[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: In 2007, a novel pathogenic genetic mutation associated with early onset familial Alzheimer disease was identified in a large First Nation family living in communities across British Columbia, Canada. Building on a community-based participatory study with members of the Nation, we sought to explore the impact and interplay of medicalization with the Nation’s knowledge and approaches to wellness in relation to early onset familial Alzheimer disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects up to 1/500 Canadians. The University of British Columbia MS Clinic (UBC Clinic) is the only MS clinic in Canada (and likely internationally) that routinely offers genetic counseling to patients and their families. A typical session includes the collection of family history and demographic data, discussion of the inheritance of MS, interpretation of family-specific recurrence risks and psychosocial counseling. The aims of this study were to explore patients': 1) expectations of the genetic counseling session; 2) understanding of the etiology of MS (both pre and post-session); and 3) post-session perceptions of genetic counseling. A two-part questionnaire to assess genetic counseling services was distributed before and after sessions to all consenting patients seen during the period October 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009 inclusive. Sixty-two completed questionnaires were analysed. Genetic counseling was found to significantly increase the number of individuals who were able to correctly identify the etiology of MS (p < 0.001). Patient satisfaction with genetic counseling was high, with an average satisfaction score of 32.4/35 (92.6 %). Of those who provided comments (n = 42/60) regarding the usefulness of the genetic counseling session, 95.2 % reported it useful (n = 40/42). Findings suggest that genetic counseling is effective in increasing patients' knowledge of the etiology of MS and is viewed by patients as a useful service. Based on the high level of positive feedback regarding genetic counseling by the study sample, this study suggests that the services provided by genetic counselors may be beneficial for patients with MS seen in other centers.
No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Journal of Genetic Counseling
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The meaningful consideration of cultural practices, values and beliefs is a necessary component in the effective translation of advancements in neuroscience to clinical practice and public discourse. Society's immense investment in biomedical science and technology, in conjunction with an increasingly diverse socio-cultural landscape, necessitates the study of how potential discoveries in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease are perceived and utilized across cultures. Building on the work of neuroscientists, ethicists and philosophers, we argue that the growing field of neuroethics provides a pragmatic and constructive pathway to guide advancements in neuroscience in a manner that is culturally nuanced and relevant. Here we review a case study of one issue in culturally oriented neuroscience research where it is evident that traditional research ethics must be broadened and the values and needs of diverse populations considered for meaningful and relevant research practices. A global approach to neuroethics has the potential to furnish critical engagement with cultural considerations of advancements in neuroscience.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Philosophy Ethics and Humanities in Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
This study aimed to determine reproductive practices and attitudes of North Americans diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and the reasons for their reproductive decision making.
A self-administered questionnaire on reproductive practices was mailed to 13,312 registrants of the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) database who met inclusion criteria for the study. Completed questionnaires were then returned to the authors in an anonymous format for analysis.
Among 5949 participants, the majority of respondents (79.1%) did not become pregnant following diagnosis of MS. Of these, 34.5% cited MS-related reasons for this decision. The most common MS-related reasons were symptoms interfering with parenting (71.2%), followed by concerns of burdening partner (50.7%) and of children inheriting MS (34.7%). The most common reason unrelated to MS for not having children was that they already have a "completed family" (55.6%). Of the 20.9% of participants who decided to become pregnant (or father a pregnancy) following a diagnosis of MS, 49.5% had two or more pregnancies.
This study indicates that an MS diagnosis does not completely deter the consideration of childbearing in MS patients of both genders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are closely related clinical syndromes with overlapping molecular pathogenesis. Several families have been reported with members affected by frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or both, which show genetic linkage to a region on chromosome 9p21. Recently, two studies identified the FTD/ALS gene defect on chromosome 9p as an expanded GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in a non-coding region of the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 gene (C9ORF72). In the present study, we provide detailed analysis of the clinical features and neuropathology for 16 unrelated families with frontotemporal dementia caused by the C9ORF72 mutation. All had an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Eight families had a combination of frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis while the other eight had a pure frontotemporal dementia phenotype. Clinical information was available for 30 affected members of the 16 families. There was wide variation in age of onset (mean = 54.3, range = 34-74 years) and disease duration (mean = 5.3, range = 1-16 years). Early diagnoses included behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (n = 15), progressive non-fluent aphasia (n = 5), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 9) and progressive non-fluent aphasia-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 1). Heterogeneity in clinical presentation was also common within families. However, there was a tendency for the phenotypes to converge with disease progression; seven subjects had final clinical diagnoses of both frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and all of those with an initial progressive non-fluent aphasia diagnosis subsequently developed significant behavioural abnormalities. Twenty-one affected family members came to autopsy and all were found to have transactive response DNA binding protein with M(r) 43 kD (TDP-43) pathology in a wide neuroanatomical distribution. All had involvement of the extramotor neocortex and hippocampus (frontotemporal lobar degeneration-TDP) and all but one case (clinically pure frontotemporal dementia) had involvement of lower motor neurons, characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In addition, a consistent and relatively specific pathological finding was the presence of neuronal inclusions in the cerebellar cortex that were ubiquitin/p62-positive but TDP-43-negative. Our findings indicate that the C9ORF72 mutation is a major cause of familial frontotemporal dementia with TDP-43 pathology, that likely accounts for the majority of families with combined frontotemporal dementia/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis presentation, and further support the concept that frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis represent a clinicopathological spectrum of disease with overlapping molecular pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel, pathogenic presenilin 1 (PS1) mutation has recently been identified in a large Aboriginal kindred living in dispersed communities throughout British Columbia, Canada. Disseminating genetic information and ensuring that appropriate genetic counseling services are provided to all concerned relatives have posed several unique challenges. These challenges include knowledge exchange and continuity of care in a geographically remote and culturally distinct community. To our knowledge, this is the first time a specific genetic counseling approach has been needed for early-onset familial Alzheimer disease (EOFAD) in a North American Aboriginal community.
No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Journal of Genetic Counseling
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is currently little information on the genetic epidemiology of Alzheimer disease (AD) among North American Aboriginal populations. No cases of familial AD (FAD) in these populations have been published to date.
Here, we describe a large North American Aboriginal kindred with early onset FAD (EOFAD) in which genetic testing was done.
A novel Presenilin 1 (PS1) gene mutation (L250F) has been identified. In contrast to the three previously reported families with PS1 codon 250 mutations, affected members of this kindred demonstrate neither myoclonus nor seizures. Furthermore, the identification of a PS1 mutation in a North American Aboriginal kindred presents several unique challenges with respect to knowledge transfer and continuity of care in a geographically remote and culturally distinct community.
Preview · Article · May 2010 · The Canadian journal of neurological sciences. Le journal canadien des sciences neurologiques
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The most common pathology in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is tau-negative, ubiquitin-immunoreactive (ub-ir) neuronal inclusions (FTLD-U). Recently, we identified mutations in the progranulin (PGRN) gene as the cause of autosomal dominant FTLD-U linked to chromosome 17. Here, we describe the neuropathology in 13 patients from 6 different families, each with FTD caused by a different PGRN mutation. The most consistent feature was the presence of ub-ir lentiform neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII) in the neocortex and striatum. In addition, the neocortex showed moderate-to-severe superficial laminar spongiosis, chronic degenerative changes, ub-ir neurites and well-defined ub-ir neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI). In the striatum, there were numerous ub-ir neurites. NCI in the hippocampus usually had a granular appearance. In contrast, familial FTLD-U cases without PGRN mutations had no NII, less severe neocortical and striatal pathology and hippocampal NCI that were more often solid. Eight cases in which genetic analysis was not available also had NII and an overall pathology similar to those with proven mutations. None of our cases of FTLD-U without NII showed the same pattern of pathology as those with mutations. These findings suggest that FTD caused by PGRN mutations has a recognizable pathology with the most characteristic feature being ub-ir NII.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the second most common cause of dementia in people under the age of 65 years. A large proportion of FTD patients (35-50%) have a family history of dementia, consistent with a strong genetic component to the disease. In 1998, mutations in the gene encoding the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) were shown to cause familial FTD with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17q21 (FTDP-17). The neuropathology of patients with defined MAPT mutations is characterized by cytoplasmic neurofibrillary inclusions composed of hyperphosphorylated tau. However, in multiple FTD families with significant evidence for linkage to the same region on chromosome 17q21 (D17S1787-D17S806), mutations in MAPT have not been found and the patients consistently lack tau-immunoreactive inclusion pathology. In contrast, these patients have ubiquitin (ub)-immunoreactive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions and characteristic lentiform ub-immunoreactive neuronal intranuclear inclusions. Here we demonstrate that in these families, FTD is caused by mutations in progranulin (PGRN) that are likely to create null alleles. PGRN is located 1.7 Mb centromeric of MAPT on chromosome 17q21.31 and encodes a 68.5-kDa secreted growth factor involved in the regulation of multiple processes including development, wound repair and inflammation. PGRN has also been strongly linked to tumorigenesis. Moreover, PGRN expression is increased in activated microglia in many neurodegenerative diseases including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, motor neuron disease and Alzheimer's disease. Our results identify mutations in PGRN as a cause of neurodegenerative disease and indicate the importance of PGRN function for neuronal survival.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over 30 different mutations have now been identified in MAPt that cause frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, there are several families with FTD that show definite linkage to the region on chromosome 17 that contains MAPt, in which no mutation(s) has been identified. Although these families could have a complex mutation of the MAPt locus that has evaded detection it is also possible that another gene in this region is associated with FTD. This possibility is supported by neuropathological findings in these families, which consist of neuronal inclusions that are immunoreactive for ubiquitin (ub-ir) but not for tau. In addition to neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, several chromosome 17-linked families are reported to have ub-ir neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII); a finding which is uncommon in sporadic FTD. Here, we describe detailed clinical and neuropathological findings in a new large, multigenerational family with autosomal dominant FTD and autopsy proven tau-negative, ub-ir neuronal cytoplasmic and intranuclear inclusions. We have demonstrated that this family is linked to a 19.06 cM region of chromosome 17q21 with a maximum multipoint LOD score of 3.911 containing MAPt. By combining the results of our genetic analysis with those previously published for other families with similar pathology, we have further refined the minimal region to a 3.53 cM region of chromosome 17q21. We did not identify point mutations in MAPt by direct sequencing or any gross MAPt gene alterations using fluorescent in situ hybridization. In addition, tau protein extracted from members of this family was unremarkable in size and quantity as assessed by western blotting. Neuropathological characterization of the ub-ir NII in this family shows that they are positive for promyelocytic leukaemia protein (PML) and SUMO-1 that suggests that these inclusions form in the nuclear body and suggests a possible mechanism of neurodegeneration in tau-negative FTD linked to chromosome 17q21.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many cases of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are familial, often with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Some are due to a mutation in the tau- encoding gene, on chromosome 17, and show an accumulation of abnormal tau in brain tissue (FTDP-17T). Most of the remaining familial cases do not exhibit tau pathology, but display neuropathology similar to patients with dementia and motor neuron disease, characterized by the presence of ubiquitin-immunoreactive (ub-ir), dystrophic neurites and neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions in the neocortex and hippocampus (FTLD-U). Recently, we described a subset of patients with familial FTD with autopsy-proven FTLD-U pathology and with the additional finding of ub-ir neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII). NII are a characteristic feature of several other neurodegenerative conditions for which the genetic basis is abnormal expansion of a polyglutamine-encoding trinucleotide repeat region. The genetic basis of familial FTLD-U is currently not known, however the presence of NII suggests that a subset of cases may represent a polyglutamine expansion disease.
We studied DNA and post mortem brain tissue from 5 affected members of 4 different families with NII and one affected individual with familial FTLD-U without NII. Patient DNA was screened for CAA/CAG trinucleotide expansion in a set of candidate genes identified using a genome-wide computational approach. Genes containing CAA/CAG trinucleotide repeats encoding at least five glutamines were examined (n = 63), including the nine genes currently known to be associated with human disease. CAA/CAG tract sizes were compared with published normal values (where available) and with those of healthy controls (n = 94). High-resolution agarose gel electrophoresis was used to measure allele size (number of CAA/CAG repeats). For any alleles estimated to be equal to or larger than the maximum measured in the control population, the CAA/CAG tract length was confirmed by capillary electrophoresis. In addition, immunohistochemistry using a monoclonal antibody that recognizes proteins containing expanded polyglutamines (1C2) was performed on sections of post mortem brain tissue from subjects with NII.
No significant polyglutamine-encoding repeat expansions were identified in the DNA from any of our FTLD-U patients. NII in the FTLD-U cases showed no 1C2 immunoreactivity.
We find no evidence to suggest that autosomal dominant FTLD-U with NII is a polyglutamine expansion disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two-thirds of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are women, and the average age of onset overlaps the childbearing years. Clinicians are frequently asked, therefore, about the most appropriate form of contraception and the risk of an MS relapse/exacerbation during pregnancy and the post-partum period. This paper reviews the literature on the immune system and the effects of pregnancy, oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy on MS.
Preview · Article · Jul 2003 · International MS journal / MS Forum
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous research on the effects of pregnancy on multiple sclerosis (MS) is somewhat flawed, and well-controlled, well-designed studies are needed to validate trial findings. In general, pregnancy appears to have a protective effect on MS course, with fewer, less severe relapses, especially in the third trimester. The exacerbation rate is increased in the first 3 months after delivery, but the overall relapse rate is no different to that observed in non-pregnant MS patients. A woman's past history of relapses may be the best indicator of clinical course during and immediately after pregnancy. Pregnancy does not appear to affect the long-term course of MS.
Preview · Article · Jul 2003 · International MS journal / MS Forum
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many questions arise when counselling multiple sclerosis (MS) patients on the effects of MS on pregnancy, and vice versa. Reassurance can often be given regarding contraception, fertility, pregnancy management, pregnancy outcome, and the risk of the child developing MS. Much more information is needed, however, on the effects and implications of MS therapies on pregnancy and breast-feeding.
Preview · Article · Jul 2003 · International MS journal / MS Forum