Monitoring of head injury by myotatic reflex evaluation.
OBJECTIVES: (1) To establish the feasibility of myotatic reflex measurement in patients with head injury. (2) To test the hypothesis that cerebral dysfunction after head injury causes myotatic reflex abnormalities through disordered descending control. These objectives arise from a proposal to use reflex measurements in monitoring patients with head injury. METHODS: The phasic stretch reflex of biceps brachii was elicited by a servo-positioned tendon hammer. Antagonist inhibition was evoked by vibration to the triceps. Using surface EMG, the amplitude of the unconditioned biceps reflex and percentage antagonist inhibition were measured. After standardisation in 16 normal adult subjects, the technique was applied to 36 patients with head injury across the range of severity. Objective (1) was addressed by attempting a measurement on each patient without therapeutic paralysis; three patients were also measured under partial paralysis. Objective (2) was addressed by preceding each of the 36 unparalysed measurements with an assessment of cerebral function using the Glasgow coma scale (GCS); rank correlation was employed to test a null hypothesis that GCS and reflex indices are unrelated. RESULTS: In normal subjects, unconditioned reflex amplitude exhibited a positive skew requiring logarithmic transformation. Antagonist inhibition had a prolonged time course suggesting presynaptic mechanisms; subsequent measurements were standardised at 80 ms conditioning test interval (index termed "TI(80)"). Measurements were obtained on all patients, even under therapeutic paralysis (objective (1)). The unconditioned reflex was absent in most patients with GCS less than 5; otherwise it varied little across the patient group. TI(80) fell progressively with lower GCS, although patients' individual GCS could not be inferred from single measurements. Both reflex indices correlated with GCS (p<0.01), thereby dismissing the null hypothesis (objective (2)). CONCLUSION: Cerebral dysfunction in head injury is reflected in myotatic reflex abnormalities which can be measured at the bedside. With greater reproducibility, reflex measurements may assist monitoring of patients with head injury. (+info)
Reliability and responsiveness of a graduated tuning fork in immune mediated polyneuropathies. The Inflammatory Neuropathy Cause and Treatment (INCAT) Group.
The interobserver and intraobserver reliability of the Rydel-Seiffer (RS) graduated tuning fork was evaluated in 113 patients with a clinically stable immune mediated polyneuropathy (83 patients who had had Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in the past, 22 with a chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), and eight with a polyneuropathy associated with a gammopathy of undetermined significance). Additionally, the responsiveness of this instrument was serially investigated in 20 patients with recently diagnosed GBS or CIDP and changing clinical conditions. The measures were done in triplicate at eight different locations in the limbs and the values were compared with the recently published vibration threshold reference values. Good interobserver and intraobserver agreements (quadratic weighted kappa=0.67-0.98) and high responsiveness values (standardised response mean scores>0.8) were demonstrated for the RS tuning fork. These results provide, in addition to literature findings, further evidence for incorporation of this easily applicable instrument in routine neurological examination. (+info)
Which neuropsychiatric and behavioural features distinguish frontal and temporal variants of frontotemporal dementia from Alzheimer's disease?
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the prevalence of changes in mood, personality, and behaviour in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) and hence, which features reliably distinguish between them. To establish whether the frontal and temporal variants of FTD are characterised by different behavioural changes. METHODS: A questionnaire was designed to assess a wide range of neuropsychiatric changes; it incorporated features reported in previous studies of FTD and components of the neuropsychiatric inventory.(1) This was completed by 37 carers of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 33 patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), comprising 20 with temporal variant FTD (tv FTD) or semantic dementia and 13 with frontal variant FTD (fv FTD). An exploratory principal components factor analysis and discriminant function analysis was applied. RESULTS: Factor analysis showed four robust and meaningful symptom clusters: factor 1-stereotypic and eating behaviour; factor 2-executive dysfunction and self care; factor 3-mood changes; factor 4-loss of social awareness. Only stereotypic and altered eating behaviour and loss of social awareness reliably differentiated AD from FTD with no effect of disease severity. By contrast, executive dysfunction, poor self care, and restlessness showed a significant effect of disease severity only, with the more impaired patients scoring more highly. Changes in mood were found to be equally prevalent in the three patient groups. Analysis of individual symptoms showed increased rates of mental rigidity and depression in the patients with semantic dementia compared with those with fv FTD. Conversely, the latter group showed greater disinhibition. Discriminant function analysis correctly classified 71.4% overall and 86.5% of the patients with AD. CONCLUSIONS: This questionnaire disclosed striking differences between patients with FTD and AD, but only stereotypic behaviour, changes in eating preference, disinhibition, and features of poor social awareness reliably separated the groups. The patients with fv FTD and semantic dementia were behaviourally very similar, reflecting the involvement of a common network, the ventral frontal lobe, temporal pole, and amygdala. Dysexecutive symptoms and poor self care were found to be affected by the severity of the disease, reflecting perhaps spread to dorsolateral prefrontal areas relatively late in the course of both FTD and AD. This questionnaire may be of value in the diagnosis and the monitoring of therapies. (+info)
Enhanced survival in Sandhoff disease mice receiving a combination of substrate deprivation therapy and bone marrow transplantation.
Sandhoff disease is a lysosomal storage disorder characterized by G(M2) ganglioside accumulation in the central nervous system (CNS) and periphery. It results from mutations in the HEXB gene, causing a deficiency in beta-hexosaminidase. Bone marrow transplantation (BMT), which augments enzyme levels, and substrate deprivation (using the glycosphingolipid biosynthesis inhibitor N-butyldeoxynojirimycin [NB-DNJ]) independently have been shown to extend life expectancy in a mouse model of Sandhoff disease. The efficacy of combining these 2 therapies was evaluated. Sandhoff disease mice treated with BMT and NB-DNJ survived significantly longer than those treated with BMT or NB-DNJ alone. When the mice were subdivided into 2 groups on the basis of their donor bone marrow-derived CNS enzyme levels, the high enzyme group exhibited a greater degree of synergy (25%) than the group as a whole (13%). Combination therapy may therefore be the strategy of choice for treating the infantile onset disease variants. (+info)
A clinical neurological, neurophysiological, and neuropsychological study of sheep farmers and dippers exposed to organophosphate pesticides.
OBJECTIVES: To classify clinical diseases of the subjects with abnormal indices of peripheral neuropathy identified in field studies of sheep farmers and dippers exposed to organophosphate pesticides. To explore what neuropsychological profiles, if any, may be associated with neurophysiological damage in these subjects. METHODS: A case-control study (79 subjects) nested within the cross sectional study (685 subjects) of sheep farmers from the field study. Three groups with no, possible, and probable or definite neuropathy according to field studies were recruited. Investigations comprised symptoms of neuropathy, neurologial signs, motor and sensory nerve conduction, electromyography, quantitative sensory testing, and neuropsychological tests. RESULTS: The incidence of clinical neuropathy increased from 7% in the no neuropathy group to 52% in the probable or definite neuropathy group based on nerve conduction measurements or presence of neurological signs. Sensory abnormalities were found more often than motor deficits. Small diameter nerve fibres were also affected more than large fibres. CONCLUSIONS: The neuropathy is predominantly sensory and is characteristic of distal, chronic neuropathy with no acute features. Small fibre populations are affected more than large fibre populations. Increasing severity of neuropathy was associated with anxiety and depression as measured in the neuropsychological tests. (+info)
Clinical validation of methods of diagnosis of neuropathy in a field study of United Kingdom sheep dippers.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the reproducibility of measured indices of chronic peripheral neuropathy from a field study of sheep dippers when compared with similar measurements carried out in a clinical setting. METHODS: A stratified random sample of field study subjects was invited to attend a clinic. Neuropathy was measured both in the field and at the clinic with a modified version of a standard symptoms questionnaire and quantitative sensory thresholds for hot, cold, and vibration. These were combined into a classification of the likelihood of neuropathy with a neuropathy scoring system. Indicators of sensory abnormality were based on comparison of sensory thresholds to age dependent reference values derived from an external reference group. RESULTS: Only 51% of subjects were assigned similar classifications in the field and clinic based on the neuropathy scoring system. Of the component indices, grouped symptom scores, with 65% of subjects showing exact agreement, proved to be more reproducible than quantitative sensory test indicators. There were biases in the comparison of field and clinic measurements of hot and vibration sensations, but no evidence of greater variation between individual people in sensory thresholds in the field relative to at the clinic. CONCLUSIONS: The neuropathy scoring system proved to be of limited reproducibility, due in a large part to the lack of reproducibility of the indicators of sensory test abnormality caused by inadequate temperature control. However, the symptoms score and measured sensory thresholds could be used separately as indices of neuropathy in exposure-response analyses. (+info)
Management of chronic pain in whiplash injury.
We investigated the response of chronic neck and shoulder pain to decompression of the carpal tunnel in 38 patients with whiplash injury. We also determined the plasma levels of substance P (SP) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which are inflammatory peptides that sensitise nociceptors. Compared with normal control subjects, the mean concentrations of SP (220 v 28 ng/l; p < 0.0001) and CGRP (400 v 85 ng/l; p < 0.0005) were high in patients with chronic shoulder and neck pain before surgery. After operation their levels fell to normal. There was resolution of neurological symptoms with improvement of pain in 90% of patients. Only two of the 30 with chronic neck and shoulder pain who had been treated conservatively showed improvement when followed up at two years. In spite of having neuropathic pain arising from the median nerve, all these patients had normal electromyographic and nerve-conduction studies. Chronic pain in whiplash injury may be caused by 'atypical' carpal tunnel syndrome and responds favourably to surgery which is indicated in patients with neck, shoulder and arm pain but not in those with mild symptoms in the hand. Previously, the presence of persistent neurological symptoms has been accepted as a sign of a poor outcome after a whiplash injury, but our study suggests that it may be possible to treat chronic pain by carpal tunnel decompression. (+info)
Behavioral tests after intracerebral hemorrhage in the rat.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In humans, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) causes marked perihematomal edema formation and neurological deficits. A rat ICH model, involving infusion of autologous blood into the caudate, has been used extensively to study mechanisms of edema formation, but an examination of behavioral outcome would improve its preclinical utility and provide a more rigorous assessment of the pathological cascade of events over time. The purpose of this study was to use a battery of sensorimotor function tests to examine the neurological effects of ICH in the rat and to examine which components of the hematoma are involved in generating those effects. METHODS: The behavioral tests used were forelimb placing, preference for forelimb use for weight shifts during vertical exploration of a cylindrical enclosure, and a corner turn test. Rats were tested from day 1 to day 28 after injection of autologous whole blood; injection of blood plus hirudin (thrombin inhibitor), packed red blood cells, thrombin, or saline; or needle placement only. RESULTS: The battery of tests indicated that there were marked neurological deficits by day 1 after ICH, with progressive recovery of function over 4 weeks. The forelimb placing score paralleled changes in edema. Injection of thrombin caused and injection of hirudin reduced the ICH-induced neurological deficits. Injection of packed red blood cells, which causes delayed edema formation, induced delayed neurological deficits CONCLUSIONS: These tests allow continuous monitoring of neurological deficits after rat ICH and assessment of therapeutic interventions. The time course of the neurological deficit closely matched the time course of cerebral edema for both ICH and injection of blood components. There was marked recovery of function after ICH, which may be amenable to therapeutic manipulation. (+info)