not be ascertained (ie, inadequate definition of mild TBI) and the inclusion criteria for the study required intracranial hemorrhage. A total of 23 studies examining 20 pharmacological interventions met the inclusion criteria. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias for Randomized Trials (for randomized clinical trials) and the Cochrane Risk of Bias in Non-Randomized Studies of Interventions (for all other studies). Data were analyzed from June to September 2020.

A total of 1495 articles were identified; of those, 131 articles were excluded as duplicates. Titles and abstracts were screened for inclusion and exclusion criteria among the remaining 1364 articles, and 134 of those articles received a full-text review. After exclusions, 23 studies (11 randomized clinical trials, 7 prospective observational studies, 3 retrospective observational studies, and 2 case studies) examining 20 pharmacological interventions were identified for inclusion in the systematic review. Studies included 22 distinct participant populations comprising 8277 participants with mild TBI and 45 participants without TBI. Among 23 total studies, 8 studies specifically addressed the pediatric population, 9 studies had a low risk of bias, and 16 studies reported symptom burden reduction. Of the 20 pharmacological interventions examined in the studies, methylphenidate, sertraline hydrochloride, ondansetron, amitriptyline, and melatonin were the only medications included in multiple studies.

This systematic review found a limited number of high-quality, clinically meaningful studies, particularly among children and individuals in the acute stage of injury; therefore, performing an evidence-based analysis that would inform clinical decision-making was not possible. Future studies are needed to focus on standardizing measures and increasing sample sizes (including large multicenter clinical trials) to generate a body of research that may provide additional options for the treatment of patients with mild TBI.

Findings of Efficacy, Safety, and Biomarker Outcomes of Atabecestat in Preclinical Alzheimer Disease: A Truncated Randomized Phase 2b/3 Clinical Trial.

JAMA Neurology

Atabecestat, a nonselective oral β-secretase inhibitor, was evaluated in the EARLY trial for slowing cognitive decline in participants with preclinical Alzheimer disease. Preliminary analyses suggested dose-related cognitive worsening and neuropsychiatric adverse events (AEs).

To report efficacy, safety, and biomarker findings in the EARLY trial, both on and off atabecestat treatment, with focus on potential recovery of effects on cognition and behavior.

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2b/3 study conducted from November 2015 to December 2018 after being stopped prematurely. The study was conducted at 143 centers across 14 countries. Participants were permitted to be followed off-treatment by the original protocol, collecting safety and efficacy data. From 4464 screened participants, 557 amyloid-positive, cognitively normal (Clinical Dementia Rating of 0; aged 60-85 years) participants (approximately 34% of originally planned 1650) were randomized before the trial sponsor stopped enrollment.

Participants were randomized (1:1:1) to atabecestat, 5 mg (n = 189), 25 mg (n = 183), or placebo (n = 185).

Primary outcome: change from baseline in Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite score. Secondary outcomes: change from baseline in the Cognitive Function Index and the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status total scale score. Safety was monitored throughout the study.

Of 557 participants, 341 were women (61.2%); mean (SD) age was 70.4 (5.56) years. In May 2018, study medication was stopped early owing to hepatic-related AEs; participants were followed up off-treatment for 6 months. Atabecestat, 25 mg, showed significant cognitive worsening vs placebo for Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite at month 6 (least-square mean difference, -1.09; 95% CI, -1.66 to -0.53; P < .001) and month 12 (least-square mean, -1.62; 95% CI, -2.49 to -0.76; P < .001), and at month 3 for Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (least-square mean, -3.70; 95% CI, -5.76 to -1.63; P < .001). Cognitive Function Index participant report showed nonsignificant worsening at month 12. Systemic and neuropsychiatric-related treatment-emergent AEs were greater in atabecestat groups vs placebo. After stopping treatment, follow-up cognitive testing and AE assessment provided evidence of reversibility of drug-induced cognitive worsening and AEs in atabecestat groups.

Atabecestat treatment was associated with dose-related cognitive worsening as early as 3 months and presence of neuropsychiatric treatment-emergent AEs, with evidence of reversibility after 6 months off treatment. Identifier: NCT02569398.

Recurrent and concurrent patterns of regional BOLD dynamics and functional connectivity dynamics in cognitive decline.

Journal Alzheimers Research Therapy

The brain's dynamic spontaneous neural activity and dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) are both important in supporting cognition, but how these two types of brain dynamics evolve and co-evolve in subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) remain unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate recurrent and concurrent patterns of two types of dynamic brain states correlated with cognitive decline.

The present study analyzed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data from 62 SCD patients, 75 MCI patients, and 70 healthy controls (HCs). We used the sliding-window and clustering method to identify two types of recurrent brain states from both dFC and dynamic regional spontaneous activity, as measured by dynamic fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (dfALFF). Then, the occurrence frequency of a dFC or dfALFF state and the co-occurrence frequency of a pair of dFC and dfALFF states among all time points are extracted for each participant to describe their dynamics brain patterns.

We identified a few recurrent states of dfALFF and dFC and further ascertained the co-occurrent patterns of these two types of dynamic brain states (i.e., dfALFF and dFC states). Importantly, the occurrence frequency of a default-mode network (DMN)-dominated dFC state was significantly different between HCs and SCD patients, and the co-occurrence frequencies of a DMN-dominated dFC state and a DMN-dominated dfALFF state were also significantly different between SCD and MCI patients. These two dynamic features were both significantly positively correlated with Mini-Mental State Examination scores.

Our findings revealed novel fMRI-based neural signatures of cognitive decline from recurrent and concurrent patterns of dfALFF and dFC, providing strong evidence supporting SCD as the transition phase between normal aging and MCI. This finding holds potential to differentiate SCD patients from HCs via both dFC and dfALFF as objective neuroimaging biomarkers, which may aid in the early diagnosis and intervention of Alzheimer's disease.

Topographic patterns of white matter hyperintensities are associated with multimodal neuroimaging biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease.

Journal Alzheimers Research Therapy

White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are frequently found in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Commonly considered as a marker of cerebrovascular disease, regional WMH may be related to pathological hallmarks of AD, including beta-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and neurodegeneration. The aim of this study was to examine the regional distribution of WMH associated with Aβ burden, glucose hypometabolism, and gray matter volume reduction.

In a total of 155 participants (IMAP+ cohort) across the cognitive continuum from normal cognition to AD dementia, FLAIR MRI, AV45-PET, FDG-PET, and T1 MRI were acquired. WMH were automatically segmented from FLAIR images. Mean levels of neocortical Aβ deposition (AV45-PET), temporo-parietal glucose metabolism (FDG-PET), and medial-temporal gray matter volume (GMV) were extracted from processed images using established AD meta-signature templates. Associations between AD brain biomarkers and WMH, as assessed in region-of-interest and voxel-wise, were examined, adjusting for age, sex, education, and systolic blood pressure.

There were no significant associations between global Aβ burden and region-specific WMH. Voxel-wise WMH in the splenium of the corpus callosum correlated with greater Aβ deposition at a more liberal threshold. Region- and voxel-based WMH in the posterior corpus callosum, along with parietal, occipital, and frontal areas, were associated with lower temporo-parietal glucose metabolism. Similarly, lower medial-temporal GMV correlated with WMH in the posterior corpus callosum in addition to parietal, occipital, and fontal areas.

This study demonstrates that local white matter damage is correlated with multimodal brain biomarkers of AD. Our results highlight modality-specific topographic patterns of WMH, which converged in the posterior white matter. Overall, these cross-sectional findings corroborate associations of regional WMH with AD-typical Aß deposition and neurodegeneration.

Cross-national disparities contribute to heterogeneity in patient outcomes following invasive monitoring: A hierarchical mixed-effects analysis.


There is substantial variability in outcomes following invasive monitoring and surgical treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE). Patients with D...

Predicting mood decline following temporal lobe epilepsy surgery in adults.


To develop a model to predict the probability of mood decline in adults following temporal lobe resection for the treatment of pharmacoresistant epilepsy.

Variable selection was performed on 492 patients from the Cleveland Clinic using best subsets regression. After completing variable selection, a subset of variables was requested from four epilepsy surgery centers across North America (n = 100). All data were combined to develop a final model to predict postoperative mood decline (N = 592). Internal validation with bootstrap resampling was performed. A clinically significant increase in depressive symptoms was defined as a 15% increase in Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition score and a postoperative raw score > 11.

Fourteen percent of patients in the Cleveland Clinic cohort and 22% of patients in the external cohort experienced clinically significant increases in depressive symptoms following surgery. The final prediction model included six predictor variables: psychiatric history, resection side, relationship status, verbal fluency score, age at preoperative testing, and presence/absence of malformation of cortical development on magnetic resonance imaging. The model had an optimism-adjusted c-statistic of .70 and good calibration, with slight probability overestimation in higher risk patients.

Clinicians can utilize our nomogram via a paper tool or online calculator to estimate the risk of postoperative mood decline for individual patients prior to temporal lobe epilepsy surgery.

Systematic analysis and comparison of commercial seizure-detection software.


To determine if three different commercially available seizure-detection software packages (Besa 2.0, Encevis 1.7, and Persyst 13) accurately detect seizures with high sensitivity, high specificity, and short detection delay in epilepsy patients undergoing long-term video-electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring (VEM).

Comparison of sensitivity (detection rate), specificity (false alarm rate), and detection delay of three commercially available seizure-detection software packages in 81 randomly selected patients with epilepsy undergoing long-term VEM.

Detection rates on a per-patient basis were not significantly different between Besa (mean 67.6%, range 0-100%), Encevis (77.8%, 0-100%) and Persyst (81%, 0-100%; P = .059). False alarm rate (per hour) was significantly different between Besa (mean 0.7/h, range 0.01-6.2/h), Encevis (0.2/h, 0.01-0.5/h), and Persyst (0.9/h, 0.04-6.5/h; P < .001). Detection delay was significantly different between Besa (mean 30 s, range 0-431 s), Encevis (25 s, 2-163 s), and Persyst (20 s, 0-167 s; P = .007). Kappa statistics showed moderate to substantial agreement between the reference standard and each seizure-detection software (Besa: 0.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36-0.59; Encevis: 0.59, 95% CI 0.47-0.7; Persyst: 0.63, 95% CI 0.51-0.74).

Three commercially available seizure-detection software packages showed similar, reasonable sensitivities on the same data set, but differed in false alarm rates and detection delay. Persyst 13 showed the highest detection rate and false alarm rate with the shortest detection delay, whereas Encevis 1.7 had a slightly lower sensitivity, the lowest false alarm rate, and longer detection delay.

Antibody Prevalence in Epilepsy before Surgery (APES) in drug-resistant focal epilepsy.


There is a growing recognition of immune-mediated causes in patients with focal drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE); however, they are not systematically assessed in the pre-surgical diagnostic workup. Early diagnosis and initiation of immunotherapy is associated with a favorable outcome in immune-mediated seizures. Patients with refractory focal epilepsy with neuronal antibodies (Abs) tend to have a worse surgical prognosis when compared to other etiologies.

We studied the prevalence of serum Abs in patients ≥18 years of age with DRE of unknown cause before surgery. We proposed and calculated a clinical APES (Antibody Prevalence in Epilepsy before Surgery) score for each subject, which was modified based on Dubey's previously published APE2 score. RESULTS`: A total of 335 patients were screened and 86 subjects were included in final analysis. The mean age at the time of recruitment was 44.84 ± 14.86 years, with age at seizure onset 30.89 ± 19.88 years. There were no significant differences among baseline clinical features between retrospective and prospective sub-cohorts. The prevalence of at least one positive Ab was 33.72%, and central nervous system (CNS)-specific Abs was 8.14%. APES score ≥4 showed slightly better overall prediction (area under the curve [AUC]: 0.84 vs 0.74) and higher sensitivity (100% vs 71.4%), with slightly lower but similar specificity (44.3% vs 49.4%), when compared to APE2 score ≥4. For subjects who had available positron emission tomography (PET) results and all components of APES score (n = 60), the sensitivity of APES score ≥4 yielded a similar prediction potential with an AUC of 0.80.

Our findings provide persuasive evidence that a subset of patients with focal DRE have potentially immune-mediated causes. We propose an APES score to help identify patients who may benefit from a workup for immune etiologies during the pre-surgical evaluation for focal refractory epilepsy with unknown cause.

Neurotoxicities associated with immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have emerged as a promising class of cancer immunotherapies. Neurotoxicities are uncommon, but often severe, and potentially fatal complications of ICIs, and clinical experience is limited. The aim of this study is to further define the clinical spectrum and outcome of ICI-mediated neurotoxicities.

Patients with ICI-associated neurotoxicities were identified from retrospective review of the quality control database at a single institution. Data regarding demographics, medical history, clinical presentation, diagnosis, management and outcome were recorded.

We identified 18 patients with neurotoxicity following ICI therapy with pembrolizumab, nivolumab, atezolizumab, or ipilimumab for a diverse set of malignancies. Neurotoxicities comprised central demyelinating disorder (28%), autoimmune encephalitis predominantly affecting the grey matter (17%), aseptic meningitis (6%), myasthenia gravis (MG) (17%) with concurrent myositis (6%), sensorimotor polyneuropathy (11%) and hypophysitis (17%). Median time to onset of neurotoxicities was 5 weeks (range 1-72). All patients discontinued ICIs and received steroids with additional immunomodulation required in 9 patients, resulting in improvement for 16 of 18 patients. Grade 3-4 neurotoxicity developed in 14 patients, of whom 6 had died at database closure. Grade 3-4 severity negatively impacted overall survival (OS) (p = 0.046).

ICI-mediated neurotoxicities present early, are rapidly progressive and include a diverse phenotype affecting the CNS, PNS and neuroendocrine system. A high level of vigilance is warranted, as early diagnosis and targeted treatment can substantially prevent morbidity and mortality. Prospective clinical trials are warranted to assess optimized management of ICI-induced neurotoxicities.

Anterior limb of the internal capsule tractography: relationship with capsulotomy outcomes in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Journal Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Surgical procedures targeting the anterior limb of the internal capsule (aLIC) can be effective in patients with selected treatment-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The aLIC consists of white-matter tracts connecting cortical and subcortical structures and show a topographical organisation. Here we assess how aLIC streamlines are affected in OCD compared with healthy controls (HCs) and which streamlines are related with post-capsulotomy improvement.

Diffusion-weighted MRI was used to compare white-matter microstructure via the aLIC between patients with OCD (n=100, 40 women, mean of age 31.8 years) and HCs (n=88, 39 women, mean of age 29.6 years). For each individual, the fractional anisotropy (FA) and streamline counts were calculated for each white-matter fibre bundle connecting a functionally defined prefrontal and subcortical region. Correlations between tractography measures and pre-capsulotomy and post-capsulotomy clinical outcomes (in obsessive-compulsive, anxiety and depression scores 6 months after surgery) were assessed in 41 patients with OCD.

Hierarchical clustering dendrograms show an aLIC organisation clustering lateral and dissociating ventral and dorsal prefrontal-thalamic streamlines, findings highly relevant to surgical targeting. Compared with HCs, patients with OCD had lower aLIC FA across multiple prefrontal cortical-subcortical regions (p<0.0073, false discovery rate-adjusted). Greater streamline counts of the dorsolateral prefrontal-thalamic tracts in patients with OCD predicted greater post-capsulotomy obsessive-compulsive improvement (p=0.016). In contrast, greater counts of the dorsal cingulate-thalamic streamlines predicted surgical outcomes mediated by depressive and anxiety improvements.

These findings shed light on the critical role of the aLIC in OCD and may potentially contribute towards precision targeting to optimise outcomes in OCD.

Bi-allelic truncating mutations in VWA1 cause neuromyopathy.


The von Willebrand Factor A domain containing 1 protein, encoded by VWA1, is an extracellular matrix protein expressed in muscle and peripheral ner...