News Roundup

New and Noteworthy Information—November 2017


Can a Fatty Diet Increase Relapse Risk in Children With MS?

In children with multiple sclerosis (MS), high energy intake from fat, especially saturated fat, may increase the hazard of relapse, while vegetable intake may be independently protective, according to a study published online ahead of print October 9 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. A total of 219 patients with pediatric relapsing-remitting MS or clinically isolated syndrome with disease onset before age 18 and duration of less than four years were enrolled in a multicenter study that was completed at 11 pediatric MS centers. Investigators used the Block Kids Food Screener to examine dietary intake during the week before enrollment. Each 10% increase in energy intake from fat increased the hazard of relapse by 56%, and each 10% increase in saturated fat tripled this hazard.

Azary S, Schreiner T, Graves J, et al. Contribution of dietary intake to relapse rate in early paediatric multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2017 Oct 9 [Epub ahead of print].

Cooling Reduces Risk of Epilepsy After Perinatal Asphyxia

Administering therapeutic hypothermia to babies with perinatal asphyxia can reduce their risk of epilepsy in childhood, according to a study published online ahead of print September 29 in Epilepsia. From 2006 to 2013, 151 infants with perinatal asphyxia underwent 72 hours of cooling. Clinical and amplitude-integrated EEG with single-channel EEG-verified neonatal seizures were treated with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). MRI was assessed using a severity score that ranged from 0 to 11. One hundred thirty-four children were assessed at 18–24 months. Babies born after 2007 who received therapeutic hypothermia had a lower rate of epilepsy than those born before this method was introduced. At two years, 6% of the children had epilepsy, and 2% were receiving AEDs. Before therapeutic hypothermia was introduced, the rate of death or moderate or severe disability was about 66%.

Liu X, Jary S, Cowan F, Thoresen M. Reduced infancy and childhood epilepsy following hypothermia-treated neonatal encephalopathy. Epilepsia. 2017 Sep 29 [Epub ahead of print].

Risk Factors Are Increasing in People With Stroke

The prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, smoking, and drug abuse in acute ischemic stroke increased between 2004 and 2014, according to a study published online ahead of print October 11 in Neurology. Researchers used the National Inpatient Sample to identify 922,451 adult hospitalizations for ischemic stroke. In all, 92.5% of patients with stroke had one or more risk factors. Age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, smoking, and drug abuse were 79%, 34%, 47%, 15%, and 2%, respectively. The prevalence of carotid stenosis, chronic renal failure, and coronary artery disease were 13%, 12%, and 27%, respectively. Risk factor prevalence varied by age, race, and sex. The prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, smoking, and drug abuse increased annually by 1.4%, 2%, 7%, 5%, and 7%, respectively.

Otite FO, Liaw N, Khandelwal P, et al. Increasing prevalence of vascular risk factors in patients with stroke: a call to action. Neurology. 2017 Oct 11 [Epub ahead of print].

Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation for MS-Related Fatigue

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who undergo a noninvasive form of electrical brain stimulation have significantly reduced fatigue, according to a study published online ahead of print September 1 in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. Twenty-seven people with MS were randomized to receive transcranial direct-current stimulation or a placebo while playing a cognitive training game that targets processing speed and working memory. After 20 sessions, participants reported their level of fatigue using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System. Higher numbers correlated with greater fatigue. The researchers reported a statistically significant reduction in the group that underwent transcranial direct-current stimulation, compared with the placebo group. Intervention participants had a 5.6-point drop in fatigue on average, while control participants had a 0.9-point increase in fatigue.

Charvet LE, Dobbs B, Shaw MT, et al. Remotely supervised transcranial direct current stimulation for the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis: results from a randomized, sham-controlled trial. Mult Scler. 2017 Sep 1 [Epub ahead of print].

New Genetic Risk Variants for RLS Identified

Thirteen previously unknown genetic risk variants for restless legs syndrome (RLS) have been identified, according to a study published in the November issue of Lancet Neurology. Researchers combined three genome-wide association studies’ datasets with diagnosis data collected from 2003 to 2017. The latter data came from interviews and questionnaires and included 15,126 cases and 95,725 controls. Significant genome-wide signals were tested for replication in an independent genome-wide association study of 30,770 cases and 286,913 controls. Investigators identified and replicated 13 new risk loci for RLS and confirmed six previously identified risk loci. MEIS1 was confirmed as the strongest genetic risk factor for RLS. Gene prioritization, enrichment, and genetic correlation analyses showed that identified pathways were related to neurodevelopment and highlighted genes linked to axon guidance, synapse formation, and neuronal specification.

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