JNS.jpgThe November issue of the Journal of the Neurological Sciences Vol 454 is now available online.


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Issue highlights

Research Article

A prospective cohort study of familial versus sporadic essential tremor cases: Do clinical features evolve differently across time?

Berry et al.

Published online: October 25, 2023

Although essential tremor (ET) is often divided into familial and sporadic cases, few data compare the evolution of clinical features in these groups over time. Leveraging data from a prospective, longitudinal study, we present analyses of the evolution of a broad range of cognitive, motor (i.e., tremor, tandem gait) and other features (e.g., disability) of ET.

Familial and sporadic ET cases differed in onset age, and in the prevalence of childhood tremor onset. Although a number of interesting trends were observed, no significant differences in the evolution of clinical features over time in patients with and without a family history of ET were revealed.


Research Article | Open Access

Simple quantitative planimetric measurement of nigrosome-1 for clinical settings

Chau et al.

Published online: October 28, 2023

Loss of MRI hyperintense signal in nigrosome-1 (assessed with susceptibility-weighted imaging) is a biomarker for Parkinson's disease (PD). Current clinical practice involves subjectively rating the appearance of nigrosome-1 which is challenging. The study aimed to test and compare a simple method for quantifying nigrosome-1 with the current subjective rating method.

The simple quantitative method, used with subjectively rated nigrosome-1 appearance, may improve confidence in longitudinal clinical reporting, when nigrosome-1 is attenuated. However, further work on the incremental diagnostic value of planimetry and bias, repeatability and reproducibility are needed before it can be recommended in clinical practice.


Research Article

Environmental factors and stroke: Risk and prevention

Ranta et al.

Published online: October 28, 2023

Stroke is a leading cause of death and adult disability globally. In addition to traditional risk factors, environmental risk factors have emerged over the recent past and are becoming increasingly important. The disproportionate rise of stroke incidence in low- and middle-income countries has been attributed, at least in part, to environmental factors.

This narrative review provides details on the interplay between the environment and health generally and stroke specifically, covering topics including air pollution, atmospheric brown clouds, desert dust storms, giant wildfires, chemical contamination, biological aggressors, urbanization, and climate change. It also covers some beneficial environmental effects such as can be harnessed from the exposure to green spaces.

It concludes with a summary of pragmatic actions that can be taken to help address some of these challenges at individual, community, and political advocacy levels.


Research Article

Lysine 117 on ataxin-3 modulates toxicity in Drosophila models of Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3

Blount et al.

Published online: October 5, 2023

Ataxin-3 (Atxn3) is a deubiquitinase with a polyglutamine (polyQ) repeat tract whose abnormal expansion causes the neurodegenerative disease, Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3 (SCA3; also known as Machado-Joseph Disease). The ubiquitin chain cleavage properties of Atxn3 are enhanced when the enzyme is itself ubiquitinated at lysine (K) at position 117: in vitro, K117-ubiqutinated Atxn3 cleaves poly-ubiquitin markedly more rapidly compared to its unmodified counterpart. How polyQ expansion causes SCA3 remains unclear.

To gather insights into the biology of disease of SCA3, here we posited the question: is K117 important for toxicity caused by pathogenic Atxn3? To answer this question, we generated transgenic Drosophila lines that express full-length, human, pathogenic Atxn3 with 80 polyQ with an intact or mutated K117. We found that mutating K117 mildly enhances the toxicity and aggregation of pathogenic Atxn3. An additional transgenic line that expresses Atxn3 without any K residues confirms increased aggregation of pathogenic Atxn3 whose ubiquitination is perturbed. These findings suggest that Atxn3 ubiquitination is a regulatory step of SCA3, in part by modulating its aggregation.