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A blunted response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis immediately after exposure to traumatic events has been proposed as a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Accordingly, administration of hydrocortisone in the aftermath of a traumatic event is indicated. This study consisted of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial investigating whether a single intravenous dose of hydrocortisone administered within 6 hours after exposure to trauma would reduce the incidence of PTSD at the 13-month follow-up.
A total of 118 consented patients with acute stress symptoms were administered a single intravenous bolus of hydrocortisone/placebo within 6 hours of the traumatic event. Blood samples were taken before hydrocortisone administration.
At 13 months, the hydrocortisone group did not differ from the placebo group regarding PTSD prevalence or symptom severity. However, a significant interaction between time of the trauma (ie, night, when cortisol’s level is low) and treatment was found. Specifically, a lower prevalence of PTSD was found at the 13-month follow-up in the hydrocortisone night group.
Administration of hydrocortisone within 6 hours of the traumatic event was not effective in preventing PTSD compared to placebo. However, nocturnal administration (when cortisol levels are low) may suggest a new venue for research.
Inherited optic neuropathies are a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by mild to severe visual loss, colour vision deficit, central or paracentral visual field defects and optic disc pallor. Optic atrophies can be classified into isolated or non-syndromic and syndromic forms. While multiple modes of inheritance have been reported, autosomal dominant optic atrophy and mitochondrial inherited Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy are the most common forms. Optic atrophy type 1, caused by mutations in the OPA1 gene is believed to be the most common hereditary optic neuropathy, and most patients inherit a mutation from an affected parent. In this study we used whole-exome sequencing to investigate the genetic aetiology in a patient affected with isolated optic atrophy. Since the proband was the only affected individual in his extended family, and was a product of consanguineous marriage, homozygosity mapping followed by whole-exome sequencing were pursued. Exome results identified a novel de novo OPA1 mutation in the proband. We conclude, that though de novo OPA1 mutations are uncommon, testing of common optic atrophy-associated genes such as mitochondrial mutations and OPA1 gene sequencing should be performed first in single individuals presenting with optic neuropathy, even when dominant inheritance is not apparent.
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