Howard I Hurtig

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (144)857.64 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of novel plasma-based biomarkers could lead to new approaches in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we explore the role of plasma apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) as a risk marker for PD and evaluate the influence of APOA1 promoter variation on plasma ApoA1 levels. Plasma ApoA1 and the single-nucleotide polymorphism, rs670, were assayed in a discovery cohort (cohort 1) of 301 PD patients, 80 normal controls (NCs), and 165 subjects with other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as a cohort (cohort 2) of 158 PD patients from a second clinical site. Additionally, rs670 was genotyped in a third cohort of 1,494 PD and 925 NC subjects from both clinical sites. Compared to both normal and disease controls, PD patients have lower plasma ApoA1 (P < 0.001 for both comparisons). Moreover, in PD patients, plasma ApoA1 levels are correlated with genotype at the APOA1 promoter polymorphism, rs670. Specifically, lower plasma ApoA1 levels were found in rs670 major allele (G) homozygotes in both cohort 1 (P = 0.009) and in a replication cohort (cohort 2; n = 158 PD patients; P = 0.024). Finally, evaluating rs670 genotype frequencies in 1,930 PD cases versus 997 NCs, the rs670 GG genotype shows a trend toward association (odds ratio: 1.1; P = 0.10) with PD. Our results are compatible with a model whereby circulating ApoA1 levels may be useful in risk-stratifying subjects for the development of PD, with higher ApoA1 levels suggesting relative protection. Future studies evaluating modulation of ApoA1 as a novel therapeutic strategy in PD are warranted. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
    Movement Disorders 09/2014; · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive impairment is a common and disabling problem in Parkinson disease (PD) that is not well understood and is difficult to treat. Identification of genetic variants that influence the rate of cognitive decline or pattern of early cognitive deficits in PD might provide a clearer understanding of the etiopathogenesis of this important nonmotor feature.
    JAMA Neurology 09/2014; · 7.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Impulse control disorders (ICDs) in Parkinson disease (PD) are common and can be difficult to manage. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy and tolerability of naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, for the treatment of ICDs in PD.METHODS: Patients with PD (n = 50) and an ICD were enrolled in an 8-week, randomized (1:1), double-blind, placebo-controlled study of naltrexone 50-100 mg/d (flexible dosing). The primary outcome measure was response based on the Clinical Global Impression-Change score, and the secondary outcome measure was change in symptom severity using the Questionnaire for Impulsive-Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease-Rating Scale (QUIP-RS) ICD score.RESULTS: Forty-five patients (90%) completed the study. The Clinical Global Impression-Change response rate difference favoring naltrexone in completers was 19.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] -8.7% to 44.2%). While this difference was not significant (odds ratio = 1.6, 95% CI 0.5-5.2, Wald χ(2) [df] = 0.5 [1], p = 0.5), naltrexone treatment led to a significantly greater decrease in QUIP-RS ICD score over time compared with placebo (regression coefficient for interaction term in linear mixed-effects model = -7.37, F[df] = 4.3 [1, 49], p = 0.04). The estimated changes in QUIP-RS ICD scores from baseline to week 8 were 14.9 points (95% CI 9.9-19.9) for naltrexone and 7.5 points (95% CI 2.5-12.6) for placebo.CONCLUSIONS: Naltrexone treatment was not efficacious for the treatment of ICDs in PD using a global assessment of response, but findings using a PD-specific ICD rating scale support further evaluation of opioid antagonists for the treatment of ICD symptoms in PD.CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class I evidence that in patients with PD and an ICD, naltrexone does not significantly increase the probability of achieving response. However, the study lacked the precision to exclude an important difference in response rates.
    Neurology 07/2014; · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Whether Parkinson's disease (PD) influences suprathreshold changes in perceived odor intensity is unknown. In patients with Alzheimer's disease, patients with schizophrenia, and the elderly, such perception is reportedly normal. If generally true, this could reflect a core element of the olfactory system insulated to some degree from age- and disease-related pathological conditions.Methods Odor intensity ratings for pentyl acetate were obtained from 29 early-stage PD patients when on and off dopamine-related medications (DRMs) and from 29 matched controls.ResultsThe ratings were significantly attenuated at the higher odorant concentrations, with the degree of attenuation associated with overall olfactory dysfunction. Ratings were higher on the right than on the left side of the nose of both patients and controls. No associations with DRMs, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores, or striatal dopamine transporter imaging were found.Conclusions Parkinson's disease (PD) influences suprathreshold estimates of perceived odor intensity, negating the notion that such perception might be spared in this disease. No association with dopaminergic processes was apparent. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
    Movement Disorders 06/2014; · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dementia in Parkinson's disease (PD) is a serious health issue and a major concern for many patients. In most cases mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered a transitional stage between normal cognitive functioning and dementia which is of potential importance in the early identification of patients at risk for dementia. Recently, the Movement Disorder Society (MDS) proposed diagnostic criteria for MCI in PD (PD-MCI). These criteria comprise two operationalizations: Level I (based on an abbreviated assessment) and Level II (based on comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation permitting MCI subtyping). These criteria need to be validated. This paper describes a project aiming to validate the MDS PD-MCI criteria by pooling and analyzing cross-sectional and longitudinal neuropsychological databases comprising ≥5,500 PD patients and ≥1,700 controls. After applying the MDS PD-MCI Level I and Level II criteria, rates of conversion to PD-dementia and predictive variables for conversion to PD-dementia will be established. This study will also assist in identifying whether revisions of the PD-MCI criteria are required.
    Journal of Parkinson's disease. 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) are defined by the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits in the central nervous system (CNS), and only neuropathological examination enables a definitive diagnosis. Brain banks and their associated scientific programs have shaped the actual knowledge of NDs, identifying and characterizing the CNS deposits that define new diseases, formulating staging schemes, and establishing correlations between neuropathological changes and clinical features. However, brain banks have evolved to accommodate the banking of biofluids as well as DNA and RNA samples. Moreover, the value of biobanks is greatly enhanced if they link all the multidimensional clinical and laboratory information of each case, which is accomplished, optimally, using systematic and standardized operating procedures, and in the framework of multidisciplinary teams with the support of a flexible and user-friendly database system that facilitates the sharing of information of all the teams in the network. We describe a biobanking system that is a platform for discovery research at the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Pennsylvania.
    Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association 08/2013; · 14.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Poor nocturnal sleep is common in Parkinson's disease (PD) and negatively impacts quality of life. There is little data on how dopaminergic drugs influence nocturnal sleep in PD, particularly in relation to medication timing. We examined the association between dopaminergic medications and subjective and objective nocturnal sleep in PD. METHODS: Individuals with PD were recruited from the outpatient clinic. Demographics and disease information were collected. Patients underwent one-night polysomnography and responded to SCOPA-SLEEP, a self-administered questionnaire which includes a section on nighttime sleep and an overall measure of sleep quality; higher scores indicate worse sleep. Medication intake, including medication timing in relation to bedtime, was obtained and converted to levodopa equivalents. RESULTS: 41 Males and 21 females, median age 63.9 years, participated. Median disease duration was 5 years. After adjusting for age, sex, disease severity, and disease duration, greater total levodopa equivalent intake within 4 h of sleep was associated with higher total SCOPA-nighttime score (p = 0.009) and greater wake time after sleep onset (p = 0.049). Greater dopaminergic medication intake prior to sleep was also associated with less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep as a percent of total sleep time (p = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Higher amounts of dopaminergic medications taken prior to sleep were associated with poor sleep quality and less REM sleep. Although poor nocturnal sleep in PD is likely multi-factorial in etiology, our findings suggest that timing and dose of medications prior to sleep need to be considered in its management.
    Parkinsonism & Related Disorders 06/2013; · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Biochemical abnormalities present in GBA (mut/wt) carriers may offer new pathogenetic insights to and potential therapeutic targets in Parkinson disease (PD). OBJECTIVE To determine whether patients having PD with vs without GBA mutations differ in clinical phenotype or plasma protein expression. DESIGN AND SETTING Case-control study of patients having PD with vs without GBA mutations. Clinical characteristics were compared between groups, and biochemical profiling of 40 plasma proteins was performed to identify proteins that differed in expression between groups. PARTICIPANTS The discovery cohort included 20 patients having PD with GBA mutations. Clinical characteristics of GBA -associated PD cases were compared with those of 242 patients having PD in whom GBA mutations were excluded by full gene sequencing. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Biochemical profiling was available for all 20 GBA -associated PD cases, as well as a subset (87 of 242) of the GBA -negative PD cases. The replication cohort included 19 patients having PD with GBA mutations and 41 patients having PD without GBA mutations. RESULTS Compared with patients having PD without GBA mutations, patients having PD with GBA mutations were younger at disease onset (P = .04) and were more likely to demonstrate cognitive dysfunction (P = .001). In a multiple regression model that included age, sex, and assay batch as covariates, GBA mutation status was significantly associated with plasma levels of interleukin 8 (P = .001), monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (P = .008), and macrophage inflammatory protein 1α (P = .005). The association between interleukin 8 and GBA mutation status was replicated (P = .03) in a separate cohort of patients having PD with vs without GBA mutations. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Patients having PD with GBA mutations have earlier age at disease onset and are more likely to demonstrate cognitive dysfunction. Monocyte-associated inflammatory mediators may be elevated in patients having PD with GBA mutations.
    JAMA neurology. 05/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE While mutations in glucocerebrosidase (GBA1) are associated with an increased risk for Parkinson disease (PD), it is important to establish whether such mutations are also a common risk factor for other Lewy body disorders. OBJECTIVE To establish whether GBA1 mutations are a risk factor for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). DESIGN We compared genotype data on patients and controls from 11 centers. Data concerning demographics, age at onset, disease duration, and clinical and pathological features were collected when available. We conducted pooled analyses using logistic regression to investigate GBA1 mutation carrier status as predicting DLB or PD with dementia status, using common control subjects as a reference group. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to account for additional heterogeneity. SETTING Eleven centers from sites around the world performing genotyping. PARTICIPANTS Seven hundred twenty-one cases met diagnostic criteria for DLB and 151 had PD with dementia. We compared these cases with 1962 controls from the same centers matched for age, sex, and ethnicity. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Frequency of GBA1 mutations in cases and controls. RESULTS We found a significant association between GBA1 mutation carrier status and DLB, with an odds ratio of 8.28 (95% CI, 4.78-14.88). The odds ratio for PD with dementia was 6.48 (95% CI, 2.53-15.37). The mean age at diagnosis of DLB was earlier in GBA1 mutation carriers than in noncarriers (63.5 vs 68.9 years; P < .001), with higher disease severity scores. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Mutations in GBA1 are a significant risk factor for DLB. GBA1 mutations likely play an even larger role in the genetic etiology of DLB than in PD, providing insight into the role of glucocerebrosidase in Lewy body disease.
    JAMA neurology. 04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: A disabling impairment of higher-order language function can be seen in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD), Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We focus on script comprehension in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders. While scripts unfold sequentially, constituent events are thought to contain an internal organization. Executive dysfunction in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders may interfere with comprehension of this internal structure. We examined 42 patients (30 non-demented PD and 12 mildly demented PDD/DLB patients) and 12 healthy seniors. We presented 22 scripts (e.g., "going fishing"), each consisting of six events. Pilot data from young controls provided the basis for organizing associated events into clusters and arranging them hierarchically into scripts. We measured accuracy and latency to judge the order of adjacent events in the same cluster versus adjacent events in different clusters. PDD/DLB patients were less accurate in their ordering judgments than PD patients and controls. Healthy seniors and PD patients were significantly faster to judge correctly the order of highly associated within-cluster event pairs relative to less closely associated different-cluster event pairs, while PDD/DLB patients did not consistently distinguish between these event-pair types. This relative insensitivity to the clustered-hierarchical organization of events was related to executive impairment and to frontal atrophy as measured by volumetric MRI. These findings extend prior work on script processing to patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders and highlight the potential impact of frontal/executive dysfunction on the daily lives of affected patients.
    Brain and Language 04/2013; · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is present in around 40% of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Definitive diagnosis requires a polysomnogram, but that is costly, time intensive, and not practical for large-scale studies. Therefore, we assessed using a questionnaire-based diagnostic approach. METHODS: The patient-administered RBD questionnaire and bed-partner-administered question 1 of the Mayo questionnaire were prospectively validated. RESULTS: Seventy-five PD patients (51 male, 68 Hoehn and Yahr stages I and II) participated. Forty-eight had a clinical history of RBD. Sensitivity was 100% (95% CI, 86.3%-100%) when a combination of both questionnaires was compared with the gold standard of polysomnogram-confirmed RBD. Among those who achieved REM sleep (n = 65), specificity was highest for the patient questionnaire used alone, at 82.4% (95% CI, 64.8%-92.6%). CONCLUSIONS: A combination of patient and bed-partner questionnaires is a useful tool to detect RBD. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society.
    Movement Disorders 03/2013; · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To identify plasma-based biomarkers for Parkinson's Disease (PD) risk. METHODS: In a discovery cohort of 152 PD patients, plasma levels of 96 proteins were measured by multiplex immunoassay; proteins associated with age at PD onset were identified by linear regression. Findings from discovery screening were then assessed in a second cohort of 187 PD patients, using a different technique. Finally, in a third cohort of at-risk, asymptomatic individuals enrolled in the Parkinson's Associated Risk Study (PARS, n=134), plasma levels of the top candidate biomarker were measured, and dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging performed, to evaluate the association of plasma protein levels with dopaminergic system integrity. RESULTS: One of the best candidate protein biomarkers to emerge from discovery screening was apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1, p=0.001). Low levels of ApoA1 correlated with earlier PD onset, with a 26% decrease in risk of developing PD associated with each tertile increase in ApoA1 (Cox proportional hazards p<0.001, hazard ratio=0.742). The association between plasma ApoA1 levels and age at PD onset replicated in an independent cohort of PD patients (p<0.001). Finally, in the PARS cohort of high-risk, asymptomatic subjects, lower plasma levels of ApoA1 were associated with greater putaminal DAT deficit (p=0.037). INTERPRETATION: Lower ApoA1 levels correlate with dopaminergic system vulnerability in symptomatic PD patients and in asymptomatic individuals with physiological reductions in dopamine transporter density consistent with prodromal PD. Plasma ApoA1 may be a new biomarker for PD risk. ANN NEUROL 2010.
    Annals of Neurology 02/2013; · 11.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While plasma biomarkers have been proposed to aid in the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD), few biomarkers have been validated in independent patient cohorts. Here we aim to determine plasma biomarkers associated with AD in 2 independent cohorts and validate the findings in the multicenter Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). Using a targeted proteomic approach, we measured levels of 190 plasma proteins and peptides in 600 participants from 2 independent centers (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Washington University, St. Louis, MO), and identified 17 analytes associated with the diagnosis of very mild dementia/mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or AD. Four analytes (apoE, B-type natriuretic peptide, C-reactive protein, pancreatic polypeptide) were also found to be altered in clinical MCI/AD in the ADNI cohort (n = 566). Regression analysis showed CSF Aβ42 levels and t-tau/Aβ42 ratios to correlate with the number of APOE4 alleles and plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide and pancreatic polypeptide. Four plasma analytes were consistently associated with the diagnosis of very mild dementia/MCI/AD in 3 independent clinical cohorts. These plasma biomarkers may predict underlying AD through their association with CSF AD biomarkers, and the association between plasma and CSF amyloid biomarkers needs to be confirmed in a prospective study.
    Neurology 08/2012; 79(9):897-905. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: A study was undertaken to examine the neuropathological substrates of cognitive dysfunction and dementia in Parkinson disease (PD). METHODS: One hundred forty patients with a clinical diagnosis of PD and either normal cognition or onset of dementia 2 or more years after motor symptoms (PDD) were studied. Patients with a clinical diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies were excluded. Autopsy records of genetic data and semiquantitative scores for the burden of neurofibrillary tangles, senile plaques, Lewy bodies (LBs), and Lewy neurites (LNs) and other pathologies were used to develop a multivariate logistic regression model to determine the independent association of these variables with dementia. Correlates of comorbid Alzheimer disease (AD) were also examined. RESULTS: Niney-two PD patients developed dementia, and 48 remained cognitively normal. Severity of cortical LB (CLB)/LN pathology was positively associated with dementia (p < 0.001), with an odds ratio (OR) of 4.06 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.87-8.81), as was apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) genotype (p = 0.018; OR, 4.19; 95% CI, 1.28-13.75). A total of 28.6% of all PD cases had sufficient pathology for comorbid AD, of whom 89.5% were demented. The neuropathological diagnosis of PDD+AD correlated with an older age of PD onset (p = 0.001; OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.04-1.21), higher CLB/LN burden (p = 0.037; OR, 2.48; 95% CI, 1.06-5.82), and cerebral amyloid angiopathy severity (p = 0.032; OR, 4.16; 95% CI, 1.13-15.30). INTERPRETATION: CLB/LN pathology is the most significant correlate of dementia in PD. Additionally, APOE4 genotype may independently influence the risk of dementia in PD. AD pathology was abundant in a subset of patients, and may modify the clinical phenotype. Thus, therapies that target α-synuclein, tau, or amyloid β could potentially improve cognitive performance in PD. ANN NEUROL 2012.
    Annals of Neurology 06/2012; · 11.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of genetic factors in cognitive decline associated with Parkinson's disease (PD) is unclear. We examined whether variations in apolipoprotein E (APOE), microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT), or catechol-O-methytransferase (COMT) genotypes are associated with cognitive decline in PD. We performed a prospective cohort study of 212 patients with a clinical diagnosis of PD. The primary outcome was change in Mattis Dementia Rating Scale version 2 score. Linear mixed-effects models and survival analysis were used to test for associations between genotypes and change in cognitive function over time. The ε4 allele of APOE was associated with more rapid decline (loss of 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7-4.1) of more points per year; P < 0.001) in total score and an increased risk of a ≥ 10 point drop during the follow-up period (hazard ratio, 2.8; 95% CI: 1.4-5.4; P = 0.003). MAPT haplotype and COMT genotype were associated with measures of memory and attention, respectively, over the entire follow-up period, but not with the overall rate of cognitive decline. These results confirm and extend previously described genetic associations with cognitive decline in PD and imply that individual genes may exert effects on specific cognitive domains or at different disease stages. Carrying at least one APOE ε4 allele is associated with more rapid cognitive decline in PD, supporting the idea of a component of shared etiology between PD dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Clinically, these results suggest that genotyping can provide information about the risk of future cognitive decline for PD patients.
    Movement Disorders 02/2012; 27(4):512-8. · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphorylated α-synuclein (PS-129), a protein implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD), was identified by mass spectrometry in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A highly sensitive and specific assay was established and used to measure PS-129 together with total α-synuclein in the CSF of patients with PD, other parkinsonian disorders such as multiple system atrophy (MSA) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and healthy individuals (a total of ~600 samples). PS-129 CSF concentrations correlated weakly with PD severity and, when combined with total α-synuclein concentrations in CSF, contributed to distinguishing PD from MSA and PSP. Further rigorous validation in independent cohorts of patients, especially those where samples have been collected longitudinally, will determine whether the concentration of PS-129 in CSF will be useful for diagnosing PD and for monitoring PD severity and progression.
    Science translational medicine 02/2012; 4(121):121ra20. · 10.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The indications for deep brain stimulation (DBS) are expanding, and the feasibility and efficacy of this surgical procedure in various neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders continue to be tested. This review attempts to provide background and rationale for applying this therapeutic option to obesity and addiction. We review neural targets currently under clinical investigation for DBS—the hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens—in conditions such as cluster headache and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These brain regions have also been strongly implicated in obesity and addiction. These disorders are frequently refractory, with very high rates of weight regain or relapse, respectively, despite the best available treatments. We performed a structured literature review of the animal studies of DBS, which revealed attenuation of food intake, increased metabolism, or decreased drug seeking. We also review the available radiologic evidence in humans, implicating the hypothalamus and nucleus in obesity and addiction. The available evidence of the promise of DBS in these conditions combined with significant medical need, support pursuing pilot studies and clinical trials of DBS in order to decrease the risk of dietary and drug relapse. Well-designed pilot studies and clinical trials enrolling carefully selected patients with obesity or addiction should be initiated.
    Acta Neurochirurgica 12/2011; 153(12):2293-306. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The seminal paper on cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome by Schmahmann and Sherman (1998), and subsequent studies, has expanded our understanding of the role of the cerebellum beyond motor functioning to psychological and cognitive functioning. However, many of these studies have examined patients between 1 week and 5 years post-injury and have tended to exclude patients with prior neurological injuries. Thus, the objective of this case study was to examine cerebellar injury in the context of remote traumatic brain injury (TBI) and describe the long-term cognitive, psychological, and psychosocial sequelae of injury in a 33-year-old, right-handed, Caucasian veteran (S.M.). Method: At age 23, S.M. was referred for neuroimaging by psychiatry due to concern that a TBI from age 16 was the cause of recent onset aggressive behavior. Multiple neuroimaging studies showed no neuroanatomical sequelae of TBI, but revealed a right cerebellar arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Embolization resulted in >50% removal of the AVM, but uncovered an intranidal aneurysm. Repeat neuroimaging revealed a large hemorrhage within the cerebellum with the mass effect and hydrocephalus; subsequent treatment resulted in a complicated 5-month hospital stay. Results: Neuropsychological evaluation conducted 10 years after injury revealed deficits in basic attention, working memory, and information processing speed with relatively intact executive functioning and memory. Physical deficits, including ataxia, dysarthria, and spasticity, and psychological difficulties, including impulsivity and low frustration tolerance, were more prominent and caused significant psychosocial distress, impacting interpersonal relationships. Conclusions: This case highlights the cognitive residual of cerebellar injury and the potential long-term impact on psychological and social functioning.
    Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 09/2011; 26(6):470-567. · 2.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is becoming increasingly important to study common and distinct etiologies, clinical and pathological features, and mechanisms related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. These comparative studies rely on powerful database tools to quickly generate data sets that match diverse and complementary criteria set by them. In this article, we present a novel integrated neurodegenerative disease (INDD) database, which was developed at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) with the help of a consortium of Penn investigators. Because the work of these investigators are based on Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration, it allowed us to achieve the goal of developing an INDD database for these major neurodegenerative disorders. We used the Microsoft SQL server as a platform, with built-in "backwards" functionality to provide Access as a frontend client to interface with the database. We used PHP Hypertext Preprocessor to create the "frontend" web interface and then used a master lookup table to integrate individual neurodegenerative disease databases. We also present methods of data entry, database security, database backups, and database audit trails for this INDD database. Using the INDD database, we compared the results of a biomarker study with those using an alternative approach by querying individual databases separately. We have demonstrated that the Penn INDD database has the ability to query multiple database tables from a single console with high accuracy and reliability. The INDD database provides a powerful tool for generating data sets in comparative studies on several neurodegenerative diseases.
    Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association 07/2011; 7(4):e84-93. · 14.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a movement disorder with prominent tau neuropathology. Brain diseases with abnormal tau deposits are called tauopathies, the most common of which is Alzheimer's disease. Environmental causes of tauopathies include repetitive head trauma associated with some sports. To identify common genetic variation contributing to risk for tauopathies, we carried out a genome-wide association study of 1,114 individuals with PSP (cases) and 3,247 controls (stage 1) followed by a second stage in which we genotyped 1,051 cases and 3,560 controls for the stage 1 SNPs that yielded P ≤ 10 −3 . We found significant previously unidentified signals (P < 5 × 10 −8) associated with PSP risk at STX6, EIF2AK3 and MOBP. We confirmed two independent variants in MAPT affecting risk for PSP, one of which influences MAPT brain expression. The genes implicated encode proteins for vesicle-membrane fusion at the Golgi-endosomal interface, for the endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response and for a myelin structural component. PSP is a rare neurodegenerative movement disorder clinically char­ acterized by falls, axial rigidity, vertical supranuclear gaze palsy, bradykinesia and cognitive decline. Though PSP is rare (with a prevalence of 3.1–6.5 per 100,000 people 1), after Parkinson's disease, PSP is the second most common cause of degenerative parkinsonism 2 . PSP is a tauopathy with abnormal accumulation of tau protein within neurons as neurofibrillary tangles, primarily in the basal ganglia, diencephalon and brainstem, with neuronal loss in the globus pallidus, subthalamic nucleus and substantia nigra. Abnormal tau also accumulates within oligodendroglia and astrocytes 3 . In Alzheimer's disease, even though all affected indivi­ duals have neurofibrillary tangles, Aβ plaques are closely tied to the primary disease process, and, thus, Alzheimer's disease is a sec­ ondary tauopathy. PSP is a primary tauopathy because tau is the major abnormal protein observed. Both environmental insults and inherited factors contribute to the risk of developing tauopathies 4 . Repetitive brain trauma, associated with certain sports, can cause Identification of common variants influencing risk of the tauopathy progressive supranuclear palsy
    Nature Genetics 06/2011; 43(7):699. · 35.21 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
857.64 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1986–2014
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1986–2013
    • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
      • • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
      • • Department of Radiology
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2009
    • Pennsylvania Medical Society
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • Drexel University College of Medicine
      • Department of Neurology
      Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 2005
    • Alpert Medical School - Brown University
      • Department of Neurology
      Providence, Rhode Island, United States
  • 2002–2004
    • Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Center Of Maryland
      Maryland, United States
  • 1999
    • Beth Israel Medical Center
      New York City, New York, United States
    • Banner Sun Health Research Institute
      Sun City, Arizona, United States
  • 1995
    • McGill University
      • Centre for Research in Neuroscience
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1989
    • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
      • Department of Neurology
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States