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Duke Neurology Research Round-Up, March 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Blood biomarkers that could be able to identify specific types of traumatic brain injury, major epidemiological findings about missed opportunities in treating stroke patients, and new clues as to the role of genetics in multiple sclerosis are just a few of the 10 new articles our faculty contributed published in March 2017.

  • New imaging techniques show promise for helping clinicians distinguish Parkinson’s disease from other non-neurodegenerative tremor disorders; however, questions remain about their overall utility. Lead authors Patrick Hickey, DO, Mark Stacy, MD, as well as Burton Scott, MD, PhD, Lisa Gauger, and, Maragatha Kuchibhatla, PhD (Biostatistics and Bioinformatics) investigated one new imaging technique, DaTSCAN, for people whose Parkinson’s diagnosis was more certain, finding that the technique had no impact on outcomes for this group. Read their study here.
  • Distinguishing between complicated and uncomplicated forms of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is important for deciding how to triage and treat the most common form of brain injury; however, current imaging modalities used to make this distinction are costly and carry some risk. A team of researchers including Ellen Bennett, PhD, and Daniel Laskowitz, MD, MHS, collected blood serum from 110 patients with recent mild TBI, analyzed them for potential blood biomarkers, and identified several biomarkers that accurately differentiated between uncomplicated and complicated TBI. Read their study in PLoS One here.
  • Yong Chen, PHD, Wolfgang Liedtke, MD, PhD,  Carlene Moore, PhD, and other Duke colleagues  discuss the significance of a new study by Mascarenhas et al that found that TRPV4 expression mediates mast cell activation in rosacea. Read their commentary in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology here.
  • A new study by Ying Xian, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the DCRI found that more than 80 percent of stroke patients with a history of atrial fibrillation were not receiving the optimal regimen of anticoagulation drugs. Read Sarah Avery’s article on the subject here, or the original research article in JAMA here.
  • Xian also contributed to a study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes that examined the correlation between hospital performance on door-to-balloon time for myocardial infarction and door-to-needle time for acute ishemic stroke, finding that no significant relationship between the two existed. Read their study here.
  • Simon Gregory, PhD, was the senior co-author of a new study in Cell which identified variants of particular genes that increase a person’s risk for multiple sclerosis. This research opens up a novel mechanism that is associated with the risk of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases  Read Sarah Avery’s story on the subject, or read the original article in Cell here.
  • Conventional wisdom has it that the buildup of amyloid proteins is responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. However, a new study by Peter Larsen, PhD (Duke Biology) as well as Michael Lutz, PhD, Allen Roses, MD, Ann Saunders, PhD, and other Duke researchers points to a new cause: the presence of specific “jumping genes” that interfere with the development of mitochondria, the energy-producing parts of the cell, in the brain. Read Robin Smith’s story in Duke Today, or the original study in Alzheimer’s and Dementia here.
  • B10 cell frequencies may especially important for better understanding and treating myasthenia gravis, according to a new study by lead author Jeffrey Guptill, MD, MHS, as well as Karissa Gable, MD, Janice Massey, MD, Vern Juel, MD, Melissa Russo, Shruti Raja, MD, Lisa-Hobson Webb, MD, Kristina Balderson, Kent Weinhold, and colleagues at the Department of Surgery. The team’s research found that B10 cells are strongly associated with disease severity and suggested that therapies that restore B10 cells may be a new avenue to treat the condition. Read their study here.
  • For the past decade, the standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma has remained largely unchanged Katherine Peters, MD, PhD was the senior author of a team of experts that discussed the use and potential benefits of Optume, a tumor-treating fields device that the FDA newly approved for this condition. Read their discussion in Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology here.
  • Lisa Hobson-Webb, MD, and colleagues participated in a discussion about their own research regarding the clinical features, diagnosis, and management of carpal tunnel syndrome in the latest issue of Lancet Neurology. Catch up on that discussion here.

P. Moghe's image of human nerve cells comes courtesy of the NIH's image gallery, available here.