Aug 26

Restless Legs Syndrome Might Raise Risk of Suicide, Self-Harm

Latest Neurology News FRIDAY, Aug. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — People with restless legs syndrome (RLS) have nearly three times the risk of suicide and self-harm, which indicates that there may be a link between the physical condition and mental health. In a new study, Penn State researchers analyzed data on more than 24,000 people with RLS and about 145,000 people without the neurological condition. None had a history of suicide attempts or self-harm. During the study period, people with RLS had a 2.7-fold higher risk of suicide or self-harm than people without the condition, the findings showed. However, the study could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. This increased risk remained after researchers controlled for factors such as depression, sleep disorders and common chronic diseases, “meaning RLS could still be an independent variable contributing to suicide and self-harm,” said study … Continue reading

Aug 26

fingolimod (Gilenya)

What is fingolimod? What is fingolimod used for? Fingolimod is an oral medication used for treating multiple sclerosis (MS). Its mechanism of action is unknown, although it may work by reducing the number of circulating lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), leading to reduced migration of white blood cells into the central nervous system. White blood cells cause inflammation and destruction of nerves in patients with MS. Fingolimod does not cure MS. It decreases the number of MS flares and slows down the development of physical disability caused by MS. The FDA approved fingolimod in September 2010. What brand names are available for fingolimod? Gilenya Is fingolimod available as a generic drug? No Do I need a prescription for fingolimod? Yes What are the side effects of fingolimod? The most common side effects are: Fingolimod may decrease heart rate, … Continue reading

Aug 26

glatiramer (Copaxone, Glatopa)

What is glatiramer, and how does it work (mechanism of action)? Glatiramer’s mechanism of action is not completely understood. Available data suggests that it may work by modifying immune processes by suppressing T-cells (white blood cells of the immune system) that cause inflammation and destruction of nerves in patients with MS . Glatiramer does not cure MS. It decreases the number of MS flares and lesions in the brain. The FDA approved glatiramer in December, 1996. What brand names are available for glatiramer-injection? Copaxone, Glatopa Is glatiramer available as a generic drug? Yes Do I need a prescription for glatiramer? Yes What are the uses for glatiramer? Glatiramer is used for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). What are the side effects of glatiramer? Common side effects include: Other side effects include: Possible serious side … Continue reading

Aug 26

onabotulinumtoxinA, Botox, Botox Cosmetic

What is botulinum toxin type A, and how does it work (mechanism of action)? OnabotulinumtoxinA is an injectable neuro-toxin, that is, a toxic chemical that blocks the ability of nerves to make muscles contract. In other words, it paralyzes muscles. To cause muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical, acetylcholine, where they meet muscle cells. The acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the muscle cells to contract or shorten. OnabotulinumtoxinA prevents the release of acetylcholine and thereby prevents contraction of the muscle cells. In order to affect the release of acetylcholine, onabotulinumtoxinA must be injected into the muscle. OnabotulinumtoxinA was approved by the FDA in December 1991. What brand names are available for botulinum toxin type A? Botox, Botox Cosmetic Is botulinum toxin type A available as a generic drug? GENERIC AVAILABLE: No Do I need … Continue reading

Aug 21

gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant, Gralise, Neurontin)

What is gabapentin enacarbil? How is gabapentin enacarbil used? Gabapentin enacarbil is used for treating restless leg syndrome (RLS) and postherpetic neuralgia. It is a prodrug of the anticonvulsant gabapentin, which means it is first converted to gabapentin in the body before it can have its effects. The mechanism of action of gabapentin in treating restless leg syndrome (RLS) or postherpatic neuralgia is not known. Gabapentin structurally resembles the neurotransmitter, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). (A neurotransmitter is a chemical that nerves use to communicate with one another.) It is possible that this similarity is related to gabapentin’s mechanism of action. In animal models used for testing the anti-seizure and anti-pain (analgesic) activities of drugs, gabapentin prevents seizures and reduces pain-related responses. The FDA approved gabapentin enacarbil in April 2011. What brand names are available for gabapentin enacarbil? Horizant, Gralise, Neurontin … Continue reading

Aug 14

Scientists Uncover More Autism Genes

Latest Neurology News TUESDAY, Aug. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) — In a finding that underscores the major role genetics plays in autism risk, researchers report they have identified 16 new genes linked to the developmental disorder. The investigators conducted genetic analyses of 2,300 people from nearly 500 families with at least two children with autism. Of the children in the study, 960 had autism and 217 did not. The researchers pinpointed 69 genes that were associated with an increased risk of autism, 16 of which had not previously been linked to the disorder. The team also found several hundred genes they suspect may increase the risk of autism based on their proximity to genes previously identified with an increased risk, and also identified several new biological pathways not previously identified in autism research. The findings improve understanding of how genetic … Continue reading

Aug 14

Scans Reveal 'Smoldering' Spots in Brains Touched by MS

Latest Neurology News TUESDAY, Aug. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) — “Smoldering” spots in the brains of multiple sclerosis patients may signal more aggressive and disabling forms of the disease, researchers report. Their finding may help test the effectiveness of new treatments for these types of MS. The investigators used specialized brain scans to examine the brains of hundreds of MS patients and identified dark-rimmed spots that represent ongoing inflammation (chronic active lesions) that may be associated with more aggressive MS. “We found that it is possible to use brain scans to detect which patients are highly susceptible to the more aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis. The more chronic active lesions a patient has, the greater the chances they will experience this type of MS,” said senior study author Dr. Daniel Reich. He is a senior investigator at the U.S. National … Continue reading

Aug 14

Concussed NFL Players Sidelined for Much Longer Nowadays

Latest Neurology News TUESDAY, Aug. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The length of time that NFL players are sidelined after a concussion has tripled in the past two decades, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed data from the 2012-2015 pro football seasons. They found that the players who suffered a concussion returned to play an average of 19 days later, which means they missed about 1.5 games. Data collected between 1996 and 2001 showed that NFL players were sidelined for six or fewer days after a concussion. The longer return-to-play time after a concussion is due to the stronger concussion protocol now used by the NFL, according to lead author Dr. Toufic Jildeh, a fourth-year sports medicine resident at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. “The high incidence of concussion in football and other contact sports continues to be a major … Continue reading

Aug 09

Can Major Surgeries Cause a Long-Term 'Brain Drain'?

By Serena GordonHealthDay Reporter Latest Neurology News THURSDAY, Aug. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Before any surgery, you typically hear warnings about risks like bleeding and infection, but new research suggests that problems with thinking or memory can often follow a major procedure. The study found that people who had surgery had an increased risk of a small, long-term decline in cognitive function years later. Cognitive function is your ability to think, reason and remember. After surgery, folks had nearly twice the risk of developing “substantial” cognitive decline during the two decades of the study. But there’s no need to panic, the researchers added. “Our data suggest that, on average, major surgery is associated with only a small cognitive ‘hit,’ and while there was a doubling in the risk of substantial cognitive decline, this only affected a small number of … Continue reading

Aug 09

FDA Reports More Seizures Among Vapers

Latest Neurology News THURSDAY, Aug. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — There have been 118 more reports of e-cigarette users suffering seizures since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first warned the public about the danger in April. That brings the total number of reported cases to 127 between 2010 and 2019, the agency said Wednesday. However, the additional cases don’t necessarily indicate a rise in the rate or number of such incidents, according to the FDA. The agency said it hasn’t pinpointed any specific brand of product or product problem associated with cases of seizures among e-cigarette users. However, the FDA said it’s concerned about the possibility of a link between e-cigarette use and seizures or other similar medical conditions, and is asking e-cigarette users, medical professionals and others to provide as much information as possible when reporting health or … Continue reading

Aug 08

Unlocking Speech for Kids With Autism

By Alan MozesHealthDay Reporter Latest Neurology News WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For parents of a child with autism, communication is often the No. 1 hurdle. But what if there were a simple way to help them get their youngster talking? A new study suggests there just might be. It’s called “pivotal response treatment” (PRT). And those who have tried it say it can open up a whole new verbal world for kids with limited speech and inhibited social skills. “My son was having meltdowns all the time because he couldn’t express what he wanted or needed,” said Heidi Pim, a kindergarten teacher in Palo Alto, Calif., whose son James, 8, was diagnosed as a toddler with autism and speech delays. “We would try our best to figure out what he wanted or needed, so we could give … Continue reading

Aug 08

Steady Stream of Lesser Head Hits in Football Can Still Damage Brain

By Alan MozesHealthDay Reporter Latest Neurology News WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Concussions are bad news for the brain, but what about the less damaging hits to the head that are the nuts and bolts of contact sports? Do they also pose a threat? The brain scans of 38 college football players suggest the answer is yes. Over the course of a single season, the players collectively absorbed almost 20,000 hits. Only two of those were actually concussions. Yet, the scans revealed that by the end of the season, two-thirds of the players had suffered a notable decrease in the structural integrity of their brains. “A non-concussive head injury is when someone hits their head but does not exhibit the signs and symptoms of concussion,” explained senior study author Bradford Mahon. He is scientific director of the program … Continue reading

Aug 07

FDA Says Approval of World's Priciest Drug Was Based on Manipulated Data

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The maker of the world’s most expensive drug gave manipulated data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when it approved the drug, the agency said Tuesday. Latest Neurology News In late May, the FDA approved the gene therapy Zolgensma to treat children with a severe form of spinal muscular atrophy, a leading genetic cause of infant death. The drug costs $2.125 million for a one-time treatment, CBS News reported. A month after the approval, the FDA discovered a “data manipulation issue that impacts the accuracy of certain data from product testing performed in animals,” according to the agency. The FDA said the drug’s maker AveXis, a unit of Novartis, knew about the data problem before the drug was approved, but did not inform the FDA until after the drug was given the … Continue reading

Aug 06

Football Head Trauma Linked Again to Long-Term Brain Damage

By Alan MozesHealthDay Reporter Latest Neurology News MONDAY, Aug. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Just how dangerous is American football? Pretty dangerous, a new analysis claims. Repeated exposure to head trauma during play often causes significant brain damage, researchers report. That damage then gives rise to neurological disease, which then boosts the risk for dementia by the time players reach middle-age and beyond. The conclusion follows autopsies performed on 180 brains donated by former professional football players. Prior to their death, all of the players had been diagnosed with a debilitating neurodegenerative disease called CTE, or “chronic traumatic encephalopathy.” About two-thirds suffered from dementia. The findings, said study author Michael Alosco, can be seen as part of a slew of mounting evidence that “continues to accumulate, [indicating] that exposure to repetitive head impacts from American football may be associated with … Continue reading

Aug 06

Rugby-Style Tackling Might Make Football Safer

Latest Neurology News MONDAY, Aug. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Could the rugby way of tackling lower the risk of concussions in American football? A new study claims it could, by reducing the force of head impacts. “For athletes who participate in a sport that involves a tackle or direct contact, adapting a rugby-style tackle where the players lead with their shoulders, not their heads, could make college sports safer,” said study author Zach Garrett, from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. “A small number of NFL teams have incorporated the rugby-style tackle in an effort to reduce risk of concussion,” Garrett noted in an American Academy of Neurology (AAN) news release. The researchers gathered and assessed head impact data from 20 male university football players and 10 male university rugby players during their spring practice seasons. The football players had … Continue reading

Aug 05

Could a 'Tickle' a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

By Serena GordonHealthDay Reporter Latest Neurology News FRIDAY, Aug. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A small electric “tickle” to the ear may affect the body’s nervous system, and British researchers claim this can promote overall well-being and may potentially slow down some effects of aging. The tickle treatment is called transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS). The procedure involves placing custom-made clips containing electrodes on the part of your ear called the tragus; that’s the small, pointed tip above your ear lobe. A small electrical current is delivered through the clips to affect the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is part of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for body functions you don’t think about, like blood pressure, temperature and heart rhythm. The study authors suggest that the device may help balance the autonomic system. “We saw that just two … Continue reading