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Neurocognitive Functioning among Children with Sickle Cell Anemia Attending SCA Clinic at MNH, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Background. Children with sickle cell anemia are at a higher risk of developing neurological sequelae like abnormal intellectual functioning, poor academic performance, abnormal fine motor functioning, and attentional deficits. There is a paucity of data about neurocognitive impairment among children with sickle cell anemia in Tanzania. Recognition of the magnitude of neurocognitive impairment will help to provide insight in the causative as well as preventive aspects of the same. Therefore, this study was carried out to determine the prevalence and factors associated with neurocognitive impairment in children with sickle cell anemia. Methods. This is a cross-sectional comparative study between children with SCA and a control group of the hemoglobin AA sibling. It was carried out in Muhimbili National Hospital during a five-month period. The Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure test (ROCF) which is used to test memory and visual special functions and KOH block design tools that have been previously validated through another study locally were used. Additional information on demographic characteristics was also collected using a predetermined questionnaire. Proportions and comparisons of means were used to examine associations between neurocognitive impairment and independent variables for associated factors. Results. A total of 313 children were included in the final analysis. Among all the participants, the majority of the participants in the sickle cell group were of the age group 14-15 years (45.9%). In the comparison group, the majority were of the age group 9-10 years (43.8%). The neurocognitive scores in children with sickle cell anemia were significantly different from the normal siblings. In the copy ROCF, the neurocognitive function in SCA participants was 68.2% below the mean as compared to 45% of their counterparts, . Additionally, there was no difference in memory in children with SCA compared to normal siblings (14.8% vs. 12.5%, respectively, ). Children with SCA had a higher proportion of impaired IQ (85.4%) as compared to children without SCA (72.5%), and the difference was statistically significant, . Factors associated with neurocognitive impairment were age above 13 years, BMI, and absenteeism from school. Conclusion and Recommendation. Children with SCA had more impairment in terms of copying and IQ. We recommend assessment at the younger age group, increased sample size in future studies, and long-term cohort follow-up.
Pattern-Reversal Visual Evoked Potentials Tests in Persons with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus with and without Diabetic Retinopathy
Background. Currently, diabetic retinopathy (DR) has a wide recognition as a neurovascular rather than a microvascular diabetic complication with an increasing need for enhanced detection approaches. Pattern-reversal visual evoked potentials (PRVEPs) test, as an objective electrophysiological measure of the optic nerve and retinal function, can be of great value in the detection of diabetic retinal changes. Objectives. The use of two sizes of checkerboard PRVEPs testing to detect any neurological changes in persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) with and without a clinically detected DR. Also, to compare the results according to the candidate age, duration, and glycemic status of T2DM. Methods. This study included 50 candidates as group A with T2DM and did not have a clinically detected DR and 50 candidates as group B with T2DM and had a clinically detected early DR and 50 candidates as controls who were neither diabetic nor had any other medical or ophthalmic condition that might affect PRVEPs test results. The PRVEPs were recorded in the consultant unit of ophthalmology in Almawani Teaching Hospital. Monocular PRVEPs testing of both eyes was done by using large (60 min) and small (15 min) checks to measure N75 latency and P100 latency and amplitude. Results. There was a statistically significant P100 latency delay and P100 amplitude reduction in both groups A and B in comparison with the controls. The difference between groups A and B was also significant. In both test results of groups A and B, the proportions of abnormal P100 latency were higher than those of P100 amplitude with a higher abnormal proportions in 15 min test. Conclusions. The PRVEP test detected neurological changes, mainly as conductive alterations affecting mostly the foveal region prior to any overt DR clinical changes, and these alterations were heightened by the presence of DR clinical changes.
Minimizing the Diagnostic Delay in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: The Role of Nonneurologist Practitioners
Introduction. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), usually fatal in a few years, is a neurodegenerative disorder where the diagnostic delay, although variable according to the studies, remains too long. The main objective of this study was to determine the average time to diagnose ALS and the role of each physician, general practitioner (GP), or specialist (neurologist or not) involved in the management of these patients. The secondary objective was to propose some simple schemes to quickly identify an ALS suspicion with the aim to reduce this delay. Patients and Methods. This retrospective study evaluated the diagnostic delay (and other intermediate delays) of 90 ALS patients registered in the ALS Center of Bordeaux (France) in 2013. The main clinical signs encountered (and their order of appearance) were studied. Results. The average diagnostic delay was 17 months, with a median diagnostic delay of 12 months. The average diagnostic delay was 2.7 months between the first symptoms and the first complaint to GP, followed by an additional 6.5 month delay before the patient’s first visit to a neurologist. This period could be shortened, especially if GP performed additional tests quickly (), as the time spent consulting various specialists often extends this crucial step. Overall, diagnostic delay accounted for 40% of the total duration of the disease progression. Conclusion. In relation to total survival time, the diagnostic delay of ALS appears to be proportionately very long, sometimes longer than that observed in previous studies (because it also included the total delay to diagnostic or treatment initiation). The rapid execution of useful additional tests by the first medical doctor, often GP (with the help of a neurologist), considerably reduces the diagnostic delay. The central role of GP seems to be crucial in the management of patients with ALS. The main objective is, of course, to initiate appropriate treatment and care as soon as possible. Finally, based on our results, we also provide a short practical diagram to help nonneurologist practitioners to quickly discuss the diagnosis of ALS in case of some specific symptoms (“red flags”).
Electricity, Neurology, and Noninvasive Brain Stimulation: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Electricity and neurology evolved synchronously over the past few centuries. This article looks at their origins and their journey into noninvasive brain stimulation technique of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which is now popular in neuroscience research.
Epilepsy Treatment Outcome and Its Predictors among Ambulatory Patients with Epilepsy at Mizan-Tepi University Teaching Hospital, Southwest Ethiopia
Background. Epilepsy is among the most common neurological disorders which is highly treatable with currently available antiepileptic drugs at a reasonable price. In Ethiopia, despite a number of studies revealed high prevalence of epilepsy, little is known on predictors of poorly controlled seizures. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess epilepsy treatment outcome and its predictors among patients with epilepsy on follow-up at the ambulatory care unit of Mizan-Tepi University Teaching Hospital, Southwest Ethiopia. Methods. A hospital-based cross-sectional study involving patient interview and chart review was conducted from March 10 to April 10, 2018. Drug use patterns and sociodemographic data of the study participants were accustomed to descriptive statistics. Backward logistic regression analysis was done to identify predictors of poor seizure control. Statistical significance was considered at value <0.05. Results. From a total of 143 studied patients with epilepsy, 60.8% had uncontrolled seizures. Monotherapy (79%) was commonly used for the treatment of seizures, of which phenobarbital was the most commonly utilized single anticonvulsant drug (62.9%). The majority (72.7%) of the patients had developed one or more antiepileptic-related adverse effects. Medium medication adherence (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 5.4; 95% CI = 1.52–19.23; ), poor medication adherence (AOR = 8.16; 95% CI = 3.04–21.90; ), head injury before seizure occurrence (AOR = 4.9; 95% CI = 1.25–19.27; ), and seizure attacks ≥4 episodes/week before AEDs initiation (AOR = 8.52; % CI = 2.41–13.45; ) were the predictors of uncontrolled seizure. Conclusions. Based on our findings, more than half of the patients with epilepsy had poorly controlled seizures. Nonadherence to antiepileptic drugs, high frequency of seizure attack before AEDs initiation, and history of a head injury before the occurrence of seizure were predictors of uncontrolled seizure. Patient medication adherence should be increased by the free access of antiepileptic drugs and attention should be given for the patients with a history of head injury and high frequency of seizure attacks before AEDs initiation.
Validation of an Individualized Measure of Quality of Life, Patient Generated Index, for Use with People with Parkinson’s Disease
Introduction. Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects all aspects of an individual’s life and is heterogeneous across people and time. The Patient Generated Index (PGI) is an individualized measure of quality of life (QOL) that allows patients to identify the areas of life that are important to them. Although the PGI has immense potential for use in clinical and research settings, its validity has not been assessed in PD. The purpose of this study is to estimate how well areas of QOL that patients with PD nominate on the PGI agree with ratings obtained from standard outcome measures. Methods. Patients with PD completed the PGI and various standard patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures. The PGI and standard PRO measures were compared at the total score, domain, and item levels. Pearson’s correlations and independent t-tests were used, as well as positive and negative predictive values. Results. The sample (n = 76) had a mean age of 69 (standard deviation 9) and were predominantly men (59%). The PGI was moderately correlated (r = −0.35) with the standardized disease-specific QOL measure Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-8). Within one severity rating, agreement between the PGI and different standard outcome measures ranged from 85 to 100% for walking, 69 to 100% for fatigue, 38 to 75% for depression, and 20 to 80% for memory/concentration. Conclusion. This study demonstrates that nominated areas of QOL on the PGI provide comparable results to standard PRO measures, and provides evidence in support of the validity of this individualized measure in PD.