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The 2012 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting

New research was presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th annual meeting from April 21-28, 2012 in New Orleans. The features below highlight just some of the studies that emerged from the conference, including diagnosing Alzheimer’s earlier, an investigational drug to reduce MS lesions, a new drug formulation benefits Parkinson’s, and determining the threshold for head trauma. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Earlier The Particulars: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) currently can only be confirmed definitively upon autopsies after patients have died or with brain tissue biopsies to detect amyloid plaques, tangles, or both. Florbetaben is an investigational agent that may be beneficial when used as a tracer during PET scans to detect amyloid plaques in patients living with AD. Data Breakdown: In a study, more than 200 patients with and without known dementia who were nearing death and willing to donate their brain to science underwent MRI and florbetaben PET scans. Amyloid plaque levels among those who reached autopsy were compared with scan results. Florbetaben scans were found to have 77% sensitivity and 94% specificity in detecting beta-amyloid. Take Home Pearl: Florbetaben, when used as a PET scan tracer to visualize amyloid plaques in the brain, appears to help diagnose AD in those living with the disease. Investigational Drug May Reduce MS Lesions The Particulars: Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have Gd-enhancing brain lesions have limited treatment options. ONO-4641 is an investigational drug that may help reduce lesions in this patient population. Data Breakdown: Researchers randomized patients with relapsing-remitting MS to placebo or 0.05 mg, 0.10 mg, or 0.15 mg of ONO-4641 once daily for 26 weeks in a study. When...
Conference Highlights: ISET 2012

Conference Highlights: ISET 2012

New research was presented at ISET 2012, the annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy, on January 15-19 in Miami Beach. The features below highlight just some of the studies that emerged from the meeting. » A New Approach to Managing Unstoppable Nosebleeds  » Cryoablation Deemed Effective in Ovarian Cancer » MS Patients Report Benefits With Angioplasty » Fibromuscular Dysplasia Frequently Undiagnosed Treating DVT in Pregnant Women The Particulars: Studies have shown that DVT is four to six times more common in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women. Research suggests that many pregnant women with DVT often forgo the most effective treatments—surgery or catheter-directed thrombolysis—because they fear that doing so may harm their unborn children. Data Breakdown: In a study of 11 pregnant women with DVT, two underwent surgery to remove the clot, and nine were treated with a bath of thrombolytic medications delivered directly into the clot. Removal of the clot was successful in all cases, and all but one pregnancy resulted in successful birth. One woman who miscarried 1 week after treatment suffered from antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, which the researchers believe likely caused the miscarriage. Take Home Pearl: Aggressive treatment with surgery or catheter-directed thrombolysis for pregnant women with DVT appears to be safe. Aggressive treatment was also shown to prevent serious complications and death.     A New Approach to Managing Unstoppable Nosebleeds [back to top] The Particulars: Unstoppable nosebleeds can cause anemia and may lead to other more serious complications, including heart attack. When packing the nose with gauze, inflating a balloon to stop blood flow, or cauterizing the vessels in the nose fail, surgery or embolization are the...
65% of Patients with MS Have Trouble Walking

65% of Patients with MS Have Trouble Walking

Approximately two-thirds of people with MS report an inability to walk or have difficulty maintaining balance at least twice per week, yet 40% of these patients “rarely or never” mention the problems to their physician, according to a Harris Interactive online survey. The landmark survey — conducted on behalf of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) and presented this week — revealed that younger people with MS are less likely to initiate a conversation with their doctor about walking difficulties, and only 46% of patients aged 41 or younger who do discuss the topic initiate the conversation. The study comprised more than 1,200 adults in the United States over age 18. Additional findings for adults who experienced difficulty walking were: 79% who are employed report it has negatively impacted them at work. 60% have had to miss at least one major personal event as a result. 32% report that it has caused them to feel isolated. “Clearly we need to encourage and empower people with MS to discuss walking impairment with their doctor,” said Nicholas LaRocca, PhD, Vice President for Health Care Delivery and Policy Research at NMSS, “including newly diagnosed patients who may be experiencing only mild problems with walking ability or balance, so that these issues can be addressed.” Physician’s Weekly wants to know… How can physicians encourage and empower patients to discuss issues with their...

The 63rd American Academy of Neurology’s 2011 Annual Meeting

Highlights from the AAN 2011 Annual Meeting include the relationship between cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive decline, using a cerebrospinal fluid test to determine MS onset of disability, an experimental agent for MS, and overcoming dyskinesia in Parkinson’s. » Amphetamine Use May Increase Parkinson’s Risk » Cardiovascular Risk Factors & Cognitive Decline » Experimental Agent Promising for MS Sufferers » Overcoming Dyskinesia in Parkinson’s » CSF Test May Help Predict MS Onset of Disability Amphetamine Use May Increase Parkinson’s Risk The Particulars: Amphetamines were once recommended for treating patients with Parkinson’s disease. Recent studies, however, have suggested that this class of drugs may be linked to a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s. Data Breakdown: Researchers conducted an analysis in 66,438 individuals who did not have Parkinson’s disease at baseline and collected information on exposure to amphetamines. Through a mean follow-up of 38.8 years, 1,154 patients received a Parkinson’s diagnosis. The average age at baseline was 36, and the average age at diagnosis was 70. Individuals who reported often taking amphetamine sulfate or dextroamphetamine sulfate had a 56% greater risk of having a Parkinson’s diagnosis decades later. The magnitude of the relationship was similar for both men and women. Participants who reported taking weight-loss medication at baseline did not have an elevated risk for Parkinson’s disease through follow-up (hazard ratio, 0.95). Take Home Pearls: The use of amphetamines appears to be associated with an elevated risk for developing Parkinson’s disease later in life. Considering the wide population exposure to both legal and illegal amphetamines, more studies are needed to address this association. Cardiovascular Risk Factors & Cognitive Decline [back to top] The Particulars: The heart...

Conference Highlights: The 2010 Veith Symposium

The 37th annual Veith Symposium was held from November 17 to 21 in New York City. The features below highlight some of the news emerging from the meeting. Analyzing Different Stenting Approaches for Restenosis The Particulars: Few studies have compared the use of drug-eluting stents after angioplasty with balloon angioplasty and bare-metal stenting in the treatment of restenosis. The Zilver PTX (Cook Medical, Inc.) is the first drug-eluting stent approved for the superficial femoral artery and is currently under investigation in the United States for use in restenosis. Researchers conducted a study comparing the Zilver PTX drug-eluting stent after angioplasty with balloon angioplasty and bare-metal stenting. Data Breakdown: The study enrolled 479 patients at 56 institutions in the United States, Japan, and Germany, with 241 patients randomized to the Zilver PTX group and 238 to the bare-metal stenting group. Demographics and lesion characteristics were similar for the groups. Approximately, half of the bare-metal stenting group experienced acute failure and underwent secondary randomization in which 59 and 61 patients were assigned to provisional stenting with Zilver bare-metal stents and Zilver PTX, respectively. Study results met the 12-month primary endpoint goals showing non-inferiority and superior patency for the Zilver PTX as compared with a bare-metal stenting group. Endpoints included event-free survival, stent integrity by radiographic core laboratory analysis, and primary patency by Duplex ultrasound core laboratory analysis. There was also significant clinical improvement with the Zilver PTX. Take Home Pearl: The Zilver PTX drug-eluting peripheral stent appears to be safe and effective for the treatment of restenosis when compared with bare-metal stenting. Ultrasound-Accelerated CDT Beneficial in PE Treatment The Particulars: Pulmonary...
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