Duke Neurology Research Round Up, January 2024

By Maria Perrone, Stephany Perez-Sanchez

In January, members of Duke Neurology wrote and contributed to 20 peer-reviewed journal articles. This month’s research includes an article reviewing interneuron transplantation for drug-resistant epilepsy, a study on the relationship between BMI and intracerebral hemorrhage, and a study indicating that genetic associations with longevity are stronger in females than in males. 

Read short summaries of each of these articles and find links to the original research below. 

Epilepsy, Sleep, and Clinical Neurophysiology

  • Prof. Birgit Frauscher and Tamir Avigdor, alongside Chifaou Abdallah, MD, and Christophe Grova, PhD, co-authored an article in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology which investigated how the states of wakefulness and sleep affect the mapping of epileptic activity in the brain. They showed that the source of the epileptic activity is unchanged when mapped in each state. Read the full article here. 

  • Muhammad Shahzad Zafar, MD, contributed to a paper in Epilepsy & Behavior on an observational study of Dravet syndrome which used a BUTTERFLY analysis to observe developmental abilities in patients. Read the full study here.  

  • Aatif Husain, MD, MBA, was the first author of an article in Sleep Medicine about the experience of individuals with Narcolepsy who transitioned from sodium oxybate to low-sodium oxybate. The study found that most participants switched medications to the lower sodium alternative for their long-term health. Read the article here.

  • Derek Southwell, MD, PhD, wrote an article for Neurosurgery Clinics of North America concerning interneuron transplantation for drug-resistant epilepsy, also discussing a first-in-human study of the transplantation. This technique could serve as a potential alternative, minimally invasive approach compared to current epilepsy surgical techniques. Read the article here.  

  • Aatif Husain, MD, MBA, and Shruti Raja, MD were both contributing authors to a paper in Clinical Pharmacology in Drug Development focused on a phase 1 study of Ganaxolone as an intravenous treatment for status epilepticus (SE) and rare epileptic disorders. It was found to be well tolerated at the doses in the study, suggesting that it could be suitable for treatment of SE. Read the paper here. 

Hospital Neurology

  • Clinical Neurophysiology Fellow Lara Wadi, MD and Vishal Mandge, MD, MPH, co-authored an article in the Journal of Neuroimmunology, which emphasized importance of early implementation of ECT in the patients with NMDA-R encephalitis with malignant or refractory catatonia. Read the article here. 

Memory Disorders

  • Andy Liu, MD, Jerry Wang, MD, and a collaborator at NCCU published a paper in Frontiers on the capability of p-tau181 in diagnosing mild cognitive impairment of Alzheimer’s disease or its ability to distinguish aMCI and naMCI subtypes. Read the full study here.  

  • Brenda Plassman, PhD, Contemporary Clinical Trials Growing evidence suggests that intensive lowering of systolic blood pressure (BP) may prevent mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. Read the full study here.

  • Heather Whitson, MD contributed to an article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease focused on the relationship between aging-related changes in body weight and the risk of Alzheimer’s onset. It was found that premature decline in weight could signal to accelerated physical aging, and contribute to AD.  Read more here.


  • Jenelle H. Montgomery, PharmD, pharmacist in the MS clinic, was the senior author of a new review article summarizing the role of clinical pharmacists in patient-centric comprehensive MS care. Read the article here. 

  • Suma Shah, MD, was a contributing author of an article in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. This was focused on the effects of smoking in multiple sclerosis patients and the needs for cessation efforts, specifically in healthcare settings. Read the article here.  

Neurocritical Care

  • Michael Luke James, MD, contributed to an article in Neurology about the relationship between BMI and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The study concluded that a higher BMI correlated to decreased mortality and overall improved functional outcomes. Read the article here.  

Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders

  • Burton Scott, MD, PhD, Katie Moore, MD, & Sharon Fekrat, MD, contributed to an article in Ophthalmology Science about retinal microvascular changes in Parkinson’s Disease. The study demonstrated a more rapid degeneration of the retinal structure in people with PD compared to controls. Read the article here. 

Stroke and Vascular Neurology

  • Sara Hassani, MD, was the first author, along with Nada El Husseini, MD, and Wayne Feng, MD, of an article in Stroke: Vascular and Interventional Neurology, which reviews the cardiac monitoring technologies available to screen for atrial fibrillation after cryptogenic stroke/transient ischemic attack, with a focus on what is known regarding patient preferences and compliance in realworld settings.  Read the article here.

  • Wayne Feng, MD, was the first author on a paper in The Lancet Regional Health-Europe on a study evaluating transcranial direct current stimulation as a tool for post-stroke upper extremity motor recovery. Though a neutral result was determined, researchers emphasized challenges faced in the stroke recovery field such as slow trial enrollment, limited funding resources, and the need to train the next generation of researchers. Read the full article here. 

  • Charalambos C. Charalambous, PhD contributed to an article about walking in individuals with chronic stroke in Gait & Posture.  The study concluded that peak ankle angular velocity (Aω P) and peak ankle angular acceleration (Aα P) are more accurate measures than peak dorsiflexion angle (DFA P) and peak foot clearance (FCL P). Read the full study here.  

Translational Brain Sciences

  • Brad Kolls, MD, was the senior author, with contributions from Lab Research Analyst Viviana Cantillana-Riquelme and Daniel Laskowitz, MD, of an article in Neurological Research where they investigated sex difference and sources of variability in TBI from closed-head trauma. The findings establish a basis for applying this translational injury model in female and male mice. Read the full study here.

  • William Kirby Gottschalk, PhD, and Michael Lutz, PhD, contributed to a paper in Heliyon indicating that genetic associations with longevity are stronger in females than in males. Read the full study here.

  • Noreen Bukhari-Parlakturk, MD, PhD, was a contributing author to a publication in ScienceDirect which observed misophonia and the levels of reported distress after neurostimulation using functional imaging. Cognitive restructuring with high frequency neurostimulation showed the lowest levels of misophonic distress. Read the article here. 

  • Alexandra Badea, PhD was senior author along with contributions from Heather Whitson, MD, on a paper in Biomedicines on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using longitudinal diffusion MRI to understand how AMD affects the brain aging trajectory. Read the study here.