Lidia Sarro

San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (11)76.41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Among postural abnormalities in Parkinson's disease (PD), striatal hand (SH) is a particularly underexplored phenomenon. It leads to extreme abnormalities of hand posture, causing altered dexterity, pain and disfigurement. In our study, three blinded investigators examined several pictures of the hands of individuals with PD (N = 40) and controls (N = 15). The investigators quantified postural alterations using the Striatal Hand Score. Demographic and clinical data were also collected. As no differences were detected among investigators agreement, a final Hand Score (HS, range 0-4) was obtained for each hand. The Striatal Hand Score in both the left and right hand was significantly different in PD compared to controls (p < 0.001 for both left and right hand). Striatal hand was significantly worse on the side of PD onset, and on the side with greater PD symptomatology. The finding of a striatal hand was 100 % specific for a diagnosis of PD. Nine PD subjects were evaluated both on and off medication, and dopaminergic treatment did not significantly change the Striatal Hand Score. Our findings suggest that in patients without any explanation for hand deformities other than PD, striatal hand occurs very often, and is highly specific for the side of worst PD involvement. We recommend including an evaluation for SH as part of routine practice. This study emphasizes the importance of a careful observation of the patient in order to improve diagnostic accuracy.
    Journal of Neurology 10/2013; · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study assesses the patterns of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) damage in patients with Parkinson's disease and mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) compared with healthy controls and cognitively unimpaired PD patients (PD-Cu). Three-dimensional T1-weighted and diffusion tensor (DT) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were obtained from 43 PD patients and 33 healthy controls. Cognition was assessed using a neuropsychological battery. Tract-based spatial statistics was applied to compare DT MRI indices between groups on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Voxel-based morphometry was performed to assess GM atrophy. Thirty PD patients were classified as MCI. Compared with healthy controls, PD-Cu and PD-MCI patients did not have GM atrophy. No region of WM damage was found in PD-Cu patients when compared with healthy controls. Relative to healthy controls and PD-Cu patients, PD-MCI patients showed a distributed pattern of WM abnormalities in the anterior and superior corona radiata, genu, and body of the corpus callosum, and anterior inferior fronto-occipital, uncinate, and superior longitudinal fasciculi, bilaterally. Subtle cognitive decline in PD is associated with abnormalities of frontal and interhemispheric WM connections, and not with GM atrophy. DT MRI might contribute to the identification of structural changes in PD-MCI patients prior to the development of dementia. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 07/2013; · 6.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glucocerebrosidase gene mutations represent a genetic risk factor for the development of Parkinson's disease. This study investigated brain alterations in Parkinson's disease patients carrying heterozygous glucocerebrosidase gene mutations using structural and diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging. Among 360 Parkinson's disease patients screened for glucocerebrosidase gene mutations, 19 heterozygous mutation carriers (5.3%) were identified. Of these, 15 patients underwent a neuropsychological evaluation and a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Sixteen age- and sex-matched healthy controls and 14 idiopathic Parkinson's disease patients without glucocerebrosidase gene mutations were also studied. Tract-based spatial statistics was used to perform a white matter voxel-wise analysis of diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging metrics. Mean fractional anisotropy values were obtained from white matter tracts of interest. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess gray-matter atrophy. Cognitive deficits were found in 9 mutation carrier patients (60%). Compared with controls, Parkinson's disease patients carrying glucocerebrosidase gene mutations showed decreased fractional anisotropy in the olfactory tracts, corpus callosum, and anterior limb of the internal capsule bilaterally, as well as in the right anterior external capsule, and left cingulum, parahippocampal tract, parietal portion of the superior longitudinal fasciculus, and occipital white matter. Mutation carrier patients also had decreased fractional anisotropy of the majority of white matter tracts compared with Parkinson's disease patients with no mutations. No white matter abnormalities were found in Parkinson's disease patients without glucocerebrosidase gene mutations. No gray matter difference was found between patients and controls. In Parkinson's disease patients, verbal fluency scores correlated with white matter abnormalities. Parkinson's disease patients carrying glucocerebrosidase gene mutations experience a distributed pattern of white matter abnormalities involving the interhemispheric, frontal corticocortical, and parahippocampal tracts. White matter pathology in these patients may have an impact on the clinical manifestations of the disease, including cognitive impairment. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society.
    Movement Disorders 02/2013; · 5.63 Impact Factor
  • Neurological Sciences 02/2013; · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report a rare task-specific dystonia(1,2) in a 26-year-old man with a 4-year progressive speech disorder characterized by oromandibular spasms. Family and medical history were unremarkable; he was never exposed to neuroleptic drugs or toxic agents. Neurologic examination revealed only speech-induced oromandibular dystonic movements, characterized by forced jaw opening, interfering with speech (video on the Neurology(®) Web site at However, he was able to sing and to perform other voluntary activities (swallowing, drinking, chewing). Laboratory tests and brain magnetic resonance scans were normal. He received a placebo injection with no benefit. Trihexyphenidyl was started with moderate benefit. This rare form of dystonia is sometimes triggered by praying,(1,2) resembling task-specific occupational dystonias.
    Neurology 11/2012; 79(21):e184. · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) damage in 89 patients at different clinical stages of Parkinson's disease (PD) (17 early, 46 mild, 14 moderate, and 12 severe) to differentiate the trajectories of tissue injury in this condition. PD patients had a very little GM atrophy even at the more advanced stages of the disease. Microstructural damage to the WM occurs with increasing PD severity and involves the brainstem, thalamocortical pathways, olfactory tracts, as well as the major interhemispheric, limbic, and extramotor association tracts. The most marked WM damage was found in moderate vs. mild cases. WM damage correlated with the degree of global cognitive deficits. WM abnormalities beyond the nigrostriatal system accumulate with increasing PD severity. WM damage is likely to contribute to the more severe motor and nonmotor dysfunctions occurring in patients at the later stages. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 04/2012; · 6.92 Impact Factor
  • Neurology 04/2012; 78(Meeting Abstracts 1):P03.120-P03.120. · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ALS is predominantly a disease of the motor system, but cognitive and behavioral symptoms also are observed. DT MR imaging is sensitive to microstructural changes occurring in WM tracts of patients with ALS. In this study, we investigated the association between cognitive functions and extramotor WM tract abnormalities in ALS patients. DT MR imaging was obtained from 16 nondemented patients with ALS and 15 healthy controls. Patients with ALS underwent a neuropsychologic and behavioral evaluation. DT tractography was used to asses the integrity of the CST, corpus callosum, and the major long-range association tracts. The relationship between DT MR imaging metrics and cognitive functions was tested by using linear model analyses, adjusting for age and clinical disability. Eleven patients (69%) scored below the fifth percentile in at least 1 cognitive test, and 2 of them had a mild executive impairment. Performances at tests assessing attention and executive functions correlated with DT MR imaging metrics of the corpus callosum, CST, and long association WM tracts bilaterally, including the cingulum, inferior longitudinal, inferior fronto-occipital, and uncinate fasciculi. Verbal learning and memory test scores were associated with fornix DT MR imaging values, whereas visual-spatial abilities correlated with left uncinate fractional anisotropy. WM tract degeneration is associated with neuropsychologic deficits in patients with ALS. DT tractography holds promise to gain insight into the role of the brain WM network abnormalities in the development of cognitive impairment in patients with ALS.
    American Journal of Neuroradiology 11/2011; 32(10):1866-72. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: White matter (WM) tract damage was assessed in patients with the behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and the 3 primary progressive aphasia (PPA) variants and compared with the corresponding brain atrophy patterns. Thirteen bvFTD and 20 PPA patients were studied. Tract-based spatial statistics and voxel-based morphometry were used. Patients with bvFTD showed widespread diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT MRI) abnormalities affecting most of the WM bilaterally. In PPA patients, WM damage was more focal and varied across the 3 syndromes: left frontotemporoparietal in nonfluent, left frontotemporal in semantic, and left frontoparietal in logopenic patients. In each syndrome, DT MRI changes extended beyond the topography of gray matter loss. Left uncinate damage was the best predictor of frontotemporal lobar degeneration diagnosis versus controls. DT MRI measures of the anterior corpus callosum and left superior longitudinal fasciculus differentiated bvFTD from nonfluent cases. The best predictors of semantic PPA compared with both bvFTD and nonfluent cases were diffusivity abnormalities of the left uncinate and inferior longitudinal fasciculus. This study provides insights into the similarities and differences of WM damage in bvFTD and PPA variants. DT MRI metrics hold promise to serve as early markers of WM integrity loss that only at a later stage may be detectable by volumetric measures.
    Cerebral Cortex 10/2011; · 8.31 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2011; 7(4). · 17.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a clinically and pathologically heterogeneous spectrum of disorders. In the last few years, neuroimaging has contributed to the phenotypic characterisation of these patients. Complementary to the clinical and neuropsychological evaluations, structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and functional techniques provide important pieces of information for the diagnosis of FTLD. They also appear to be useful in distinguishing FTLD from patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Preliminary studies in pathologically proven cases suggested that distinct patterns of tissue loss could assist in predicting in vivo the pathological subtype. Recent years have also witnessed impressive advances in the development of novel imaging approaches. Diffusion tensor MRI and functional MRI have improved our understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease, and this should lead to the identification of additional useful markers of disease progression. This reviews discusses comprehensively the state-of-the-art of neuroimaging in the study of FTLD spectrum of disorders, and attempts to envisage which will be new neuroimaging biomarkers that could serve as surrogate measures of the underlying pathology. This will be central in the design of treatment trials of experimental drugs, which are likely to emerge in the near future, to target the pathological processes associated with this condition.
    Cortex 05/2011; 48(4):389-413. · 6.04 Impact Factor