[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Contradiction is a cornerstone of human rationality, essential for everyday life and communication. We investigated electroencephalographic (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in separate recording sessions during contradictory judgments, using a logical structure based on categorical propositions of the Aristotelian Square of Opposition (ASoO). The use of ASoO propositions, while controlling for potential linguistic or semantic confounds, enabled us to observe the spatial temporal unfolding of this contradictory reasoning. The processing started with the inversion of the logical operators corresponding to right middle frontal gyrus (rMFG-BA11) activation, followed by identification of contradictory statement associated with in the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG-BA47) activation. Right medial frontal gyrus (rMeFG, BA10) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC, BA32) contributed to the later stages of process. We observed a correlation between the delayed latency of rBA11 response and the reaction time delay during inductive vs. deductive reasoning. This supports the notion that rBA11 is crucial for manipulating the logical operators. Slower processing time and stronger brain responses for inductive logic suggested that examples are easier to process than general principles and are more likely to simplify communication.
PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e92835. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the majority of people with epilepsy have a good prognosis and their seizures can be well controlled with pharmacotherapy, up to one-third of patients can develop drug-resistant epilepsy, especially those patients with partial seizures. This unmet need has driven considerable efforts over the last few decades aimed at developing and testing newer antiepileptic agents to improve seizure control. One of the most promising antiepileptic drugs of the new generation is zonisamide, a benzisoxazole derivative chemically unrelated to other anticonvulsant agents. In this article, the authors present the results of a systematic literature review summarizing the current evidence on the efficacy and tolerability of zonisamide for the treatment of partial seizures. Of particular interest within this updated review are the recent data on the use of zonisamide as monotherapy, as they might open new therapeutic avenues.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monoamines have an important role in neural plasticity, a key factor in cortical pain processing that promotes changes in neuronal network connectivity. Monoamine oxidase type A (MAOA) is an enzyme that, due to its modulating role in monoaminergic activity, could play a role in cortical pain processing. The X-linked MAOA gene is characterized by an allelic variant of length, the MAOA upstream Variable Number Tandem Repeat (MAOA-uVNTR) region polymorphism. Two allelic variants of this gene are known, the high-activity MAOA (HAM) and low-activity MAOA (LAM). We investigated the role of MAOA-uVNTR in cortical pain processing in a group of healthy individuals measured by the trigeminal electric pain-related evoked potential (tPREP) elicited by repeated painful stimulation. A group of healthy volunteers was genotyped to detect MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism. Electrical tPREPs were recorded by stimulating the right supraorbital nerve with a concentric electrode. The N2 and P2 component amplitude and latency as well as the N2-P2 inter-peak amplitude were measured. The recording was divided into three blocks, each containing 10 consecutive stimuli and the N2-P2 amplitude was compared between blocks. Of the 67 volunteers, 37 were HAM and 30 were LAM. HAM subjects differed from LAM subjects in terms of amplitude of the grand-averaged and first-block N2-P2 responses (HAM>LAM). The N2-P2 amplitude decreased between the first and third block in HAM subjects but not LAM subjects. The MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism seemed to influence the brain response in a repeated tPREP paradigm and suggested a role of the MAOA as a modulator of neural plasticity related to cortical pain processing.
European Journal of Neuroscience 02/2014; 39(3):501-7. · 3.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: About one third of patients with epilepsy are refractory to medical treatment. For these patients, alternative treatment options include implantable neurostimulation devices such as vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), deep brain stimulation (DBS), and responsive neurostimulation systems (RNS). We conducted a systematic literature review to assess the available evidence on the clinical efficacy of these devices in patients with refractory epilepsy across their lifespan. VNS has the largest evidence base, and numerous randomized controlled trials and open-label studies support its use in the treatment of refractory epilepsy. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1997 for treatment of partial seizures, but has also shown significant benefit in the treatment of generalized seizures. Results in adult populations have been more encouraging than in pediatric populations, where more studies are required. VNS is considered a safe and well-tolerated treatment, and serious side effects are rare. DBS is a well-established treatment for several movement disorders, and has a small evidence base for treatment of refractory epilepsy. Stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus has shown the most encouraging results, where significant decreases in seizure frequency were reported. Other potential targets include the centromedian thalamic nucleus, hippocampus, cerebellum, and basal ganglia structures. Preliminary results on RNS, new-generation implantable neurostimulation devices which stimulate brain structures only when epileptic activity is detected, are encouraging. Overall, implantable neurostimulation devices appear to be a safe and beneficial treatment option for patients in whom medical treatment has failed to adequately control their epilepsy. Further large-scale randomized controlled trials are required to provide a sufficient evidence base for the inclusion of DBS and RNS in clinical guidelines.
Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 01/2014; 10:2191-2200. · 2.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate if Magnetoencephalography (MEG) can add non-redundant information to guide implantation sites for intracranial recordings (IR). The contribution of MEG to intracranial recording planning was evaluated in 12 consecutive patients assessed pre-surgically with MEG followed by IR. Primary outcome measures were the identification of focal seizure onset in IR and favorable surgical outcome. Outcome measures were compared to those of 12 patients matched for implantation type in whom non-invasive pre-surgical assessment suggested clear hypotheses for implantation (non-MEG group). In the MEG group, non-invasive assessment without MEG was inconclusive, and MEG was then used to further help identify implantation sites. In all MEG patients, at least one virtual MEG electrode generated suitable hypotheses for the location of implantations. No differences in outcome measures were found between non-MEG and MEG groups. Although the MEG group included more complex patients, it showed similar percentage of successful implantations as the non-MEG group. This suggests that MEG can contribute to identify implantation sites where standard methods failed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neural bases of altered consciousness in patients with epilepsy during seizures and at rest have raised significant interest in the last decade. This exponential growth has been supported by the parallel development of techniques and methods to investigate brain function noninvasively with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. In this article, we review the contribution of magnetoencephalography to deconvolve the bioelectrical changes associated with impaired consciousness during seizures. We use data collected from a patient with refractory absence seizures to discuss how spike-wave discharges are associated with perturbations in optimal connectivity within and between brain regions and discuss indirect evidence to suggest that this phenomenon might explain the cognitive deficits experienced during prolonged 3/s spike-wave discharges. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Epilepsy and Consciousness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the last few years, zonisamide has been proposed as a potentially useful medication for patients with focal seizures, with or without secondary generalization. Since psychiatric adverse effects, including mania, psychosis, and suicidal ideation, have been associated with its use, it was suggested that the presence of antecedent psychiatric disorders is an important factor associated with the discontinuation of zonisamide therapy in patients with epilepsy. We, therefore, set out to assess the tolerability profile of zonisamide in a retrospective chart review of 23 patients with epilepsy and comorbid mental disorders, recruited from two specialist pediatric (n=11) and adult (n=12) neuropsychiatry clinics. All patients had a clinical diagnosis of treatment-refractory epilepsy after extensive neurophysiological and neuroimaging investigations. The vast majority of patients (n=22/23, 95.7%) had tried previous antiepileptic medications, and most adult patients (n=9/11, 81.8%) were on concomitant medication for epilepsy. In the majority of cases, the psychiatric adverse effects of zonisamide were not severe. Four patients (17.4%) discontinued zonisamide because of lack of efficacy, whereas only one patient (4.3%) discontinued it because of the severity of psychiatric adverse effects (major depressive disorder). The low discontinuation rate of zonisamide in a selected population of patients with epilepsy and neuropsychiatric comorbidity suggests that this medication is safe and reasonably well-tolerated for use in patients with treatment-refractory epilepsy. Given the limitations of the present study, including the relatively small sample size, further research is warranted to confirm this finding.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zonisamide is a newer antiepileptic drug indicated as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of adult patients with partial-onset seizures, with or without secondary generalization. Following isolated reports of zonisamide-induced mania, other behavioural adverse effects, including psychosis and suicidal ideation have been associated with its use, and it was suggested that past psychiatric history is among the factors associated with discontinuation of zonisamide therapy in patients with epilepsy. We therefore set out to assess the tolerability profile of zonisamide in this particular group of patients with epilepsy, who are at risk of developing adverse reactions to zonisamide.
This study investigated the prevalence and characteristics of adverse effects resulting from the use of zonisamide in a retrospective chart review of patients with epilepsy and co-morbid cognitive and/or behavioural problems, recruited from the specialist neuropsychiatry clinic at the National Centre for Mental Health, BSMHFT and University of Birmingham.
We identified 12 eligible patients (3 males, mean age 36 years, range 16-59 years). All patients had a clinical diagnosis of treatment-refractory epilepsy (9=temporal lobe epilepsy), supported by neurophysiological and neuroimaging findings, and had concomitant and/or previous antiepileptic medications (11=levetiracetam, 8=carbamazepine, 6=lamotrigine, 6=valproate). In our neuropsychiatric sample, 6 patients had a previous diagnosis of depression, 2 anxiety disorders, 2 learning disability, 2 neurodevelopmental disorders (Tourette syndrome and autism) and 1 psychosis. Co-morbid non-epileptic attack disorder was documented in 4 patients. In the majority of cases, zonisamide (mean maintenance dose=212.5mg daily, range 50-500 mg daily) was well tolerated and behavioural adverse effects were not severe. Three patients (25.0%) discontinued zonisamide over the observation period (mean duration 15 months, range 1-48 months). The main reasons for discontinuation were lack of efficacy on seizure control (two cases) and emerging depression as an adverse effect (one case).
This preliminary observation of relatively low discontinuation rate of zonisamide in a selected population of patients with epilepsy and neuropsychiatric comorbidity prompts further research to establish whether this medication is a safe treatment option for vulnerable patients with treatment-refractory epilepsy.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 09/2013; 84(9):e1. · 4.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: Patients with Tourette syndrome (TS) often report characteristic sensory experiences, also called premonitory urges (PUs), which precede tic expression and have high diagnostic relevance. This study investigated the usefulness of a scale developed and validated in children and adolescents-the Premonitory Urge for Tics Scale (PUTS, Woods et al., 2005 )-for the assessment of PUs in adult patients with TS. Method: Standard statistical methods were applied to test the psychometric properties of the PUTS in 102 adult TS outpatients recruited from two specialist clinics in the United Kingdom. Results: The PUTS showed good acceptability and endorsement rates, with evenly distributed scores and low floor and ceiling effects. Item-total correlations were moderate to strong; PUTS total scores were significantly correlated with quantitative measures of TS severity. The PUTS showed excellent internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha=0.85) and Spearman's correlations demonstrated satisfactory convergent and discriminant validity. Conclusions: Although originally devised to assess urges to tic in young patients with TS, the PUTS demonstrated good psychometric properties in a large sample of adults recruited at specialist TS clinics. This instrument is therefore recommended for use across the life span as a valid and reliable self-report measure of sensory experiences accompanying tic expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To investigate the dynamics of communication within the primary somatosensory neuronal network. METHODS: Multichannel EEG responses evoked by median nerve stimulation were recorded from six healthy participants. We investigated the directional connectivity of the evoked responses by assessing the Partial Directed Coherence (PDC) among five neuronal nodes (brainstem, thalamus and three in the primary sensorimotor cortex), which had been identified by using the Functional Source Separation (FSS) algorithm. We analyzed directional connectivity separately in the low (1-200Hz, LF) and high (450-750Hz, HF) frequency ranges. RESULTS: LF forward connectivity showed peaks at 16, 20, 30 and 50ms post-stimulus. An estimate of the strength of connectivity was modulated by feedback involving cortical and subcortical nodes. In HF, forward connectivity showed peaks at 20, 30 and 50ms, with no apparent feedback-related strength changes. CONCLUSIONS: In this first non-invasive study in humans, we documented directional connectivity across subcortical and cortical somatosensory pathway, discriminating transmission properties within LF and HF ranges. SIGNIFICANCE: The combined use of FSS and PDC in a simple protocol such as median nerve stimulation sheds light on how high and low frequency components of the somatosensory evoked response are functionally interrelated in sustaining somatosensory perception in healthy individuals. Thus, these components may potentially be explored as biomarkers of pathological conditions.
Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 01/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a chronic childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorder with a significant impact on patients' health-related quality of life (HR-QOL). Cavanna et al. (Neurology 2008; 71: 1410-1416) developed and validated the first disease-specific HR-QOL assessment tool for adults with GTS (Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome-Quality of Life Scale, GTS-QOL). This paper presents the translation, adaptation and validation of the GTS-QOL for young Italian patients with GTS.METHODS: A three-stage process involving 75 patients with GTS recruited through three Departments of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry in Italy led to the development of a 27-item instrument (Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome-Quality of Life Scale in children and adolescents, C&A-GTS-QOL) for the assessment of HR-QOL through a clinician-rated interview for 6-12 year-olds and a self-report questionnaire for 13-18 year-olds. RESULTS: The C&A-GTS-QOL demonstrated satisfactory scaling assumptions and acceptability. Internal consistency reliability was high (Cronbach's alpha > 0.7) and validity was supported by interscale correlations (range 0.4-0.7), principal-component factor analysis and correlations with other rating scales and clinical variables. CONCLUSIONS: The present version of the C&A-GTS-QOL is the first disease-specific HR-QOL tool for Italian young patients with GTS, satisfying criteria for acceptability, reliability and validity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cortical pain processing is associated with large-scale changes in neuronal connectivity, resulting from neural plasticity phenomena of which brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a central driver. The common single nucleotide polymorphism Val66Met is associated with reduced BDNF activity. Using the trigeminal pain-related evoked potential (tPREP) to repeated electrical painful stimuli, we investigated whether the methionine substitution at codon 66 of the BDNF gene was associated with changes in cortical processing of noxious stimuli. Fifty healthy volunteers were genotyped: 30 were Val/Val and 20 were Met-carriers. tPREPs to 30 stimuli of the right supraorbital nerve using a concentric electrode were recorded. The N2 and P2 component latencies and the N2-P2 amplitude were measured over the 30 stimuli and separately, by dividing the measurements in 3 consecutive blocks of 10 stimuli. The average response to the 30 stimuli did not differ in latency or amplitude between the 2 genotypes. There was a decrease in the N2-P2 amplitude between first and third block in the Val/Val group but not in Met-carriers. BDNF Val66Met is associated with reduced decremental response to repeated electrical stimuli, possibly as a result of ineffective mechanisms of synaptic memory and brain plasticity associated with the polymorphism. PERSPECTIVE: BDNF Val66Met polymorphism affects the tPREP N2-P2 amplitude decrement and influences cortical pain processing through neurotrophin-induced neural plasticity, or through a direct BDNF neurotransmitter-like effect. Our findings suggest that upcoming BDNF central agonists might in the future play a role in pain management.
The journal of pain: official journal of the American Pain Society 08/2012; 13(9):866-73. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a chronic childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorder with a significant impact on patients' health-related quality of life (HR-QOL). Cavanna et al. (Neurology 2008; 71: 1410-1416) developed and validated the first disease-specific HR-QOL assessment tool for adults with GTS (Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome-Quality of Life Scale, GTS-QOL). This paper presents the translation, adaptation and validation of the GTS-QOL for young Italian patients with GTS.Methods: A three-stage process involving 75 patients with GTS recruited through three Departments of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry in Italy led to the development of a 27-item instrument (Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome-Quality of Life Scale in children and adolescents, C&A-GTS-QOL) for the assessment of HR-QOL through a clinician-rated interview for 6-12 year-olds and a self-report questionnaire for 13-18 year-olds. Results: The C&A-GTS-QOL demonstrated satisfactory scaling assumptions and acceptability. Internal consistency reliability was high (Cronbach's alpha > 0.7) and validity was supported by interscale correlations (range 0.4-0.7), principal-component factor analysis and correlations with other rating scales and clinical variables. Conclusions: The present version of the C&A-GTS-QOL is the first disease-specific HR-QOL tool for Italian young patients with GTS, satisfying criteria for acceptability, reliability and validity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is currently estimated that about 20%–30% of adults and 10%–40% of children diagnosed with epilepsy suffer from uncontrolled or poorly controlled seizures, despite optimal medical management. In addition to its huge economic costs, treatment-refractory epilepsy has a widespread impact on patients’ health-related quality of life. The present paper focuses on the concepts of refractory and difficult-to-treat seizures and their pharmacological management. Evidence on efficacy and tolerability of rational pharmacotherapy with antiepileptic drug combinations and of non-pharmacological treatment options such as epilepsy surgery, neurostimulation, metabolic treatment and herbal remedies is reviewed. The importance of early identification of the underlying etiology of the specific epilepsy syndrome is emphasized, to inform early prognosis and therapeutic strategies.
Journal of Central Nervous System Disease 06/2012; 4:105-115.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Seizures are one of the most common symptoms of acute neurological disorders in newborns. This study aims at evaluating predictors of epilepsy in newborns with neonatal seizures.METHODS:we recruited consecutively eighty-five neonates with repeated neonatal video-EEG-confirmed seizures between Jan 1999 and Dec 2004. The relationship between clinical, EEG and ultrasound data in neonatal period and the development of post-neonatal epilepsy was investigated at 7 years of age.RESULTS:Fifteen patients (17.6%) developed post-neonatal epilepsy. Partial or no response to anticonvulsant therapy (OR 16.7, 95% CI: 1.8-155.8, p= .01; OR 47, 95% CI: 5.2-418.1, p< .01 respectively), severely abnormal cerebral ultrasound scan findings (OR: 5.4; 95% CI: 1.1-27.4; p< .04), severely abnormal EEG background activity (OR: 9.5; 95% CI: 1.6-54.2; p= .01) and the presence of status epilepticus (OR: 6.1; 95% CI: 1.8-20.3; p< .01) were found to be predictors of epilepsy. However, only the response to therapy seemed to be an independent predictor of post-neonatal epilepsy.CONCLUSION:Neonatal seizures seem to be related to post-neonatal epilepsy. Recurrent and prolonged neonatal seizures may act on an epileptogenic substrate, causing further damage, which is responsible for the subsequent clinical expression of epilepsy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated 50 young patients with a diagnosis of Rolandic Epilepsy (RE) for the presence of abnormalities in autonomic tone compared with 50 young patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy with absences and 50 typically developing children of comparable age. We analyzed time domain (N-N interval, pNN50) and frequency domain (High Frequency (HF), Low Frequency (LF) and LF/HF ratio) indices from ten-minute resting EKG activity. Patients with RE showed significantly higher HF and lower LF power and lower LF/HF ratio than controls, independent of the epilepsy group, and did not show significant differences in any other autonomic index with respect to the two control groups. In RE, we found a negative relationship between both seizure load and frequency of sleep interictal EEG abnormalities with parasympathetic drive levels. These changes might be the expression of adaptive mechanisms to prevent the excessive sympathetic drive seen in patients with refractory epilepsies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyzed clinical and instrumental data of 403 consecutive newborns with gestational age from 24 to 32 weeks, admitted to the University-Hospital of Parma between January 2000 and December 2007, to evaluate the possible relationship between neonatal mortality and occurrence of neonatal seizures in very preterm newborns. Seventy-four subjects died during hospital stay. Seizures were present in 35 neonates, in whom the mortality rate was 37.1%. Multivariate analysis revealed that birth-weight <1000 g (odds ratio: 4.48; 95% confidence interval: 1.47-13.68; P < .01), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (odds ratio: 5.35; 95% confidence interval: 1.19-23.98; P = .02), and moderately and severely abnormal cerebral ultrasound scan findings (odds ratio: 2.48; 95% confidence interval: 1.02-6.05; P < .04; odds ratio: 9.56; 95% confidence interval: 3.45-26.51; P < .01, respectively) were related to the in-hospital mortality but not the presence of neonatal seizures. Our study suggests that neonatal seizures alone are not an independent risk factor for early death in very preterm newborns.
Journal of child neurology 02/2012; 27(10):1264-9. · 1.59 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is currently estimated that about 20%-30% of adults and 10%-40% of children diagnosed with epilepsy suffer from uncontrolled or poorly controlled seizures, despite optimal medical management. In addition to its huge economic costs, treatment-refractory epilepsy has a widespread impact on patients' health-related quality of life. The present paper focuses on the concepts of refractory and difficult-to-treat seizures and their pharmacological management. Evidence on efficacy and tolerability of rational pharmacotherapy with antiepileptic drug combinations and of non-pharmacological treatment options such as epilepsy surgery, neurostimulation, metabolic treatment and herbal remedies is reviewed. The importance of early identification of the underlying etiology of the specific epilepsy syndrome is emphasized, to inform early prognosis and therapeutic strategies.
Journal of central nervous system disease. 01/2012; 4:105-15.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intermittent photic stimulation (IPS) is a common procedure performed in the electroencephalography (EEG) laboratory in children and adults to detect abnormal epileptogenic sensitivity to flickering light (i.e., photosensitivity). In practice, substantial variability in outcome is anecdotally found due to the many different methods used per laboratory and country. We believe that standardization of procedure, based on scientific and clinical data, should permit reproducible identification and quantification of photosensitivity. We hope that the use of our new algorithm will help in standardizing the IPS procedure, which in turn may more clearly identify and assist monitoring of patients with epilepsy and photosensitivity. Our algorithm goes far beyond that published in 1999 (Epilepsia, 1999a, 40, 75; Neurophysiol Clin, 1999b, 29, 318): it has substantially increased content, detailing technical and logistical aspects of IPS testing and the rationale for many of the steps in the IPS procedure. Furthermore, our latest algorithm incorporates the consensus of repeated scientific meetings of European experts in this field over a period of 6 years with feedback from general neurologists and epileptologists to improve its validity and utility. Accordingly, our European group has provided herein updated algorithms for two different levels of methodology: (1) requirements for defining photosensitivity in patients and in family members of known photosensitive patients and (2) requirements for tailored studies in patients with a clear history of visually induced seizures or complaints, and in those already known to be photosensitive.