Neurology Residents Learn to Identify Physician Burnout Through Simulation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Rebecca Stainman
Dr. Arielle Kurzweil MD
Adult Neurology Program Director
New York University School of Medicine
NYU Langone Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Physician burnout is prevalent. Neurologists have among the highest burnout rates, ranked third among specialties in a 2011 study, and over half of US Neurologists report at least 1 symptom of burnout in a 2016 survey.  Efforts to address burnout in training programs have mostly been aimed at implementing wellness curricula and offering mental health resources.

Training neurology residents to effectively identify, address, and help impaired colleagues is equally crucial in these efforts, yet there is a paucity of literature on this topic. We used simulation as a means of addressing this topic, via identifying and addressing an impaired colleague through an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).  Continue reading

Computerized Brain Training BrainHQ Can Reduce Neglect Symptoms of Stroke and Brain Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas M Van Vleet PhDPosit Science 

Dr. Van Vleet

Thomas M Van Vleet PhD
Posit Science 

Dr. Tom Van Vleet,  presented results on a common symptom of stroke and acquired brain injury (hemi-spatial neglect) at the American Academy of Neurology May 2019

MedicalResearch.com: What makes this study newsworthy?

Response For the first time ever a highly-scalable intervention — computerized brain training (BrainHQ made by Posit Science) —was found to improve symptoms of hemi-spatial neglect, which is a common and often intractable and debilitating problem after stroke or other acquired brain injury.

MedicalResearch.com: What can you tell us about the medical condition (hemi-spatial neglect) investigated in this study?

Response About a third of patients with a brain injury exhibit a complex and debilitating array of neurological deficits known as the “neglect syndrome” (sometimes called, “hemi-spatial neglect” or “neglect”).

The most apparent symptom of neglect is the inability of patients to efficiently process information on the side of space opposite the injury; often completely missing relevant events without awareness. As a result, patients often fail to adopt compensatory strategies or respond to other conventional rehabilitation protocols.

The cost is significant, as patients with neglect experience longer hospital stays and have higher requirements for assistance, including greater skilled nursing home placements relative to patients with similar extent of brain injury without neglect.

To date, there’s been no broadly-applicable and highly-scalable intervention for addressing neglect. An alarming reality given the increasing cost of stroke, which is currently estimated to exceed $34 billion per annum

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Stroke: Thrombolysis Guided by Perfusion Imaging Extended Time Window up to 9 Hours after Onset

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Geoffrey A Donnan AOMBBS, MD, FRCP, FRACP, FAAHMSProfessor of NeurologyUniversity of Melbourne, Melbourne Brain Centre,Royal Melbourne and Austin Hospitals

Prof. Donnan

Geoffrey A Donnan AO
MBBS, MD, FRCP, FRACP, FAAHMS
Professor of Neurology
University of Melbourne, Melbourne Brain Centre
Royal Melbourne and Austin Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Currently the thrombolysis time window for acute ischemic stroke is restricted to less than 4.5 hours from stroke onset and patients with wake-up stroke are not eligible.

EXTEND is a multi-centre randomised placebo-controlled trial involving patient with acute ischemic stroke who presented between 4.5 to 9 hours of stroke onset or with wake-up-stroke and had penumbral tissue demonstrated on automated perfusion imaging.

Patients were randomised to receive either alteplase or placebo. In total there were 225 patients recruited and the patients who received alteplase had higher rate of excellent functional outcome at 3 months (35.4% vs 29.5% adjusted odd ration 1.44 with 95% confidence interval 1.01 – 2.06 p=0.04). Patients who received alteplase achieved higher rate of early neurological improvement at day 3, reperfusion and recanalization at 24 hours. There was numerically more haemorrhage in the alteplase group but this not negate the functional benefit and there was no difference in the rate of mortality between the two groups.  Continue reading

Diroximel Fumarate in Patients With Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis: Interim Efficacy and Safety Results From the Phase 3 EVOLVE-MS-1 Study

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Douglas Arnold, MDThe Montreal Neurological Institute & HospitalMcGill University Montreal, QC, Canada

Dr. Arnold

Douglas Arnold, MD
The Montreal Neurological Institute & Hospital
McGill University
Montreal, QC, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Diroximel fumarate (DRF) is a novel oral fumarate, with a distinct chemical structure that is being developed for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is hypothesized that the distinct chemical structure of DRF may elicit less localized irritation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, potentially leading to improved GI tolerability. Diroximel fumarate is expected to have similar efficacy as dimethyl fumarate (marketed as TECFIDERA®), as both are converted to equivalent levels of monomethyl fumarate in the body. The EVOLVE-MS-1 study is primarily evaluating the safety of DRF and also exploring efficacy endpoints.   Continue reading

Amyloid and Tau Biomarkers Help Distinguish Alzheimer’s from Other Forms of Mild Cognitive Impairment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lauren McCollum, MDCognitive and Behavioral Neurology FellowPenn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology DivisionLauren McCollum, MD

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Fellow
Penn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology Division

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a heterogenous condition, with considerable variability in cognitive symptoms and progression rates.

One major reason for this heterogeneity is “mixed pathology,” – i.e., both AD- and non-AD pathology. Examples of non-AD pathology include cerebrovascular disease (CVD), Lewy Bodies, and TDP-43. Pathologically, Alzheimer’s Disease is defined by characteristic amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which can be assessed for in living patients with CSF- or PET-based biomarkers for amyloid and tau, respectively. Classically, amyloid deposition begins years or even decades before pathologic tau accumulation, which is in turn associated with brain atrophy and cognitive decline.

The recently developed NIA-AA “ATN” research framework allows for the classification of individuals with regard to 3 binary biomarkers: Amyloid (A), Tau (T), and Neurodegeneration (N). An individual’s ATN biomarker status indicates where along the “Alzheimer’s Disease continuum” they lie. Additionally, some ATN statuses are on the “typical AD” continuum, while others are not. Research has shown that 15-30% of cognitively normal older adults have elevated amyloid. It stands to reason that some portion of cognitively impaired individuals with elevated amyloid and neurodegeneration have something other than AD driving their neuronal injury. Within the context of the ATN research framework, this subset of people is the A+T-N+ group (i.e., people who have elevated amyloid and neurodegeneration, but are tau-negative), as amyloid alone (that is, amyloid without tau) is not thought to cause significant cognitive impairment or brain atrophy. Our hypothesis was that, compared to A+T+N+ (a set of typical-AD biomarkers), A+T-N+ have cognitive and neuroimaging profiles that deviate from a typical Alzheimer’s Disease pattern – i.e., with less memory loss and less atrophy in AD-signature regions – and may have biomarkers suggestive of alternate non-AD pathologies [e.g., white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), a marker of CVD].

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Multiple Sclerosis: Extended Dosing of Natalizumab Reduces Risk of PML

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lana Zhovtis Ryserson, MDAssistant Professor, Department of NeurologyNYU Langone Health

Dr. Zhovtis Ryserson

Lana Zhovtis Ryserson, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
NYU Langone Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Natalizumab is an effective therapy of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis dosed at 300mg every 4 weeks. However it is associated with a potentially deadly infection – progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. In order to mitigate this risk, clinicians have adopted an approach of infusing the medication less frequently, a strategy which has become known as Extended Interval Dosing (EID).

The TOUCH database is US mandatated risk evaluation and mitigation program which is the largest database available to assess PML risk for patients on EID schedule. Previous analysis of this database in 2017, showed a significant risk reduction of PML in patients utilizing extended interval dosing schedule. The aim of the current study was to update on this analysis with another year of data.

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