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Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a devastating rare disease that affects individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, and age. The first-approved disease-modifying therapy for SMA, nusinursen, was approved by Health Canada, as well as by American and European regulatory agencies following positive clinical trial outcomes. The trials were conducted in a narrow pediatric population defined by age, severity, and genotype. Broad approval of therapy necessitates close follow-up of potential rare adverse events and effectiveness in the larger real-world population.
The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) undertook an iterative multi-stakeholder process to expand the existing SMA dataset to capture items relevant to patient outcomes in a post-marketing environment. The CNDR SMA expanded registry is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study of patients with SMA in Canada designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of novel therapies and provide practical information unattainable in trials.
The consensus expanded dataset includes items that address therapy effectiveness and safety and is collected in a multicenter, prospective, observational study, including SMA patients regardless of therapeutic status. The expanded dataset is aligned with global datasets to facilitate collaboration. Additionally, consensus dataset development aimed to standardize appropriate outcome measures across the network and broader Canadian community. Prospective outcome studies, data use, and analyses are independent of the funding partner.
Prospective outcome data collected will provide results on safety and effectiveness in a post-therapy approval era. These data are essential to inform improvements in care and access to therapy for all SMA patients.
Google Books Ngrams data are freely available and contain billions of words used in tens of millions of digitized books, which begin in the 1500s for some languages. We explore the benefits and pitfalls of these data by showing examples from comparative and American politics. Specifically, we show how usage of the phrase “political corruption” in Italian, French, German, and Hebrew books strongly correlates with Transparency International’s well-cited Corruption Index for France, Italy, German, and Israel. We also use Ngrams to show that the explosive growth in usage of the phrases “Asian American,” “Latino,” and “Hispanic” correlates with real-world changes in these populations after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. These applications show that Ngram data correlate strongly with similar data from well-respected sources. This suggests that Ngrams has content validity and can be used as a proxy measure for previously difficult-to-research phenomena and questions.
Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron disease resulting in muscle weakness, dysarthria and dysphagia, and ultimately respiratory failure leading to death. Half of the ALS patients survive less than 3 years, and 80% of the patients survive less than 5 years. Riluzole is the only approved medication in Canada with randomized controlled clinical trial evidence to slow the progression of ALS, albeit only to a modest degree. The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) collects data on over 140 different neuromuscular diseases including ALS across ten academic institutions and 28 clinics including ten multidisciplinary ALS clinics. Methods: In this study, CNDR registry data were analyzed to examine potential differences in ALS care among provinces in time to diagnosis, riluzole and feeding tube use. Results: Significant differences were found among provinces, in time to diagnosis from symptom onset, in the use of riluzole and in feeding tube use. Conclusions: Future investigations should be undertaken to identify factors contributing to such differences, and to propose potential interventions to address the provincial differences reported.
Dopaminergic imaging has high diagnostic accuracy for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) at the dementia stage. We report the first investigation of dopaminergic imaging at the prodromal stage.
We recruited 75 patients over 60 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 33 with probable MCI with Lewy body disease (MCI-LB), 15 with possible MCI-LB and 27 with MCI with Alzheimer's disease. All underwent detailed clinical, neurological and neuropsychological assessments and FP-CIT [123I-N-fluoropropyl-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)] dopaminergic imaging. FP-CIT scans were blindly rated by a consensus panel and classified as normal or abnormal.
The sensitivity of visually rated FP-CIT imaging to detect combined possible or probable MCI-LB was 54.2% [95% confidence interval (CI) 39.2–68.6], with a specificity of 89.0% (95% CI 70.8–97.6) and a likelihood ratio for MCI-LB of 4.9, indicating that FP-CIT may be a clinically important test in MCI where any characteristic symptoms of Lewy body (LB) disease are present. The sensitivity in probable MCI-LB was 61.0% (95% CI 42.5–77.4) and in possible MCI-LB was 40.0% (95% CI 16.4–67.7).
Dopaminergic imaging had high specificity at the pre-dementia stage and gave a clinically important increase in diagnostic confidence and so should be considered in all patients with MCI who have any of the diagnostic symptoms of DLB. As expected, the sensitivity was lower in MCI-LB than in established DLB, although over 50% still had an abnormal scan. Accurate diagnosis of LB disease is important to enable early optimal treatment for LB symptoms.
The accurate clinical characterisation of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is becoming increasingly important. The aim of this study was to compare the neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive profile of MCI with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) with Alzheimer's disease MCI (MCI-AD).
Participants were ⩾60 years old with MCI. Each had a thorough clinical and neuropsychological assessment and 2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)-N-(3-fluoropropyl)-nortropane single photon emission computed tomography FP-CIT SPECT). MCI-LB was diagnosed if two or more diagnostic features of dementia with Lewy bodies were present (visual hallucinations, cognitive fluctuations, motor parkinsonism, rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder or positive FP-CIT SPECT). A Lewy body Neuropsychiatric Supportive Symptom Count (LBNSSC) was calculated based on the presence or absence of the supportive neuropsychiatric symptoms defined by the 2017 DLB diagnostic criteria: non-visual hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, depression and apathy.
MCI-LB (n = 41) had a higher LBNSSC than MCI-AD (n = 24; 1.8 ± 1.1 v. 0.7 ± 0.9, p = 0.001). 67% of MCI-LB had two or more of those symptoms, compared with 16% of MCI-AD (Likelihood ratio = 4.2, p < 0.001). MCI-LB subjects scored lower on tests of attention, visuospatial function and verbal fluency. However, cognitive test scores alone did not accurately differentiate MCI-LB from MCI-AD.
MCI-LB is associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms and a cognitive profile similar to established DLB. This supports the concept of identifying MCI-LB based on the presence of core diagnostic features of DLB and abnormal FP-CIT SPECT imaging. The presence of supportive neuropsychiatric clinical features identified in the 2017 DLB diagnostic criteria was helpful in differentiating between MCI-LB and MCI-AD.
Research on the cities of the Classical Greek world has traditionally focused on mapping the organisation of urban space and studying major civic or religious buildings. More recently, newer techniques such as field survey and geophysical survey have facilitated exploration of the extent and character of larger areas within urban settlements, raising questions about economic processes. At the same time, detailed analysis of residential buildings has also supported a change of emphasis towards understanding some of the functional and social aspects of the built environment as well as purely formal ones. This article argues for the advantages of analysing Greek cities using a multidisciplinary, multi-scalar framework which encompasses all of these various approaches and adds to them other analytical techniques (particularly micro-archaeology). We suggest that this strategy can lead towards a more holistic view of a city, not only as a physical place, but also as a dynamic community, revealing its origins, development and patterns of social and economic activity. Our argument is made with reference to the research design, methodology and results of the first three seasons of fieldwork at the city of Olynthos, carried out by the Olynthos Project.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing has expanded beyond the mere patterned deposition of melted solids, moving into areas requiring spatially structured soft matter—typically materials composed of polymers, colloids, surfactants, or living cells. The tunable and dynamically variable rheological properties of soft matter enable the high-resolution manufacture of soft structures. These rheological properties are leveraged in 3D printing techniques that employ sacrificial inks and sacrificial support materials, which go through reversible solid–fluid transitions under modest forces or other small perturbations. Thus, a sacrificial material can be used to shape a second material into a complex 3D structure, and then discarded. Here, we review the sacrificial materials and related methods used to print soft structures. We analyze data from the literature to establish manufacturing principles of soft matter printing, and we explore printing performance within the context of instabilities controlled by the rheology of soft matter materials.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a common cause of dementia in the elderly population after Alzheimer's disease (AD), and at early stages differential diagnosis between DLB and AD might be difficult due to their symptomatic overlap, e.g. cognitive and memory impairments. We aimed to investigate functional brain differences between both diseases in patients recently diagnosed.
We investigated regional functional synchronizations using regional homogeneity (ReHo) in patients clinically diagnosed with DLB (n = 19) and AD (n = 18), and for comparisons we also included healthy controls (HC, n = 16). Patient groups were matched by age, education, and by the level of cognitive impairment (MMSE p-value = 0.36). Additionally, correlations between ReHo values and clinical scores were investigated.
The DLB group showed lower ReHo in sensory-motor cortices and higher ReHo in left middle temporal gyrus when compared with HCs (p-value < 0.001 uncorrected). The AD group demonstrated lower ReHo in the cerebellum and higher ReHo in the left/right lingual gyri, precuneus cortex, and other occipital and parietal regions (p-value < 0.001 uncorrected).
Our results agree with previous ReHo investigations in Parkinson's disease (PD), suggesting that functional alterations in motor-related regions might be a characteristic of the Lewy body disease spectrum. However, our results in AD contradict previously reported findings for this disease and ReHo, which we speculate are a reflection of compensatory brain responses at early disease stages. ReHo differences between patient groups were at regions related to the default mode and sensory-motor resting state networks which might reflect the aetiological divergences in the underlying disease processes between AD and DLB.
Fluctuating cognition (FC), particularly in attention, is a core and defining symptom in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but is seen much less frequently in Alzheimer's dementia (AD). However, its neurobiological origin is poorly understood. The aim of our study was therefore to characterize perfusion patterns in DLB patients that are associated with the severity and frequency of FC as measured both clinically and using objective neuropsychological assessments.
Spatial covariance analyses were applied to data derived from single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) HMPAO brain imaging in 19 DLB and 23 AD patients. Patients underwent clinical assessment of their FC and cognitive function as well as objective testing of their attention.
Covariant perfusion principal components (PCs) were not associated with either FC or cognitive or attentional measures in AD. However, in DLB patients, the second PC (defined as DLB-cognitive motor pattern, DLB-PCI2) which was characterized by bilateral relative increases in cerebellum, basal ganglia, and supplementary motor areas and widespread bilateral decreases in parietal regions, positively correlated with poorer cognitive function, increased FC and worse attentional function measured both clinically and neurophysiologically (p < 0.05) as well as with the severity of bradykinesia (p = 0.04).
FC in DLB appears distinct from those seen in AD, and likely to be driven by internal neurobiological perturbations in brain circuitry as evidenced using spatial covariance analyses of cerebral perfusion. FC and certain aspects of attentional dysfunction in DLB may, in part, depend upon both distributed motor and non-motor networks.
Background: There is a small body of research indicating that mindfulness training can be beneficial for people with distressing psychosis. What is not yet clear is whether mindfulness effects change in affect and cognition associated with voices specifically. This study examined the hypothesis that mindfulness training alone would lead to change in distress and cognition (belief conviction) in people with distressing voices. Method: Two case studies are presented. Participants experienced long-standing distressing voices. Belief conviction and distress were measured twice weekly through baseline and mindfulness intervention. Mindfulness in relation to voices was measured at the start of baseline and end of intervention. Results: Following a relatively stable baseline phase, after 2–3 weeks of mindfulness practice, belief conviction and distress fell for both participants. Both participants' mindfulness scores were higher post treatment. Conclusion: Findings show that mindfulness training has an impact on cognition and affect specifically associated with voices, and thereby beneficially alters relationship with voices.
A 28-year-old woman presented with a one day history of high fever and partial seizures with secondary generalization. This was preceded by a three week history of headache, ataxia, and fatigue. An initial computed tomogram head scan showed a low density mass lesion in the right frontal operculum without enhancement. On the next day, a repeat scan showed a new frontopolar, expansile, low density cortical lesion (Figure 1A) suggestive of encephalitis. Cerebrospinal fluid showed a pleocytosis of 311 mononuclear white blood cell count per μL and an elevated protein of 1.57 g/L. She received intravenous acyclovir and antibiotics. She remained febrile and became mute. A magnetic resonance (MR) scan under general anesthesia on her fourth hospital day showed frontal and perisylvian lesions with restricted diffusion (Figure 1B - D and Figure 2). A right frontal brain biopsy showed meningoencephalitis and immunohistochemical staining was positive for herpes simplex virus (HSV) antigen (Figure 3). Subsequently, HSV-1 DNA was demonstrated in both cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue with polymerase chain amplification. She improved after a course of intravenous therapy with acyclovir with residual frontal lobe signs, including marked executive dysfunction, and her speech became normal.
The possibility of fast firing a relaxor dielectric to suppress grain growth, mitigate the lead loss and reduce the cost of sintering has been investigated. The relaxor Pb(Mn1/3 Nb2/3).02 (Mg1/2 W1/2 ).48 Zr.23 Ti.27 O3  exhibits a highly desirable broad phase transistion range when the prbcessing procedures are carefully controlled and fired conventionally. When fast fired, this material's density, percentage of secondary phases, and dielectric constant were highly dependent on the sintering time. A sample fired for 6 minutes possessed a dielectric constant nearly equal to the same material conventionally fired for 16 hours.
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