Martin R Turner

University of Oxford, Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (105)538.93 Total impact

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    Martin R Turner, Esther Verstraete
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is now recognised to be a heterogeneous neurodegenerative syndrome of the motor system and its frontotemporal cortical connections. The development and application of structural and functional imaging over the last three decades, in particular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), has allowed traditional post mortem histopathological and emerging molecular findings in ALS to be placed in a clinical context. Cerebral grey and white matter structural MRI changes are increasingly being understood in terms of brain connectivity, providing insights into the advancing degenerative process and producing candidate biomarkers. Such markers may refine the prognostic stratification of patients and the diagnostic pathway, as well as providing an objective assessment of changes in disease activity in response to future therapeutic agents. Studies are being extended to the spinal cord, and the application of neuroimaging to unaffected carriers of highly penetrant genetic mutations linked to the development of ALS offers a unique window to the pre-symptomatic landscape.
    Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports 07/2015; 15(7):569. DOI:10.1007/s11910-015-0569-6 · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Elizabeth Gray, James R. Larkin, Tim D. W. Claridge, Kevin Talbot, Nicola R. Sibson, Martin R. Turner
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    ABSTRACT: Neurochemical biomarkers are urgently sought in ALS. Metabolomic analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) using proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy is a highly sensitive method capable of revealing nervous system cellular pathology. The 1H-NMR CSF metabolomic signature of ALS was sought in a longitudinal cohort. Six-monthly serial collection was performed in ALS patients across a range of clinical sub-types (n = 41) for up to two years, and in healthy controls at a single time-point (n = 14). A multivariate statistical approach, partial least squares discriminant analysis, was used to determine differences between the NMR spectra from patients and controls. Significantly predictive models were found using those patients with at least one year's interval between recruitment and the second sample. Glucose, lactate, citric acid and, unexpectedly, ethanol were the discriminating metabolites elevated in ALS. It is concluded that 1H-NMR captured the CSF metabolomic signature associated with derangements in cellular energy utilization connected with ALS, and was most prominent in comparisons using patients with longer disease duration. The specific metabolites identified support the concept of a hypercatabolic state, possibly involving mitochondrial dysfunction specifically. Endogenous ethanol in the CSF may be an unrecognized novel marker of neuronal tissue injury in ALS.
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration 06/2015; DOI:10.3109/21678421.2015.1053490 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurological syndrome in which motor neurons degenerate relentlessly. Although the site of onset and the rate of spread have been studied extensively, little is known about whether focal as opposed to diffuse disease affects prognosis. We therefore tested the hypothesis that regionality of disease burden is a prognostic factor in ALS. We analysed clinical data from two large multicentre, longitudinal trials. Regionality was defined as the difference in progression rates in three domains as measured by the revised ALS Functional Rating Scale, omitting the respiratory domain from analysis. We used death by trial end as the outcome variable and tested this by logistic regression against predictor variables including regionality and overall rate of disease progression. There were 561 patients. Regionality of disease was independently associated with significantly higher chance of death by study end (odds ratio most diffuse against most focal category 0.354 (0.191, 0.657), p = 0.001), with a direct relationship between degree of regionality and odds of death. We have shown using clinical trial data that focal disease is associated with a worse prognosis in ALS. Measures of regionality warrant further independent consideration in the development of future prognostic models.
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration 06/2015; DOI:10.3109/21678421.2015.1051987 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To test blood and CSF neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels in relation to disease progression and survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Using an electrochemiluminescence immunoassay, NfL levels were measured in samples from 2 cohorts of patients with sporadic ALS and healthy controls, recruited in London (ALS/control, plasma: n = 103/42) and Oxford (ALS/control, serum: n = 64/36; paired CSF: n = 38/20). NfL levels in patients were measured at regular intervals for up to 3 years. Change in ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised score was used to assess disease progression. Survival was evaluated using Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analysis. CSF, serum, and plasma NfL discriminated patients with ALS from healthy controls with high sensitivity (97%, 89%, 90%, respectively) and specificity (95%, 75%, 71%, respectively). CSF NfL was highly correlated with serum levels (r = 0.78, p < 0.0001). Blood NfL levels were approximately 4 times as high in patients with ALS compared with controls in both cohorts, and maintained a relatively constant expression during follow-up. Blood NfL levels at recruitment were strong, independent predictors of survival. The highest tertile of blood NfL at baseline had a mortality hazard ratio of 3.91 (95% confidence interval 1.98-7.94, p < 0.001). Blood-derived NfL level is an easily accessible biomarker with prognostic value in ALS. The individually relatively stable levels longitudinally offer potential for NfL as a pharmacodynamic biomarker in future therapeutic trials. This report provides Class III evidence that the NfL electrochemiluminescence immunoassay accurately distinguishes patients with sporadic ALS from healthy controls. © 2015 American Academy of Neurology.
    Neurology 05/2015; 84(22). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001642 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is sensitive to white matter tract pathology. A core signature involving the corticospinal tracts (CSTs) has been identified in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Raised neurofilament light chain protein (NfL) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is thought to reflect axonal damage in a range of neurological disorders. The relationship between these two measures was explored.MethodsCSF and serum NfL concentrations and DTI acquired at 3 Tesla on the same day were obtained from ALS patients (n = 25 CSF, 40 serum) and healthy, age-similar controls (n = 17 CSF, 25 serum). Within-group correlations between NfL and DTI measures of microstructural integrity in major white matter tracts (CSTs, superior longitudinal fasciculi [SLF], and corpus callosum) were performed using tract-based spatial statistics.ResultsNfL levels were higher in patients compared to controls. CSF levels correlated with clinical upper motor neuron burden and rate of disease progression. Higher NfL levels were significantly associated with lower DTI fractional anisotropy and increased radial diffusivity in the CSTs of ALS patients, but not in controls.InterpretationElevated CSF and serum NfL is, in part, a result of CST degeneration in ALS. This highlights the wider potential for combining neurochemical and neuroimaging-based biomarkers in neurological disease.
    05/2015; DOI:10.1002/acn3.212
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    ABSTRACT: There is growing evidence that mirror neurons, initially discovered over two decades ago in the monkey, are present in the human brain. In the monkey, mirror neurons characteristically fire not only when it is performing an action, such as grasping an object, but also when observing a similar action performed by another agent (human or monkey). In this review we discuss the origin, cortical distribution and possible functions of mirror neurons as a background to exploring their potential relevance in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have recently proposed that ALS (and the related condition of frontotemporal dementia) may be viewed as a failure of interlinked functional complexes having their origins in key evolutionary adaptations. This can include loss of the direct projections from the corticospinal tract, and this is at least part of the explanation for impaired motor control in ALS. Since, in the monkey, corticospinal neurons also show mirror properties, ALS in humans might also affect the mirror neuron system. We speculate that a defective mirror neuron system might contribute to other ALS deficits affecting motor imagery, gesture, language and empathy. Copyright © 2015 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 02/2015; 126(7). DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2015.02.003 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    Martin R Turner, Michael Swash
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    ABSTRACT: Recent advances in understanding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have delivered new questions. Disappointingly, the initial enthusiasm for transgenic mouse models of the disease has not been followed by rapid advances in therapy or prevention. Monogenic models may have inadvertently masked the true complexity of the human disease. ALS has evolved into a multisystem disorder, involving a final common pathway accessible via multiple upstream aetiological tributaries. Nonetheless, there is a common clinical core to ALS, as clear today as it was to Charcot and others. We stress the continuing relevance of clinical observations amid the increasing molecular complexity of ALS. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
    Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 02/2015; 86(6). DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2014-308946 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Whether circulating microvesicles convey bioactive signals in neurodegenerative diseases remains currently unknown. In this study, we investigated the biochemical composition and biological function of exosomes isolated from sera of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).Methods Proteomic analysis was performed on microvesicle preparations from grouped samples of patients with genetic and sporadic forms of PD, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and healthy subjects. Nanoparticle-tracking analysis was used to assess the number and size of exosomes between patient groups. To interrogate their biological effect, microvesicles were added to primary rat cortical neurons subjected to either nutrient deprivation or sodium arsenite.ResultsAmong 1033 proteins identified, 23 exosome-associated proteins were differentially abundant in PD, including the regulator of exosome biogenesis syntenin 1. These protein changes were detected despite similar exosome numbers across groups suggesting that they may reflect exosome subpopulations with distinct functions. Accordingly, we showed in models of neuronal stress that Parkinson's-derived microvesicles have a protective effect.InterpretationCollectively, these data suggest for the first time that immunophenotyping of circulating exosome subpopulations in PD may lead to a better understanding of the systemic response to neurodegeneration and the development of novel therapeutics.
    02/2015; 2(a):353. DOI:10.1002/acn3.175
  • Martin R Turner, Matthew C Kiernan
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    ABSTRACT: Once a patient has been diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),1 management varies considerably around the world. Some patients are managed by a variety of healthcare professionals, for example, a primary care physician, a neurologist, general or palliative care physician, who may each act in relative isolation. Alternatively, it may involve more recently developed multidisciplinary models of care, led by someone with specialised knowledge of the uniquely complex, often rapidly-evolving needs of this patient group, and of those that care for them. The Motor Neurone Disease Association of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, established in 1979, pioneered a Care Centre model of ALS led by a coordinator, typically with a nursing background. It seems logical that the concentration of patients with ALS in highly specialised clinics would go hand in hand with the accumulation of resources and clinical expertise, … [Full text of this article]
    Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 12/2014; 86(5). DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2014-309829 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence for seasonal variation in incidence and subtype of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is contradictory, but has implications for provision of neurological services and understanding pathogenesis. We searched PubMed and EMBASE between inception and January 2014, including all studies reporting seasonal incidence of GBS. We included a retrospective cohort study of patients with GBS at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford 2001-2012 and determined the seasonal variation in GBS incidence and length of stay. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) for winter versus summer was pooled across studies by fixed and random effects meta-analysis weighted by inverse variance, stratified by geographical region, infectious prodrome and GBS subtype. Across 9836 patients from 42 studies there was a 14% increased risk of GBS in winter versus summer (IRR=1.14, 1.02-1.27, p=0.020), with significant heterogeneity between studies (I(2)=77%, p<0.0001), including significant seasonal variation in Oxford (n=140; p=0.037) for winter versus summer (IRR=1.92, 1.18-3.11, p=0.004) but a non-significantly reduced length of stay for winter versus other seasons (15 vs 21 days, p=0.08). Across all studies, there was greater seasonal variation with respiratory prodrome (IRR=3.06, 1.84-5.11, p<0.0001) than diarrhoeal prodrome (IRR=1.10, 0.60-2.00, p=0.76) and a greater incidence in winter in Western countries (IRR=1.28), the Far East (IRR=1.20) and Middle East (IRR=1.12), with a lower incidence in the Indian subcontinent (IRR=0.86) and Latin America (IRR=0.75). Incidence of GBS was greater in winter than summer, but this was not evident in all geographical regions. This is likely to be related to regional variation in prodromal illnesses. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
    Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 12/2014; DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2014-309056 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) exhibits characteristic variability of onset and rate of disease progression, with inherent clinical heterogeneity making disease quantitation difficult. Recent advances in understanding pathogenic mechanisms linked to the development of ALS impose an increasing need to develop strategies to predict and more objectively measure disease progression. This Review explores phenotypic and genetic determinants of disease progression in ALS, and examines established and evolving biomarkers that may contribute to robust measurement in longitudinal clinical studies. With targeted neuroprotective strategies on the horizon, developing efficiencies in clinical trial design may facilitate timely entry of novel treatments into the clinic. ANN NEUROL 2014. © 2014 American Neurological Association
    Annals of Neurology 11/2014; 76(5). DOI:10.1002/ana.24273 · 11.91 Impact Factor
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    Martin R. Turner, Michael Benatar
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple candidate biomarkers for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have emerged across a range of platforms. Replication of results, however, has been absent in all but a few cases, and the range of control samples has been limited. If progress towards clinical translation is to continue, the specific biomarker needs of ALS, which differ from those of other neurodegenerative disorders, as well as the challenges inherent to longitudinal ALS biomarker cohorts, must be understood. Appropriate application of multimodal approaches, international collaboration, pre-symptomatic studies, and biomarker integration into future therapeutic trials are among the essential priorities going forward. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Muscle & Nerve 11/2014; 51(1). DOI:10.1002/mus.24470 · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Exome sequencing is an effective strategy for identifying human disease genes. However, this methodology is difficult in late-onset diseases where limited availability of DNA from informative family members prohibits comprehensive segregation analysis. To overcome this limitation, we performed an exome-wide rare variant burden analysis of 363 index cases with familial ALS (FALS). The results revealed an excess of patient variants within TUBA4A, the gene encoding the Tubulin, Alpha 4A protein. Analysis of a further 272 FALS cases and 5,510 internal controls confirmed the overrepresentation as statistically significant and replicable. Functional analyses revealed that TUBA4A mutants destabilize the microtubule network, diminishing its repolymerization capability. These results further emphasize the role of cytoskeletal defects in ALS and demonstrate the power of gene-based rare variant analyses in situations where causal genes cannot be identified through traditional segregation analysis.
    Neuron 10/2014; 84(2):324-31. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.09.027 · 15.98 Impact Factor
  • Practical Neurology 09/2014; 15(1). DOI:10.1136/practneurol-2014-000950
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: We tested whether it is possible to differentiate relapsing-remitting (RR) from secondary progressive (SP) disease stages in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) using a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolomics and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) of biofluids, which makes no assumptions on the underlying mechanisms of disease.Methods: Serum samples were obtained from patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS), SPMS, and RRMS; patients with other neurodegenerative conditions; and age-matched controls. Samples were analyzed by NMR and PLS-DA models were derived to separate disease groups.Results: The PLS-DA models for serum samples from patients with MS enabled reliable differentiation between RRMS and SPMS. This approach also identified significant differences between the metabolite profiles of each of the MS groups (PP, SP, and RR) and the healthy controls, as well as predicting disease group membership with high specificity and sensitivity.Conclusions: NMR metabolomics analysis of serum is a sensitive and robust method for differentiating between different stages of MS, yielding diagnostic markers without a priori knowledge of disease pathogenesis. Critically, this study identified and validated a type II biomarker for the RR to SP transition in patients with MS. This approach may be of considerable benefit in categorizing patients for treatment and as an outcome measure in future clinical trials.Classification of evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that serum metabolite profiles accurately distinguish patients with different subtypes and stages of MS.
    Neurology 09/2014; 83(17). DOI:10.1212/wnl.0000000000000905 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by progressive loss of upper and lower motor neurons. Advanced MRI techniques such as diffusion tensor imaging have shown great potential in capturing a common white matter pathology. However the sensitivity is variable and diffusion tensor imaging is not yet applicable to the routine clinical environment. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) has revealed grey matter changes in ALS, but the bias-reducing algorithms inherent to traditional VBM are not optimized for the assessment of the white matter changes. We have developed a novel approach to white matter analysis, namely voxel-based intensitometry (VBI). High resolution T1-weighted MRI was acquired at 1.5 Tesla in 30 ALS patients and 37 age-matched healthy controls. VBI analysis at the group level revealed widespread white matter intensity increases in the corticospinal tracts, corpus callosum, sub-central, frontal and occipital white matter tracts and cerebellum. VBI results correlated with disease severity (ALSFRS-R) and patterns of cerebral involvement differed between bulbar- and limb-onset. VBI would be easily translatable to the routine clinical environment, and once optimized for individual analysis offers significant biomarker potential in ALS.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e104894. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104894 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Martin R Turner, Kevin Talbot
    Clinical medicine (London, England) 08/2014; 14(4):456. DOI:10.7861/clinmedicine.14-4-456a · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diagnosis, stratification and monitoring of disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis currently rely on clinical history and examination. The phenotypic heterogeneity of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, including extramotor cognitive impairments is now well recognized. Candidate biomarkers have shown variable sensitivity and specificity, and studies have been mainly undertaken only cross-sectionally. Sixty patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (without a family history of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or dementia) underwent baseline multimodal magnetic resonance imaging at 3 T. Grey matter pathology was identified through analysis of T1-weighted images using voxel-based morphometry. White matter pathology was assessed using tract-based spatial statistics analysis of indices derived from diffusion tensor imaging. Cross-sectional analyses included group comparison with a group of healthy controls (n = 36) and correlations with clinical features, including regional disability, clinical upper motor neuron signs and cognitive impairment. Patients were offered 6-monthly follow-up MRI, and the last available scan was used for a separate longitudinal analysis (n = 27). In cross-sectional study, the core signature of white matter pathology was confirmed within the corticospinal tract and callosal body, and linked strongly to clinical upper motor neuron burden, but also to limb disability subscore and progression rate. Localized grey matter abnormalities were detected in a topographically appropriate region of the left motor cortex in relation to bulbar disability, and in Broca's area and its homologue in relation to verbal fluency. Longitudinal analysis revealed progressive and widespread changes in the grey matter, notably including the basal ganglia. In contrast there was limited white matter pathology progression, in keeping with a previously unrecognized limited change in individual clinical upper motor neuron scores, despite advancing disability. Although a consistent core white matter pathology was found cross-sectionally, grey matter pathology was dominant longitudinally, and included progression in clinically silent areas such as the basal ganglia, believed to reflect their wider cortical connectivity. Such changes were significant across a range of apparently sporadic patients rather than being a genotype-specific effect. It is also suggested that the upper motor neuron lesion in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may be relatively constant during the established symptomatic period. These findings have implications for the development of effective diagnostic versus therapeutic monitoring magnetic resonance imaging biomarkers. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may be characterized initially by a predominantly white matter tract pathological signature, evolving as a widespread cortical network degeneration.
    Brain 06/2014; 137. DOI:10.1093/brain/awu162 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Hallmarks of CNS inflammation, including microglial and astrocyte activation, are prominent features in post-mortem tissue from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and in mice overexpressing mutant superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1G93A). Administration of non-targeted glucocorticoids does not significantly alter disease progression, but this may reflect poor CNS delivery. Here, we sought to discover whether CNS-targeted, liposomal encapsulated glucocorticoid would inhibit the CNS inflammatory response and reduce motor neuron loss. SOD1G93A mice were treated with saline, free methylprednisolone (MP, 10 mg/kg/week) or glutathione PEGylated liposomal MP (2B3-201, 10 mg/kg/week) and compared to saline treated wild-type animals. Animals were treated weekly with intravenous injections for 9 weeks from 60 days of age. Weights and motor performance were monitored during this period. At the end of the experimental period (116 days) mice were imaged using T2-weighted MRI for brainstem pathology; brain and spinal cord tissue were then collected for histological analysis. Results All SOD1G93A groups showed a significant decrease in motor performance, compared to baseline, from ~100 days. SOD1G93A animals showed a significant increase in signal intensity on T2 weighted MR images, which may reflect the combination of neuronal vacuolation and glial activation in these motor nuclei. Treatment with 2B3-201, but not free MP, significantly reduced T2 hyperintensity observed in SOD1G93A mice. Compared to saline-treated and free-MP-treated SOD1G93A mice, those animals given 2B3-201 displayed significantly improved histopathological outcomes in brainstem motor nuclei, which included reduced gliosis and neuronal loss. Conclusions In contrast to previous reports that employed free steroid preparations, CNS-targeted anti-inflammatory agent 2B3-201 (liposomal methylprednisolone) has therapeutic potential, reducing brainstem pathology in the SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS. 2B3-201 reduced neuronal loss and vacuolation in brainstem nuclei, and reduced activation preferentially in astrocytes compared with microglia. These data also suggest that other previously ineffective therapies could be of therapeutic value if delivered specifically to the CNS.
    06/2014; 2(1):66. DOI:10.1186/2051-5960-2-66
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    ABSTRACT: A 70-year-old woman presented to the hospital's general physicians with a 3-week exacerbation of pre-existing migrainous headache, speech and behavioural change. There was a 20-year history of slowly progressive bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, and a 10-year history of diabetes mellitus. On examination, there was marked receptive and expressive dysphasia, but no other abnormalities. She was afebrile. Her leucocyte count and inflammatory markers were normal. Uncontrasted CT scan of the brain showed bilateral temporal lobe low attenuation, more on the right side, with bilateral basal ganglia calcification (figure 1A, B). The lesions could not be characterised further as she could not tolerate MR imaging. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination was acellular, with normal protein and glucose. EEG showed generalised slowing, consistent with a diffuse disorder of cortical function. An autoimmune screen, including antinuclear antibodies, antithyroid peroxidase antibodies, antivoltage-gated potassium channel antibodies, anti-NMDA receptor antibodies and antineuronal antibodies was negative. Serum protein electrophoresis, carotid Doppler ultrasound and echocardiogram were normal.
    Practical Neurology 05/2014; 14(6). DOI:10.1136/practneurol-2014-000853

Publication Stats

2k Citations
538.93 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2015
    • University of Oxford
      • Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
    • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
      Nottigham, England, United Kingdom
  • 2008–2014
    • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
      • • Department of Clinical Neurology
      • • Department of Neurology
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
  • 2012
    • Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
      Reading, England, United Kingdom
  • 2003–2008
    • King's College London
      • • MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research
      • • Institute of Psychiatry
      London, ENG, United Kingdom