Maria Gabriele

Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Latium, Italy

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Publications (26)90.73 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the cutaneous silent period (CSP), a spinal inhibitory reflex mainly mediated by A-delta fibres, in demyelinating and axonal polyneuropathy (PNP) and evaluate whether CSP parameters differ between patients with and without neuropathic pain. Eighty-four patients with demyelinating PNP, 178 patients with axonal PNP and 265 controls underwent clinical examination, DN4 questionnaire, standard nerve conduction study, motor-root stimulation and CSP recordings from abductor digiti minimi. We calculated the afferent conduction time of CSP (a-CSP time) with the formula: CSP latency-root motor evoked potential latency. In the demyelinating PNP group the a-CSP time was significantly longer; in the axonal PNP group, CSP duration was shorter than the demyelinating group (p=0.010) and controls (p=0.001). CSP parameters were not different between patients with and without neuropathic pain. The abnormality of a-CSP time in the demyelinating PNP group suggests the crucial role of A-delta fibres in the mechanism of CSP; the shorter CSP duration in the axonal PNP group supports the strong influence of the number of axons on this parameter. Our study suggests that neuropathic pain could be related to pathophysiological mechanisms differing from mere A-delta fibre loss. CSP evaluation is effective in detecting A-delta fibre dysfunction in axonal as well as demyelinating PNP. Copyright © 2014 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2014.11.013 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives/HypothesisThe study was designed to verify if one or more electrophysiological parameters could predict a risk of nonrecovery of normal facial function and the development of synkinesis in Bell's palsy (BP) subjects. Study DesignProspective case series. MethodsA total of 120 subjects ranging from 18 to 70 years with unilateral BP (International Classification of Disease-11), Grade III to VI House-Brackmann (HB) degree, were assessed and treated with standardized oral steroids and antiviral drugs within 48 hours from onset. Of these, 92 underwent electroneurography (ENoG), electromyography (EMG), and blink reflex (BR) testing at 7 to 10 and 20 days after palsy onset. Multivariate analysis and receiver operating characteristic curves were carried out to verify which combination of electrophysiological parameters may be predictive of no recovery and/or development of synkinesis. ResultsBR and ENoG were the best predictors of no facial function recovery, showing significant correlation coefficient with severity of facial palsy in both assessments. EMG findings did not add any prognostic significance. Worsening of facial palsy can be observed in subjects despite steroid therapy. The risk of developing synkinesis might be evaluated soon after BP on the grounds of ENoG degeneration, orbicularis oculi denervation, a younger age, and severe (V-VI) HB grade. ConclusionsBR and ENoG, considered together with clinical findings, could offer a good indication in the first phases of BP for the possibility to develop palsy residua. This combination of tests is well accepted by the subjects, and is therefore suitable for multiple assessments in the early postpalsy period.Key Words: Bell's palsy, facial palsy, ENoG, blink reflex, Prognosis. Level of Evidence4. Laryngoscope, 124:2598-2605, 2014
    The Laryngoscope 11/2014; 124(11). DOI:10.1002/lary.24764 · 2.03 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology 06/2014; 125:S219-S220. DOI:10.1016/S1388-2457(14)50722-5 · 2.98 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology 11/2013; 124(11):e195. DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2013.06.056 · 2.98 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology 11/2013; 124(11):e205-e206. DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2013.06.101 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Painful neuropathy is associated with plasticity changes in the nervous system. Standard repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive technique used to study changes in cortical excitability and to inhibit pain perception. Deep rTMS is a newer development that allows direct activation of deeper neuronal populations, by a unique coil design termed the H-coil. This study was designed to assess whether deep rTMS applied over the motor cortical lower-limb representation relieves pain in patients with diabetic neuropathy. METHODS: Patients were randomly assigned to receive daily real or sham H-coil rTMS for 5 consecutive days. After a 5-week washout period, they crossed over to the alternative treatment for additional 5 days (according to a crossover study design). Outcome measures were changes in the visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain and in area and threshold of RIII nociceptive flexion reflex (RIII reflex). RESULTS: Of the 25 patients randomized, 23 completed the study. After real rTMS, the VAS scores decreased significantly (p = 0.01), and so did RIII reflex area (p < 0.01), while no significant effects in these variables were induced by the sham rTMS treatment. The rTMS-induced changes in the outcome measures disappeared about 3 weeks after stimulation. All patients tolerated stimulation well. CONCLUSIONS: Deep H-coil rTMS provides pain relief in patients with diabetic neuropathy. This innovative technique can induce a therapeutic effect on brain areas that otherwise remain difficult to target. rTMS may produce its analgesic effects, inducing motor cortex plasticity and activating descending inhibitory pain control systems.
    European journal of pain (London, England) 10/2013; 17(9). DOI:10.1002/j.1532-2149.2013.00320.x · 3.22 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2011; 7(4). DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2011.09.162 · 17.47 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology 06/2011; 122. DOI:10.1016/S1388-2457(11)60465-3 · 2.98 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology 06/2011; 122. DOI:10.1016/S1388-2457(11)60513-0 · 2.98 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology 06/2011; 122. DOI:10.1016/S1388-2457(11)60659-7 · 2.98 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology 06/2011; 122. DOI:10.1016/S1388-2457(11)60528-2 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite concerted efforts from pharmacologic research into neuropathic pain, many patients fail to achieve sufficient pain relief with medication alone. For this reason, increasing interest centres on neurostimulation techniques. We assessed whether transcutaneous spinal direct current stimulation (tsDCS) modulates conduction in ascending nociceptive spinal pathways. We measured changes induced by anodal and cathodal tsDCS over the thoracic spinal cord on face- and foot-laser evoked potentials (LEPs) and foot-cold pressor test responses in 20 healthy subjects. Whereas anodal tsDCS reduced the amplitude of the N1 and N2 components of foot-LEPs (P<0.05) neither anodal nor cathodal tsDCS changed LEPs evoked by face stimulation. Pain tolerance to the cold pressor test was significantly higher after anodal than after cathodal tsDCS (P<0.05). Conversely, no difference was found in the pain threshold or pain ratings to the cold pressor test between the two polarity conditions. Our data suggest that anodal tsDCS over the thoracic spinal cord might impair conduction in the ascending nociceptive spinal pathways, thus modulating LEPs and increasing pain tolerance in healthy subjects.
    European journal of pain (London, England) 05/2011; 15(10):1023-7. DOI:10.1016/j.ejpain.2011.04.009 · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Parkinson's disease (PD) the urinary dysfunction manifests primarily with symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB). The OAB questionnaire (OAB-q) is a measure designed to assess the impact of OAB symptoms on health-related quality of life. In this study, we quantified the urinary symptoms in a large cohort of PD patients by using the OAB-q short form. Possible correlations between the OAB-q and clinical features were tested. Three hundred and two PD patients were enrolled in the study. Correlations between the OAB-q and sex, age, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale part III (UPDRS-III), Hoehn-Yahr (H-Y) staging, disease duration, and treatment were analyzed. Data were compared with a large cohort of 303 age-matched healthy subjects. The OAB-q yielded significantly higher scores in PD patients than in healthy subjects. In the group of PD patients, all the variables tested were similar between men and women. Pearson's coefficient showed a significant correlation between mean age, disease duration, mean OAB-q scores, UPDRS-III scores, and H-Y staging. A multiple linear regression analysis showed that OAB-q values were significantly influenced by age and UPDRS-III. No statistical correlations were found between OAB-q scores and drug therapy or the equivalent levodopa dose, whilst the items relating to the nocturia symptoms were significantly associated with the equivalent levodopa dose. Our findings suggest that bladder dysfunction assessed by OAB-q mainly correlates with UPDRS-III scores for severity of motor impairment, possibly reflecting the known role of the decline in nigrostriatal dopaminergic function in bladder dysfunction associated with PD and patients' age. Our study also suggests that the OAB-q is a simple, easily administered test that can objectively evaluate bladder function in patients with PD.
    Movement Disorders 07/2010; 25(9):1203-9. DOI:10.1002/mds.23093 · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Botulinum toxin type A (BoNT/A) has been proposed as an alternative treatment for sialorrhoea in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In an open-label prospective study, BoNT/A was injected into the parotid glands bilaterally using anatomic landmarks in 26 ALS patients with bulbar symptoms. Two weeks after injection the severity of sialorrhoea and the related disability were evaluated subjectively and objectively. A group of healthy subjects acted as controls for saliva production. Patients also underwent electrophysiological tests to evaluate possible toxin effects in the nearby non-injected muscles by comparing the amplitude of compound motor action potentials (cMAPs) elicited by electrical stimulation and recorded from the orbicularis oculi and masseter muscles. After BoNT/A injections, of the 26 patients treated, 23 reported that the severity of sialorrhoea improved and the disabling symptoms diminished. Cotton roll weight also decreased after BoNT/A injection, suggesting a reduction in saliva production. Two patients complained of dry mouth. BoNT/A injection left the cMAP amplitude unchanged, suggesting that botulinum toxin does not significantly affect the non-injected facial and masticatory muscles. In conclusion, intraparotid anatomically-guided BoNT/A injection is an effective, easy, and safe treatment for sialorrhoea in patients with bulbar symptoms related to ALS.
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 11/2009; 11(4):359-63. DOI:10.3109/17482960903264998 · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To find out more about glutamatergic and gabaergic transmission in migraine, in this study we investigated glutamate-dependent short-term synaptic potentiation and GABA-dependent inhibitory cortical interneuron excitability as assessed by 5Hz-rTMS delivered over primary motor cortex (M1) (motor evoked potential, MEP, amplitude facilitation and cortical silent period, CSP, duration lengthening) in migraine patients with (MA) and without aura (MwoA) and healthy controls. We studied 37 patients with migraine (19 MA and 18 MwoA) and 19 healthy control subjects. 5Hz-rTMS was delivered at 120% resting motor threshold to the hand motor area of the left hemisphere with the target muscle at rest and during contraction. Three of the MA patients were also tested at the end of visual aura during a spontaneous migraine attack. ANOVA showed that the MEP significantly increased in size and CSP significantly lengthened during 5Hz-rTMS in the three groups tested. The 5Hz-rTMS-induced MEP facilitation differed significantly being highest in MA patients. In the three patients tested both ictally and interictally the MEP increased during the interictal session but remained unchanged when the visual aura ended. Our study shows that the neurophysiological feature that differentiates MA patients from MwoA patients and healthy controls is an abnormal M1 susceptibility to 5Hz-rTMS both outside and during the attack suggesting that glutamate-dependent short-term M1 cortical potentiation patterns differ in migraine with and without aura.
    Pain 10/2009; 148(1):43-8. DOI:10.1016/j.pain.2009.09.031 · 5.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) delivered in short trains at 5Hz frequency and suprathreshold intensity over the primary motor cortex (M1) in healthy subjects facilitates the motor-evoked potential (MEP) amplitude by increasing cortical excitability through mechanisms resembling short-term synaptic plasticity. In this study, to investigate whether rTES acts through similar mechanisms we compared the effects of rTMS and repetitive transcranial electrical stimulation (rTES) (10 stimuli-trains, 5Hz frequency, suprathreshold intensity) delivered over the M1 on the MEP amplitude. Four healthy subjects were studied in two separate sessions in a relaxed condition. rTMS and anodal rTES were delivered in trains to the left M1 over the motor area for evoking a MEP in the right first dorsal interosseous muscle. Changes in MEP size and latency during the course of the rTMS and rTES trains were compared. The possible effects of muscle activation on MEP amplitude were evaluated, and the possible effects of cutaneous trigeminal fibre activation on corticospinal excitability were excluded in a control experiment testing the MEP amplitude before and after supraorbital nerve repetitive electrical stimulation. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that rTES and rTMS trains elicited similar amplitude first MEPs and a similar magnitude MEP amplitude facilitation during the trains. rTES elicited a first MEP with a shorter latency than rTMS, without significant changes during the course of the train of stimuli. The MEP elicited by single-pulse TES delivered during muscle contraction had a smaller amplitude than the last MEP in the rTES trains. Repetitive supraorbital nerve stimulation left the conditioned MEP unchanged. Our results suggest that 5 Hz-rTES delivered in short trains increases cortical excitability and does so by acting on the excitatory interneurones probably through mechanisms similar to those underlying the rTMS-induced MEP facilitation.
    Neuroscience Letters 06/2009; 455(1):1-3. DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2009.03.035 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We designed this study to investigate possible correlations between variables measuring primary motor cortex excitability detected by single and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and the severity of clinical manifestations in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Thirty patients with MS in remission, 16 with relapsing-remitting (RR), 14 with secondary progressive disease (SP) and 17 healthy subjects participated in the study. In each subject, the central motor conduction time (CMCT) was calculated, and single-pulse and paired-pulse TMS at 3 and 10 ms interstimulus intervals was delivered over the primary motor cortex of the dominant hemisphere to measure the amplitude of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs), motor threshold (MTh), intracortical inhibition (ICI) and facilitation (ICF). Correlations were determined between the patients' TMS findings and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (lesion load) and clinical features (expanded disability status scale, EDSS score). EDSS scores were significantly higher in SPMS than in RRMS patients. The MTh was significantly higher, and the MEP was significantly smaller in SPMS patients than in RRMS patients and control subjects. All patients had longer CMCTs than healthy subjects. In all patients, paired-pulse TMS elicited an inhibited test MEP at the 3-ms ISI and a facilitated test MEP at the 10 ms ISI. Post hoc analysis showed that ICI was significantly lower in SPMS patients than in those with RRMS and healthy subjects. EDSS scores correlated significantly with TMS measures (MEP, ICI, CMCT and MTh), but not with MRI lesion load. It was found that intracortical excitability as measured with TMS differs according to the clinical course of MS; it remains normal in patients with low EDSS scores and is altered in patients with high EDSS scores.
    Journal of Neurology 04/2009; 256(6):933-8. DOI:10.1007/s00415-009-5047-0 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we investigate whether the cutaneous silent period (CSP)-an inhibitory response evoked in hand muscles by painful digital nerve stimulation-is useful for assessing nociceptive pathway function in patients with neuropathic pain. In 40 patients with peripheral neuropathy (21 without and 19 with neuropathic pain) we recorded the CSP in the abductor digiti minimi after fifth digit stimulation and also recorded laser evoked potentials (LEPs) after stimulation applied to the ulnar territory of the hand. Although the LEP amplitude was significantly lower in patients with pain than in those without (P < 0.005), the CSP duration did not differ between groups (P > 0.50). Pain intensity correlated significantly with LEP amplitudes (P < 0.005) but not with CSP duration (P > 0.5). Our findings indicate that the CSP is not useful for assessing nociceptive pathway function in patients with neuropathic pain.
    Muscle & Nerve 03/2009; 39(3):369-73. DOI:10.1002/mus.21162 · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We designed this study to investigate possible correlations between variables measuring primary motor cortex excitability detected by single and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and the severity of clinical manifestations in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Thirty patients with MS in remission, 16 with relapsing–remitting (RR), 14 with secondary progressive disease (SP) and 17 healthy subjects participated in the study. In each subject, the central motor conduction time (CMCT) was calculated, and single-pulse and paired-pulse TMS at 3 and 10 ms interstimulus intervals was delivered over the primary motor cortex of the dominant hemisphere to measure the amplitude of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs), motor threshold (MTh), intracortical inhibition (ICI) and facilitation (ICF). Correlations were determined between the patients' TMS findings and magnetic reso-nance imaging (MRI) (lesion load) and clinical features (expanded disability status scale, EDSS score). EDSS scores were significantly higher in SPMS than in RRMS patients. The MTh was significantly higher, and the MEP was significantly smaller in SPMS patients than in RRMS patients and control subjects. All patients had longer CMCTs than healthy subjects. In all patients, paired-pulse TMS elicited an inhibited test MEP at the 3-ms ISI and a facilitated test MEP at the 10 ms ISI. Post hoc analysis showed that ICI was significantly lower in SPMS patients than in those with RRMS and healthy subjects. EDSS scores correlated significantly with TMS measures (MEP, ICI, CMCT and MTh), but not with MRI lesion load. It was found that intracortical excitability as measured with TMS differs according to the clinical course of MS; it remains normal in patients with low EDSS scores and is altered in patients with high EDSS scores.
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    ABSTRACT: Allgrove syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterised by childhood onset, alacrima, oesophageal achalasia, adrenocortical insufficiency, neurological and occasionally autonomic involvement. Although the disease has been associated with mutations in the ALADIN gene on chromosome 12q13, it is genetically heterogeneous. The case we report is interesting because of its onset in adulthood, long duration of disease and prominent neurological dysfunctions. After the onset of neurological abnormalities the diagnosis went unrecognised for years until the patient presented for evaluation of dysphagia. The presence of achalasia with dysphagia, adrenal insufficiency, reduced tear production, optic atrophy and peripheral motor-sensory neuropathy with axonal loss led us to clinically diagnose Allgrove syndrome even though a genetic study showed no mutations in the ALADIN gene exons. The case we report shares many clinical features with Allgrove syndrome and, even with the limitations of a single case, underlines the variability in this syndrome and the need for appropriate investigations along with a multidisciplinary approach.
    Neurological Sciences 12/2008; 28(6):331-5. DOI:10.1007/s10072-007-0848-3 · 1.50 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

172 Citations
90.73 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • • Department of Neurology and Psychiatry
      • • Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic Medicine and Orthopedic Science
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2011
    • University Medical Center Hamburg - Eppendorf
      • Department of Neurology
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany