Author Interviews, Education, Neurology, NYU / 17.05.2019

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). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, Stroke / 12.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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 (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, NEJM, Neurology / 09.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, McGill, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology / 09.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, University of Pennsylvania / 08.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren McCollum, MDCognitive and Behavioral Neurology FellowPenn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology Division Lauren 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]. (more…)
Author Interviews / 07.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)