Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Neurology for August 2009. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.
Skeletons Shed Light on Cervical Arthrosis Prevalence
MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Cervical facet arthrosis appears more common with age and it may more often affect upper cervical levels, according to research on human skeletons published in the September issue of The Spine Journal.
Pluripotent Stem Cells Aid in Exploring Retinal Development
MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) may generate retina-specific cell types along a similar time schedule as human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), which may point to therapies for retinal degenerative diseases, according to research published Aug. 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Narcotics Linked to Patient Satisfaction for Low Back Pain
MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with chronic low back pain are more likely to be satisfied with their provider if they receive narcotics, and more likely to seek another provider if they lack insurance, according to a study in the September issue of The Spine Journal.
Restenosis More Common After Angioplasty Than Surgery
MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Although patients treated for carotid artery stenosis with endovascular treatment are significantly more likely to have restenosis than those treated with carotid endarterectomy, stroke risk for both groups is low, according to two papers from the Carotid And Vertebral Artery Transluminal Angioplasty Study published online Aug. 29 in The Lancet.
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Hormonal Signals Seen to Play Role in Ovarian Clock
MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Ovulation may be partly dependent on an ovarian circadian clock that is affected by hormonal signals from the pituitary, according to animal research published in the September issue of Endocrinology.
Hopeless Outlook Linked With Atherosclerosis in Women
FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women who show signs of hopelessness are more likely to have subclinical atherosclerosis compared to their more optimistic counterparts, according to a study published online Aug. 27 in Stroke, while a second study found that the extent of apathy a stroke patient feels has an important impact on stroke outcomes.
Mechanism of Neuroblastoma Differentiation Identified
FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) induces the differentiation of neuroblastoma cells by inducing growth arrest, affecting the epithelium to mesenchyme transition and suppressing a key regulator, according to a study in the September issue of Endocrinology.
Quality of Care Unchanged Under New Payment System
FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The implementation of a fixed-price, payment-by-results system for hospitals in the United Kingdom, beginning in 2002, has reduced the length of hospital stays and increased day case (outpatient) admissions, but has had no measurable effect on quality of care, according to a study published Aug. 27 in BMJ.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Linked to Recurrence of Stroke
FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease after a stroke or transient ischemic attack are more likely to have another stroke or vascular event, according to a study published online on Aug. 27 in Stroke.
Predicting Impairment in Mild Brain Injury Via Imaging
THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Diffusion tensor imaging of patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) can discern objective evidence of injury predictive of impairment in executive function, according to a study in the September issue of Radiology.
Diastolic Blood Pressure Linked to Impaired Cognition
THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Higher diastolic blood pressure (DBP) may be associated with a greater risk of impaired cognitive status in middle-aged and older individuals, according to research published in the Aug. 25 issue of Neurology.
Obesity's Effect on Anterior Spine Surgery Examined
THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Obese patients undergoing anterior lumbar surgery may have similar complications and time to ambulation as non-obese patients, according to research published in the September issue of The Spine Journal.
Cardiovascular Risks Linked to Dementia Hospitalization
THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking, hypertension and diabetes in midlife are associated with hospitalization for dementia later in life, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Parameters for Pedicle Screw Insertion Measured
THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In patients undergoing preoperative thin-cut imaging for cervical pedicle screw insertion, linear and angular parameters show a fair amount of variability, according to a study in the September issue of The Spine Journal.
Stent-Assisted Embolization Feasible for Aneurysms
THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with acutely ruptured wide-necked intracranial aneurysms that are otherwise difficult to treat, stent-assisted coil embolization may be an effective strategy, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in Radiology.
Annual Radiation Exposure Often High in Younger Adults
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In young and middle-aged adults, imaging procedures are a significant source of exposure to ionizing radiation and in some cases can lead to high and very high cumulative effective doses, according to a study published in the Aug. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Drug Can Restore Dystrophin in Muscular Dystrophy Patients
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- A drug that targets a molecular defect in Duchenne muscular dystrophy is safe and leads to functional dystrophin production in select patients with the disease, according to a study published online Aug. 26 in The Lancet Neurology.
Department Issues New HIPAA Notification Regulations
TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new regulations on Aug. 19 requiring entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to notify individuals after their health information has been breached.
'Housekeeping' Gene Important for Neurogenesis
MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Deficiency of the gene responsible for a rare neurological disease, that was thought to be merely important in metabolism, leads to abnormal development of dopaminergic neurons and may explain some of the pathology of the disease, according to a study published online Aug. 11 in Molecular Therapy.
30-Minute Electroacupuncture Application Found Optimal
MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Electroacupuncture stimulation, which applies a small electrical current to needles inserted into the acupuncture points, relieves pain best when applied for 30 minutes, according to a study in the September issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.
Spinal Fusion Rate Low in End-Stage Renal Disease Patients
MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with spinal diseases and end-stage renal disease who are using dialysis may have acceptable outcomes following spinal surgery, but mortality and complication rates appear to be relatively high and fusion rates appear to be low, according to research published in the Aug. 15 issue of Spine.
Dopamine Important for Creating Persistent Memories
MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The brain's dopamine system in the hippocampus is responsible for creating persistent long-term memory (LTM) in rats, according to a study in the Aug. 21 issue of Science.
Spinal Stenosis Surgery Can Improve Bone Metabolism
MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients with lumbar spinal stenosis have improvements in bone metabolism after decompression surgery, regardless of whether they receive bisphosphonates, according to a study in the Aug. 15 issue of Spine.
Breast-Feeding May Lower Multiple Sclerosis Relapse Risk
FRIDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- New mothers with multiple sclerosis (MS) who breast-feed exclusively may have a lower risk of postpartum MS relapses, according to research published in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology.
Health Care Financing Model Rewards Efficient Care
FRIDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A health care financing model that includes incentives for reducing potentially avoidable costs can act as a bridge between the current fragmented system and one based on high-value care, according to an article published online Aug. 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Metabolites Offer Prognostic Tool in Spinal Cord Injury
THURSDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The concentration of nitric oxide metabolites in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF [NOx]) of people with spinal cord injury correlates to the severity of their injury and is a predictor of neurologic recovery, according to a study reported in the Aug. 15 issue of Spine.
Seizures Uncommon in Alzheimer's Disease Patients
THURSDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Seizures appear uncommon in patients with Alzheimer's disease, but they may be more likely to occur in younger patients, according to research published in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology.
U.S. Life Expectancy Reaches 77.9 Years
THURSDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Life expectancy in the United States has increased again, from 77.7 to 77.9 years -- a new record -- according to statistics released Aug.19 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Drug-Eluting Stents Fare Well Versus Bare-Metal Stents
THURSDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Implantation of a drug-eluting stent following percutaneous coronary intervention for unprotected left main coronary artery disease (ULMCA) decreases the risk of cardiovascular events and stroke compared to a bare-metal stent, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Smokeless Tobacco Linked to Cardiovascular Risks
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Users of smokeless tobacco may have an increased risk of fatal myocardial infarction and stroke, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in BMJ.
Knee Graft Can Be Effective in Surgery to Relieve Neck Pain
TUESDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The fusion rate of anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion with allograft patella to relieve cervical radiculopathy and myelopathy is 86 percent, similar to other allografts, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.
Smoking May Increase Brain Injury in Multiple Sclerosis
TUESDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with multiple sclerosis, smokers are more likely to have increased blood-brain barrier disruption, lesion volumes and brain atrophy, according to a study in the Aug. 18 issue of Neurology.
Exercise May Help Pain and Function After Lumbar Surgery
MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise-based rehabilitation commenced four to six weeks after lumbar disc surgery seems to improve pain and functioning in the short term, but the evidence is not strong, according to an updated Cochrane Review in the August 1 Spine.
Spinal Surgery Infection Risk Subject to Many Factors
MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A patient's risk of postoperative wound infection after undergoing spinal surgery can be increased by many factors, including other medical conditions, duration of surgery and red blood cell count, according to a study in the August 1 issue of Spine.
Difference Between Near Miss, Wrong-Site Surgery Studied
MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- There are important differences between errors that are caught as near misses and those that progress to wrong-site surgery, and health care professionals can follow simple steps to reduce or eliminate wrong-site surgery, according to a study in the August issue of the AORN Journal.
Neck-Shoulder-Arm Pain Trends in Stockholm Studied
FRIDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of self-reported nonspecific neck-shoulder-arm pain and concurrent low back pain or psychological distress has increased in Stockholm County, Sweden, over the past 16 years, but may finally be starting a decline, according to a study in the Aug. 1 issue of Spine.
Alarm Symptoms Often Do Not Result in Timely Diagnosis
FRIDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients who present with certain alarm symptoms, including hematuria and rectal bleeding, do not receive a diagnosis in a reasonable amount of time, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in BMJ.
Procedure Offers Alternative to Warfarin for Stroke Risk
FRIDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Atrial fibrillation patients at risk of stroke may benefit from percutaneous closure of the left atrial appendage (LAA) as an alternative to long-term warfarin therapy, according to a study in the Aug. 15 issue of The Lancet.
Healthy Lifestyle Helps Prevent Chronic Diseases
THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who practice four simple lifestyle behaviors -- never smoking, maintaining a body mass index lower than 30, engaging in at least 3.5 hours per week of physical activity, and consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains -- can significantly decrease their risk of chronic diseases, according to a study in the Aug. 10/24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Gut Hormone Shown to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A gut hormone released in response to food lowers glucose levels by triggering signals to the brain and liver, but is ineffective in lowering glucose in rats fed a high-fat diet, according to a study in the Aug. 6 issue of Cell Metabolism.
Discharge Summaries Often Lack Pending Test Results
THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital discharge summaries often do not contain information on pending test results or provider follow-up information, which can lead to medical errors, according to a study in the September issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
First Epileptic Seizure Linked to Cognitive Deficits
THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Intellectually normal children with a first recognized epileptic seizure are significantly more likely than their healthy siblings to exhibit neuropsychological deficits, which suggests there is a window of opportunity for treatment that could reduce subsequent effects on academic performance, according to a study published online Aug. 12 in Neurology.
FDA Aims to Ease Access to Investigational Drugs
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published two new rules to help seriously ill patients gain access to investigational drugs and biologics, according to an Aug. 12 release issued by the agency.
Radiotherapy, Cognitive Decline Linked in Glioma
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Low-grade glioma patients who receive radiotherapy are at an increased risk of declining attentional functioning in the long term, regardless of fraction dose, according to a study in the September issue of The Lancet Neurology.
Uncontrolled Seizures Impact Pregnancy Outcomes
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Seizure prevention is essential for pregnant women with epilepsy to reduce adverse outcomes associated with uncontrolled disease, according to a study published in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology.
Diet, Physical Activity and Risk of Alzheimer's Studied
TUESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Following a Mediterranean diet and getting more physical activity may be associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and slower cognitive decline, according to the results of two studies in the Aug. 12 Journal of the American Medical Association.
Optimism, Lower Hostility Linked to Reduced Mortality
TUESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Both optimism and cynical hostility are independently associated with cancer and coronary heart disease outcomes, including mortality, according to research published online Aug. 10 in Circulation.
Subclinical Disease Patterns Studied in Cognitive Impairment
TUESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- White matter hyperintensity is strongly associated with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI), while brain infarcts are more strongly associated with nonamnestic MCI in elderly individuals without dementia, according to a study in the Aug. 11 issue of Neurology.
Midlife Cholesterol Level Linked to Alzheimer's Risk
MONDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In middle age, even mildly elevated cholesterol levels are associated with a significantly increased risk of dementia later in life, according to a study published online Aug. 4 in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.
Cause of Cognitive Decline After Heart Bypass Examined
MONDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Use of a pump during coronary artery bypass surgery does not appear to be responsible for long-term loss of cognitive function and memory in patients with coronary artery disease; it instead may be due to the disease itself, according to a study in the August issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
HHS Releases Reports on Health Insurance Reform
FRIDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a series of state-by-state reports that outline its conclusions on the effects health insurance reform would have on health care for Americans, according to an Aug. 7 release issued by the agency.
Intervention Found to Improve Depression After Stroke
FRIDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A brief psychosocial-behavioral intervention, when applied in addition to antidepressant treatment, can markedly reduce both short- and long-term depression following stroke, according to research published online Aug. 6 in Stroke.
Anterior Cervical Operations May Lead to Headache Relief
FRIDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients who undergo an anterior cervical operation for cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy can expect to achieve significant long-term headache relief, according to a study in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.
Stroke Can Increase Risk of Hip or Femur Fracture
FRIDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with stroke are twice as likely to experience a hip or femur fracture, a risk that is greatest in patients who are under 71 years of age, female, and who recently had a stroke, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in Stroke.
Efficacy of Vertebroplasty for Osteoporotic Fractures Tested
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with painful, osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures, vertebroplasty appears to be no more beneficial than placebo, according to two studies published in the Aug. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Prolonged Breath Holding Elevates Brain Damage Marker
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Divers who hold their breath for several minutes have elevated levels of the protein S100B, which is a marker of brain damage, according to a study published online July 2 in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Induced Hypothermia After Cardiac Arrest Is Cost-Effective
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In cardiac arrest survivors who meet certain criteria, therapeutic hypothermia induced with a cooling blanket improves clinical outcomes and is as cost-effective as many accepted health care interventions, according to a study published online Aug 4 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Cognitive Activities Beneficial in Preclinical Dementia
TUESDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In older adults who are destined to develop dementia, those who frequently engage in intellectually stimulating leisure activities such as reading, writing, crossword puzzles, board or card games, group discussions, or playing music may significantly delay the onset of memory decline, according to a study published in the Aug. 4 issue of Neurology.
Inhibition of tPA May Reduce Brain Injury in Newborns
MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Inhibiting tissue-type plasminogen activators could be useful in preventing brain injury in infants with oxygen or blood-flow deprivation, according to research published July 8 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
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