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Duke Neurology Research Round Up, June 2019

Monday, July 1, 2019
Neuron image courtesy NIH

This June, the Duke Neurology Department’s Suma Shah, MD, and Christopher Eckstein, MD wrote the first major review article examining the evidence base for how women with multiple sclerosis can manage their condition during pregnancy. Other members of our faculty contributed to six other stories, including a JAMA article examining how well clinical examinations identify cardiac syncope, and an international consensus statement on best practices for EMG. Read the articles below for more information about each of these studies.

General Neurology

  • A variety of heart conditions, such as arrhythmias or structural heart disease can cause the temporary loss of consciousness known as syncope. Aatif Husain contributed to a systematic review of studies examining the accuracy of the clinical examination for identifying patients with cardiac syncope in  the latest issue of JAMA. Read that study here.

Neuromuscular Disease

  • An international team of experts in neuromuscular disease including Don Sanders, MD, contributed to an update and extension of standards for EMG and neurography. This consensus statement covers topics such as conventional EMG, Macro EMG, applications of surface EMG and electrical impedance myography. Read the statement in the latest issue of Clinical Neurophysiology.

Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) imposes many uncertainties and dilemmas for women, especially for those who are pregnant or who are considering pregnancy. Suma Shah, MD, and Christopher Eckstein, MD wrote the first major review article summarizing the current evidence base for disease management, therapies, and other aspects of life with MS during pregnancy. Read their article here.

Memory disorders

  • Researchers are only now beginning to understand the complex ways that genes influence health, with single genes often having effects on multiple, seemingly unrelated areas. First author Michael Lutz, PhD, Brenda Plassman, PhD, and colleagues examined data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine these effects on cognitive impairment, systematic inflammation, and plasma lipid levels for Neurobiology of Aging. Read that study here.


  • Higher variations in systolic blood pressure variability may contribute to, or be associated with, poorer outcomes for patients with intracerebral hemorrhage. A team including Michael “Luke” James, MD, examined in-hospital data from 762 patients over 10 years to explore these associations. Read what they found in the latest issue of Stroke.

Epilepsy, Sleep, and Clinical Neurophysiology

Biomedical Engineering

  • Microporous annealed particle (MAP) hydrogels are an emerging class of porous biomaterials that have great promise for regenerative medicine, especially when combined with gene therapy.  Senior author Tatiana Segura, PhD, and colleagues discuss how material properties of MAP are relevant to cell spreading, proliferation, and gene transfer. Read that article in Acta Biomaterialia.