JNS.jpgThe January issue of the Journal of the Neurological Sciences Vol 445 is now available online.


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Issue highlights

Research Article - FREE ACCESS

Global uncertainty in the diagnosis of neurological complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection by both neurologists and non-neurologists: An international inter-observer variability study

Tamborska et al.

Published online: April 10, 2023


Uniform case definitions are required to ensure harmonised reporting of neurological syndromes associated with SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, it is unclear how clinicians perceive the relative importance of SARS-CoV-2 in neurological syndromes, which risks under- or over-reporting.

We invited clinicians through global networks, including the World Federation of Neurology, to assess ten anonymised vignettes of SARS-CoV-2 neurological syndromes. Using standardised case definitions, clinicians assigned a diagnosis and ranked association with SARS-CoV-2. We compared diagnostic accuracy and assigned association ranks between different settings and specialties and calculated inter-rater agreement for case definitions as "poor" (κ ≤ 0.4), "moderate" or "good" (κ > 0.6).

The case definitions can help with reporting of neurological complications of SARS-CoV-2, also in settings with few neurologists. However, encephalopathy, encephalitis, and psychosis were often misdiagnosed, and clinicians underestimated the association with SARS-CoV-2. Future work should refine the case definitions and provide training if global reporting of neurological syndromes associated with SARS-CoV-2 is to be robust.

Research Article

Degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in the early to intermediate stage of dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease

Okitsu et al.

Published online: April 12, 2023


The research investigated differences in nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuron degeneration between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease (PD) in the early to intermediate stage of these diseases.

An integrative neuroimaging analysis was developed using 3-Tesla neuromelanin-sensitive MRI and 123I-FP-CIT dopamine transporter SPECT, and the relationship and laterality of three variables, including neuromelanin-related contrast in the substantia nigra (NRCSN) and locus coeruleus (NRCLC) and the specific binding ratio (SBR) in the striatum, were examined in detail. Patients with DLB and PD and control subjects (n = 29, 52, and 18, respectively) were enrolled.

Loss of the soma and presynaptic terminals may occur independently in DLB with a large decrease in the presynaptic terminals. The close relationship observed between the degeneration of the soma and presynaptic terminals suggested that axon degeneration may dominate in PD.

Research Article

Physiological measures and anatomical correlates of subthalamic deep brain stimulation effect on gait in Parkinson's disease

Agharazi et al.

Published online: April 11, 2023


We examined whether conflicting visual and non-visual information leads to gait abnormalities and how the subthalamic deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) influences gait dysfunction in Parkinson's disease (PD). We used a motion capture system to measure the kinematics of the lower limbs during treadmill walking in immersive virtual reality.

The visual information provided in the virtual reality paradigm was modulated to create a mismatch between the optic-flow velocity of the visual scene and the walking speed on the treadmill. In each mismatched condition, we calculated the step duration, step length, step phase, step height, and asymmetries.

The key finding of our study was that mismatch between treadmill walking speed and the optic-flow velocity did not consistently alter gait parameters in PD. We also found that STN DBS improved the PD gait pattern by changing the stride length and step height. The effects on phase and left/right asymmetry were not statistically significant. The DBS parameters and location also determined its effects on gait. Statistical effects on stride length and step height were noted when the DBS volume of activated tissue (VTA) was in the dorsal aspect of the subthalamus. The statistically significant effects of STN DBS was present when VTA significantly overlapped with MR tractogrphically measured motor and pre-motor hyperdirect pathways.

In summary, our results provide novel insight into ways for controlling walking behavior in PD using STN DBS.


Research Article

Cognitive performance in healthy clinical trial participants and patients with the NeuroCart, a neurodegenerative disease measured with an automated neuropsychological and neurophysiological test battery

Prins et al.

Published online: April 12, 2023

The prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases increases significantly with increasing age. Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of function of neurons that eventually leads to cell death, which in turn leads to cognitive disfunction. Cognitive performance can therefore also be considered age dependent.

The current study investigated if the NeuroCart can detect age related decline on drug-sensitive CNS-tests in healthy volunteers (HV), and whether there are interactions between the rates of decline and sex. This study also investigated if the NeuroCart was able to differentiate disease profiles of neurodegenerative diseases, compared to age-matched HV and if there is age related decline in patient groups.

This study showed that the NeuroCart can detect age-related decreases in performance in HV, which were not affected by sex. The NeuroCart was able to detect significant differences in performance between AD, PD, HD, VaD and age-matched HV. Disease durations were unknown, therefore this cross-sectional study was not able to show age-related decline after disease onset. This article shows the importance of investigating age-related decline on digitalized neurocognitive test batteries. Performance declines with age, which emphasizes the need to correct for age when including HV in clinical trials. Patients with different neurogenerative diseases have distinct performance patterns on the NeuroCart, which this should be considered when performing NeuroCart tasks in patients with AD, PD, HD and VaD.