[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Playing a musical instrument demands the engagement of different neural systems. Recent studies about the musician's brain and musical training highlight that this activity requires the close interaction between motor and somatosensory systems. Moreover, neuroplastic changes have been reported in motor-related areas after short and long-term musical training. Because of its capacity to promote neuroplastic changes, music has been used in the context of stroke neurorehabilitation. The majority of patients suffering from a stroke have motor impairments, preventing them to live independently. Thus, there is an increasing demand for effective restorative interventions for neurological deficits. Music-supported Therapy (MST) has been recently developed to restore motor deficits. We report data of a selected sample of stroke patients who have been enrolled in a MST program (1 month intense music learning). Prior to and after the therapy, patients were evaluated with different behavioral motor tests. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) was applied to evaluate changes in the sensorimotor representations underlying the motor gains observed. Several parameters of excitability of the motor cortex were assessed as well as the cortical somatotopic representation of a muscle in the affected hand. Our results revealed that participants obtained significant motor improvements in the paretic hand and those changes were accompanied by changes in the excitability of the motor cortex. Thus, MST leads to neuroplastic changes in the motor cortex of stroke patients which may explain its efficacy.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 09/2013; 7:494. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00494 · 2.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Several recently developed therapies targeting motor disabilities in stroke sufferers have shown to be more effective than standard neurorehabilitation approaches. In this context, several basic studies demonstrated that music training produces rapid neuroplastic changes in motor-related brain areas. Music-supported therapy has been recently developed as a new motor rehabilitation intervention.
Methods and Results
In order to explore the plasticity effects of music-supported therapy, this therapeutic intervention was applied to twenty chronic stroke patients. Before and after the music-supported therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied for the assessment of excitability changes in the motor cortex and a 3D movement analyzer was used for the assessment of motor performance parameters such as velocity, acceleration and smoothness in a set of diadochokinetic movement tasks. Our results suggest that the music-supported therapy produces changes in cortical plasticity leading the improvement of the subjects' motor performance.
Our findings represent the first evidence of the neurophysiological changes induced by this therapy in chronic stroke patients, and their link with the amelioration of motor performance. Further studies are needed to confirm our observations.
PLoS ONE 04/2013; 8(4). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0061883 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Forehead tremor has only been reported in two patients with essential tremor, one with rhythmic tremor and the other with dystonic tremor. We report 4 new patients with essential tremor who present a 4-6 Hz frontal tremor registered by electromyography and unusual features like frontal tremor preceding limb tremor or unilateral involvement. Frontal tremor is present in some patients with essential tremor, sometimes preceding limb tremor. Treatment with botulinum toxin may be useful.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the case of a chronic stroke patient (62 months after injury) showing total absence of motor activity evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of spared regions of the left motor cortex, but near-to-complete recovery of motor abilities in the affected hand.
Multimodal investigations included detailed TMS based motor mapping, motor evoked potentials (MEP), and Cortical Silent period (CSP) as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of motor activity, MRI based lesion analysis and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) Tractography of corticospinal tract (CST). Anatomical analysis revealed a left hemisphere subinsular lesion interrupting the descending left CST at the level of the internal capsule. The absence of MEPs after intense TMS pulses to the ipsilesional M1, and the reversible suppression of ongoing electromyographic (EMG) activity (indexed by CSP) demonstrate a weak modulation of subcortical systems by the ipsilesional left frontal cortex, but an inability to induce efficient descending volleys from those cortical locations to right hand and forearm muscles. Functional MRI recordings under grasping and finger tapping patterns involving the affected hand showed slight signs of subcortical recruitment, as compared to the unaffected hand and hemisphere, as well as the expected cortical activations.
The potential sources of motor voluntary activity for the affected hand in absence of MEPs are discussed. We conclude that multimodal analysis may contribute to a more accurate prognosis of stroke patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we examined a family with electrophysiological findings of hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP) and a mild clinical presentation.
Four members of a family were referred for diagnosis of HNPP. Electrophysiological studies included motor and sensory nerve conduction studies in the upper and lower extremities. Investigations of microsatellites, using polymorphic repeat markers flanking the gene, and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) were performed for molecular studies.
The initial study of microsatellites did not detect any change, but MLPA demonstrated a small deletion of exon 5 in the PMP22 gene.
Our findings demonstrate the important role of small deletions in the PMP22 gene in the etiology of HNPP with a normal microsatellite study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Facial myokymias (FM) are continuous, involuntary, undulating movements of the facial muscles associated with spontaneous electromyographic activity, such as fasciculations and myokymic discharges. They may occur in healthy individuals, or be secondary to multiple sclerosis, posterior fossa tumors, or an inflammatory process.
We describe the case of a 31-year-old man who presented with headache, vomiting, low fever, and disorientation. Cerebrospinal fluid findings included low glucose and high protein content and lymphocyte pleocytosis, with positive culture for Myobacterium tuberculosis. The patient was diagnosed with tuberculous meningitis. Magnetic resonance imaging showed high contrast enhancement in the basal meninges and a left frontal tuberculoma. Over the course of the disease, he experienced FM and persistent, involuntary contraction of the facial muscles. The electromyogram recorded myokymic discharges.
Tuberculous meningitis is a rare cause of FM. The presence of myokymic discharges on electromyography verified the peripheral origin of facial nerve hyperexcitability in this case, in contrast to persistent contraction of the facial muscles, which has a central origin. The phenomena were transitory and only positive symptoms were observed, with no facial nerve injury.
Tuberculous meningitis is a rare cause of facial nerve hyperexcitability, which can have a peripheral, nuclear, or supranuclear origin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Music-Supported Therapy (MST) has been developed recently in order to improve the use of the affected upper extremity after stroke. This study investigated the neuroplastic mechanisms underlying effectiveness in a patient with chronic stroke.
MST uses musical instruments, a midi piano and an electronic drum set emitting piano sounds, to retrain fine and gross movements of the paretic upper extremity. Data are presented from a patient with a chronic stroke (20 months post-stroke) with residual right-sided hemiparesis who took part in 20 MST sessions over the course of 4 weeks.
Post-therapy, a marked improvement of movement quality, assessed by 3D movement analysis, was observed. Moreover, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of a sequential hand movement revealed distinct therapy-related changes in the form of a reduction of excess contralateral and ipsilateral activations. This was accompanied by changes in cortical excitability evidenced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Functional MRI in a music listening task suggests that one of the effects of MST is the task-dependent coupling of auditory and motor cortical areas.
The MST appears to be a useful neurorehabilitation tool in patients with chronic stroke and leads to neural reorganization in the sensorimotor cortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electrodiagnostic studies play a key role in the evaluation of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). However, at early stages patients may not meet current neurophysiologic criteria. We report electrodiagnostic findings for 18 patients with suspected GBS within 4 days of clinical onset. Fifteen patients (83%) showed abnormality in the motor nerve conduction study. Prolonged distal motor latency (DML) was the most frequent demyelinating parameter (seen in 55% of patients). Abnormal late responses were noted in 14 patients (77%). Electrodiagnostic study of cranial nerves was abnormal in eight (44%), and motor nerve conduction velocity was abnormal in only six patients (23%). The study shows a predominant motor neuropathy pattern followed by a sural-sparing pattern; no patients showed a strictly normal electrodiagnostic study. Reduced distal compound muscle action potential and prolonged DML in the demyelinating range were associated with severity of GBS on admission. After the electrodiagnostic study, 5 patients (27%) already fulfilled electrodiagnostic criteria for acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP), 1 (5%) for the axonal variant of GBS, and 13 (72%) were classified as equivocal. We conclude that exhaustive electrodiagnostic studies of patients with suspected GBS in very early stages are useful in the diagnosis and management of the condition.
Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System 06/2011; 16(2):136-42. DOI:10.1111/j.1529-8027.2011.00338.x · 2.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is a heterogeneous group of inherited sensory and motor neuropathies. Mutations in the gene that encodes for myelin protein zero (MPZ) can produce different phenotypes: CMT1 (with low conduction velocities), CMT2 (less frequent and with unaffected conduction velocities), and CMTID (with intermediate conduction velocities). We report a study of seven patients from a four-generation family. All the affected members of the family had a typical CMT phenotype, but three of them had calf hypertrophy. The nerve conduction velocities (NCV) in all of them were between 35 and 43 m/s. Molecular study revealed the novel mutation Lys214Met in the MPZ gene. Molecular study of the MPZ gene would be useful in cases of CMT in families with intermediate NCV, especially if no mutations in the GJB-1 gene are found or there is male-to-male transmission.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease or hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN) is a genetically heterogeneous group of conditions that affect the peripheral nervous system. The disease is characterized by degeneration or abnormal development of peripheral nerves and exhibits a range of patterns of genetic transmission. In the majority of cases, CMT first appears in infancy, and its manifestations include clumsiness of gait, predominantly distal muscular atrophy of the limbs, and deformity of the feet in the form of foot drop. It can be classified according to the pattern of transmission (autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X linked), according to electrophysiological findings (demyelinating or axonal), or according to the causative mutant gene. The classification of CMT is complex and undergoes constant revision as new genes and mutations are discovered. In this paper, we review the most efficient diagnostic algorithms for the molecular diagnosis of CMT, which are based on clinical and electrophysiological data.
BioMed Research International 10/2009; 2009(5):985415. DOI:10.1155/2009/985415 · 2.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the Mitofusin 2 (MFN2) gene have been related to the axonal type of Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 (CMT 2A). We report the first two Spanish families with CMT 2 and mutations in MFN2 gene. Molecular studies of one family with late onset revealed the novel mutation Arg364Gln. The affected family members presented mild clinical and electrophysiological worsening after 14 years of follow-up. The other family presented an early onset and optic atrophy. Molecular studies revealed the Arg94Gln mutation. This is the first report of a family in which this mutation is related to optic atrophy. Molecular analysis aimed at detecting mutations of MFN2 could be extremely useful in mild axonal neuropathies with slow evolution and indispensable in cases of dominant inheritance or optic atrophy. Population studies of mutations in MFN2 should be undertaken to discover the real frequencies in the Mediterranean area.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dropped head sign is characterized by the gradual forward sagging of the head due to weakness of neck extensor muscles. This may be a prominent sign of several neuromuscular disorders and may be an isolated feature of myasthenia gravis (MG). We describe a patient with isolated neck extensor weakness, eletrophysiological findings suggesting myasthenia gravis and positive MuSK antibodies. This case supports that finding anti-MuSK antibodies may be extremely helpful in dropped head patients and negative acetylcholine receptor antibodies especially if needle EMG does not reveal myopathic or neurogenic patterns.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thermoalgesic sensory deficits in patients with syringomyelia may escape objective documentation with conventional electrophysiological techniques. We examined six patients with radiologically proven centrospinal cavities and patchy thermoalgesic sensory deficits by recording the evoked potentials and the sympathetic sudomotor skin responses (SSR) to laser stimuli. While electrical stimuli to the affected areas induced evoked potentials and SSRs of normal latency and amplitude, CO2 laser stimulation induced absent or abnormally reduced evoked potentials. Also, warmth and heat pain stimulation with a Peltier thermode induced absent or abnormal SSRs when applied over the affected areas but well defined SSRs when applied to the corresponding contralateral areas. Our results reveal the utility of recording the SSR to pain and temperature stimuli over specific body sites to demonstrate impairment of pain and temperature pathways in patients with syringomyelia. Comparison of electrical versus laser and temperature induced SSRs is an objective means to evaluate the selective thermoalgesic sensory deficit in these patients.
Journal of Neurology 06/2007; 254(5):638-45. DOI:10.1007/s00415-006-0422-6 · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the classic features of hemifacial spasm (HFS) is spread of the blink reflex responses to muscles other than the orbicularis oculi. The pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the generation of such abnormal responses include lateral spread of activity between neighboring fibers of the facial nerve and hyperexcitability of facial motoneurons. In this report we present evidence for another mechanism that can contribute to the generation of responses in lower facial muscles resembling the R1 response of the blink reflex. In 13 HFS patients, we studied the responses induced in orbicularis oris by electrical stimuli applied at various sites between the supraorbital and zygomatic areas. We identified responses with two different components: an early and very stable component, with an onset latency ranging from 10.5 to 14.8 ms, and a more irregular longer-latency component. Displacement of the stimulation site away from the supraorbital nerve and towards the extracranial origin of the facial nerve caused a progressive shortening of response latency. These features indicate that, in our patients, the shortest latency component of the orbicularis oris response was likely generated by antidromic conduction in facial nerve motor axons followed by axono-axonal activation of the fibers innervating the lower facial muscles. Our results suggest that motor axono-axonal responses are generated by stimulation of facial nerve terminals in HFS.