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Background: Saccade and pupil responses are potential neurodegenerative disease biomarkers due to overlap between oculomotor circuitry and disease-affected areas. Instruction-based tasks have previously been examined as biomarker sources, but are arduous for patients with limited cognitive abilities; additionally, few studies have evaluated multiple neurodegenerative pathologies concurrently. Methods: The Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative recruited individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy, or Parkinson’s disease (PD). Patients (n=274, age 40-86) and healthy controls (n=101, age 55-86) viewed 10 minutes of frequently changing video clips without instruction while their eyes were tracked. We evaluated differences in saccade and pupil parameters (e.g. saccade frequency and amplitude, pupil size, responses to clip changes) between groups. Results: Preliminary data indicates low-level behavioural alterations in multiple disease cohorts: increased centre bias, lower overall saccade rate and reduced saccade amplitude. After clip changes, patient groups generally demonstrated lower saccade rate but higher microsaccade rate following clip change to varying degrees. Additionally, pupil responses were blunted (AD, MCI, ALS) or exaggerated (PD). Conclusions: This task may generate behavioural biomarkers even in cognitively impaired populations. Future work should explore the possible effects of factors such as medication and disease stage.
Background: Cognitive impairment is a common manifestation of anti-LGI1 encephalitis and is typically defined as prominent memory deficits. We frequently encounter frontal cognitive-behavioural deficits when evaluating these patients, but this has yet to be well described in the literature. Methods: Patients with anti-LGI1 encephalitis were retrospectively identified from three tertiary centres in Toronto, Ontario between 2013 and 2022. Their medical records were evaluated and frontal features were categorized based on diagnostic criteria for behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Results: Nineteen patients were identified (median age 60 years [range 18–84]; 10 [52.6%] male). Eighteen (94.7%) had frontal cognitive-behavioural symptoms. Two developed these symptoms during treatment with steroids and were excluded from further analysis. The remaining 16 presented with behavioural disinhibition (n=13), apathy or inertia (n=6), perseverative, stereotyped or compulsive/ritualistic behaviours (n=6), hyperorality and dietary changes (n=4), a neuropsychological profile with predominant deficits in executive tasks (n=4), and loss of sympathy or empathy (n=4). Nine (47.3%) met diagnostic criteria for possible bvFTD. Anterograde memory impairment was common (n=14). Of the 16 patients with frontal features, 6 had faciobrachial dystonic seizures. Conclusions: Patients with anti-LGI1 encephalitis exhibit frontal cognitive-behavioural symptoms in addition to memory impairment. Clinicians should consider anti-LGI1 encephalitis in the differential diagnosis of bvFTD.
Background: Our aim was to develop a National Quality Indicators Set for the Care of Adults Hospitalized for Neurological Problems, to serve as a foundation to build regional or national quality initiatives in Canadian neurology centres. Methods: We used a national eDelphi process to develop a suite of quality indicators and a parallel process of surveys and patient focus groups to identify patient priorities. Canadian content and methodology experts were invited to participate. To be included, >70% of participants had to rate items as critical and <15% had to rate it as not important. Two rounds of surveys and consensus meetings were used identify and rank indicators, followed by national consultation with members of the Canadian Neurological Society. Results: 38 neurologists and methodologists and 56 patients/caregivers participated in this project. An initial list of 91 possible quality indicators was narrowed to 40 indicators across multiple categories of neurological conditions. 21 patient priorities were identified. Conclusions: This quality indicators suite can be used regionally or nationally to drive improvement initiatives for inpatient neurology care. In addition, we identified multiple opportunities for further research where evidence was lacking or patient and provider priorities did not align.
Background: Treatment decisions for patients with autoimmune encephalitis (AE) frequently need to be made before results from autoantibody testing are available, as early treatment is associated with better outcomes. Cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) white blood cell (WBC) count and protein concentration measured early on in the disease process is often used, in combination with other clinical factors, to evaluate the likelihood that a patient has AE. Methods: CSF characteristics (WBC count, protein concentration, and oligoclonal banding) measured in a first AE presentation, prior to results of autoantibodies being available, were retrospectively analyzed at two tertiary care centers. Results: Ninety-five patients were included in the study. CSF WBC counts and protein levels were within normal limits for 27% (CI95%: 19–37) of patients with AE. When results of oligoclonal banding were added, 14% (CI95%: 6–16) of patients had “normal” CSF. The median CSF white blood cell count was 8 cells/mm3 (range: 0–544) and the median CSF protein concentration was 0.42 g/L (range: 0.15–3.92). Conclusions: A substantial proportion of patients with early active AE had a CSF WBC count or protein concentration within the normal. Inclusion of CSF oligoclonal banding may help identify a higher proportion of patients with an inflammatory CSF profile early in the disease process.
Background: Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis (NMDArE) is commonly associated with ovarian teratomas, surgical resection of which can lead to significant neurologic improvement. However, the necessity of aggressive resection at the time of diagnosis is unknown; specifically, whether unilateral or bilateral oophorectomy, versus lesionectomy and partial oophorectomy (ovariotomy), is required. Methods: Eleven patients with NMDArE who underwent ovarian resection between January 1st 2012 and December 31st 2020 were retrospectively identified. Primary outcome was good one-year functional status, defined as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of 0-1. Results: Median age at encephalitis onset was 24 years (19–38); median delay from symptom onset to surgery was 39 days (16–129). Six patients (54.5%) had good mRS scores, unrelated to surgical resection type. Conclusions: Added clinical benefit of aggressive ovarian resection techniques at one-year follow-up was not identified in our data. Further longitudinal studies are needed to determine the indications for different surgical techniques in patients with NMDArE.
Ovarian resection approaches and associated functional outcomes in patients with NMDArE
Background: Planning for neurology training necessitated a reflection on the experience of graduates. We explored practice characteristics, and training experience of recent graduates. Methods: Graduates from 2010-2014 completed a survey. Results: Response rate was 37% of 211. 56% were female. 91% were adult neurologists. 65% practiced in an outpatient setting. 63% worked in academics. 85% completed subspecialty training (median 1 year). 36% work 3 days a week or less. 82% took general call (median 1 night weekly). Role preparation was considered very good or excellent for most; however poor or fair ratings were 17% in advocacy and 8% in leadership. Training feedback was at least “good” for 87%. Burnout a few times a week or more was noted by 5% (6% during residency, particularly PGY1 and 5). 64% felt overly burdened by paperwork. Although most felt training was adequate, it was poor or fair at preparing for practice management (85%) and personal balance (55%). Most conditions were under-observed in training environment. Many noted a need for more independent practice development and community neurology. Conclusions: Although our training was found to be very good, some identified needs included advocacy training, and more training in general neurology in the longitudinal outpatient/community settings.
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