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Duke Neurology Research Round Up, March 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Research by members of the Duke Neurology Department published in March reveals the breadth of the discipline of neuroscience. At the clinical level, new articles may help better predict aneurysms in some patients and prevent complications from surgery in others. At the cellular level, another study mapped a key step in the cellular self-cleansing process of autophagy. And a new study where researchers mapped how monkey brains synchronize as they work together may help us better understand primary evolution and our social interactions as a species. Here’s a summary of the six new peer-reviewed studies written or co-written by members of our faculty during the past thirty days.

  • Neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring (NIOM) is often used during surgeries to monitor potential neurologic injury during surgery. However, the criteria for what readings constitute a “warning” for consequences such as hearing loss are now being reappraised. Aatif Husain, MD, wrote an editorial for Clinical Neurophysiology discussing new studies that indicate greater sensitivity for NIOM may reduce harmful effects such as hearing loss. Read his essay here.
  • Autophagy is the major cellular pathway by which macromolecules are degraded. A new Nature Communications study by senior author Al La Spada, MD, PhD, as well as Edwin Paz, PhD, Wen-Chuan Shen, PhD, and colleagues has uncovered an enzyme key how this process turns on and off, and could be a  therapy target for neurological disease. Read that article here.
  • Located on intron 6 of the TOMM40 gene, the TOMM40 poly-T is a polymorphism associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Senior authors Ornit Chiba-Falek, PhD, Michael Lutz, PhD, and Kirby Gottschalk, PhD discuss the conflicting findings associated with TOMM40 poly-T, place them in context and outline future studies that will advance our understanding of its influences. Read that article here.
  • Wolfgang Liedtke, MD, PhD, contributed to a Scientific Reports article that found that TRPV4 may play a renoprotective role during acute renal ischaemia reperfusion. Read that article here.
  • Blake Buletko, MD, was part of a team that analyzed potential MRI predictors for infections intracranial aneurysms in patients with infective endocarditis. Read that article in the European Journal of Neurology here.
  • A Duke team lead by Miguel Nicolelis, MD, PhD, found that monkey’s brains synchronized as they worked together to perform motor tasks. The team found that pools of neurons in each animal's motor cortex fired at the same time when they worked together to obtain food. This research could lead to a new understanding of the development of social interactions in humans and other primates. Read about it here.