Neuromyelitis optica (NMO, Devic’s syndrome), long considered a clinical variant of multiple sclerosis, is now regarded as a distinct disease entity. Major progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of NMO since aquaporin-4 antibodies (AQP4-Ab; also termed NMO-IgG) were first described in 2004. In this review, the Neuromyelitis Optica Study Group (NEMOS) summarizes recently obtained knowledge on NMO and highlights new developments in its diagnosis and treatment, based on current guidelines, the published literature and expert discussion at regular NEMOS meetings. Testing of AQP4-Ab is essential and is the most important test in the diagnostic work-up of suspected NMO, and helps to distinguish NMO from other autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, AQP4-Ab testing has expanded our knowledge of the clinical presentation of NMO spectrum disorders (NMOSD). In addition, imaging techniques, particularly magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spinal cord, are obligatory in the diagnostic workup. It is important to note that brain lesions in NMO and NMOSD are not uncommon, do not rule out the diagnosis, and show characteristic patterns. Other imaging modalities such as optical coherence tomography are proposed as useful tools in the assessment of retinal damage. Therapy of NMO should be initiated early. Azathioprine and rituximab are suggested as first-line treatments, the latter being increasingly regarded as an established therapy with long-term efficacy and an acceptable safety profile in NMO patients. Other immunosuppressive drugs, such as methotrexate, mycophenolate mofetil and mitoxantrone, are recommended as second-line treatments. Promising new therapies are emerging in the form of anti-IL6 receptor, anti-complement or anti-AQP4-Ab biologicals.
Tafamidis, a transthyretin (TTR) kinetic stabilizer, delayed neuropathic progression in patients with Val30Met TTR familial amyloid polyneuropathy (TTR-FAP) in an 18-month randomized controlled trial (study Fx-005). This 12-month, open-label extension study evaluated the long-term safety, tolerability, and efficacy of tafamidis 20 mg once daily in 86 patients who earlier received blinded treatment with tafamidis or placebo. Efficacy measures included the Neuropathy Impairment Score in the Lower Limbs (NIS-LL), Norfolk Quality of Life-Diabetic Neuropathy total quality of life (TQOL) score, and changes in neurologic function and nutritional status. We quantified the monthly rates of change in efficacy measures, and TTR stabilization, and monitored adverse events (AEs). Patients who continued on tafamidis had stable rates of change in NIS-LL (from 0.08 to 0.11/month; p = 0.60) and TQOL (from −0.03 to 0.25; p = 0.16). In patients switched from placebo, the monthly rate of change in NIS-LL declined (from 0.34 to 0.16/month; p = 0.01), as did TQOL score (from 0.61 to −0.16; p < 0.001). Patients treated with tafamidis for 30 months had 55.9 % greater preservation of neurologic function as measured by the NIS-LL than patients in whom tafamidis was initiated later. Plasma TTR was stabilized in 94.1 % of patients treated with tafamidis for 30 months. AEs were similar between groups; no patients discontinued because of an AE. Long-term tafamidis was well tolerated, with the reduced rate of neurologic deterioration sustained over 30 months. Tafamidis also slowed neurologic impairment in patients previously given placebo, but treatment benefits were greater when tafamidis was begun earlier.
Functional neuroimaging and electrophysiology studies are changing our understanding of patients with coma and related states. Some severely brain damaged patients may show residual cortical processing in the absence of behavioural signs of consciousness. Given these new findings, the diagnostic errors and their potential effects on treatment as well as concerns regarding the negative associations intrinsic to the term vegetative state, the European Task Force on Disorders of Consciousness has recently proposed the more neutral and descriptive term unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. When vegetative/unresponsive patients show minimal signs of consciousness but are unable to reliably communicate the term minimally responsive or minimally conscious state (MCS) is used. MCS was recently subcategorized based on the complexity of patients’ behaviours: MCS+ describes high-level behavioural responses (i.e., command following, intelligible verbalizations or non-functional communication) and MCS− describes low-level behavioural responses (i.e., visual pursuit, localization of noxious stimulation or contingent behaviour such as appropriate smiling or crying to emotional stimuli). Finally, patients who show non-behavioural evidence of consciousness or communication only measurable via para-clinical testing (i.e., functional MRI, positron emission tomography, EEG or evoked potentials) can be considered to be in a functional locked-in syndrome. An improved assessment of brain function in coma and related states is not only changing nosology and medical care but also offers a better-documented diagnosis and prognosis and helps to further identify the neural correlates of human consciousness.
Migraine is a prevalent disabling neurological disorder associated with a wide range of medical and psychiatric comorbidities. Population- and clinic-based studies suggest that psychiatric comorbidities, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, are more common among persons with chronic migraine than among those with episodic migraine. Additional studies suggest that psychiatric comorbidities may be a risk factor for migraine chronification (i.e., progression from episodic to chronic migraine). It is important to identify and appropriately treat comorbid psychiatric conditions in persons with migraine, as these conditions may contribute to increased migraine-related disability and impact, diminished health-related quality of life, and poor treatment outcomes. Here, we review the current literature on the rates of several psychiatric comorbidities, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among persons with migraine in clinic- and population-based studies. We also review the link between physical, emotional, and substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, and migraine. Finally, we review the data on psychiatric risk factors for migraine chronification and explore theories and evidence underlying the comorbidity between migraine and these psychiatric disorders.
Information-processing speed (IPS) slowing is a primary cognitive deficit in multiple sclerosis (MS). Basal ganglia, thalamus and neocortex are thought to have a key role for efficient information-processing, yet the specific relative contribution of these structures for MS-related IPS impairment is poorly understood. To determine if basal ganglia and thalamus atrophy independently contribute to visual and auditory IPS impairment in MS, after controlling for the influence of neocortical volume, we enrolled 86 consecutive MS patients and 25 normal controls undergoing 3T brain MRI and neuropsychological testing. Using Sienax and FIRST software, neocortical and deep gray matter (DGM) volumes were calculated. Neuropsychological testing contributed measures of auditory and visual IPS using the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) and the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), respectively. MS patients exhibited significantly slower IPS relative to controls and showed reduction in neocortex, caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, thalamus and nucleus accumbens volume. SDMT and PASAT were significantly correlated with all DGM regions. These effects were mitigated by controlling for the effects of neocortical volume, but all DGM volumes remained significantly correlated with SDMT, putamen (r = 0.409, p < 0.001) and thalamus (r = 0.362, p < 0.001) having the strongest effects, whereas for PASAT, the correlation was significant for putamen (r = 0.313, p < 0.01) but not for thalamus. We confirm the significant role of thalamus atrophy in MS-related IPS slowing and find that putamen atrophy is also a significant contributor to this disorder. These DGM structures have independent, significant roles, after controlling for the influence of neocortex atrophy.
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by a defect in synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction causing fluctuating muscle weakness with a decremental response to repetitive nerve stimulation or altered jitter in single-fiber electromyography (EMG). Approximately 80% of all myasthenia gravis patients have autoantibodies against the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in their serum. Autoantibodies against the tyrosine kinase muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) are responsible for 5–10% of all myasthenia gravis cases. The autoimmune target in the remaining cases is unknown. Recently, low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4 (LRP4) has been identified as the agrin receptor. LRP4 interacts with agrin, and the binding of agrin activates MuSK, which leads to the formation of most if not all postsynaptic specializations, including aggregates containing acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) in the junctional plasma membrane. In the present study we tested if autoantibodies against LRP4 are detectable in patients with myasthenia gravis. To this end we analyzed 13 sera from patients with generalized myasthenia gravis but without antibodies against AChR or MuSK. The results showed that 12 out of 13 antisera from double-seronegative MG patients bound to proteins concentrated at the neuromuscular junction of adult mouse skeletal muscle and that approximately 50% of the tested sera specifically bound to HEK293 cells transfected with human LRP4. Moreover, 4 out of these 13 sera inhibited agrin-induced aggregation of AChRs in cultured myotubes by more than 50%, suggesting a pathogenic role regarding the dysfunction of the neuromuscular endplate. These results indicate that LRP4 is a novel target for autoantibodies and is a diagnostic marker in seronegative MG patients.
We review the neuronal antibodies described in CNS disorders in order to clarify their diagnostic value, emphasize potentials pitfalls and limitations in the diagnosis of paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS), and examine the current evidence for a possible pathogenic role. We propose to classify the neuronal antibodies associated with syndromes resulting from CNS neuronal dysfunction into two groups according to the location of the antigen: inside the neuron or in the cell membrane. Group I includes antibodies which target intracellular antigens and probably are not pathogenic. They are further subdivided into three groups. Group Ia comprises well-characterized onconeural antibodies (Hu (ANNA1), Yo (PCA1), Ri (ANNA2), CV2 (CRMP5), amphiphysin, Ma2) that are useful for the diagnosis of PNS. Group Ib antibodies (SOX and ZIC) are cancer-specific but there is no evidence that the immune response is in any way pathogenically related to the PNS. Antibodies in group Ic (glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), adenylate kinase 5 and Homer 3) identify non-PNS: stiff-person syndrome (SPS), cerebellar ataxia, and limbic encephalitis (LE). Group II antibodies recognize neuronal surface antigens. Antibodies in group IIa associate with characteristic CNS syndromes but their detection does not indicate that the disorder is paraneoplastic. Antibodies to potassium channels, AMPA and GABA(B) receptors are associated with LE, NMDA receptor antibodies identify a well-defined encephalitis, and antibodies against glycine receptors associate with SPS with encephalitis. A pathogenic role of the antibodies is suggested by the response of symptoms to immunotherapy and the correlation between antibody titers and neurological outcome. Lastly, Group IIb includes antibodies that are found in patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar ataxia associated with lung cancer (P/Q type calcium channels antibodies) or Hodgkin disease (metabotropic glutamate receptor type 1 antibodies).
Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH) is common in patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, pure autonomic failure, dementia with Lewy bodies, and peripheral neuropathies including amyloid or diabetic neuropathy. Due to the frequency of nOH in the aging population, clinicians need to be well informed about its diagnosis and management. To date, studies of nOH have used different outcome measures and various methods of diagnosis, thereby preventing the generation of evidence-based guidelines to direct clinicians towards ‘best practices’ when treating patients with nOH and associated supine hypertension. To address these issues, the American Autonomic Society and the National Parkinson Foundation initiated a project to develop a statement of recommendations beginning with a consensus panel meeting in Boston on November 7, 2015, with continued communications and contributions to the recommendations through October of 2016. This paper summarizes the panel members’ discussions held during the initial meeting along with continued deliberations among the panel members and provides essential recommendations based upon best available evidence as well as expert opinion for the (1) screening, (2) diagnosis, (3) treatment of nOH, and (4) diagnosis and treatment of associated supine hypertension.
Cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS) is common, debilitating and burdensome. Key evidence from trials was reviewed to enable recommendations to be made to guide clinical practice and research. Behavioural and pharmacological interventions on cognition reported in published studies were reviewed. Most studies evaluating behavioural treatment for impairment in learning and memory, deficits of attention and executive function have demonstrated some improvement. Controlled studies in relapsing remitting MS indicate interferon (IFN) β-1b and IFN β-1a were associated with modest cognitive improvement. The effects of symptomatic therapies such as modafinil and donepezil are inconsistent. Most studies yielding positive findings have significant methodological difficulties limiting the confidence in making any broad treatment recommendations. There are no published reports of glatiramer acetate, natalizumab and fingolimod being effective in improving cognition in controlled trials. The effects of disease modifying therapies in other forms of MS and clinically isolated syndrome have not yielded positive results. Data linking behavioural therapy, symptomatic treatment or disease modifying treatment, to either reducing cognitive decline or improving impaired cognition are limited and inconsistent. The treatment and prevention of cognitive impairment needs to remain a key research focus, identifying new interventions and improving clinical trial methodology.
Time delays from stroke onset to arrival at the hospital are the main obstacles for widespread use of thrombolysis. In order to decrease the delays, educational campaigns try to inform the general public how to act optimally in case of stroke. To determine the content of such a campaign, we assessed the stroke knowledge in our population.The stroke knowledge was studied by means of a closed-ended questionnaire. 422 randomly chosen inhabitants of Bern, Switzerland, were interviewed.The knowledge of stroke warning signs (WS) was classified as good in 64.7%. A good knowledge of stroke risk factors (RF) was noted in 6.4%. 4.2% knew both the WS and the RF of stroke indicating a very good global knowledge of stroke. Only 8.3% recognized TIA as symptoms of stroke resolving within 24 hours, and only 2.8% identified TIA as a disease requiring immediate medical help. In multivariate analysis being a woman, advancing age, and having an afflicted relative were associated with a good knowledge of WS (p = 0.048, p < 0.001 and p = 0.043). Good knowledge of RF was related to university education (p < 0.001). The good knowledge of TIA did not depend on age, sex, level of education or having an afflicted relative.The study brings to light relevant deficits of stroke knowledge in our population. A small number of participants could recognize TIA as stroke related symptoms resolving completely within 24 hours. Only a third of the surveyed persons would seek immediate medical help in case of TIA. The information obtained will be used in the development of future educational campaigns.
Glycogen storage disease type 2/Pompe disease is a progressive muscle disorder with a wide range of phenotypic presentations, caused by an inherited deficiency of acid alpha-glucosidase. Since 2004 only a limited number of patients have been treated with recombinant human alpha-glucosidase from rabbit milk whereas since 2006 enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with alglucosidase alfa has been licensed for the treatment of Pompe disease. This systematic review evaluates the clinical efficacy and safety of alglucosidase alfa treatment of juvenile and adult patients with late-onset Pompe disease (LOPD). Studies of alglucosidase alfa treatment of LOPD patients—published up to January 2012—were identified by electronic searching of the EMBASE and MEDLINE databases, and manual searching of the reference lists. Data on ERT outcomes were extracted from selected papers and analyzed descriptively. No statistical analysis was performed owing to data heterogeneity. Twenty-one studies containing clinical data from 368 LOPD patients were analyzed. Overall, at least two-thirds of patients were stabilized or had improved creatine kinase levels and muscular and/or respiratory function following treatment with alglucosidase alfa. ERT was well tolerated; most adverse events were mild or moderate infusion-related reactions. In conclusion, alglucosidase alfa treatment is effective and well tolerated and attenuates progression of LOPD in most patients. Further research is required to investigate factors such as age at diagnosis, phenotypic presentation, and genotypic characteristics, identification of which may enable better clinical and therapeutic management of LOPD patients.
The phase III placebo-controlled BRAVO study assessed laquinimod effects in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), and descriptively compared laquinimod with interferon beta (IFNβ)-1a (Avonex® reference arm). RRMS patients age 18–55 years with Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores of 0–5.5 and documented pre-study relapse (≥ 1 in previous year, 2 in previous 2 years, or 1 in previous 1–2 years and ≥ 1 GdE lesion in the previous year) were randomized (1:1:1) to laquinimod 0.6 mg once-daily, matching oral placebo, or IFNβ-1a IM 30 μg once-weekly (rater-blinded design), for 24 months. The primary endpoint was annualized relapse rate (ARR); secondary endpoints included percent brain volume change (PBVC) and 3-month confirmed disability worsening. In all, 1,331 patients were randomized: laquinimod (n = 434), placebo (n = 450), and IFNβ-1a (n = 447). ARR was not significantly reduced with laquinimod [−18 %, risk ratio (RR) = 0.82, 95 % CI 0.66–1.02; p = 0.075] vs. placebo. Laquinimod significantly reduced PBVC (28 %, p < 0.001). Confirmed disability worsening was infrequent (10 % laquinimod, 13 % placebo). The change in confirmed disability worsening with laquinimod measured using EDSS was −31 % [hazard ratio (HR) 0.69, p = 0.063], and using Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC) z-score was −77 % (p = 0.150), vs. placebo. IFNβ-1a reduced ARR 26 % (RR = 0.74, 95 % CI 0.60–0.92, p = 0.007), showed no effect on PBVC loss (+11 %, p = 0.14), and changes in disability worsening were −26 and −66 % as measured using the EDSS (HR 0.742, p = 0.13) and MSFC (p = 0.208), respectively. Adverse events occurred in 75, 82, and 70 % of laquinimod, IFNβ-1a, and placebo patients, respectively. Once-daily oral laquinimod 0.6 mg resulted in statistically nonsignificant reductions in ARR and disability progression, but significant reductions in brain atrophy vs. placebo. Laquinimod was well-tolerated.
Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is a rare autosomal recessive hereditary disorder that affects approximately 1 in 50,000 Caucasians. It is caused by hyperexpansion of GAA repeats in the first intron of the frataxin gene. Initial symptoms of FRDA usually appear around the beginning of the second decade of life. In addition to neuropathological disabilities such as ataxia, sensory loss, and muscle weakness, common signs are scoliosis, foot deformity, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Approximately 10 % of patients with FRDA develop diabetes. The neuronopathy in the dorsal root ganglia, accompanied by the loss of peripheral sensory nerve fibres and the degeneration of posterior columns of the spinal cord, is a hallmark of the disease and is responsible for the typical combination of signs and symptoms specific to FRDA. Variation in neurophysiological abnormalities is correlated with the size of the GAA repeat expansion and likely accounts for individual variation in the progression of FRDA. Despite a range of disease severity, most patients will lose their ability to walk, stand, or sit without support within 10 to 15 years of disease onset. In addition to a review of the clinicopathological features of FRDA, a discussion of recent advances in our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms is provided.
Neuro-Beh double dagger et's disease (NBD) is one of the more serious manifestations of Beh double dagger et's disease (BD), which is a relapsing inflammatory multisystem disease with an interesting epidemiology. Though NBD is relatively uncommon, being potentially treatable, neurologists need to consider it in the differential diagnosis of inflammatory, infective, or demyelinating CNS disorders. Evidence-based information on key issues of NBD diagnosis and management is scarce, and planning for such studies is challenging. We therefore initiated this project to develop expert consensus recommendations that might be helpful to neurologists and other clinicians, created through an extensive literature review and wide consultations with an international advisory panel, followed by a Delphi exercise. We agreed on consensus criteria for the diagnosis of NBD with two levels of certainty in addition to recommendations on when to consider NBD in a neurological patient, and on the use of various paraclinical tests. The management recommendations included treatment of the parenchymal NBD and cerebral venous thrombosis, the use of disease modifying therapies, prognostic factors, outcome measures, and headache in BD. Future studies are needed to validate the proposed criteria and provide evidence-based treatments.
In limbic encephalitis (LE) with antibodies (Abs) to the voltage-gated potassium channel complex (VGKC), the Abs are mainly directed to the VGKC-complex proteins, leucine-rich, glioma inactivated 1 protein (LGI1) or contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CASPR-2) or neither. Here, we relate the outcomes of VGKC-LE patients to the presence of Abs to LGI1, CASPR-2 or neither antigen (LGI1/CASPR-2-Ab−). Clinical, neuropsychology and MRI data were obtained from patient records for all LE patients from the Bonn Epilepsy Centre positive for VGKC-Abs by radioimmunoprecipitation assay between 2002 and 2011. Eighteen VGKC-LE patients were identified: nine patients (50 %) had LGI1-Abs, three (16 %) had CASPR-2-Abs; and six (33 %) were negative for both LGI1- and CASPR-2-Abs. At first assessment, the groups did not differ clinically or radiologically, but faciobrachial dystonic seizures were only observed in two LGI1-Ab+ patients. All patients received monthly intravenous methylprednisolone (MP) pulses. At the most recent follow up (median 26 months), thirteen (72 %) were seizure-free, and seizure-freedom rates did not differ between the Ab groups. Hippocampal atrophy had developed in 7/9 LGI1-Ab+ patients, but in none of the CASPR-2-Ab+ or LGI/CASPR-2-Ab− patients (p = 0.003). While all subgroups improved, memory scores only normalized in six patients (33 %) and LGI1-Ab+ patients were left with significantly poorer memory than the other two subgroups. Most VGKC-LE patients become seizure-free with pulsed monthly MP, but memory outcome is less favourable. Hippocampal atrophy and poor memory recovery is common in patients with LGI1-Abs and suggests permanent functional damage. More intense immunotherapies could improve outcomes in LGI1-Ab+-LE.
Neuro-Behçet’s disease (NBD) is one of the more serious manifestations of Behçet’s disease (BD), which is a relapsing inflammatory multisystem disease with an interesting epidemiology. Though NBD is relatively uncommon, being potentially treatable, neurologists need to consider it in the differential diagnosis of inflammatory, infective, or demyelinating CNS disorders. Evidence-based information on key issues of NBD diagnosis and management is scarce, and planning for such studies is challenging. We therefore initiated this project to develop expert consensus recommendations that might be helpful to neurologists and other clinicians, created through an extensive literature review and wide consultations with an international advisory panel, followed by a Delphi exercise. We agreed on consensus criteria for the diagnosis of NBD with two levels of certainty in addition to recommendations on when to consider NBD in a neurological patient, and on the use of various paraclinical tests. The management recommendations included treatment of the parenchymal NBD and cerebral venous thrombosis, the use of disease modifying therapies, prognostic factors, outcome measures, and headache in BD. Future studies are needed to validate the proposed criteria and provide evidence-based treatments.
Patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS) show restricted signs of awareness but are unable to communicate. We assessed cerebral glucose metabolism in MCS patients and tested the hypothesis that this entity can be subcategorized into MCS− (i.e., patients only showing nonreflex behavior such as visual pursuit, localization of noxious stimulation and/or contingent behavior) and MCS+ (i.e., patients showing command following).Patterns of cerebral glucose metabolism were studied using [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose-PET in 39 healthy volunteers (aged 46 ± 18 years) and 27 MCS patients of whom 13 were MCS− (aged 49 ± 19 years; 4 traumatic; 21 ± 23 months post injury) and 14 MCS+ (aged 43 ± 19 years; 5 traumatic; 19 ± 26 months post injury). Results were thresholded for significance at false discovery rate corrected p < 0.05.We observed a metabolic impairment in a bilateral subcortical (thalamus and caudate) and cortical (fronto-temporo-parietal) network in nontraumatic and traumatic MCS patients. Compared to MCS−, patients in MCS+ showed higher cerebral metabolism in left-sided cortical areas encompassing the language network, premotor, presupplementary motor, and sensorimotor cortices. A functional connectivity study showed that Broca’s region was disconnected from the rest of the language network, mesiofrontal and cerebellar areas in MCS− as compared to MCS+ patients.The proposed subcategorization of MCS based on the presence or absence of command following showed a different functional neuroanatomy. MCS− is characterized by preserved right hemispheric cortical metabolism interpreted as evidence of residual sensory consciousness. MCS+ patients showed preserved metabolism and functional connectivity in language networks arguably reflecting some additional higher order or extended consciousness albeit devoid of clinical verbal or nonverbal expression.
The aim of this study was to report the clinical spectrum associated with antibodies to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) in adult patients, and to assess whether phenotypic variants are dependent on recognition of rodent MOG epitopes. We retrospectively analyzed the features, course and outcome of 56 patients whose samples were investigated by brain tissue immunohistochemistry and cell-based assays using human and rodent MOG. The median age at symptom onset was 37 years (range 18–70); 35 patients (63 %) were female. After a median follow-up of 43 months (range 4–554), only 14 patients (25 %) developed a neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), 27 patients (47 %) retained the initial diagnosis of isolated optic neuritis, 7 (12 %) of longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis, and 2 (4 %) of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis; 6 patients (11 %) developed atypical demyelinating syndromes (4 had relapsing episodes of short myelitis lesions which in one occurred with optic neuritis; 1 had relapsing brainstem symptoms, and 1 relapsing demyelinating encephalomyelitis). The course was frequently associated with relapses (71 %) and good outcome. Twenty-seven patients (49 %) had antibodies that recognized rodent MOG epitopes, and 9 of them (16 %) showed a myelin staining pattern in rodent tissue. Only the myelin staining pattern was linked to NMOSD (p = 0.005). In conclusion, MOG autoimmunity in adult patients associates with a clinical spectrum wider than the one expected for patients with suspected NMOSD and overall good outcome. Antibodies to rodent MOG epitopes do not associate with any phenotypic variant.
Acquired copper deficiency has been recognised as a rare cause of anaemia and neutropenia for over half a century. Copper deficiency myelopathy (CDM) was only described within the last decade, and represents a treatable cause of non-compressive myelopathy which closely mimics subacute combined degeneration due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Here, 55 case reports from the literature are reviewed regarding their demographics, aetiology, haematological and biochemical parameters, spinal imaging, treatment and outcome. The pathophysiology of disorders of copper metabolism is discussed. CDM most frequently presented in the fifth and sixth decades and was more common in women (F:M = 3.6:1). Risk factors included previous upper gastrointestinal surgery, zinc overload and malabsorption syndromes, all of which impair copper absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract. No aetiology was established in 20% of cases. High zinc levels were detected in some cases not considered to have primary zinc overload, and in this situation the contribution of zinc to the copper deficiency state remained unclear. Cytopenias were found in 78%, particularly anaemia, and a myelodysplastic syndrome may have been falsely diagnosed in the past. Spinal MRI was abnormal in 47% and usually showed high T2 signal in the posterior cervical and thoracic cord. In a clinically compatible case, CDM may be suggested by the presence of one or more risk factors and/or cytopenias. Low serum copper and caeruloplasmin levels confirmed the diagnosis and, in contrast to Wilson’s disease, urinary copper levels were typically low. Treatment comprised copper supplementation and modification of any risk factors, and led to haematological normalisation and neurological improvement or stabilisation. Since any neurological recovery was partial and case numbers of CDM will continue to rise with the growing use of bariatric gastrointestinal surgery, clinical vigilance will remain the key to minimising neurological sequelae. Recommendations for treatment and prevention are made.