[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are characterized by a heterogeneous set of clinical manifestations. Our aims were to assess the neurological features of SCA3, and to describe and test the feasibility, reliability, and validity of a comprehensive Neurological Examination Score for Spinocerebellar Ataxia (NESSCA). The NESSCA was administered to molecularly diagnosed SCA3 patients at an outpatient neurogenetics clinic. The scale, based on the standardized neurological examination, consisted of 18 items that yielded a total score ranging from 0 to 40. The score's interrater reliability and internal consistency were investigated, and a principal components analysis and a correlation with external measures were performed. Ninety-nine individuals were evaluated. Interrater reliability ranged from 0.8 to 1 across individual items (P < 0.001); internal consistency, indicated by Cronbach's alpha, was 0.77. NESSCA scores were significantly correlated with measures of disease severity: disease stage (rho = 0.76, P < 0.001), duration (rho = 0.56, P < 0.001), and length of CAG repeat (rho = 0.30, P < 0.05). NESSCA was a reliable measure for the assessment of distinct neurological deficits in SCA3 patients. Global scores correlated with all external variables tested, showing NESSCA to be a comprehensive measure of disease severity that is both clinically useful and scientifically valid.
European Journal of Neurology 04/2008; 15(4):371-6. · 4.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal disorder due to a-galactosidase A deficiency that causes storage of globotriaosylceramide. The gene coding for this lysosomal enzyme is located on the long arm of the X chromosome, in region Xq21.33-Xq22. Disease progression leads to vascular disease secondary to involvement of kidney, heart and the central nervous system. Detection of female carriers based solely on enzyme assays is often inconclusive. Therefore, mutation analysis is a valuable tool for diagnosis and genetic counseling. Many mutations of the a-galactosidase A gene have been reported with high genetic heterogeneity, being most mutations private found in only one family. The disease is panethnic, and estimates of incidence range from about 1 in 40,000 to 60,000 males. Our objective was to describe the analysis of 6 male and 7 female individuals belonging to 4 different Fabry disease families by automated sequencing of the seven exons of the alpha-galactosidase gene. Sequencing was performed using PCR fragments for each exon amplified from DNA extracted from peripheral blood. Three known mutations and one previously described in another Brazilian family were detected. Of 7 female relatives studied, 4 were carriers. Although the present study confirms the heterogeneity of mutations in Fabry disease, the finding of the same mutation previously detected in another Fabry family from our region raises the possibility of some founder effect, or genetic drift. Finally, the present study highlights the importance of molecular analysis for carrier detection and genetic counseling.
Brazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas medicas e biologicas / Sociedade Brasileira de Biofisica ... [et al.] 01/2008; 40(12):1599-604. · 1.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It was the aim of this study to determine the depression scores of Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) patients, their spouses, and individuals at 50% risk for MJD, and second, to verify the existence of a correlation between depressive symptoms and the degree of motor incapacitation.
Two hundred and forty-six individuals aged > or =18 years were studied: 79 MJD patients (group 1), 43 spouses of MJD patients (group 2), 80 individuals at risk for MJD (group 3), and a control group (group 4) composed of 44 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The following two tools were applied: the Beck Depression Inventory and the Barthel index of physical incapacitation, both in an adapted Brazilian Portuguese version.
Moderate to severe depressive scores were found in 33.5% of patients in the MJD families, in 16.3% of the spouses, and in 6.3% of the individuals at risk. This linear reduction between MJD family members was statistically significant (p < 0.0001, ANOVA). Depressive scores were also associated with age and the female sex. A direct correlation between Beck Depression Inventory scores and motor incapacitation was found in MJD patients (r = 0.507, Pearson correlation, p < 0.0001). Although the depressive symptoms in the control group with MS were higher than those found in MJD patients (59% of MS patients showed moderate to severe scores), depression did not correlate with physical incapacitation, age, or education attainment in the MS group.
Depressive symptoms are rather common in MJD patients and in their spouses (caregivers). In this condition, depression seemed to be more reactive than primarily related to the disease process itself.
Community Genetics 02/2007; 10(1):19-26. · 1.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the clinical and radiological central nervous system (CNS) findings of 8 Fabry disease patients, before (8/8) and after (7/8) 12 months of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with agalsidase-alpha. Eight biochemically proven Fabry disease patients (from four families) were included. Patients were evaluated at baseline and at regular intervals during 12 months of ERT. Evaluations included a thorough, standardized neurological examination, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and angiography (MRA). Brain proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was also performed in 5/8 patients. The presence and location of grey- and white-matter lesions, the presence of vascular occlusion or ectasia on MRA and the metabolite ratios on MRS were determined, as well as their relation to age, symptoms and neurological examination. Neurological examination showed few abnormalities in these patients: scores varied (on a 0-100 scale) from zero to 5, at baseline and in the 12th month of ERT. The most consistent findings on MRI were asymmetric, widespread patterns of deep white-matter (WM) lesions, hyperintense on T2 and FLAIR-weighted images, found in 4/8 patients at baseline, predominantly in frontal and parietal lobes. These lesions did not correlate with other clinical variables, although there was a trend towards an association of the lesions with age and hearing loss. The youngest patient with MRI lesions was 24 years old. After 12 months of ERT, MRI was normal in 3/7, showed the same WM lesions in 2/7, and showed worsening of WM lesions in 2/7 patients (from the same family). Abnormal MRS metabolite ratios were detected at baseline in 4/5 patients. While neurological examination remained almost normal during the 12 months of ERT, new small-vessel CNS involvement still appeared in 2/7 patients. We do not know why ERT was not able to prevent this in these two related male patients. This could be due either to their older ages (46 and 36 years), or to a more pathogenic mutation. We conclude that MRI was more sensitive than neurological examination in detecting CNS involvement and progression in Fabry disease in the time interval studied.