A lateralized model of the pain-depression dyad. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2021;127:876-883.Abstract.
Chronic pain and depression are two frequently co-occurring and debilitating conditions. Even though the former is treated as a physical affliction, and the latter as a mental illness, both disorders closely share neural substrates. Here, we review the association of pain with depression, especially when symptoms are lateralized on either side of the body. We also explore the overlapping regions in the forebrain implicated in these conditions. Finally, we synthesize these findings into a model, which addresses gaps in our understanding of comorbid pain and depression. Our lateralized pain-depression dyad model suggests that individuals diagnosed with depression should be closely monitored for pain symptoms in the left hemibody. Conversely, for patients in pain, with the exception of acute pain with a known source, referrals in today's pain centers for psychological evaluation should be part of standard practice, within the framework of an interdisciplinary approach to pain treatment.
Altered brain network centrality in patients with mild cognitive impairment: an fMRI study using a voxel-wise degree centrality approach. Aging (Albany NY) 2021;13(11):15491-15500.Abstract.
PURPOSE: Previous studies in patients with Alzheimer's disease have shown amyloid beta accumulation in the brain and abnormal brain activity, with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in early stages of the disease. The aim of the current study was to investigate functional connectivity in patients with MCI. METHODS: We recruited 24 subjects in total, including 12 patients with MCI (6 men and 6 women) and 12 healthy controls (HCs) (6 men and 6 women), matched for age, gender, and lifestyle factors. All subjects underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans and voxel-wise degree centrality (DC) was used to evaluate alterations in the strength of brain network connectivity. RESULTS: The DC value of the left inferior temporal gyrus was lower in MCI but significantly higher in the right fusiform gyrus and the left supplementary motor area, compared with HCs. The DC value in left inferior temporal gyrus correlated positively with disease duration and negatively with Mini-Mental State Examination. ROC curve analysis of brain regions showed acceptable specificity and accuracy of DC values between MCIs and HCs in the area under the curve (right fusiform gyrus, 0.955; left supplementary motor area, 0.992; left inferior temporal gyrus, 1.000). CONCLUSIONS: Abnormal functional connectivity in brain regions of patients with MCI may reflect the pathological process of Alzheimer's disease development and could prove useful in clinical diagnosis and treatment.
Absent Foveal Avascular Zone in Autosomal Recessive Spastic Ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(2):e166-e168..
Photophobia: shared pathophysiology underlying dry eye disease, migraine and traumatic brain injury leading to central neuroplasticity of the trigeminothalamic pathway. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;105(6):751-760.Abstract.
BACKGROUND: Photophobia is a potentially debilitating symptom often found in dry eye disease (DE), migraine and traumatic brain injury (TBI). METHODS: We conducted a review of the literature via a PubMed search of English language articles with a focus on how photophobia may relate to a shared pathophysiology across DE, migraine and TBI. RESULTS: DE, migraine and TBI are common conditions in the general population, are often comorbid, and share photophobia as a symptom. Across the three conditions, neural dysregulation of peripheral and central nervous system components is implicated in photophobia in various animal models and in humans. Enhanced activity of the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is closely linked to photophobia. Current therapies for photophobia include glasses which shield the eyes from specific wavelengths, botulinum toxin, and inhibition of CGRP and its receptor. Many individuals have persistent photophobia despite the use of these therapies, and thus, development of new therapies is needed. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of photophobia in DE, migraine and TBI suggests shared trigeminothalamic pathophysiologic mechanisms, as explained by central neuroplasticity and hypersensitivity mediated by neuropeptide CGRP. Treatment strategies which target neural pathways (ie, oral neuromodulators, transcutaneous nerve stimulation) should be considered in patients with persistent photophobia, specifically in individuals with DE whose symptoms are not controlled with traditional therapies.
Specific Abnormalities in White Matter Pathways as Interface to Small Vessels Disease and Cognition in Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy Individuals. Brain Connect 2021;Abstract.
Background: Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is characterized by leukoencephalopathy leading to cognitive impairment. Subtle cognitive deficits can be observed early in the course of the disease, before the occurrence of the first stroke. Therefore, markers that can predict disease progression at this early stage, when interventions are likely to alter disease course, are needed. We aimed to examine the biological cascade of microstructural and macrostructural white matter (WM) abnormalities underlying cognitive deficits in CADASIL. Methods: We examined 20 nondemented CADASIL mutation carriers and 23 noncarriers who underwent neuropsychological evaluation and magnetic resonance imaging. Using probabilistic tractography of key WM tracts, we examined group differences in diffusivity measures and WM hyperintensity volume. Successive mediation models examined whether tract-specific WM abnormalities mediated subtle cognitive differences between CADASIL mutation carriers and noncarriers. Results: The largest effect size differentiating the two groups was observed for left superior longitudinal fasciculus-temporal (SLFt) diffusivity (Cohen's f = 0.49). No group differences were observed with a global diffusion measure. These specific microstructural differences in the SLFt were associated with higher WM hyperintensities burden, and subtle executive deficits in CADASIL mutation carriers. Discussion: Worse diffusivity in the left SLFt is related to greater severity of small vessel disease and worse executive functioning in the asymptomatic stage of the disease. Worse diffusivity of the left SLFt may potentially hold promise as an indicator of disease progression.
Afferent and Efferent Neuro-Ophthalmic Complications of Coronavirus Disease 19. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(2):154-165.Abstract.
PURPOSE: To provide a summary of the neuro-ophthalmic manifestations of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) documented in the literature thus far. METHODS: The PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched using the keywords: Neuro-Ophthalmology, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and coronavirus. A manual search through reference lists of relevant articles was also performed. RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: The literature on COVID-associated neuro-ophthalmic disease continues to grow. Afferent neuro-ophthalmic complications associated with COVID-19 include optic neuritis, papillophlebitis, papilledema, visual disturbance associated with posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, and vision loss caused by stroke. Efferent neuro-ophthalmic complications associated with COVID-19 include cranial neuropathies, Miller Fisher syndrome, Adie's pupils, ocular myasthenia gravis, nystagmus and eye movement disorders. Proposed mechanisms of neurologic disease include immunologic upregulation, vasodilation and vascular permeability, endothelial dysfunction, coagulopathy, and direct viral neurotropism. When patients present to medical centers with new onset neuro-ophthalmic conditions during the pandemic, COVID-19 infection should be kept on the differential.
Global Cardiovascular Risk Profile and Cerebrovascular Abnormalities in Presymptomatic Individuals with CADASIL or Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer's Disease. J Alzheimers Dis 2021;Abstract.
BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular risk factors increase the risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. OBJECTIVE: Studying individuals with autosomal dominant mutations leading to the early onset of dementia, this study examines the effect of the global cardiovascular risk profile on early cognitive and neuroimaging features of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. METHODS: We studied 85 non-demented and stroke-free individuals, including 20 subjects with Presenilin1 (PSEN1) E280A mutation leading to the early onset of autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease (ADAD), 20 subjects with NOTCH3 mutations leading to cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) and to the early onset of vascular dementia, and 45 non-affected family members (non-carriers). All subjects underwent clinical and neuropsychological evaluations and an MRI. The global cardiovascular risk profile was estimated using the office-based Framingham Cardiovascular Risk Profile (FCRP) score. RESULTS: In individuals with CADASIL, a higher FCRP score was associated with a reduced hippocampal volume (B = -0.06, p < 0.05) and an increased severity of cerebral microbleeds (B = 0.13, p < 0.001), lacunes (B = 0.30, p < 0.001), and perivascular space enlargement in the basal ganglia (B = 0.50, p < 0.05). There was no significant association between the FCRP score and neuroimaging measures in ADAD or non-carrier subjects. While the FCRP score was related to performance in executive function in non-carrier subjects (B = 0.06, p < 0.05), it was not significantly associated with cognitive performance in individuals with CADASIL or ADAD. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that individuals with CADASIL and other forms of vascular cognitive impairment might particularly benefit from early interventions aimed at controlling cardiovascular risks.
Ocular Manifestations of Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;:1-14.Abstract.
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are a group of rare neurodegenerative storage disorders associated with devastating visual prognosis, with an incidence of 1/1,000,000 in the United States and comparatively higher incidence in European countries. The pathophysiological mechanisms causing NCLs occur due to enzymatic or transmembrane defects in various sub-cellular organelles including lysosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and cytoplasmic vesicles. NCLs are categorized into different types depending upon the underlying cause i.e., soluble lysosomal enzyme deficiencies or non-enzymatic deficiencies (functions of identified proteins), which are sub-divided based on an axial classification system. In this review, we have evaluated the current evidence in the literature and reported the incidence rates, underlying mechanisms and currently available management protocols for these rare set of neuroophthalmological disorders. Additionally, we also highlighted the potential therapies under development that can expand the treatment of these rare disorders beyond symptomatic relief.
Understanding the Role of Blood Vessels in the Neurological Manifestations of COVID-19. Am J Pathol 2021;Abstract.
SARS-CoV-2 was originally identified as an outbreak in Wuhan, China towards the end of 2019 and quickly became a global pandemic, with a large death toll. Originally identified as a respiratory disease, similar to previously discovered SARS and MERS type viruses, concern has since been raised about the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the vasculature. This viral-vascular involvement is of particular concern with regards to the small vessels present in the brain, with mounting evidence demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 is capable of crossing the blood-brain-barrier. Severe symptoms of infection, termed COVID-19, often result in neurological complications, regardless of patient age. These neurological complications range from mild to severe across all demographics, however, the long-term repercussions of neurological involvement on patient health are still unknown.
Elevated Intracranial Pressure Associated With Exogenous Hormonal Therapy Used for Gender Affirmation. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(2):217-223.Abstract.
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.
Nerve Growth Factor as an Ocular Therapy: Applications, Challenges, and Future Directions. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(4):224-231.Abstract.
Nerve growth factor (NGF), the prototypical neurotrophin first discovered in the 1950s, has recently garnered increased interest as a therapeutic agent promoting neuronal health and regeneration. After gaining orphan drug status within the last decade, NGF-related research and drug development has accelerated. The purpose of this article is to review the preclinical and clinical evidence of NGF in various applications, including central and peripheral nervous system, skin, and ophthalmic disorders. We focus on the ophthalmic applications including not only the FDA-approved indication of neurotrophic keratitis but also retinal disease and glaucoma. NGF represents a promising therapy whose therapeutic profile is evolving. The challenges related to this therapy are reviewed, along with possible solutions and future directions.
Neuro-ophthalmic Complications of Immune-Checkpoint Inhibitors. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(4):241-249.Abstract.
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.
Cerebral visual impairment in CDKL5 deficiency disorder: vision as an outcome measure. Dev Med Child Neurol 2021;Abstract.
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.