PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We aim to provide a comprehensive and updated review on idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), including the most current studies and treatment options. Special focus will be put on recent theories about the pathophysiology, and on newer prospective studies on treatment modalities. RECENT FINDINGS: The Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Treatment Trial (IIHTT) provided evidence supporting acetazolamide as a well tolerated first-line therapy in IIH patients with mild vision loss. Recent studies have shown venous sinus stenting as a well tolerated and effective surgical alternative for patients with refractory IIH. SUMMARY: Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is a vision-threatening disorder that predominantly affects obese women of childbearing age. This disorder is becoming more prevalent as the obesity epidemic continues to increase. As our understanding of this disorder continues to evolve, diagnosis and management approaches have changed over time. However, the pathogenesis for IIH remains unclear. Several theories have been proposed, including abnormalities in cerebrospinal dynamics, metabolic causes and genetics. The diagnostic criteria are based on the revised Dandy criteria. Traditionally, treatment was based on clinical experiences and retrospective studies. However, a new, prospective, randomized, controlled trial, the IIHTT, provided evidence-based data to help guide medical therapy. Additionally new, prospective studies are underway for the different surgical alternatives to treat IIH.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of patients with varicella zoster virus (VZV) reactivation involving the cranial nerves and central nervous system (CNS). METHODS: This is a retrospective, multi-center case-series of 37 patients with VZV infection affecting the cranial nerves and CNS. RESULTS: The median age was 71 years [IQR 51.5-76]; 21 (57%) were men. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was available in 24/37 (65%); median CSF white blood cell count was 11 [IQR 2-23] cells/μL and protein was 45.5 [IQR 34.5-75.5] mg/dL. VZV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were positive in 6/21 (29%) CSF and 8/9 (89%) ocular samples. Clinical involvement included the optic nerve in 12 (32%), other cranial nerves in 20 (54%), brain parenchyma in 12 (32%) and spinal cord or nerve roots in 4 (11%). Twenty-seven/28 immunocompetent patients' MRIs were available for review (96%). Of the 27, 18 had T1 postcontrast fat saturated sequences without motion artifact to evaluate for cranial nerve enhancement and optic perineuritis (OPN). Eight/18 (44%) demonstrated OPN. All 8 experienced vision loss: 3 optic neuritis, 1 acute retinal necrosis, and 3 CNS vasculitis with 1 central and 1 branch retinal artery occlusion and 1 uveitis. Diplopic patients had cranial nerve and cavernous sinus enhancement. All immunosuppressed patients were imaged. Seven/9 (88%) had extensive neuraxis involvement, including encephalitis, vasculitis and transverse myelitis; one case had OPN. CONCLUSION: OPN is a frequent manifestation in VZV-associated vision loss among immunocompetent patients. Immunosuppressed patients had greater neuraxis involvement. Optimizing MRI protocols may improve early diagnosis in VZV reactivation.
In some patients, migraine attacks are associated with symptoms of allodynia which can be localized (cephalic) or generalized (extracephalic). Using functional neuroimaging and cutaneous thermal stimulation, we aimed to investigate the differences in brain activation of patients with episodic migraine (n = 19) based on their allodynic status defined by changes between ictal and interictal pain tolerance threshold for each subject at the time of imaging. In this prospective imaging study, differences were found in brain activity between the ictal and interictal visits in the brainstem/pons, thalamus, insula, cerebellum and cingulate cortex. Significant differences were also observed in the pattern of activation along the trigeminal pathway to noxious heat stimuli in no allodynia vs. generalized allodynia in the thalamus and the trigeminal nucleus but there were no activation differences in the trigeminal ganglion. The functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) findings provide direct evidence for the view that in migraine patients who are allodynic during the ictal phase of their attacks, the spinal trigeminal nucleus and posterior thalamus become hyper-responsive (sensitized)-to the extent that they mediate cephalic and extracephalic allodynia, respectively. In addition, descending analgesic systems seem as "switched off" in generalized allodynia.
BACKGROUND: To review the literature and provide a summary of COVID-19-related neurologic and neuro-ophthalmic complications. METHODS: The currently available literature was reviewed on PubMed and Google Scholar using the following keywords for searches: CNS, Neuro-Ophthalmology, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus, optic neuritis, pseudotumor cerebri, Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES), meningitis, encephalitis, acute necrotizing hemorrhagic encephalopathy, and Guillain-Barré and Miller Fisher syndromes. RESULTS: Neuroradiologic findings of neurologic and neuro-ophthalmologic complications in relationship to COVID-19 infection were reviewed. Afferent visual pathway-related disorders with relevant imaging manifestations included fundus nodules on MRI, papilledema and pseudotumor cerebri syndrome, optic neuritis, Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, vascular injury with thromboembolism and infarct, leukoencephalopathy, gray matter hypoxic injury, hemorrhage, infectious meningitis/encephalitis, acute necrotizing hemorrhagic encephalopathy, and PRES. Efferent visual pathway-related complications with relevant imaging manifestations were also reviewed, including orbital abnormalities, cranial neuropathy, Guillain-Barré and Miller Fisher syndromes, and nystagmus and other eye movement abnormalities related to rhombencephalitis. CONCLUSION: COVID-19 can cause central and peripheral nervous system disease, including along both the afferent and efferent components of visual axis. Manifestations of disease and long-term sequela continue to be studied and described. Familiarity with the wide variety of neurologic, ophthalmic, and neuroradiologic presentations can promote prompt and appropriate treatment and continue building a framework to understand the underlying mechanism of disease.
Visual symptoms are common after concussion in children and adolescents, making it essential for clinicians to understand how to screen, identify, and initiate clinical management of visual symptoms in pediatric patients after this common childhood injury. Although most children and adolescents with visual symptoms after concussion will recover on their own by 4 weeks, for a subset who do not have spontaneous recovery, referral to a specialist with experience in comprehensive concussion management (eg, sports medicine, neurology, neuropsychology, physiatry, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology) for additional assessment and treatment may be necessary. A vision-specific history and a thorough visual system examination are warranted, including an assessment of visual acuity, ocular alignment in all positions of gaze, smooth pursuit (visual tracking of a moving object), saccades (visual fixation shifting between stationary targets), vestibulo-ocular reflex (maintaining image focus during movement), near point of convergence (focusing with both eyes at near and accommodation (focusing with one eye at near because any of these functions may be disturbed after concussion. These deficits may contribute to difficulty with returning to both play and the learning setting at school, making the identification of these problems early after injury important for the clinician to provide relevant learning accommodations, such as larger font, preprinted notes, and temporary use of audio books. Early identification and appropriate management of visual symptoms, such as convergence insufficiency or accommodative insufficiency, may mitigate the negative effects of concussion on children and adolescents and their quality of life.
Alzheimer's disease is a pervasive neurodegenerative disorder, the molecular complexity of which remains poorly understood. Here, we analysed 80,660 single-nucleus transcriptomes from the prefrontal cortex of 48 individuals with varying degrees of Alzheimer's disease pathology. Across six major brain cell types, we identified transcriptionally distinct subpopulations, including those associated with pathology and characterized by regulators of myelination, inflammation, and neuron survival. The strongest disease-associated changes appeared early in pathological progression and were highly cell-type specific, whereas genes upregulated at late stages were common across cell types and primarily involved in the global stress response. Notably, we found that female cells were overrepresented in disease-associated subpopulations, and that transcriptional responses were substantially different between sexes in several cell types, including oligodendrocytes. Overall, myelination-related processes were recurrently perturbed in multiple cell types, suggesting that myelination has a key role in Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology. Our single-cell transcriptomic resource provides a blueprint for interrogating the molecular and cellular basis of Alzheimer's disease.
The regulation of myelination and axonal outgrowth in the peripheral nervous system is controlled by a complex signaling network involving various signaling pathways. Members of the A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase (ADAM) family are membrane-anchored proteinases with both proteolytic and disintegrin characteristics that modulate the function of signaling molecules. One family member, ADAM17, is known to influence myelination by cleaving and thus regulating one of the key signals, neuregulin-1, which controls peripheral nervous system myelination. A similar function for ADAM10 had been suggested by previous in vitro studies. Here, we assessed whether ADAM10 exerts a similar function in vivo and deleted ADAM10 in a cell type-specific manner in either neurons or Schwann cells. We found that ADAM10 is not required in either Schwann cells or neurons for normal myelination during development or for remyelination after injury. Instead, ADAM10 is required specifically in neurons for the outgrowth of myelinated small-fiber axons in vitro and after injury in vivo. Thus, we report for the first time a neuron-intrinsic function of ADAM10 in axonal regeneration that is distinct from that of the related protein family member ADAM17 and that may have implications for targeting ADAM function in nervous system diseases.
There remains great interest in understanding the relationship between visual impairment (VI) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to the extraordinarily high prevalence of ASD in blind and visually impaired children. The broad variability across individuals and assessment methodologies have made it difficult to understand whether autistic-like symptoms shown by some children with VI might reflect the influence of the visual deficit, or represent a primary neurodevelopmental condition that occurs independently of the VI itself. In the absence of a valid methodology adapted for the visually impaired population, diagnosis of ASD in children with VI is often based on non-objective clinical impression, with inconclusive prevalence data. In this review, we discuss the current state of knowledge and suggest directions for future research.
Hearing loss, the most common neurological disorder and the fourth leading cause of years lived with disability, can have profound effects on quality of life. The impact of this "invisible disability," with significant consequences, economic and personal, is most substantial in low- and middle-income countries, where >80% of affected people live. Given the importance of hearing for communication, enjoyment, and safety, with up to 500 million affected globally at a cost of nearly $800 billion/year, research on new approaches toward prevention and treatment is attracting increased attention. The consequences of noise pollution are largely preventable, but irreversible hearing loss can result from aging, disease, or drug side effects. Once damage occurs, treatment relies on hearing aids and cochlear implants. Preventing, delaying, or reducing some degree of hearing loss may be possible by avoiding excessive noise and addressing major contributory factors such as cardiovascular risk. However, given the magnitude of the problem, these interventions alone are unlikely to be sufficient. Recent advances in understanding principal mechanisms that govern hearing function, together with new drug discovery paradigms designed to identify efficacious therapies, bode well for pharmaceutical intervention. This review surveys various causes of loss of auditory function and discusses potential neurological underpinnings, including mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria mitigate cell protection, survival, and function and may succumb to cumulative degradation of energy production and performance; the end result is cell death. Energy-demanding neurons and vestibulocochlear hair cells are vulnerable to mitochondrial dysfunction, and hearing impairment and deafness are characteristic of neurodegenerative mitochondrial disease phenotypes. Beyond acting as cellular powerhouses, mitochondria regulate immune responses to infections, and studies of this phenomenon have aided in identifying nuclear factor kappa B and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2/antioxidant response element signaling as targets for discovery of otologic drugs, respectively, suppressing or upregulating these pathways. Treatment with free radical scavenging antioxidants is one therapeutic approach, with lipoic acid and corresponding carnitine esters exhibiting improved biodistribution and other features showing promise. These compounds are also histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, adding epigenetic modulation to the mechanistic milieu through which they act. These data suggest that new drugs targeting mitochondrial dysfunction and modulating epigenetic pathways via HDAC inhibition or other mechanisms hold great promise.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized the field of oncology by modulating the immune cell-cancer cell interaction and thereby promoting immune system disinhibition in order to target several types of malignancies. There are three classes of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs): anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4), anti-programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), and anti-programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1).It is not uncommon for physicians across all specialties to encounter a patient with a history of malignancy and ICI exposure, necessitating familiarity with their potential complications. In this review article, we discuss the most common immune-related adverse events (irAEs) pertaining to the central and peripheral nervous systems and their potential afferent and efferent neuro-ophthalmic manifestations. Early recognition and treatment of these irAEs, and discontinuation of the offending ICI are all critical steps to prevent morbidity and mortality.
Normalization has been proposed as a canonical computation operating across different brain regions, sensory modalities, and species. It provides a good phenomenological description of non-linear response properties in primary visual cortex (V1), including the contrast response function and surround suppression. Despite its widespread application throughout the visual system, the underlying neural mechanisms remain largely unknown. We recently observed that corticocortical feedback contributes to surround suppression in V1, raising the possibility that feedback acts through normalization. To test this idea, we characterized area summation and contrast response properties in V1 with and without feedback from V2 and V3 in alert macaques and applied a standard normalization model to the data. Area summation properties were well explained by a form of divisive normalization, which computes the ratio between a neuron's driving input and the spatially integrated activity of a "normalization pool." Feedback inactivation reduced surround suppression by shrinking the spatial extent of the normalization pool. This effect was independent of the gain modulation thought to mediate the influence of contrast on area summation, which remained intact during feedback inactivation. Contrast sensitivity within the receptive field center was also unaffected by feedback inactivation, providing further evidence that feedback participates in normalization independent of the circuit mechanisms involved in modulating contrast gain and saturation. These results suggest that corticocortical feedback contributes to surround suppression by increasing the visuotopic extent of normalization and, via this mechanism, feedback can play a critical role in contextual information processing.
Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is an important example of mitochondrial blindness with the m.11778G > A mutation in the MT-ND4 gene being the most common disease-causing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variant worldwide. The REFLECT phase 3 pivotal study is a randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial investigating the efficacy and safety of bilateral intravitreal injection of lenadogene nolparvovec in patients with a confirmed m.11778G > A mutation, using a recombinant adeno-associated virus vector 2, serotype 2 (rAAV2/2-ND4). The first-affected eye received gene therapy; the fellow (affected/not-yet-affected) eye was randomly injected with gene therapy or placebo. The primary endpoint was the difference in change from baseline of best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) in second-affected/not-yet-affected eyes treated with lenadogene nolparvovec versus placebo at 1.5 years post-treatment, expressed in logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution (LogMAR). Forty-eight patients were treated bilaterally and 50 unilaterally. At 1.5 years, the change from baseline in BCVA was not statistically different between second-affected/not-yet-affected eyes receiving lenadogene nolparvovec and placebo (primary endpoint). A statistically significant improvement in BCVA was reported from baseline to 1.5 years in lenadogene nolparvovec-treated eyes: -0.23 LogMAR for the first-affected eyes of bilaterally treated patients (p < 0.01); and -0.15 LogMAR for second-affected/not-yet-affected eyes of bilaterally treated patients and the first-affected eyes of unilaterally treated patients (p < 0.05). The mean improvement in BCVA from nadir to 1.5 years was -0.38 (0.052) LogMAR and -0.33 (0.052) LogMAR in first-affected and second-affected/not-yet-affected eyes treated with lenadogene nolparvovec, respectively (bilateral treatment group). A mean improvement of -0.33 (0.051) LogMAR and -0.26 (0.051) LogMAR was observed in first-affected lenadogene nolparvovec-treated eyes and second-affected/not-yet-affected placebo-treated eyes, respectively (unilateral treatment group). The proportion of patients with one or both eyes on-chart at 1.5 years was 85.4% and 72.0% for bilaterally and unilaterally treated patients, respectively. The gene therapy was well tolerated, with no systemic issues. Intraocular inflammation, which was mostly mild and well controlled with topical corticosteroids, occurred in 70.7% of lenadogene nolparvovec-treated eyes versus 10.2% of placebo-treated eyes. Among eyes treated with lenadogene nolparvovec, there was no difference in the incidence of intraocular inflammation between bilaterally and unilaterally treated patients. Overall, the REFLECT trial demonstrated an improvement of BCVA in LHON eyes carrying the m.11778G > A mtDNA mutation treated with lenadogene nolparvovec or placebo to a degree not reported in natural history studies and supports an improved benefit/risk profile for bilateral injections of lenadogene nolparvovec relative to unilateral injections.
BACKGROUND: Addison disease, corticosteroid withdrawal, and taking synthetic growth hormone have been linked with development of intracranial hypertension, but there is still debate on whether administration of other exogenous hormones plays a role in precipitating elevated pressure. The growing use of hormonal therapy for gender affirmation provides an opportunity to explore this possibility. METHODS: All transgender patients taking exogenous hormones for female-to-male (FTM) and male-to-female (MTF) transitions who were diagnosed with intracranial hypertension at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center between August 2014 and November 2018 were included in a retrospective review. Visual acuity, type, and dose of exogenous hormone, visual field testing, clinical exam, results of neuroimaging and lumbar puncture, and treatment modalities were catalogued and analyzed. RESULTS: Six transgender individuals were identified. Five were FTM, with an average hormone treatment time of 18.4 months, and one was MTF who had been treated with hormones for 4 years. The average age of all patients was 23.5 years. The average time between onset of symptoms and presentation was 5 months. Fifty percent of the patients reported pulse-synchronous tinnitus, 83% reported positional headache, 33% reported transient visual obscurations, and 16% reported diplopia. Lumbar punctures performed on 4 of the patients revealed elevated opening pressures and normal cerebrospinal fluid constituents. MRI findings consistent with elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) were present in the other 2 patients in whom lumbar puncture was unsuccessful. Four patients were treated with acetazolamide and one was treated with topiramate, with an average follow-up time of 15.7 months. All patients demonstrated bilateral optic disc swelling, and all maintained normal acuity and color vision. Performance on visual field testing was not significantly affected in any patient. CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest reported series to date of gender-transitioning patients with intracranial hypertension, including one novel MTF conversion. These observations warrant further investigation into the possible link of exogenous hormonal therapy and elevated ICP and any mechanisms or confounders underlying this potential association.
Aversion to light is common among migraineurs undergoing acute attacks. Using psychophysical assessments in patients with episodic migraine, we reported that white, blue, amber, and red lights exacerbate migraine headache in a significantly larger percentage of patients and to a greater extent compared with green light. This study aimed at determining whether these findings are phase-dependent-namely, manifested exclusively during migraine (ictally) but not in its absence (interictally), or condition-dependent-ie, expressed uniquely in migraineurs but not in healthy controls. To determine whether the color preference of migraine-type photophobia is phase- or condition-dependent, we compared the effects of each color of light in each intensity between migraineurs during and in-between attacks and healthy controls. During the ictal and interictal phases, the proportion of migraineurs reporting changes in headache severity when exposed to the different colors of light increased in accordance with elevated light intensities. During the ictal phase, white, blue, amber, and red lights exacerbated headaches in ∼80% of the patients; however, during the interictal phase, light initiated headache in only 16% to 19%. Notably, green light exacerbated headaches in 40% and triggered headaches in 3% of the patients studied during the ictal and interictal phases, respectively. With one exception (highest red light intensity), no control subject reported headache in response to the light stimuli. These findings suggest that color preference is unique to migraineurs-as it was not found in control subjects-and that it is independent of whether or not the patients are in their ictal or interictal phase.
AIM: To characterize the neuro-ophthalmological phenotype of cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 (CDKL5) deficiency disorder (CDD) and assess visual acuity as a reproducible, quantitative outcome measure. METHOD: We retrospectively analyzed clinical data from patients with CDD. Complete neuro-ophthalmological assessments, including visual acuity, were evaluated. RESULTS: Of 26 patients (22 females, four males; median age 4y, interquartile range 2y 1mo-7y 10mo), cerebral visual impairment (CVI), defined as visual dysfunction in the absence of ocular or anterior visual pathway abnormalities, was diagnosed in all those over 2 years of age. Ophthalmological examinations revealed nystagmus in 10 patients and strabismus in 24 patients. Visual acuity was measured in 24 patients, by preferential looking in all and by sweep visual evoked potential in 13. Visual acuities were lower than age expectations and demonstrated improvement in the first 3 years. Adjusting for age and sex, average preferential looking visual acuity after 2 years of age was higher in patients with intact mobility than in those who were non-mobile. INTERPRETATION: CVI was observed in patients with CDD. Visual acuity improved over time and correlated with mobility. Visual acuity, as a quantifiable measure of visual function, should be considered as an outcome measure in pre-clinical and clinical studies for CDD. What this paper adds Cerebral visual impairment is highly prevalent in cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 deficiency disorder (CDD). Visual acuity is a measurable quantitative outcome measure in CDD. Visual acuity in CDD correlates with gross motor ability.