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Duke Neurology Research Round Up, September 2019

Monday, September 30, 2019
Neuron image courtesy NIH

Faculty and trainees in the Duke Department of Neurology contributed to three new peer-reviewed studies in peer-review journals published in September. Those studies included an examination of the characteristics of epilepsy in alternating hemiplegia of childhood, a new study examining how neurotransmitter levels in the brain differ in patients with and without Alzheimer’s, and an early examination of how patients with myasthenia gravis respond to a new form of treatment. Read about each of those articles, and find links to the original research, in the paragraphs below.


Movement Disorders

  • Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare neurologic disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of hemiplegia, double hemiplegia, dystonia, and, often, epilepsy. However, much about epilepsy in patients with this condition, such as seizure types and localizations, EEG characteristics, characteristics of status epilepticus and other complications, have not been fully explored. Movement Disorders Fellow Ashley Helseth, MD, PhD, and colleagues from Duke Pediatrics contributed to a study reporting on the epileptology of alternating hemiplegia of childhood, (AHC) examining characteristics of 51 AHC patients. The article in Neurology provides important details about the pathology and best treatment options for this condition. Read it here.

Memory Disorders

  • Richard O’Brien, MD, PhD, contributed to a new IOS Press article that examined associations between the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the metabolism of non-cholinergic neurotransmitters. The team obtained samples from individuals with and without AD and individuals who were cognitively normal but who had significant AD pathology. Twelve of the 15 metabolites they studied were associated with AD pathology, while dopamine appeared to be depleted in brains with AD pathology but intact cognition. Read the results of that study here.

Neuromuscular Disease

  • A new study reported on the longitudinal results of an open-label trial of therapeutic plasma exchange in myasthenia gravis (MG), finding rapid, significant improvements at two weeks in a variety of validated, MG-specific measures of function and quality of life. Lead authors Shruti Raja, MD, and Jeffrey Guptill, MD, MA, and co-authors Vern Juel, MD, and Janice Massey, MD contributed to the study, which appears here in the latest issue of Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.