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Duke Neurology Research Round Up, November 2018

Friday, November 30, 2018
Image courtesy NIH

November 2018 saw new ten new research studies from the Duke Neurology Department advance the field of neurology at the clinical, laboratory, and educational level. These journal articles include a review of the emerging specialty of sports neurology, potential new treatments for forms of myasthenia gravis, and discussions of use of granular hydrogels to regenerate tissue after stroke. Here are short descriptions of each of these studies, followed by links to the articles themselves.

General Neurology and Neuroscience


  • A research team including Laurie Sanders, PhD, identified an “anti-aging” protein that allows young muscle to regenerate much more effectively than aging muscle: a-Klotho. The team found that a-Klotho plays a critical role in muscle regeneration, and that epigenetic control of the klotho promoter is lost with aging. Read the full article in Nature Communication here, or read a press release on the story here.


  • Cefepime is a fourth-generation cephalosporin antibiotic known to have neurotoxic side effects. Matthew Luedke, MD and Dimitry Tchapyjnikov, MD, report on a series of patients who who developed neurological complications from taking this medication; they also conducted a literature review on the subject and offer best practices for clinicians dealing with this issue. Read their article in the Neurohospitalist here.

Neurocritical Care

  • Identifying patients with hemtatoma expansion, a complication the develops in one-third of patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), may be a way to reduce morbidity and mortality related to ICH. Michael “Luke” James, MD, contributed to a study that attempted to validate scores for hematoma expansion in a multi-ethnic Asian patient population with ICH. Read that study in Neurocritical Care.

Memory Disorders

  • Primary age-related tauopathy (PART) is a condition that causes cognitive impairment. A team of researchers including Rich O’Brien, MD, PhD, followed patients with PART and Alzheimer’s disease until death, comparing the genotypes, cognitive performance, and neuropathological features associated with both conditions. Read the results of their study in Alzheimer’s and Dementia here.
  • Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer, PhD, was part of a team that evaluated “Revere,” an iPad-administered word-list recall test to quantify deficits in verbal episodic memory. The team compared Revere to RAVLT, an examiner-administered test currently in popular use, in a group of 153 randomized participants with mild cognitive impairment. Read the results of their study here.

Neuromuscular Disease

  • Lisa Hobson-Webb, MD, Jeffrey Guptill, MD, MHS, Vern Juel, MD, Janice Massey, MD, and colleagues, also analyzed the plasma miRNA profiles of a subtype of myasthenia gravis (MG) known as MuSK+ MG. The distinct plasma miRNA profiles they found may be useful for identifying biomarkers for MG subtypes and in providing optimal treatment. Read their article in the Journal of Neuroimmunology here.
  • The same authors contributed to another study involving MuSK MG--this time examining tracrolimus, an immunosuppressant that interferes with IL-2 transcription to inhibit T-cell response. The authors found that tracolimus may have potential as an alternative immunosuppressive therapy for patients with MuSK-MG. Read that study here.


  • Granular hydrogels are emerging as an effective, versatile  platform for tissue-engineered constructs in regenerative medicine, with applications from skin repair to stroke. Tatiana Segura, PhD, was the senior author of a paper discussing this new tool. Read her article in Current Opinion in Biotechnology here.