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American Academy of Neurology, April 18-25

Last Updated: April 27, 2015.

The 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology

The annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology was held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C., and attracted approximately 12,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in neurology. The conference highlighted recent advances in neurological disorders, with presentations focusing on the diagnosis, management, and treatment of disorders impacting the brain and nervous system.

In one study, Todd J. Schwedt, M.D., and Catherine Chong, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, found that the structure of brain regions that are responsible for multisensory integration, including the temporal pole and temporoparietal junction, may be abnormal in people with migraine.

"Migraineurs have absence of the normal correlation between pain thresholds and temporoparietal junction cortical thickness. The interregional cortical thickness correlation structure of the migraine brain is different than that of the healthy brain, especially for the temporal pole," Schwedt said. "The differences are sufficient enough that they allow for differentiation of the migraine brain from the healthy brain with high accuracy."

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In another study, Rod MacKinnon, M.D., of Flex Pharma in Boston, and colleagues found that a new oral treatment approach, designed to stimulate transient receptor potential ion channels, may be effective in reducing muscle cramps.

The investigators used an electrical neurostimulator to induce muscle cramps in the feet of 37 healthy individuals, and then randomized the participants to treatment or placebo. The groups then switched treatments, so that by the end of the study, all 37 participants had received treatment and placebo. The investigators found that the participants' cramps were three times less intense with treatment compared to placebo.

"These results support our belief that this treatment has significant potential as a solution for people suffering from muscle cramping and possibly spasms from a broad range of neuromuscular disorders, nighttime leg cramps, multiple sclerosis, spinal spasticity, and cervical dystonia," MacKinnon said in a statement. "Cramps can impact even the world's fittest athletes at critical times."

The study was funded by Flex Pharma, with one author disclosing a financial relationship with the company.

Press Release

Andrew Kayser, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues found that young girls who have a tendency to explore new things or experiment may have different brain processes from preteen girls who do not.

The investigators evaluated 62 girls, aged 11 to 13 years of age. The participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging and completed a task that measured their exploratory and experimenting behavior. The investigators found that young girls who experimented or explored new things had brain processes that differed from those who did not experiment or explore new things. Specifically, young girls who experimented or explored had differences in processing within the rostrolateral prefrontal cortex and the posterior insula and putamen.

"This research is fascinating because it could help us to understand how exploration can lead to both good and bad behaviors that promote or reduce well-being in teenagers," Kayser said in a statement. "If we can better understand these brain connections, down the road we may be able to come up with a way to better identify teens most likely to engage in dangerous or risky behaviors."

Press Release

AAN: New AAN/AES Guidelines on Treating First Seizure

TUESDAY, April 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- One in 10 people worldwide will have a seizure in their lifetime, experts say. Now, two medical groups have issued a new guideline on how to treat them. The guideline, published in the April 21 issue of Neurology, will be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

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AAN: Phenytoin Neuroprotective in Optic Neuritis

FRIDAY, April 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Phenytoin appears to be neuroprotective in acute optic neuritis (AON), according to a study scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

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AAN: Experimental Drug Appears to Repair Myelin

WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental drug appears to repair nerve damage seen in multiple sclerosis patients, results of an early trial suggest. The results are to be presented next week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C. The trial was the second of three phases required for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug, known as anti-LINGO-1.

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AAN: Liquid Marijuana Shows Promise for Refractory Epilepsy

TUESDAY, April 14, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A liquid form of medical marijuana may help people with severe epilepsy that does not respond to other treatments, according to a new report. The findings are scheduled to be presented next week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

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AAN: High Coffee Consumption May Reduce Risk of MS

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- People who drink several cups of coffee every day may have a decreased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

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AAN: Safety Additions to Helmets of Little Benefit

THURSDAY, Feb. 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Football helmet add-ons may not reduce players' risk of concussion, according to a new study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

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AAN: Aspirin Resistance Predicts More Severe Stroke

TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- People who are resistant to aspirin may be at risk for larger, more severe strokes, researchers report. The study was released Feb. 23, ahead of its official presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

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AAN: Low Levels of Key Nutrients and MS Linked in Women

FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower levels of important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients than those without the disease, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 18 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

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