E Mea

Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (40)101.65 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Headache is one of the most common symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). The aim of this study was to investigate the applicability of the diagnostic criteria for "Headache attributed to IIH" included in the current classification of headache disorders, particularly as far as the main headache features. A consecutive clinical series of IIH patients with demonstration of increased intracranial pressure by lumbar puncture in the recumbent position were enrolled. Among a total of 22 patients, headache was reported by 14. The proportion of patients reporting the main headache features required by diagnostic criteria were: 93 % for daily or nearly-daily occurrence; 71.5 % for diffuse/non-pulsating pain; 57 % for aggravation by coughing/straining. Thus, these three headache features, at least one of which is required for diagnosis of headache attributed to IIH, were present in the vast majority of our sample, suggesting that their inclusion should be regarded as appropriate. The analysis of our results may suggest possible changes in the current ICDH-2 criteria for headache attributed to IIH, based on the following considerations: the existence of remarkable differences as far as the relative frequency of each headache feature; the fact that diffuse and non-pulsating pain-included in the current classification as a single requirement-were not always found together; the high frequency of migrainous associated symptoms (nausea or photophobia-phonophobia were present in 71.5 % cases).
    Neurological Sciences 05/2012; 33 Suppl 1:S189-91. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Headache is one of the most common somatic complaints of the patients seeking medical care. Most headaches can be diagnosed easily with a good history and physical examination. The challenges to the physician are to determine when underlying intracranial pathology may be causing the symptoms and signs, and to identify the few patients in whom a tumor is the cause of headache. Headache can also manifest as an acute or chronic complication of radiation treatment and/or chemotherapy in patients with n intracranial neoplasm, but there are few data in the literature specifically addressing this subject.
    Neurological Sciences 10/2011; · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article briefly reviews the spectrum of headaches associated with Chiari type I malformation (CMI) and specifically analyzes the current data on the possibility of this malformation as an etiology for some cases of chronic daily headache (CDH). CMI is definitely associated with cough headache and not with primary episodic headaches, with the rare exception of basilar migraine-like cases. With regard to CDH, there is no clear evidence supporting an association with CMI. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study would be justified only in patients showing either a Valsalva-aggravating component or cervicogenic features. Hydrocephalus and low-intracranial pressure syndrome should be ruled out in patients showing tonsillar herniation in an MRI study and consulting due to daily headache.
    Neurological Sciences 08/2011; 32 Suppl 3:S291-4. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alterations of the intracranial pressure (ICP) may be present in several conditions. The aim of this brief review is to focus on two relatively rare conditions characterized by alterations in cerebro-spinal fluid dynamics--Spontaneous Intracranial hypotension (SIH) and Idiopathic Intracranial hypertension (IIH)--in which headache is one of the key symptoms. The most relevant clinical features, the expected MRI findings, and the therapeutic options regarding both conditions are discussed.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2011; 32 Suppl 1:S117-20. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic migraine (CM) have high frequence of psychiatric comorbidity or psychological distress. The presence of depression, anxiety, panic or obsessive disorders in these patients contributes to poor quality of life and can influence prognosis and treatment. A systematic investigation of psychiatric comorbidity is needed in patients with CM especially in those with medication overuse (MO), in order to reach a more comprehensive clinical management. We assessed the psychological profile of 50 patients, 40 women and 10 men suffering from CM with MO. The Spectrum Project, a complementary way of describing and assessing psychopathology with structured clinical interviews, was used for the psychological evaluation of the patients to explore personality traits. Spectrum instruments mood disorders (MOODS), panic agoraphobic disorders (PAS) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OBS) were applied to study patients. OBS-questionnaire was positive in 28% of the patients, MOODS-questionnaire in 44%, PAS-questionnaire in 46%. 19 on 50 patients (38%) presented positivity to 2 or to all questionnaires in variable associations. None of the patients of the studied group had complete normal findings in the questionnaires. Clinical records of patients with OBS-questionnaire positivity showed a worse clinical course and tendency to relapse. These results suggest that psychological assessment is an essential step in the evaluation and treatment of patients with CM and MO. The remarkable percentage of OBS-questionnaire positivity in this group indicates that obsessive-compulsive trait represents besides depression and anxiety, a major risk of chronification and overusing.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2011; 32 Suppl 1:S177-9. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic migraine (CM) represents an important medical issue, due to morbidity, high disability, presence of comorbidities, and medication overuse (MO). The prophylaxis of CM has not been extensively explored so far. Patients with CM are often treated with two or more compounds, although there is no clear evidence that polytherapy may be superior to monotherapy. We evaluated the percentage of prescription of polytherapy for the prophylaxis of CM in a clinical sample. We examined the charts of 98 CM patients admitted to our Headache Center for inpatient withdrawal program to stop MO. Results showed that only one drug for prophylaxis was prescribed in 20.4% cases, two or more drugs in 79.6%, with 63.3% of the total sample falling in the group "true polytherapy", i.e. all the drugs prescribed on daily basis were given to treat CM, and not only to treat concomitant conditions. In more than 60% cases a combination of drugs indicated for migraine prophylaxis and drugs only indicated for other conditions (mainly for psychiatric disorders) was prescribed. Our survey indicates that polytherapy may be rather common in CM, and suggests that comorbidities may strongly influence treatment choices.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2011; 32 Suppl 1:S185-8. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OPINION STATEMENT: Primary cluster headache (CH) is an excruciatingly severe pain condition. Several pharmacologic agents are available to treat chronic CH, but few double-blind, randomized clinical trials have been conducted on these agents in recent years, and the quality of the evidence supporting their use is often low, particularly for preventive agents. We recommend sumatriptan or oxygen to abort ongoing headaches; the evidence available to support their use is good (Class I). Ergotamine also appears to be an effective abortive agent, on the basis of experience rather than trials. We consider verapamil and lithium to be first-line preventives for chronic CH, although the trial evidence is at best Class II. Steroids are clearly the most effective and quick-acting preventive agents for chronic CH, but long-term steroid use carries a risk of several severe adverse effects. We therefore recommend steroids only if verapamil, lithium, and other preventive agents are ineffective. In rare cases, patients experience multiple daily cluster headaches for years and are also refractory to all medications. These patients almost always develop severe adverse effects from chronic steroid use. Such patients should be considered for neurostimulation. Occipital nerve stimulation is the newest and least invasive neurostimulation technique and should be tried first; the evidence supporting its use is encouraging. Hypothalamic stimulation is more invasive and can be performed only in specialist neurosurgical centers. Published experience suggests that about 60% of patients with chronic CH obtain long-term benefit with hypothalamic stimulation.
    Current Treatment Options in Neurology 02/2011; 13(1):56-70. · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    Acta Neurochirurgica 11/2010; 152(11):1997-9. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The introduction of neurostimulation procedures for chronic drug-resistant primary headaches has offered new hope to patients, but has also introduced new problems. The methods to be used in assessing clinical outcomes and monitoring treatment efficacy need careful attention. The International Headache Society guidelines recommend that treatment efficacy should be monitored by getting patients to report the number of attacks per day, in a headache diary. The headache diary is a fundamental instrument for objectively assessing subjective pain in terms of headache frequency, intensity and duration and analgesic consumption. The huge discrepancy sometimes reported between patient satisfaction and headache improvement suggests that patient satisfaction should not be a primary efficacy endpoint, and more importantly should not be put forward as an argument in establishing the efficacy of highly experimental neurostimulation procedures.
    Neurological Sciences 06/2010; 31 Suppl 1:S93-4. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study is to assess patients' satisfaction with migraine treatment with frovatriptan (F) or zolmitriptan (Z), by preference questionnaire. 133 subjects with a history of migraine with or without aura (IHS criteria) were randomized to F 2.5 mg or Z 2.5 mg. The study had a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, cross-over design, with each of the two treatment periods lasting no more than 3 months. At the end of the study, patients were asked to assign preference to one of the treatments (primary endpoint). The number of pain-free (PF) and pain-relief (PR) episodes at 2 h, and number of recurrent and sustained pain-free (SPF) episodes within 48 h were the secondary study endpoints. Seventy-seven percent of patients expressed a preference. Average score of preference was 2.9 +/- 1.3 (F) versus 3.0 +/- 1.3 (Z; p = NS). Rate of PF episodes at 2 h was 26% with F and 31% with Z (p = NS). PR episodes at 2 h were 57% for F and 58% for Z (p = NS). Rate of recurrence was 21 (F) and 24% (Z; p = NS). Time to recurrence within 48 h was better for F especially between 4 and 16 h (p < 0.05). SPF episodes were 18 (F) versus 22% (Z; p = NS). Drug-related adverse events were significantly (p < 0.05) less under F (3 vs. 10). In conclusion, our study suggests that F has a similar efficacy of Z, with some advantage as regards tolerability and recurrence.
    Neurological Sciences 06/2010; 31 Suppl 1:S51-4. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cluster headache (CH), paroxysmal hemicrania (PH), and short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing (SUNCT syndrome) are primary headaches grouped together as trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs). All are characterized by short-lived unilateral head pain attacks associated with oculofacial autonomic phenomena. Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that the posterior hypothalamus is activated during attacks, implicating hypothalamic hyperactivity in TAC pathophysiology and suggesting stimulation of the ipsilateral posterior hypothalamus as a means of preventing intractable CH. After almost 10 years of experience, hypothalamic stimulation has proved successful in preventing pain attacks in approximately 60% of the 58 documented chronic drug-resistant CH patients implanted at various centers. Positive results have also been reported in drug-resistant SUNCT and PH. Microrecording studies on hypothalamic neurons are increasingly being performed and promise to make it possible to more precisely identify the target site. The implantation procedure has generally proved safe, although it carries a small risk of brain hemorrhage. Long-term stimulation is proving to be safe: studies on patients under continuous hypothalamic stimulation have identified nonsymptomatic impairment of orthostatic adaptation as the only noteworthy change. Studies on pain threshold in chronically stimulated patients show increased threshold for cold pain in the distribution of the first trigeminal branch ipsilateral to stimulation. When the stimulator is switched off, changes in sensory and pain thresholds do not occur immediately, indicating that long-term hypothalamic stimulation is necessary to produce sensory and nociceptive changes, as also indicated by clinical experience that CH attacks are brought under control only after weeks of stimulation. Infection, transient loss of consciousness, and micturition syncope have been reported, but treatment interruption usually is not required.
    Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 04/2010; 7(2):220-8. · 5.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deep-brain stimulation (DBS) of the posterior hypothalamus has been shown to be clinically effective for drug-resistant chronic cluster headache, but the underlying mechanism is still not understood. The hypothalamus as an important centre of homeostasis is connected among others to the trigeminal system via the trigeminohypothalamic tract. We aimed to elucidate whether hypothalamic stimulation affects thermal sensation and pain perception only in the clinically affected region (the first trigeminal branch) or in other regions as well. Thus, we examined three groups: chronic cluster headache patients with unilateral DBS of the posterior hypothalamus (n = 11), chronic cluster headache patients without DBS (n = 15) and healthy controls (n = 29). Perception and pain thresholds for hot and cold stimuli were determined bilaterally in all subjects supraorbitally, at the forearm, and in the lower leg. In DBS patients, thresholds were determined with the stimulator activated and inactivated. Cold pain thresholds at the first trigeminal branch were increased on the stimulated side in the DBS group compared to healthy subjects (p = .015). The DBS group also had higher cold detection thresholds compared to non-implanted cluster headache patients (p < .05). Short-term interruption of stimulation did not induce any changes in DBS patients. Clinically relevant differences were found neither between non-stimulated cluster headache patients and healthy controls nor between the affected and the non-affected sides in the chronic cluster headache patients without DBS. These results support the notion that neurostimulation of the posterior hypothalamus is specific for cluster headache and only affects certain aspects of pain sensation.
    Pain 09/2009; 146(1-2):84-90. · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a potentially serious pathological syndrome consisting of specific symptoms and neuroradiological signs that can sometimes be used to assess the efficacy of the treatment. In this paper the authors report a series of 28 patients with this syndrome who were all treated with an epidural blood patch at the authors' institution. The authors propose a novel physiopathological theory of SIH based on some anatomical considerations about the spinal venous drainage system. Between January 1993 and January 2007, the authors treated 28 patients in whom SIH had been diagnosed. Twenty-seven of the 28 patients presented with the typical findings of SIH on brain MR imaging (dural enhancement and thickening subdural collections, caudal displacement of cerebellar tonsils, and reduction in height of suprachiasmatic cisterns). The sites of the patients' neuroradiologically suspected CSF leakage were different, but the blood patch procedure was performed at the lumbar level in all patients. The patients were then assessed at 3-month and 1- and 3-year follow-up visits. At the last visit (although only available for 11 patients) 83.3% of patients were completely free from clinical symptoms and 8.3% complained of sporadic orthostatic headache. The authors think that in the so-called SIH syndrome, the dural leak, even in those cases in which it can be clearly identified on neuroradiological examinations, is not the cause of the disease but the effect of the epidural hypotension maintained by the inferior cava vein outflow to the heart. The goal of their blood patch procedure (a sort of epidural block obtained using autologous blood and fibrin glue at the L1-2 level) is not to seal CSF leaks, but instead to help in reversing the CSF-blood gradient within the epidural space along the entire cord. The authors' procedure seems to lead to good and long-lasting clinical results.
    Journal of Neurosurgery 08/2009; 112(2):300-6. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Drug refractory chronic daily headache (CDH) is a highly disabling condition. CDH is usually regarded as the negative evolution of chronic migraine (CM) and is characterized by high prevalence of psychiatric disorders, especially mood disorders. Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) is an established treatment option for selected patients with medically refractory epilepsy and depression. Neurobiological similarities suggest that VNS could be useful in the treatment of drug-refractory CM associated with depression. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of VNS in patients suffering from drug-refractory CM and depressive disorder. We selected four female patients, mean age 53 (range 43-65 years), suffering from daily headache and drug-refractory CM. Neurological examination and neuroradiological investigations were unremarkable. Exclusion criteria were psychosis, heart and lung diseases. The preliminary results in our small case series support a beneficial effect of chronic VNS on both drug-refractory CM and depression, and suggest this novel treatment as a valid alternative for this otherwise intractable and highly disabling condition.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2009; 30 Suppl 1:S101-4. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a rare disabling condition whose main clinical manifestation is orthostatic headache. We analysed clinical characteristics in relation to time to resolution in 90 consecutive patients diagnosed with SIH at our centre between 1993 and 2006. After excluding 7 patients lost to follow-up, the remaining 83 cases were divided into four groups: Group A (53 cases) with progressively worsening orthostatic headache; Group B (3 cases) with severe acute-onset orthostatic headache; Group C (9 cases) with fluctuating non-continuous headache, of mild severity, that, in 33% of cases, did not worsen on standing; Group D (18 cases), 5 with a previous history of headache, 14 with orthostatic headache, and 10 with altered neurological examination. Complete symptoms and neuroradiological resolution occurred during follow-up in Groups A, B and D, but was longer in Group D probably in relation to more severe clinical picture with altered neurological examination. However, after a mean of 52 months (range 24-108), none of the nine Group C patients had MRI indicating complete resolution. The main characteristic of Group C related to incomplete resolution was delayed diagnosis. These preliminary findings suggest that early diagnosis of SIH correlates with better outcome, further suggesting that patients with a new headache that may worsen on standing or sitting should undergo MRI with contrast to expedite a possible SIH diagnosis, even if the pain is relatively mild.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2009; 30 Suppl 1:S11-3. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In about 20% of chronic cluster headache (CH) cases, drugs may become ineffective. Under these circumstances, steroids and triptans are frequently employed leading to fearful side effects in one and high costs in the other. The direct costs of drug-resistant chronic CH are mainly due to frequent medical consultations and frequent use of expensive drugs. In recent years, hypothalamic stimulation has been employed to treat drug-resistant chronic CH patients suffering multiple daily attacks and long-term results from different centres show a 60% overall benefit. Nine years since the introduction of this technique, we attempt a preliminary analysis of the direct costs of hypothalamic stimulation based on patients treated at our centre. We estimated the following direct costs as follows: cost of neurosurgery plus cost of equipment (electrode, connection and impulse generator = 25,000 euro), cost of hospital admissions in long-term follow-up (2,000 euro per admission), cost of single sumatriptan injection (25 euro). Number of daily sumatriptan injections in the year before and for each year after hypothalamic implantation was obtained from headache diaries. To estimate the saving due to the reduction in sumatriptan consumption following hypothalamic stimulation, we calculated the following for each year of follow-up after surgery: number of sumatriptan injections in the year before surgery minus number of sumatriptan injections in each year, updated to December 2008. In our 19 implanted patients, the costs of neurosurgery plus cost of equipment were 475,000 euro; the costs of hospital admissions during follow up were 250,000 euro. Reduction in sumatriptan consumption resulted in a total saving of 3,573,125 euro. Hence, in our 19 patients, the sumatriptan saving (3,573,125 euro) minus the direct costs due to operation and follow up hospitalisations (475,000 + 250,000) euro is equal to 2,848,125 euro. These preliminary results indicate that hypothalamic stimulation is associated with marked reduction of direct costs in the management of complete drug-resistant chronic CH.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2009; 30 Suppl 1:S43-7. · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We applied the recent International Headache Society (IHS) criteria for headache related to spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) to 90 consecutive patients with a final diagnosis of SIH confirmed by cerebral magnetic resonance imaging with contrast. Orthostatic headache (developing within 2 h of standing or sitting up) was present in 67 patients (75%) but appeared within 15 min after standing or sitting-as required by point A of the criteria-in only 53 (59%). Forty-four (49%) patients did not satisfy point A, including 22 (24%) with non-orthostatic headache and 14 (16%) with headache developing >or= 15 min after standing or sitting up; 80 (89%) did not satisfy point D. Only three (3%) patients had headache fully satisfying the IHS criteria. These findings indicate that the current IHS criteria do not capture most patients with SIH-associated headache. Excluding the requirement for response to epidural blood patch (criterion D) and considering headaches appearing within 2 h of sitting or standing up would capture more patients.
    Cephalalgia 04/2009; 29(4):418-22. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cluster headache is a primary headache syndrome that is characterized by excruciatingly severe, strictly unilateral attacks of orbital, supraorbital or temporal pain, which last 15-180 min and are accompanied by ipsilateral autonomic manifestations (e.g. lacrimation and rhinorrhea). The attacks typically occur with circadian rhythmicity, being experienced at fixed hours of the day or night. In episodic cluster headache, attacks usually occur daily in 6-12-week bouts (cluster periods) followed by remission periods. In chronic cluster headache there is no notable remission. Cluster headache attacks reach full intensity very quickly and abortive agents need to be administered without delay. The pathophysiology of cluster headache is imperfectly understood and treatment has so far been mainly empirical. However, neuroimaging studies have prompted the successful use of hypothalamic stimulation to treat the condition. More recently, the less invasive technique of occipital nerve stimulation has shown promise in drug-refractory chronic cluster headache. This Review discusses both acute and preventive treatments for cluster headache and includes suggestions of how to use the available medications. The rationale, study results and selection criteria for neurostimulation procedures are also summarized, as are the disadvantages of these procedures.
    Nature Clinical Practice Neurology 04/2009; 5(3):153-62. · 7.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A fixed location unilateral headache suggests involvement of a precise nervous structure, and neuroimaging investigations are essential to seek to identify it. Nevertheless, side-locked primary headaches also occur, although they are rare. Side-locked primary headaches are more frequently found in the group of the short-lasting (</= 4 hours) headaches but long-lasting headache forms may also present with the pain always on the same side, including migraine, tension-type headache, new daily persistent headache and cervicogenic headache. Future studies should address the issue whether patients with side-locked headache form differ from those with non-side-locked form both in terms of natural history and biological markers. Among 63 consecutive chronic cluster headache patients seen by us from 1999 to 2007, 32 (51%) had side shift. We also found that the duration of the chronic condition was significantly longer in those with side shift than those without. The high frequency of side shift in chronic cluster headache should be considered when proposing surgical treatment for severe intractable forms of the disease.
    Cephalalgia 07/2008; 28 Suppl 1:8-11. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic daily headache that does not respond or no longer responds to prophylaxis is commonly encountered at specialist headache centres. Animal and brain imaging studies indicate that peripheral neurostimulation affects brain areas involved in pain modulation, providing a rationale for its use in these conditions. We examine problems related to the selection of chronic daily headache patients for peripheral neurostimulation. These conditions are often associated with analgesic (including opioid) overuse, and psychiatric or other comorbidities, and the terms used to describe them (chronic migraine, transformed migraine, chronic daily headache and chronic tension-type headache) are insufficiently informative about these patients when proposed for neurostimulation. Longitudinal studies indicate that pre-existing subclinical depressive and anxious states play a key role in chronicisation and that the probability of responding to treatment is inversely related to headache frequency. These considerations suggest the need for extensive characterisation of patients proposed for neurostimulation. We propose that patients being considered for neurostimulation should be followed for at least a year, and that their headache over this time should consistently be frequent (all or most days) and drug refractory. We also propose that only completely drug-resistant (as opposed to partially drug-resistant) patients be considered for neurostimulation unless there are other indications.
    Neurological Sciences 06/2008; 29 Suppl 1:S59-61. · 1.41 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

410 Citations
101.65 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2012
    • Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta
      • • Department of Clinical Neurosciences
      • • Division of Neuropathology
      • • Department of Neurosurgery
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2004–2011
    • Foundation of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
    • IT University of Copenhagen
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
    • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
      Modène, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2008–2009
    • IRCCS Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Nazionale C. Mondino
      • Department of Neurosurgery
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy