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Duke Neurology Research Round Up, April 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

During the month of April, 14 scholarly articles written by members of the Duke Department of Neurology joined the scientific literature. These articles included new advances in clinical, translational, and basic science, with topics ranging from the first survey of stroke knowledge among health-care providers in sub-Saharan Africa, to a call for improving gender dynamics in the field of neuroimmunology, to three articles examining the etiology of Parkinson’s disease and other conditions written or co-written by Laurie Sanders, PhD. Here’s a summary of these latest studies.

  • Senior author Jodi Dodds, MD, Colleen Stack, MD, MBA, Julian Yang, MD, and the Clinical Research Training Program’s Benjamin Andrew examined how the use of smartphone technology could improve acute stroke care. Read their article in the Journal of Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease here.
  • Senior author Carmen Graffagnino, MD, and colleagues including recent Duke alumni Chen Lin, MD, and Ravi Vakani, MD, conducted the first published survey examining sub-Saharan health-care providers’ understanding of how to manage and treat stroke. Their survey examined 199 providers in a referral hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. Read what they found here.
  • Daniel Laskowitz, MD, MHS was the senior author of a team that examined interactions between hypertension and low estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) on stroke outcomes of more than 6000 patients in the Chinese stroke registry. Read the complete article in Stroke here.
  • Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer, PhD, and James Burke, PhD, contributed to a research study examining associations with lifestyle factors and neurocognitive functioning in older adults who had risk factors for cardiovascular disease as well as cognitive impairment without dementia, finding healthy lifestyle habits were associated with better neurocognitive performance. Read the full article here.
  • Lead authors Lidia Tagliafierro, PhD, and Ornit Chiba-Falek, PhD, as well as Michael Lutz, PhD, Madison Zamora, and colleagues, performed a computational analysis of the a-synuclein gene, which has been implicated in the development of Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Read their results from Alzheimer’s & Dementia here.
  • Women continue to be underrepresented in the field of neuroimmunology. Carol Colton, PhD, was part of a group of female neuroimmunologists who discuss continuing problems women face while working in this field, in particular focusing on gaps in conference appearances and presentation. Read their commentary article in Nature Immunology here.
  • Laurie Sanders, PhD, was the lead author of an article in Toxicology Sciences examining another risk for Parkinson’s disease: pesticide exposure, which induces oxidative stress and causes mitochondrial DNA damage. Sanders’ team examined how variants in genes responsible for base excision repair affected risk for Parkinson’s disease in patients exposed to paraquat, a chemical used for weed and pest control. Read the results of their study here.
  • Sanders was also the senior author of a review article that discusses evidence for two related possible causes of Parkinson’s disease: the protein alpha-synuclein and mitochondrial dysfunction. Read their article in Neurobiology of Disease here.
  • Finally, Sanders was part of an international team that examined the role that astrocytes play in clearing toxic build-up of alpha-synuclein in the brain, and how alpha-synuclein deposits can grow and cause harm when this process is overburdened. Read more about that process in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience here.
  • Lisa Hobson Webb, MD, was the lead author of a Clinical Neurophysiology editorial discussing recent developments in the use of neuromuscular ultrasound in ALS. Read that article here.
  • CN-105, an apolipoprotein E mimetic peptide developed here at Duke, has shown potential as a treatment for a number of neurological injuries. Now, a team of authors including senior author Daniel Laskowitz, MD, MHS, Hana Dawson, PhD, Haichen Wang, MD, and Brad Kolls, MD, PhD, found that CN-105 improved survival, functional outcomes, reduced microglial activation, and other outcomes in a mouse model of ischemic stroke. Read their study in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology here.
  • Laskowitz was also the senior author of a study examining associations between depression and functional decline and impairment in the first year after acute stroke. Read their findings in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases here.
  • Ying Xian, MD, PhD,  was part of a team of authors examining associations between 30-day readmission rates for myocardial infarction (MI) and clinical outcomes one year later for more than 50,000 patients. Read the results of their study in JAMA Cardiology here.


  • Xian also contributed to an observational cohort study examining current trends in treatment for early venous thromboembolism after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), in particular of characteristics associated with early chemophrophylaxis. Their analysis included more than 74,000 patients from 1358 hospitals. Read their results from Neurosurgery here.