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Ictal semiology interpretation for differentiating psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNESs) and epileptic seizures (ESs) is important for the institution of appropriate treatment. Our objective was to assess the ability of different health care professionals (HCPs) or students to distinguish PNES from ES based on video-recorded seizure semiology.
This study was designed following the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (STARD) guidelines. We showed in a random mix 36 videos of PNES or ES (18 each) and asked 558 participants to classify each seizure. The diagnostic accuracy of various groups of HCPs or students for PNES versus ES was assessed, as well as the effect of patient age and sex. Measures of diagnostic accuracy included sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve (AUC).
The descending order of diagnostic accuracy (AUC) was the following (p ≤ 0.001): (1) neurologists and epileptologists; (2) neurology residents; (3) other specialists and nurses with experience in epilepsy; and (4) undergraduate medical students. Although there was a strong trend toward statistical difference, with AUC 95% confidence intervals (CIs) that were not overlapping, between epileptologists (95% CI 93, 97) compared to neurologists (95% CI 88, 91), and neurologists compared to electroencephalography technicians (95% CI 82, 87), multiple pairwise comparisons with the conservative Tukey–Kramer honest significant difference test revealed no statistical difference (p = 0.25 and 0.1, respectively). Patient age and sex did not have an effect on diagnostic accuracy in neurology specialists.
Visual recognition of PNES by HCPs or students varies overall proportionately with the level of expertise in the field of neurology/epilepsy.
Prehospital delays are a major obstacle to timely reperfusion therapy in acute ischemic stroke. Stroke sign recognition, however, remains poor in the community. We present an analysis of repeated surveys to assess the impact of Face, Arm, Speech, Time (FAST) public awareness campaigns on stroke knowledge.
Four cross-sectional surveys were conducted between July 2016 and January 2019 in the province of Quebec, Canada (n = 2,451). Knowledge of FAST stroke signs (face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulties) was assessed with open-ended questions. A bilingual English/French FAST public awareness campaign preceded survey waves 1–3 and two campaigns preceded wave 4. We used multivariable ordinal regression models weighted for age and sex to assess FAST stroke sign knowledge.
We observed an overall significant improvement of 26% in FAST stroke sign knowledge between survey waves 1 and 4 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.26; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.55; p = 0.035). After the last campaign, however, 30.5% (95% CI: 27.5, 33.6) of people were still unable to name a single FAST sign. Factors associated with worse performance were male sex (OR = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.53, 0.86; p = 0.002) and retirement (OR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.35, 0.83; p = 0.005). People with lower household income and education had a tendency towards worse stroke sign knowledge and were significantly less aware of the FAST campaigns.
Knowledge of FAST stroke signs in the general population improved after multiple public awareness campaigns, although it remained low overall. Future FAST campaigns should especially target men, retired people and individuals with a lower socioeconomic status.
Stroke survivors may be at higher risk of incident cancer, although the magnitude and the period at risk remain unclear. We conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare the risk of cancer in stroke survivors to that of the general population.
The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging is a large population-based cohort of individuals aged 45–85 years when recruited (2011–2015). We used data from the comprehensive subgroup (n = 30,097) to build a retrospective cohort with individual exact matching for age (1:4 ratio). We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios of new cancer diagnosis with and without a prior stroke.
We respectively included 920 and 3,680 individuals in the stroke and non-stroke groups. We observed a higher incidence of cancer in the first year after stroke that declined afterward (p-value = 0.030). The hazard of new cancer diagnosis after stroke was significantly increased (hazard ratio: 2.36; 95% CI: 1.21, 4.61; p-value = 0.012) as compared to age-matched non-stroke participants after adjustments. The most frequent primary cancers in the first year after stroke were prostate (n = 8, 57.1%) and melanoma (n = 2, 14.3%).
The hazard of new cancer diagnosis in the first year after an ischemic stroke is about 2.4 times higher as compared to age-matched individuals without stroke after adjustments. Surveillance bias may explain a portion of post-stroke cancer diagnoses although a selection bias of healthier participants likely led to an underestimation of post-stroke cancer risk. Prospective studies are needed to confirm the potentially pressing need to screen for post-stroke cancer.
In Canada, recreational use of cannabis was legalized in October 2018. This policy change along with recent publications evaluating the efficacy of cannabis for the medical treatment of epilepsy and media awareness about its use have increased the public interest about this agent. The Canadian League Against Epilepsy Medical Therapeutics Committee, along with a multidisciplinary group of experts and Canadian Epilepsy Alliance representatives, has developed a position statement about the use of medical cannabis for epilepsy. This article addresses the current Canadian legal framework, recent publications about its efficacy and safety profile, and our understanding of the clinical issues that should be considered when contemplating cannabis use for medical purposes.
Background: More timely administration of tissue plasminogen activator (alteplase) for patients with acute ischemic stroke yields greater clinical benefits. We implemented door-to-needle (DTN) time reduction strategies at our center and evaluated their short- and long-term effects on in-hospital treatment delays and clinical outcomes. Methods: Strategies, including stroke team prenotification, direct computed tomography transfer, not routinely waiting for laboratory results and alteplase delivery on the computed tomography table, were implemented in June 2013. We included all thrombolysed patients admitted directly to our hospital between January 2012 and March 2015. In-hospital delays and symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage rates were compared between patients pre- and postmodification, and the latter period was divided into early (first 6 months) and late (beyond 6 months) phases to assess the durability of our modifications. Results: Forty-eight individuals were treated premodification compared with 58 postmodification. The median DTN time was reduced from 75 to 46 minutes (p<0.0001). The median DTN time in the early and late postmodification phases was not significantly different (41 vs 46 minutes, p=0.4085). There was no significant difference in rates of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (4.2 vs 1.7%, p=0.361) or stroke mimics (2.1 ves 5.2%, p=0.625) Conclusions: We were able to decrease our DTN time for acute stroke thrombolysis by implementing relatively simple modifications and these improvements persisted over time.