Duke Neurology Research Round Up, October 2019
The nine journal articles written by members of the Neurology Department this October show the breadth of expertise within our Department. Suma Shah, MD, and Petra Brayo, MD, were the senior authors of a case series on a rare autoimmune disease that attacks the optic nerves. Wuwei “Wayne” Feng, MD, MS, co-authored a commentary article discussing a study that sheds insight into one of the biggest modern dilemmas in clinical neurology. Ying Xian, MD, PhD, contributed to two population-level studies--one examining racial differences in risk factors for dementia and stroke, and the other examining associations between kidney disease and stroke. And postdoctoral associate Pawel Swintoski, PhD, co-wrote a free online tool that will help other researchers choose representative subsets of their data.
Read the paragraphs below to find more information about each of these studies and to find links to the original articles.
Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology
- MOG antibody disease is a rare condition causing inflammation around the optic nerve as well as other symptoms. Lead authors Petra Brayo, MD, and Suma Shah, MD, as well as F. Lee Hartsell, MD, MPH, Joel Morgenlander, MD, Mark Skeen, MD, and Christopher Eckstein, MD, wrote a case series on the presentation and treatment of this condition at Duke, including the disease’s clinical presentation, common treatments, and areas for further research. Read their article in the Journal of Neuroimmunology.
- Assessing the impact of training on motor skills is a useful tool in research involving animal models. However, existing measurements to assess this behavior are expensive and labor intensive. A team including Richard O’Brien, MD, PhD, developed a simple, robot-based method to assess prehension (reach-to-grasp) skill in mice. Watch a video essay on that technique here.
- The La Spada lab’s Pawel Switonksi, PhD contributed to the release of FairSubset, a free online tool that allows anyone to choose representative subsets of data for use with replicates or groups of different sample sizes. Read about this tool, or learn how to use it for your own purposes, in the Journal of Biological Methods.
- Wayne Feng, MD, MS, was the senior author of a commentary article which discusses the results, methodology, and implications of RESTART, a randomized, open-label trial which provides new data and insight on one of the challenging clinical dilemmas in modern neurology. Read that commentary article (and find links to the original Lancet article in discussion) in the Annals of Translational Medicine.
- C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of systematic inflammation associated with a variety of negative health outcomes such as heart disease, bacterial and viral infection, diabetes, and dementia. Ying Xian, MD, PhD, contributed to a news study that examined racial differences in CRP in a nationally representative cohort of more than 11,000 older adults. Read what they found in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
- Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a test that acts as an indicator for chronic kidney disease, is an important, underexamined potential risk factor for patients with ischemic stroke. Ying Xian, MD, PhD, contributed to a study that examined how eGFR levels affected in-hospital mortality and other factors in acute stroke patients receiving tissue plasminogen activator. Read what they found in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
- Miguel Nicolelis, MD, PhD, was the senior author of a study developed a set of neuroprostheses in monkeys that allowed the perception of tactile sensation via a brain-machine interface. Future development of these sensory neuroprostheses could restore perceptual function to people with impaired sensation. Read that article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Mammalian target of the protein complex rapamycin (mTOR) regulates metabolism and cellular growth in response to nutrient status and growth factor signaling. Al La Spada, MD, PhD, was part of a team that investigated the potential downstream mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of mTORC1 inhibition using two mouse models of heart failure. Read that study in Geroscience.
- Sneha Mantri, MD, MS, was the first author of a study that compared the self-reported and objective amount of exercise performed by a group of Veterans with Parkinson’s disease. The team found that self-reported data was mostly accurate for steps and low-level activities, but participants were less accurate in reporting their moderate to vigorous physical activity levels. Read the team’s article, and their conclusions, here.