Daniela Frosini

Università di Pisa, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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Publications (60)217.08 Total impact

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Parkinsonism & Related Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: Background and purpose: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive motor neuron disorder that involves degeneration of both upper and lower motor neurons. In patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, pathologic studies and ex vivo high-resolution MR imaging at ultra-high field strength revealed the co-localization of iron and activated microglia distributed in the deep layers of the primary motor cortex. The aims of the study were to measure the cortical thickness and evaluate the distribution of iron-related signal changes in the primary motor cortex of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as possible in vivo biomarkers of upper motor neuron impairment. Materials and methods: Twenty-two patients with definite amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and 14 healthy subjects underwent a high-resolution 2D multiecho gradient-recalled sequence targeted on the primary motor cortex by using a 7T scanner. Image analysis consisted of the visual evaluation and quantitative measurement of signal intensity and cortical thickness of the primary motor cortex in patients and controls. Qualitative and quantitative MR imaging parameters were correlated with electrophysiologic and laboratory data and with clinical scores. Results: Ultra-high field MR imaging revealed atrophy and signal hypointensity in the deep layers of the primary motor cortex of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with a diagnostic accuracy of 71%. Signal hypointensity of the deep layers of the primary motor cortex correlated with upper motor neuron impairment (r = -0.47; P < .001) and with disease progression rate (r = -0.60; P = .009). Conclusions: The combined high spatial resolution and sensitivity to paramagnetic substances of 7T MR imaging demonstrate in vivo signal changes of the cerebral motor cortex that resemble the distribution of activated microglia within the cortex of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Cortical thinning and signal hypointensity of the deep layers of the primary motor cortex could constitute a marker of upper motor neuron impairment in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · American Journal of Neuroradiology

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Movement Disorders
  • S Mazzucchi · D Frosini · U Bonuccelli · R Ceravolo
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    ABSTRACT: Levodopa-induced dyskinesias (LID) are one of the main issues in the management of Parkinson's disease (PD); once these dyskinesias are established treatment becomes difficult, so preventive strategies should be first evaluated. Although levodopa (LD) treatment has recently been related as risk factor for LID, the main strategy to delay LID is to start PD treatment with dopamine agonists, adding LD at low doses. After LID onset, approaches include reducing single LD doses, reducing or discontinuing monoamine oxidase type B/catechol O-methyltransferase (MAO-B/COMT) inhibitors and extended-release (ER) LD. Amantadine represents the best antidyskinetic tool, and ER amantadine is the most promising upcoming antidyskinetic drug. New LD formulations such as IPX-066 (able to provide continuous dopaminergic stimulation) also represent promising new approaches. The involvement of a nondopaminergic system in the pathogenesis of LID suggests that the modulation of glutamate, serotonin and adenosine could have potential as new upcoming drug targets, but the role of such drugs will still need to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials. Copyright 2015 Prous Science, S.A.U. or its licensors. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Drugs of today (Barcelona, Spain: 1998)
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the striatal and extrastriatal DAT availability (SPM8) by [(123)I]FP-CIT-SPECT in 15 PD patients with depression and 35 PD patients without depression. A cluster with significant (p < 0.05) lower tracer binding in PD with depression was found in left cingulate cortex, persistent after correction for age, disease severity and duration, and inversely correlated with depression scores (r -0.336, p < 0.05). Our data indicate a significant association between PD depression and cingulate dopaminergic denervation supporting the dopaminergic hypothesis of PD depression.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Neural Transmission
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    ABSTRACT: The etiopathogenesis of essential tremor (ET) is still debated, since the predominant role of circuit dysfunction or brain degenerative changes has not been clearly established. The relationship with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is also controversial and resting tremor occurs in up to 20 % of ET. We investigated the morphological and functional changes associated with ET and we assessed potential differences related to the presence (ET+R) or absence (ET−R) of resting tremor. 32 ET patients (18 ET+R; 14 ET−R) and 12 healthy controls (HC) underwent 3T-MRI protocol including Spoiled Gradient T1-weighted sequence for Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) analysis and functional MRI during continuous writing of “8” with right dominant hand. VBM analysis revealed no gray and white matter atrophy comparing ET patients to HC and ET+R to ET−R patients. HC showed a higher BOLD response with respect to ET patients in cerebellum and other brain areas pertaining to cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuit. Between-group activation maps showed higher activation in precentral gyrus bilaterally, right superior and inferior frontal gyri, left postcentral gyrus, superior and inferior parietal gyri, mid temporal and supramarginal gyri, cerebellum and internal globus pallidus in ET−R compared to ET+R patients. Our findings support that the dysfunction of cerebello-thalamo-cortical network is associated with ET in absence of any morphometric changes. The dysfunction of GPi in ET+R patients, consistently with data reported in PD resting tremor, might suggest a potential role of this structure in this type of tremor.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Neurology
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    ABSTRACT: Background and purpose: Standard neuroimaging fails in defining the anatomy of the substantia nigra and has a marginal role in the diagnosis of Parkinson disease. Recently 7T MR target imaging of the substantia nigra has been useful in diagnosing Parkinson disease. We performed a comparative study to evaluate whether susceptibility-weighted angiography can diagnose Parkinson disease with a 3T scanner. Materials and methods: Fourteen patients with Parkinson disease and 13 healthy subjects underwent MR imaging examination at 3T and 7T by using susceptibility-weighted angiography. Two expert blinded observers and 1 neuroradiology fellow evaluated the 3T and 7T images of the sample to identify substantia nigra abnormalities indicative of Parkinson disease. Diagnostic accuracy and intra- and interobserver agreement were calculated separately for 3T and 7T acquisitions. Results: Susceptibility-weighted angiography 7T MR imaging can diagnose Parkinson disease with a mean sensitivity of 93%, specificity of 100%, and diagnostic accuracy of 96%. 3T MR imaging diagnosed Parkinson disease with a mean sensitivity of 79%, specificity of 94%, and diagnostic accuracy of 86%. Intraobserver and interobserver agreement was excellent at 7T. At 3T, intraobserver agreement was excellent for experts, and interobserver agreement ranged between good and excellent. The less expert reader obtained a diagnostic accuracy of 89% at 3T. Conclusions: Susceptibility-weighted angiography images obtained at 3T and 7T differentiate controls from patients with Parkinson disease with a higher diagnostic accuracy at 7T. The capability of 3T in diagnosing Parkinson disease might encourage its use in clinical practice. The use of the more accurate 7T should be supported by a dedicated cost-effectiveness study.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · American Journal of Neuroradiology
  • Article: Response.

    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Radiology
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    ABSTRACT: Background Serotonergic system is believed to play a role in levodopa-induced-dyskinesias pathogenesis, and serotonin transporter has been evaluated as potential target.Aim of the studyTo retrospectively investigate the potential effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during dopaminergic treatment, in the development of dyskinesias in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).Methods One hundred and thirty-five consecutive patients with PD, with 10-year follow-up since diagnosis. Age at PD onset, duration of levodopa treatment, maximum daily dose, and SSRIs exposure were collected. Risk, latency, and severity of dyskinesias were evaluated comparing patients with and without SSRIs exposure.ResultsForty-nine patients received SSRIs for a variable period, 86 were never treated; no significant difference between the groups was observed (P = 0.897) in the prevalence of dyskinesias. Considering latency between PD diagnosis and dyskinesias onset, patients exposed to SSRIs developed dyskinesias later (6.48 ± 1.99 vs 5.70 ± 1.89 years, P = 0.020). The median dyskinesia severity score was 0 in the exposed group vs 1 in non-exposed patients (P = 0.025). Multivariate analysis demonstrated SSRIs exposure as the only independent predictor, protecting from severe dyskinesia.Conclusions Use of SSRIs in patients with PD did not protect from dyskinesias; however, exposure may delay the onset and reduce the severity, confirming modulation of the serotonergic system as possible antidyskinetic strategy.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Acta Neurologica Scandinavica
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    ABSTRACT: Background Impaired social behaviour, partly related to altered perception of emotions, is commonly reported in HD patients. Over the past few years the role of oxytocin (OT) as social hormone has been proposed and it is supported by the improvement of recognition of the expression of the faces after administration of intranasal OT. Aims To investigate social cognition in HD and to evaluate the role of OT as social hormone. Methods 8 symptomatic HD (stage II S&F) and 9 controls, matched for age and educational level were investigated for social cognition by means of an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests. The basal levels of OT were analysed in the whole study group and searching for relationship between blood levels and social cognition. Results HD patients showed lower performances at Faux pas, Strange Stories test and in recognising face expression evaluated by KDEF scale (p < 0.05, p < 0.01). In general population younger subjects with higher education more easily recognise emotions from facial expressions. Similarly, better cognitive performance (MoCa score) well correlates with better performances on social cognitive tests. OT blood levels showed a trend for lower values in the HD group (average 7.9 ± 5.8 controls, 6.8 ± 2.6 HD). Moreover higher blood levels directly correlate with better performances on Faux Pas test. Regression analysis showed that MoCa scoring and blood OT levels were able to explain 55% about the variability of KDEF in the general population (p < 0.01), and even 70% in HD population (p < 0.05). Conclusions The present study, albeit severely limited by sample size, shows an extensive impairment of social cognition in HD population. The impairment mainly involves the perception of emotions, dependent both on the cognitive impairment and on basal levels of OT. Our finding that social cognition, at least as regards to perception of emotions, may be in part related to OT might support the hypothesis of hypothalamic involvement in HD.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: An overactive striatal dopaminergic neurotransmission is described in psychosis and may be associated with a state of aberrant salience attribution. This pilot psychometric study investigated if features suggestive of an aberrant salience state, a condition of psychosis proneness, are associated with dopamine replacement therapy in patients with early Parkinson's disease (PD). 77 participants (50 medicated PD patients, 12 newly diagnosed drug-naive PD patients and 15 healthy controls) were enrolled and assessed with the Aberrant Salience Inventory (ASI). Differences between groups were found for ASI scores, and ASI scores correlated with the dopaminergic therapy, in particular levodopa. These findings preliminary suggested that the presence and the degree of an aberrant salience state may be associated with features of the dopaminergic therapy; further studies are needed to investigate which neuropsychiatric complications more common in PD patients may be characterized by an underlying aberrant salience state.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Neurological Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: To study patient tolerability of brain imaging that employs an ultrahigh field (7 T) MR system METHODS: We examined 180 subjects that underwent brain MR examination at 7 T. A tolerability test consisting of two parts (during patient table motion and during the examination) was administered to all subjects in order to monitor their discomfort. The scores range from 0 to 5 for the first part, and from 0 to 10 for the second part, the total score of each subject therefore ranging from 0 (no side effects reported) to 15 (lowest tolerability) RESULTS: A total of 51 % of subjects reported at least one side effect but all were mild in intensity and did not require examination interruption. No serious adverse event was reported. The total score (mean ± standard deviation) was 1.1 ± 1.5 out of 15 (mean score 0.4 ± 0.7 out of 5 during patient table motion and 0.7 ± 1.1 out of 10 during MR). Patient discomfort was not related to gender or health status, but it was reduced with time after system installation with increasing operator experience in performing UHF MR examinations. Ultrahigh field MRI is well tolerated without excessive discomfort to subjects. • 7-T MRI is well tolerated with low incidence of side effects • The subjects' discomfort during 7-T MRI is reduced as the operators' experience increases • 7-T MRI is practicable in healthy subjects and patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · European Radiology

  • No preview · Conference Paper · May 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To evaluate the anatomy of the substantia nigra (SN) in healthy subjects by performing 7-T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the SN, and to prospectively define the accuracy of 7-T MR imaging in distinguishing Parkinson disease (PD) patients from healthy subjects on an individual basis. Materials and methods: The 7-T MR imaging protocol was approved by the Italian Ministry of Health and by the local competent ethics committee. SN anatomy was described ex vivo on a gross brain specimen by using highly resolved proton-density (spin-echo proton density) and gradient-recalled-echo (GRE) images, and in vivo in eight healthy subjects (mean age, 40.1 years) by using GRE three-dimensional multiecho susceptibility-weighted images. After training on appearance of SN in eight healthy subjects, the SN anatomy was evaluated twice by two blinded observers in 13 healthy subjects (mean age, 54.7 years) and in 17 PD patients (mean age, 56.9 years). Deviations from normal SN appearance were described and indicated as abnormal, and both diagnostic accuracy and intra- and interobserver agreement for diagnosis of PD with 7-T MR imaging were calculated. Results: Three-dimensional multiecho susceptibility-weighted 7-T MR imaging reveals a three-layered organization of the SN allowing readers to distinguish pars compacta ventralis and dorsalis from pars reticulata. The abnormal architecture of the SN allowed a discrimination between PD patients and healthy subjects with sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 96.2% (range, 92.3%-100%), respectively. Intraobserver agreement (κ = 1) and interobserver agreement (κ = 0.932) were excellent. Conclusion: MR imaging at 7-T allows a precise characterization of the SN and visualization of its inner organization. Three-dimensional multiecho susceptibility-weighted images can be used to accurately differentiate healthy subjects from PD patients, which provides a novel diagnostic opportunity.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Radiology

  • No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Neurological Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Similarly to subjects with degenerative parkinsonism, (123)I-FP-CIT SPECT has been reported either normal or abnormal in patients with drug-induced parkinsonism (DIP), challenging the notion that parkinsonism might be entirely due to post-synaptic D2-receptors blockade by antipsychotic drugs. In a previous multicenter cross-sectional study conducted on a large sample of patients with schizophrenia, we identified 97 patients who developed parkinsonism with a similar bi-modal distribution of DAT-SPECT. In this longitudinal study, we reported clinical and imaging features associated with progression of motor disability over 2-year follow-up in 60 out of those 97 patients with schizophrenia and parkinsonism who underwent (123)I-FP-CIT SPECT at baseline evaluation (normal SPECT=33; abnormal SPECT=27). As second end-point, chronic response to levodopa over a 3-month period was tested in a subgroup of subjects. Motor Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) at follow-up significantly increased in patients with abnormal SPECT. Specifically, a 6-point worsening was demonstrated in 18.5% of the subjects with abnormal SPECT and in none of the subjects with normal SPECT. Levodopa treatment improved motor UPDRS only in the group with abnormal SPECT. After adjustment for possible confounders, linear regression analysis demonstrated that abnormal SPECT findings at baseline were the only predictor of motor disability progression and of better outcome of levodopa treatment. Our results support the notion that a degenerative disease might underlie parkinsonism in a minority of schizophrenic patients chronically exposed to antipsychotics. Functional imaging of the dopamine transporter can be helpful to select this patient sub-group that might benefit from levodopa therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Schizophrenia Research
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    ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study were to evaluate the risk of neuropathy in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and to evaluate the role of levodopa exposure as a potential risk factor. A multicenter study of 330 patients with PD and 137 healthy controls with a comparable age distribution was performed. With respect to levodopa exposure, 144 patients had long exposure (≥3 years) to levodopa (LELD), 103 patients had short exposure (<3 years) to levodopa (SELD), and 83 patients had no exposure to levodopa (NOLD). Nerve function was evaluated using the reduced total neuropathy score. Right sural sensory antidromic and peroneal motor nerve conduction studies were performed by neurophysiologists who were blinded to the existence of neuropathy clinical features or PD treatment. Overall, 19.40% of patients in the LELD group, 6.80% in the SELD group, 4.82% in the NOLD group, and 8.76% in the control group were diagnosed with neuropathy (axonal, predominantly sensory). Multivariate logistic analysis indicated that the risk of neuropathy was not influenced by disease duration, severity, or sex. The risk of neuropathy increased by approximately 8% for each year of age (P < 0.001; odds ratio [OR], 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.037-1.128). The risk of neuropathy was 2.38 higher in the LELD group than in the control group (P = 0.022; OR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.130-5.014). In a comparison between patients with and without neuropathy (Student's t test), the levodopa dose was higher (P < 0.0001), serum vitamin B12 levels were lower (P = 0.0102), and homocysteine levels were higher (P < 0.001) in the patients with neuropathy. Our results demonstrate that the duration of exposure to levodopa, along with age, is the main risk factor for the development of neuropathy. Screening for homocysteine and vitamin B12 levels and clinical-neurophysiological monitoring for neuropathy may be advisable in patients with PD who are receiving treatment with levodopa. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Movement Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE To assess the association between clinical and socio-demographic features and anti-Parkinson drug (APD) treatment modifications in patients with PD and to describe neurologist and patient opinions regarding the need for changes in APD therapy. METHODS: Subjects with PD with stable APD treatment over ≥3 months prior to baseline were enrolled and evaluated for socio-demographic data, disability, disease severity and neurologist and patient views on the need to modify APD treatment. RESULTS: 775 Patients were included, 51% with Hoehn and Yahr (HY) stage 1-2 (early PD) and 49% with HY stage 2.5-4 (advanced PD). Neurologists modified APD treatment in 255 patients, 97 (25%) early PD and 158 (41%; p < 0.0001) advanced PD. APD modification was strongly associated with a low educational level and UPDRS part IV score. The most common reasons behind the APD therapy changes among neurologists were presence/worsening of motor or non-motor symptoms (88% and 37% of subjects respectively). Out of 216 patients, 92% and 51% were willing to undergo APD changes to therapy because of the presence/worsening of motor or non-motor symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Neurologist decision to change APD therapy and patients reasons for dissatisfaction with it can be prevalently attributed to the presence/worsening of motor symptoms and motor fluctuations in the advanced stages. Non-motor symptoms were considered more often by patients. The patient educational level played a key role in treatment decision.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Parkinsonism & Related Disorders

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Movement Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: Information about patients' adherence to therapy represents a primary issue in Parkinson's disease (PD) management. To perform the linguistic validation of the Italian version of the self-rated 8-Item Morisky Medical Adherence Scale (MMAS-8) and to describe in a sample of Italian patients affected by PD the adherence to anti-Parkinson drug therapy and the association between adherence and some socio-demographic and clinical features. MMAS-8 was translated into Italian language by two independent Italian mother-tongue translators. The consensus version was then back-translated by an English mother-tongue translator. This translation process was followed by a consensus meeting between the authors of translation and investigators and then by two comprehension tests. The translated version of the MMAS-8 scale was then administered at the baseline visit of the "REASON" study (Italian Study on the Therapy Management in Parkinson's disease: Motor, Non-Motor, Adherence and Quality Of Life Factors) in a large sample of PD patients. The final version of the MMAS-8 was easily understood. Mean ± SD MMAS-8 score was 6.1 ± 1.2. There were no differences in adherence to therapy in relationship to disease severity, gender, educational level or decision to change therapy. The Italian version of MMAS-8, the key tool of the REASON study to assess the adherence to therapy, has shown to be understandable to patients with PD. Patients enrolled in the REASON study showed medium therapy adherence.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Neurological Sciences

Publication Stats

563 Citations
217.08 Total Impact Points


  • 1970-2016
    • Università di Pisa
      • Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
      Pisa, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2014
    • Santa Chiara Hospital
      Trient, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy