News Roundup

New and Noteworthy Information—April 2013


Greater dietary fiber intake is significantly associated with a lower risk of first stroke, according to a study published online ahead of print March 28 in Stroke. Investigators searched several electronic databases for healthy participant studies published between January 1990 and May 2012 that reported fiber intake and incidence of first hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke. The group identified eight cohort studies from the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan that met their inclusion criteria. Total dietary fiber intake was inversely associated with risk of hemorrhagic plus ischemic stroke. The researchers found evidence of heterogeneity between the studies. Soluble fiber intake of 4 g/day was not associated with stroke risk reduction, and the investigators found evidence of low heterogeneity on this point between the studies.

In women who have episodic migraine, the ratio of high molecular weight to low molecular weight ictal adiponectin (ADP) may be associated with migraine severity and predict acute treatment response, according to a study published in the March Headache. Investigators collected peripheral blood specimens from women with episodic migraine before and after acute abortive treatment with sumatriptan and naproxen sodium or placebo. In all participants, increases in the ratio of high molecular weight to low molecular weight ADP were associated with increases in pain severity. For every 0.25-μg/mL increase in low molecular weight ADP, pain severity decreased by 0.20. In treatment responders, total ADP levels were reduced at 30, 60, and 120 minutes after treatment, compared with onset.

The FDA has approved Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) capsules to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). In two clinical trials, patients with MS who took dimethyl fumarate had fewer relapses compared with people who received placebo. In one of the trials, patients who took dimethyl fumarate experienced a worsening of disability less often than patients who took a placebo. Dimethyl fumarate may decrease a person's white blood cell count, but the drug was not associated with a significant increase in infections in clinical trials. Before starting treatment, and annually thereafter, the FDA recommends that a patient's white blood cell count be assessed by a health care provider. Flushing and stomach problems were the most common adverse reactions reported. Tecfidera is manufactured by Biogen Idec (Weston, Massachusetts).

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at the time of Parkinson's disease diagnosis may predict a highly increased risk for early dementia, according to a study published online ahead of print March 25 in JAMA Neurology. Researchers examined data for a population-based cohort of 182 patients with incident Parkinson's disease who were monitored for three years. Significantly more patients with MCI than without MCI at baseline (27.0% versus 0.7%) progressed to dementia during follow-up. Mild cognitive impairment at the one-year visit was associated with a similar progression rate to dementia (ie, 27.8%) and reversion rate to normal cognition (ie, 19.4%). Among the 22 patients with persistent MCI at baseline and the one-year visit, 10 developed dementia and two reverted to normal cognition by the end of the study.

Higher consumption of green tea and coffee may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to a study published online ahead of print March 14 in Stroke. Investigators studied 82,369 Japanese persons between ages 45 and 74 without cardiovascular disease or cancer. Green tea and coffee consumption was assessed by a self-administered questionnaire at baseline. Compared with seldom drinking green tea, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios of all strokes were 0.86 and 0.80 in individuals who drank two to three and four or more cups of green tea per day, respectively. Compared with seldom drinking coffee, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios of all strokes were 0.89, 0.80, and 0.81 for individuals who drank coffee three to six times per week, once daily, and twice or more daily, respectively.

Updated Guidelines for the Management of Acute Cervical Spine and Spinal Cord Injuries recommend against the use of steroids, including methylprednisolone, in acute spinal cord injury in the first 24 to 48 hours after injury. The use of steroids previously was recommended for this indication with consideration of the risk–reward profile, as evaluated by the physician. In the first new treatment guidelines in a decade, which were issued by the Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the standard has been revised based on the lack of medical evidence supporting the benefits of these drugs in the clinical setting. The report cites strong evidence that "high-dose steroids are associated with harmful side effects, including death."


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