689 research outputs found

    Efficacy and safety of autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation versus alemtuzumab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab or cladribine in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (StarMS): protocol for a randomised controlled trial

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    Introduction: Autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT) is increasingly used as treatment for patients with active multiple sclerosis (MS), typically after failure of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). A recent phase III trial, ‘Multiple Sclerosis International Stem Cell Transplant, MIST’, showed that aHSCT resulted in prolonged time to disability progression compared with DMTs in patients with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS). However, the MIST trial did not include many of the current high-efficacy DMTs (alemtuzumab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab or cladribine) in use in the UK within the control arm, which are now offered to patients with rapidly evolving severe MS (RES-MS) who are treatment naïve. There remain, therefore, unanswered questions about the relative efficacy and safety of aHSCT over these high-efficacy DMTs in these patient groups. The StarMS trial (Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation versus Alemtuzumab, Ocrelizumab, Ofatumumab or Cladribine in Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis) will assess the efficacy, safety and long-term impact of aHSCT compared with high-efficacy DMTs in patients with highly active RRMS despite the use of standard DMTs or in patients with treatment naïve RES-MS. Methods and analysis: StarMS is a multicentre parallel-group rater-blinded randomised controlled trial with two arms. A total of 198 participants will be recruited from 19 regional neurology secondary care centres in the UK. Participants will be randomly allocated to the aHSCT arm or DMT arm in a 1:1 ratio. Participants will remain in the study for 2 years with follow-up visits at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months postrandomisation. The primary outcome is the proportion of patients who achieve ‘no evidence of disease activity’ during the 2-year postrandomisation follow-up period in an intention to treat analysis. Secondary outcomes include efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness and immune reconstitution of aHSCT and the four high-efficacy DMTs. Ethics and dissemination: The study was approved by the Yorkshire and Humber—Leeds West Research Ethics Committee (20/YH/0061). Participants will provide written informed consent prior to any study specific procedures. The study results will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and abstracts will be submitted to relevant national and international conferences. Trial registration number: ISRCTN88667898

    Para-infectious brain injury in COVID-19 persists at follow-up despite attenuated cytokine and autoantibody responses

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    To understand neurological complications of COVID-19 better both acutely and for recovery, we measured markers of brain injury, inflammatory mediators, and autoantibodies in 203 hospitalised participants; 111 with acute sera (1–11 days post-admission) and 92 convalescent sera (56 with COVID-19-associated neurological diagnoses). Here we show that compared to 60 uninfected controls, tTau, GFAP, NfL, and UCH-L1 are increased with COVID-19 infection at acute timepoints and NfL and GFAP are significantly higher in participants with neurological complications. Inflammatory mediators (IL-6, IL-12p40, HGF, M-CSF, CCL2, and IL-1RA) are associated with both altered consciousness and markers of brain injury. Autoantibodies are more common in COVID-19 than controls and some (including against MYL7, UCH-L1, and GRIN3B) are more frequent with altered consciousness. Additionally, convalescent participants with neurological complications show elevated GFAP and NfL, unrelated to attenuated systemic inflammatory mediators and to autoantibody responses. Overall, neurological complications of COVID-19 are associated with evidence of neuroglial injury in both acute and late disease and these correlate with dysregulated innate and adaptive immune responses acutely

    Current Understanding of Verbal Fluency in Alzheimer’s Disease: Evidence to Date

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    Laura M Wright,1 Matteo De Marco,2 Annalena Venneri2,3 1Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK; 2Department of Life Sciences, Brunel University London, London, UK; 3Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, ItalyCorrespondence: Annalena Venneri, Email [email protected]: Since their development, verbal fluency tests (VFTs) have been used extensively throughout research and in clinical settings to assess a variety of cognitive functions in diverse populations. In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), these tasks have proven particularly valuable in identifying the earliest forms of cognitive decline in semantic processing and have been shown to relate specifically to brain regions associated with the initial stages of pathological change. In recent years, researchers have developed more nuanced techniques to evaluate verbal fluency performance, extracting a wide range of cognitive metrics from these simple neuropsychological tests. Such novel techniques allow for a more detailed exploration of the cognitive processes underlying successful task performance beyond the raw test score. The versatility of VFTs and the richness of data they may provide, in light of their low cost and speed of administration, therefore, highlight their potential value both in future research as outcome measures for clinical trials and in a clinical setting as a screening measure for early detection of neurodegenerative diseases.Keywords: fluency, Alzheimer’s disease, AD, semantic, mild cognitive impairment, MC

    Sex differences in olfactory cortex neuronal loss in aging

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    Introduction: Aging plays a major role in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and impacts neuronal loss. Olfactory dysfunction can be an early alteration heralding the presence of a neurodegenerative disorder in aging. Studying alterations in olfaction-related brain regions might help detection of neurodegenerative diseases at an earlier stage as well as protect individuals from any danger caused by loss of sense of smell. Objective: To assess the effect of age and sex on olfactory cortex volume in cognitively healthy participants. Method: Neurologically healthy participants were divided in three groups based on their age: young (20–35 years; n = 53), middle-aged (36–65 years; n = 66) and older (66–85 years; n = 95). T1-weighted MRI scans acquired at 1.5 T were processed using SPM12. Smoothed images were used to extract the volume of olfactory cortex regions. Results: ANCOVA analyses showed significant differences in volume between age groups in the olfactory cortex (p ≤ 0.0001). In women, neuronal loss started earlier than in men (in the 4th decade of life), while in men more substantial neuronal loss in olfactory cortex regions was detected only later in life. Conclusion: Data indicate that age-related reduction in the volume of the olfactory cortex starts earlier in women than in men. The findings suggest that volume changes in olfaction-related brain regions in the aging population deserve further attention as potential proxies of increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases

    Dementia Research Fit for the Planet: Reflections on Population Studies of Dementia for Researchers and Policy Makers Alike

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    In recent years, a rapidly increasing collection of investigative methods in addition to changes in diagnostic criteria for dementia have followed “high-tech” trends in medicine, with the aim to better define the dementia syndrome and its biological substrates, mainly in order to predict risk prior to clinical expression. These approaches are not without challenge. A set of guidelines have been developed by a group of European experts in population-based cohort research through a series of workshops, funded by the Joint Program for Neurodegenerative Disorders (JPND). The aims of the guidelines are to assist policy makers and researchers to understand (1) What population studies for ageing populations should encompass and (2) How to interpret the findings from population studies. Such studies are essential to provide evidence relevant to the understanding of healthy and frail brain ageing, including the dementia syndrome for contemporary and future societies by drawing on the past