News Roundup

New and Noteworthy Information—May 2018


Starting School Later Improves Sleep Time

Delaying school start time can provide sustained benefits for sleep duration, daytime alertness, and mental well-being, according to a study published online ahead of print April 10 in Sleep. The study included 375 girls in grades 7 to 10 from a secondary school for girls. The school delayed its start time from 7:30 to 8:15 in the morning. Self-reports of sleep timing, sleepiness, and well-being were obtained at baseline before the delay and at approximately one and nine months after the delay. After one month, bedtimes on school nights were delayed by nine minutes, while rise times were delayed by 31.6 minutes, resulting in an increase in time in bed of 23.2 minutes. After nine months, the increase in time in bed was sustained, and total sleep time increased by 10 minutes.

Lo JC, Lee SM, Lee XK, et al. Sustained benefits of delaying school start time on adolescent sleep and well-being. Sleep. 2018 Apr 10 [Epub ahead of print].

Stroke Affects Social, Cognitive, and Psychologic Outcomes

Patients with ischemic stroke report symptoms in multiple domains that increase to variable degrees at higher levels of disability, according to a study published online ahead of print March 28 in Neurology. The observational cohort included 1,195 patients who completed Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders or the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System scales as part of routine care. Participants were questioned about their physical function, satisfaction with social roles, fatigue, anxiety, depression, pain interference, and sleep disturbance. Researchers also measured participants’ level of disability. Among people with stroke, scores were considerably worse than those in the general population in every area except sleep and depression. About 58% of people with stroke had scores related to satisfaction with social roles that were meaningfully worse than those of the general population.

Katzan IL, Thompson NR, Uchino K, Lapin B. The most affected health domains after ischemic stroke. Neurology. 2018 Mar 28 [Epub ahead of print].

ALS Genetic Variant Also a Risk Factor for Frontotemporal Dementia

One of the newly identified genetic variants associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also is a risk factor for frontotemporal dementia (FTD), according to a study published online ahead of print April 9 in JAMA Neurology. Researchers pooled data from previous genome-wide association studies that included genetic data from 124,876 participants. The studies included healthy controls and participants with ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, FTD, corticobasal degeneration, and progressive supranuclear palsy. Investigators found that a variation in a region of DNA containing the gene for tau protein was associated with elevated risk for ALS. In addition, study authors found significant genetic overlap between ALS and FTD at known ALS loci rs13302855, rs3849942, and rs4239633. They also found a genetic variation at rs538622 that is associated with ALS and FTD and affects BNIP1 production in the brain.

Karch CM, Wen N, Fan CC, et al. Selective genetic overlap between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and diseases of the frontotemporal dementia spectrum. JAMA Neurol. 2018 Apr 9 [Epub ahead of print].

Intervention Promotes Stroke Preparedness

Hip-Hop Stroke (HHS) is an effective, intergenerational model for increasing stroke preparedness among economically disadvantaged minorities, according to a study published in the April issue of Stroke. HHS is a three-hour, culturally tailored, theory-based, multimedia stroke literacy intervention that empowers schoolchildren to share stroke information with parents. Researchers recruited 3,070 fourth- through sixth-graders and 1,144 parents from 22 schools into a cluster-randomized trial. Schools were randomized to the HHS intervention or attentional control (ie, nutrition classes). Main outcome measures were stroke knowledge and preparedness of children and parents using validated surrogates. Among children, it was estimated that 1% of controls and 2% of the intervention group demonstrated optimal stroke preparedness at baseline, increasing to 57% immediately after the program in the intervention group.

Williams O, Leighton-Herrmann Quinn E, Teresi J, et al. Improving community stroke preparedness in the HHS (Hip-Hop Stroke) randomized clinical trial. Stroke. 2018;49(4):972-979.

Risk of Unnatural Death Is Increased in Epilepsy

People with epilepsy are at increased risk of mortality from suicide and accidents, according to a study published online ahead of print April 9 in JAMA Neurology. Researchers examined the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) and the Secure Anonymized Information Linkage (SAIL) databank, which are linked to hospitalization and mortality records. They matched people with epilepsy on age, sex, and general practice with as many as 20 controls. In all, 44,678 people in the CPRD and 14,051 individuals in the SAIL databank were identified in the prevalent epilepsy cohorts. Furthermore, 891,429 participants from the CPRD and 279,365 people from the SAIL databank were identified as controls. People with epilepsy were significantly more likely to die of an unnatural cause, unintentional injury, poisoning, or suicide, compared with controls.

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