[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phospholipase A2 associated neurodegeneration (PLAN) is a major phenotype of autosomal recessive Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation (NBIA). We describe the clinical phenotypes, neuroimaging features and PLA2G6 mutations in 5 children, of whom 4 presented with infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy (INAD). One other patient was diagnosed with the onset of PLAN in childhood, and our report highlights the diagnostic challenges associated with this atypical PLAN subtype. In this series, the neuroradiological relevance of the classical PLAN features as well as ‘apparent claval hypertrophy’ is explored. Novel PLA2G6 mutations were identified in all patients. PLAN should be considered not only in patients presenting with a classic INAD phenotype but also in older patients presenting later in childhood with non-specific progressive neurological features including social communication difficulties, gait disturbance, dyspraxia, neuropsychiatric symptoms and extrapyramidal motor features.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 06/2014; · 2.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) is the most common pediatric neurologic emergency and is often associated with unfavorable neurodevelopmental outcomes. The early developmental trajectory of children following CSE has not been previously investigated, leaving a gap in our understanding of how these adverse long-term outcomes emerge. METHODS: We prospectively recruited children aged between 1 and 42 months from a predefined geographic region of North London who had at least one episode of CSE and classified them as prolonged febrile seizures (PFS) or nonfebrile CSE. Neuropsychological and imaging investigations were conducted within 6 weeks of CSE (baseline) and were repeated a year later (follow-up). Neurodevelopment was assessed using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III and compared to normally developing children. Predictors of neurodevelopmental scores at baseline and follow-up were investigated using regression analyses. KEY FINDINGS: Of the 54 children that underwent investigations a mean of 38 days following CSE, 27 had PFS (mean age 18.4 months) and 27 had nonfebrile CSE (mean age 15.5 months). In addition, 17 healthy controls were assessed (mean age 20.49 months). Children with nonfebrile CSE had a worse developmental outcome than children with PFS (p < 0.002), despite there being no differences in seizure characteristics. In contrast to expectations, the PFS group had a worse developmental outcome than controls (p = 0.002). There were no significant differences in performance from baseline to 1-year follow-up for the 70.4% of children who provided data. Seizure characteristics were not shown to be significant predictors of performance. SIGNIFICANCE: CSE is associated with developmental impairments within 6 weeks of the acute event that continue to be present a year onward. This is also true of PFS cases that under-perform relative to controls despite mean scores within the clinically normal range. The absence of a change in performance from baseline to follow-up as well as the lack of a relationship between seizure characteristics and developmental outcomes supports the notion that premorbid abilities may be overshadowing any direct effects of CSE itself on outcome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose: Most published data on infants presenting with epilepsy originate from hospital/specialist clinic settings and may therefore not be representative of the general population. We carried out a population-based study to estimate the incidence of epilepsy onset in infants, to characterize the range of phenotypes and associated structural brain abnormalities, and to determine whether specific epilepsy diagnoses could be established at onset. Methods: Children between 1 and 24 months of age with new-onset epilepsy were ascertained over 13 months from the residents in 15 boroughs of North London. Classification based on clinical information, electroencephalography (EEG), and neuroimaging data was undertaken independently by two pediatric neurologists. Neuroimages were reviewed by two neuroradiologists blinded to clinical details. Key Findings: A total of 57 children were enrolled giving an ascertainment-adjusted incidence of 70.1 (95% CI [56.3, 88.5])/100,000 children ≤2 years of age/year (ascertainment 76%). The incidence was highest among Asian children. An electroclinical syndrome was identified in 24 (42%) cases of which 21 were epileptic encephalopathies. Magnetic resonance (MR) images of 51 cases (89% of the total cohort) were reviewed. These demonstrated positive findings in 37 (72%) of 51 cases, of which 26 (51%) of 51 were etiologically relevant, and included developmental malformations in 11 (21%) of 51. Significance: In a population setting infantile onset epilepsy presents mostly with complex phenotypes commonly associated with structural brain abnormalities. Routine MR imaging at presentation is therefore justified. However, identification of specific electroclinical syndromes remains difficult at onset.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although language difficulties are common in children born prematurely, robust neuroanatomical correlates of these impairments remain to be established. This study investigated whether the greater prevalence of language problems in preterm (versus term-born) children might reflect injury to major intra- or interhemispheric white matter pathways connecting frontal and temporal language regions. To investigate this, we performed a comprehensive assessment of language and academic abilities in a group of adolescents born prematurely, some of whom had evidence of brain injury at birth (n = 50, mean age: 16 years, mean gestational age: 27 weeks) and compared them to a term-born control group (n = 30). Detailed structural magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion-tractography analyses of intrahemispheric and interhemispheric white matter bundles were performed. Analysis of intrahemispheric pathways included the arcuate fasciculus (dorsal language pathway) and uncinate fasciculus/extreme capsule (ventral language pathway). Analysis of interhemispheric pathways (in particular, connections between the temporal lobes) included the two major commissural bundles: the corpus callosum and anterior commissure. We found language impairment in 38% of adolescents born preterm. Language impairment was not related to abnormalities of the arcuate fasciculus (or its subsegments), but was associated with bilateral volume reductions in the ventral language pathway. However, the most significant volume reduction was detected in the posterior corpus callosum (splenium), which contains interhemispheric connections between the occipital, parietal and temporal lobes. Diffusion tractography showed that of the three groups of interhemispheric fibres within the splenium, only those connecting the temporal lobes were reduced. Crucially, we found that language impairment was only detectable if the anterior commissure (a second temporal lobe commissural pathway) was also small. Regression analyses showed that a combination of anatomical measures of temporal interhemispheric connectivity (through the splenium of the corpus callosum and anterior commissure) explained 57% of the variance in language abilities. This supports recent theories emphasizing the importance of interhemispheric connections for language, particularly in the developing brain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Changing trends in multiple sclerosis (MS) epidemiology may first be apparent in the childhood population affected with first onset acquired demyelinating syndromes (ADSs). We aimed to determine the incidence, clinical, investigative and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of childhood central nervous system ADSs in the British Isles for the first time. METHODS: We conducted a population active surveillance study. All paediatricians, and ophthalmologists (n = 4095) were sent monthly reporting cards (September 2009-September 2010). International Paediatric MS Study Group 2007 definitions and McDonald 2010 MS imaging criteria were used for acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Clinicians completed a standard questionnaire and provided an MRI copy for review. RESULTS: Card return rates were 90%, with information available for 200/222 positive notifications (90%). After exclusion of cases, 125 remained (age range 1.3-15.9), with CIS in 66.4%, ADEM in 32.0% and NMO in 1.6%. The female-to-male ratio in children older than 10 years (n = 63) was 1.52:1 (p = 0.045). The incidence of first onset ADS in children aged 1-15 years old was 9.83 per million children per year (95% confidence interval [CI] 8.18-11.71). A trend towards higher incidence rates of ADS in children of South Asian and Black ethnicity was observed compared with White children. Importantly, a number of MRI characteristics distinguished ADEM from CIS cases. Of CIS cases with contrast imaging, 26% fulfilled McDonald 2010 MS diagnostic criteria. CONCLUSIONS: We report the highest surveillance incidence rates of childhood ADS. Paediatric MS diagnosis at first ADS presentation has implications for clinical practice and clinical trial design.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess speech abilities in adolescents born preterm and investigate whether there is an association between specific speech deficits and brain abnormalities.
Fifty adolescents born prematurely (<33 weeks' gestation) with a spectrum of brain injuries were recruited (mean age, 16 years). Speech examination included tests of speech-sound processing and production and speech and oromotor control. Conventional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion-weighted imaging was acquired in all adolescents born preterm and 30 term-born control subjects. Radiological ratings of brain injury were recorded and the integrity of the primary motor projections was measured (corticospinal tract and speech-motor corticobulbar tract [CST/CBT]).
There were no clinical diagnoses of developmental dysarthria, dyspraxia, or a speech-sound disorder, but difficulties in speech and oromotor control were common. A regression analysis revealed that presence of a neurologic impairment, and diffusion-weighted imaging abnormalities in the left CST/CBT were significant independent predictors of poor speech and oromotor outcome. These left-lateralized abnormalities were most evident at the level of the posterior limb of the internal capsule.
Difficulties in speech and oromotor control are common in adolescents born preterm, and adolescents with injury to the CST/CBT pathways in the left-hemisphere may be most at risk.
The Journal of pediatrics 03/2012; 160(3):402-408.e1. · 4.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coats plus is a highly pleiotropic disorder particularly affecting the eye, brain, bone and gastrointestinal tract. Here, we show that Coats plus results from mutations in CTC1, encoding conserved telomere maintenance component 1, a member of the mammalian homolog of the yeast heterotrimeric CST telomeric capping complex. Consistent with the observation of shortened telomeres in an Arabidopsis CTC1 mutant and the phenotypic overlap of Coats plus with the telomeric maintenance disorders comprising dyskeratosis congenita, we observed shortened telomeres in three individuals with Coats plus and an increase in spontaneous γH2AX-positive cells in cell lines derived from two affected individuals. CTC1 is also a subunit of the α-accessory factor (AAF) complex, stimulating the activity of DNA polymerase-α primase, the only enzyme known to initiate DNA replication in eukaryotic cells. Thus, CTC1 may have a function in DNA metabolism that is necessary for but not specific to telomeric integrity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor-1 axis plays a role in normal brain growth but little is known of the effect of growth hormone deficiency on brain structure. Children with isolated growth hormone deficiency (peak growth hormone <6.7 µg/l) and idiopathic short stature (peak growth hormone >10 µg/l) underwent cognitive assessment, diffusion tensor imaging and volumetric magnetic resonance imaging prior to commencing growth hormone treatment. Total brain, corpus callosal, hippocampal, thalamic and basal ganglia volumes were determined using Freesurfer. Fractional anisotropy (a marker of white matter structural integrity) images were aligned and tract-based spatial statistics performed. Fifteen children (mean 8.8 years of age) with isolated growth hormone deficiency [peak growth hormone <6.7 µg/l (mean 3.5 µg/l)] and 14 controls (mean 8.4 years of age) with idiopathic short stature [peak growth hormone >10 µg/l (mean 15 µg/l) and normal growth rate] were recruited. Compared with controls, children with isolated growth hormone deficiency had lower Full-Scale IQ (P < 0.01), Verbal Comprehension Index (P < 0.01), Processing Speed Index (P < 0.05) and Movement-Assessment Battery for Children (P < 0.008) scores. Verbal Comprehension Index scores correlated significantly with insulin-like growth factor-1 (P < 0.03) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (P < 0.02) standard deviation scores in isolated growth hormone deficiency. The splenium of the corpus callosum, left globus pallidum, thalamus and hippocampus (P < 0.01) were significantly smaller; and corticospinal tract (bilaterally; P < 0.045, P < 0.05) and corpus callosum (P < 0.05) fractional anisotropy were significantly lower in the isolated growth hormone deficiency group. Basal ganglia volumes and bilateral corticospinal tract fractional anisotropy correlated significantly with Movement-Assessment Battery for Children scores, and corpus callosum fractional anisotropy with Full-Scale IQ and Processing Speed Index. In patients with isolated growth hormone deficiency, white matter abnormalities in the corpus callosum and corticospinal tract, and reduced thalamic and globus pallidum volumes relate to deficits in cognitive function and motor performance. Follow-up studies that investigate the course of the structural and cognitive deficits on growth hormone treatment are now required to confirm that growth hormone deficiency impacts significantly on brain structure, cognitive function and motor performance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is evidence that at least 5% of Multiple sclerosis (MS) cases manifest in childhood. Children with MS present with a demyelinating episode involving single or multiple symptoms prior to developing a second event (usually within two years) to then meet criteria for diagnosis. There is evidence from adult cohorts that the incidence and sex ratios of MS are changing and that children of immigrants have a higher risk for developing MS. A paediatric population should reflect the vanguard of such changes and may reflect trends yet to be observed in adult cohorts. Studying a paediatric population from the first demyelinating event will allow us to test these hypotheses, and may offer further valuable insights into the genetic and environmental interactions in the pathogenesis of MS.
The Paediatric UK Demyelinating Disease Longitudinal Study (PUDDLS) is a prospective longitudinal observational study which aims to determine the natural history, predictors and outcomes of childhood CNS inflammatory demyelinating diseases. PUDDLS will involve centres in the UK, and will establish a cohort of children affected with a first CNS inflammatory demyelinating event for long-term follow up by recruiting for approximately 5 years. PUDDLS will also establish a biological sample archive (CSF, serum, and DNA), allowing future hypothesis driven research. For example, the future discovery of a biomarker will allow validation within this dataset for the evaluation of novel biomarkers. Patients will also be requested to consent to be contacted in the future. A secondary aim is to collaborate internationally with the International Paediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group when future collaborative studies are proposed, whilst sharing a minimal anonymised dataset. PUDDLS is the second of two jointly funded studies. The first (UCID-SS) is an epidemiological surveillance study that already received ethical approvals, and started on the 1st September 2009. There is no direct patient involvement, and UCID-SS aims to determine the UK and Ireland incidence of CNS inflammatory demyelinating disorders in children under 16 years.
A paediatric population should reflect the vanguard of MS epidemiological changes and may reflect trends yet to be observed in adult MS cohorts. The restricted window between clinical expression of disease and exposure to environmental factors in children offers a unique research opportunity. Studying a paediatric population from the first demyelinating event will allow us to investigate the changing epidemiology of MS, and may offer further valuable insights into the genetic and environmental interactions in the pathogenesis of MS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In preterm infants, white matter (WM) abnormalities detected on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at term-age are associated with early developmental delay. We set out to study this association in adolescents born pre-term, by examining intellectual outcome in relation to markers of brain injury, focusing on the effects of WM reduction.
Seventy-nine participants were recruited and assessed at a mean age of 16 years: 49 adolescents born preterm (<32 weeks' gestation) with a wide spectrum of brain injuries (including 22 with no identifiable brain injury at birth) and 30 term-born controls. Data collected included: brain MRI scans, full-scale intelligence quotient (IQ) scores, educational attainments, and behavioral scores. Measures of WM reduction included total volume, cross-sectional area of the corpus callosum (CC), and ventricular dilatation. Cerebellar volumes and neuroradiological ratings were also included.
WM volume and IQ were reduced in the preterm groups (both with and without brain injury). Total WM volume and CC area jointly explained 70% of IQ variance in the adolescents born preterm, irrespective of the presence or severity of brain abnormalities detected at birth or on follow-up MRI. This relationship was not seen in controls. Importantly, correlations were also found with real-world measures of academic achievement and behavioral difficulties.
Preterm birth has a long-term effect on cognition, behavior, and future academic success primarily as a consequence of global brain WM reduction. This emphasizes the need for early therapeutic efforts to prevent WM injury and promote or optimize its development in preterm neonates.
Annals of Neurology 03/2011; 69(4):702-11. · 11.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cilia are ubiquitous cell surface organelles with diverse roles from embryogenesis to adult life. The neurodevelopmental functions of the cilium are currently under investigation in animal systems, but relevance to human brain development remains uncertain. We present the first systematic investigation of structural neuroanatomy in a ciliopathy-Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS). Qualitative and quantitative aspects of brain structure were evaluated via magnetic resonance imaging in 10 patients with BBS (ages 14-28 years). In comparison to age and gender-matched healthy controls, BBS patients had significantly reduced total gray matter (GM) volume but no total white matter (WM) or cerebrospinal fluid volume changes. Voxel-based morphometric analysis indicated regional GM volume loss bilaterally in the anterior temporal lobes and in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, and WM volume loss in the right inferior longitudinal fasciculus. Region-of-interest measurements revealed reduced volume of the hippocampus. Two patients were found to have ventriculomegaly. Global GM reduction and regional volume reductions in the temporal lobe may underlie the learning disabilities and behavioral problems experienced by some patients with BBS. These findings are consistent with previous observations in mouse models of BBS, and further implicate the cilium in neurodevelopmental processes relevant to human cognitive function.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 01/2011; 155A(1):1-8. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although observational findings linking breast milk to higher scores on cognitive tests may be confounded by factors associated with mothers' choice to breastfeed, it has been suggested that one or more constituents of breast milk facilitate cognitive development, particularly in preterms. Because cognitive scores are related to head size, we hypothesized that breast milk mediates cognitive effects by affecting brain growth. We used detailed data from a randomized feeding trial to calculate percentage of expressed maternal breast milk (%EBM) in the infant diet of 50 adolescents. MRI scans were obtained (mean age=15 y 9 mo), allowing volumes of total brain (TBV) and white and gray matter (WMV, GMV) to be calculated. In the total group, %EBM correlated significantly with verbal intelligence quotient (VIQ); in boys, with all IQ scores, TBV and WMV. VIQ was, in turn, correlated with WMV and, in boys only, additionally with TBV. No significant relationships were seen in girls or with gray matter. These data support the hypothesis that breast milk promotes brain development, particularly white matter growth. The selective effect in males accords with animal and human evidence regarding gender effects of early diet. Our data have important neurobiological and public health implications and identify areas for future mechanistic study.
Pediatric Research 04/2010; 67(4):357-62. · 2.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biotinidase deficiency is due to a defect in recycling of biotin and is a treatable autosomal recessive inherited disorder. We describe two cases with unusual presenting symptoms and rarely described MRI findings. We propose that the diagnosis of biotinidase deficiency should be considered when there are symmetrical MRI changes in the medial thalamus, dorsal brainstem, medulla and spinal cord as in our two cases. As long as there isn't newborn screening for biotinidase deficiency in the UK; increased awareness of this disorder and recognition of biotinidase deficiency as a cause of bilateral symmetrical MRI patterns similar to our patients, would facilitate early diagnosis and prevent many of the devastating neurological sequelae associated with missing the condition.
European journal of paediatric neurology: EJPN: official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society 02/2010; 14(6):535-8. · 2.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is estimated to cause 30–50,000 cases of encephalitis every year. The disease occurs mainly in rural Asia and is transmitted to humans from birds and pigs by mosquitoes of the genus Culex. JE is diagnosed with antibody testing of the serum and CSF, but this is not available in many hospitals. Neuroimaging abnormalities, particularly thalamic hypodensity on computed tomography (CT) and hyperintensity on T2 weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been described in case studies, but their usefulness for diagnosing JE is not known. We have therefore evaluated the usefulness of neuroimaging (CT and MRI) for the diagnosis of JE. The findings of thalamic lesions were compared with the final serological diagnosis in a cohort of 75 patients (children and adults) with suspected CNS infections in Southern Vietnam, a JEV endemic area. Thalamic lesions on CT and/or MRI combined had sensitivity 23% (95% confidence interval 12.9–33.1%), specificity 100%, positive predictive value 100% and negative predictive value 42.1% (95% confidence interval 30.2–53.8%) for a diagnosis of JE in this cohort. Over time, the thalamic lesions resolved in some patients. One patient showed disappearance of lesions on CT followed by reappearance of the lesions some time later, known as the fogging effect. In this setting, the presence of thalamic abnormalities suggested the diagnosis of JE, but their absence did not exclude it.
Journal of Neurology 08/2009; 256(12):2052-60. · 3.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare quantitative T2 relaxometry of cerebral white matter (WM) with qualitative assessment of conventional T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images, to assess the relationship between cerebral WM T2 and region-specific apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), and to examine WM T2 regional variation in preterm infants at term.
The local ethical committee granted ethical permission for this study; informed parental consent was obtained for each infant. Sixty-two preterm infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation and nine control infants were examined at 1.5 T; T2-weighted fast spin-echo MR images, T2 relaxometry data, and diffusion-weighted MR images were acquired. Conventional T2-weighted MR images were assessed by a pediatric neuroradiologist for diffuse excessive high signal intensity (DEHSI) in WM. Regions of interest were positioned in frontal WM, central WM, and posterior WM at the level of the centrum semiovale.
In preterm infants at term, T2 was longer in all WM regions than in control infants; in infants with DEHSI, T2 was longer than in infants without DEHSI and control infants, with posterior WM T2 being longer than central or frontal WM T2. In control infants, T2 was similar in all WM regions. Frontal and posterior WM ADCs were higher in preterm infants at term than in control infants.
Cerebral WM T2 is an objective quantitative measurement that can easily and rapidly be obtained during clinical MR imaging in preterm infants at term.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examines the overlap between children with bulbar cerebral palsy (Worster-Drought syndrome [WDS]) and perisylvian polymicrogyria.
A total of 121 children (81 males, 40 females; mean age 5y 5mo, SD 3y 6mo; age range 1mo-15y 4mo) were studied using retrospective clinical data and magnetic resonance imaging. In all, 70 children had WDS with normal perisylvian imaging, 31 had congenital bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria (CBPP), and 20 had congenital unilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria (CUPP).
All groups shared aetiological markers (male sex, congenital contractures, low familial incidence, excess antenatal events). There was a common phenotype of pseudobulbar palsy with mild limb pyramidal signs in all children with WDS, 90% of those with CBPP, and one-third of those with CUPP, often also associated with learning disability*, epilepsy, and behavioural difficulties. A further 15% of children with CUPP acquired this phenotype through an epileptic encephalopathy. Pseudobulbar palsy rather than polymicrogyria was more predictive of additional impairments other than epilepsy.
We propose that congenital perisylvian dysfunction is a spectrum encompassing the WDS phenotype and perisylvian polymicrogyria imaging abnormalities. As with other prenatal brain abnormalities, there is not necessarily concordance between imaging and clinical findings, although the phenotype is often more severe to manifest imaging abnormality. Clinical phenotype is the best indicator of prognosis. Epileptic encephalopathy can cause an acquired form of perisylvian dysfunction where there is.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Consent for magnetic resonance imaging under anesthesia in children is complex - it does not fit the usual model of consent for invasive procedures and requires the collaboration of multiple specialists from different disciplines. This article discusses the issues surrounding consent for this procedure, sets out four essential elements of the consent process, and proposes that, of the specialists involved, the referring clinician is best placed to discuss the options with parents and obtain written consent.