Publications by authors named "Anna Pichiecchio"

97 Publications

RFC1 expansions are a common cause of idiopathic sensory neuropathy.

Brain 2021 May 9. Epub 2021 May 9.

Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health (DINOGMI), University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.

After extensive evaluation, one-third of patients affected by polyneuropathy remain undiagnosed and are labelled as having chronic idiopathic axonal polyneuropathy, which refers to a sensory or sensory-motor, axonal, slowly progressive neuropathy of unknown origin. Since a sensory neuropathy/neuronopathy is identified in all patients with genetically confirmed RFC1 cerebellar ataxia, neuropathy, vestibular areflexia syndrome, we speculated that RFC1 expansions could underlie a fraction of idiopathic sensory neuropathies also diagnosed as chronic idiopathic axonal polyneuropathy. We retrospectively identified 225 patients diagnosed with chronic idiopathic axonal polyneuropathy (125 sensory neuropathy, 100 sensory-motor neuropathy) from our general neuropathy clinics in Italy and the UK. All patients underwent full neurological evaluation and a blood sample was collected for RFC1 testing. Biallelic RFC1 expansions were identified in 43 patients (34%) with sensory neuropathy and in none with sensory-motor neuropathy. Forty-two per cent of RFC1-positive patients had isolated sensory neuropathy or sensory neuropathy with chronic cough, while vestibular and/or cerebellar involvement, often subclinical, were identified at examination in 58%. Although the sensory ganglia are the primary pathological target of the disease, the sensory impairment was typically worse distally and symmetric, while gait and limb ataxia were absent in two-thirds of the cases. Sensory amplitudes were either globally absent (26%) or reduced in a length-dependent (30%) or non-length dependent pattern (44%). A quarter of RFC1-positive patients had previously received an alternative diagnosis, including Sjögren's syndrome, sensory chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and paraneoplastic neuropathy, while three cases had been treated with immune therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab072DOI Listing
May 2021

Compound Heterozygous Mutations Associated with Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy and Cognitive Decline Phenotype.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Apr 8;22(8). Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Genomic and Post-Genomic Unit, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is a cerebrovascular disorder caused by the deposition of amyloid beta-peptide (Aβ) aggregates. Aβ aggregates lead to vessel rupture and intracerebral hemorrhages, detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Presenile CAA is usually genetically determined by mutations in the amyloid precursor protein () gene. However, mutations after codon 200 in the presenilin 1 () gene have been reported to facilitate CAA onset. Here, we analyzed the genetic bases in a patient of 55 years old affected by CAA and cognitive decline. DNA was isolated and genetic analysis was performed by Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). RNA was extracted and retro-transcribed to perform segregation analysis by TOPO-TA cloning. WB analysis was carried out to check the impact of the mutations on protein. Two compound heterozygous mutations in exon 10, such as a novel stop-gain mutation (c.1070C > G) and a pathogenic splice variant (c.1129A > T), were found by NGS. Both mutations altered the presenilin 1 protein, truncating its C-terminal portion. This is the first case of CAA and cognitive decline caused by two compound mutations in . With this report, we suggest extending the genetic analysis to when cerebral microbleeds are observed by MRI investigation in a patient affected by presenile cognitive decline.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22083870DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8069161PMC
April 2021

Pilot Study on Quantitative Cervical Cord and Muscular MRI in Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Promising Biomarkers of Disease Evolution and Treatment?

Front Neurol 2021 29;12:613834. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Advanced Imaging and Radiomics Center, Neuroradiology Department, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy.

Nusinersen is a recent promising therapy approved for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare disease characterized by the degeneration of alpha motor neurons (αMN) in the spinal cord (SC) leading to progressive muscle atrophy and dysfunction. Muscle and cervical SC quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) has never been used to monitor drug treatment in SMA. The aim of this pilot study is to investigate whether qMRI can provide useful biomarkers for monitoring treatment efficacy in SMA. Three adult SMA 3a patients under treatment with nusinersen underwent longitudinal clinical and qMRI examinations every 4 months from baseline to 21-month follow-up. The qMRI protocol aimed to quantify thigh muscle fat fraction (FF) and water-T2 (w-T2) and to characterize SC volumes and microstructure. Eleven healthy controls underwent the same SC protocol (single time point). We evaluated clinical and imaging outcomes of SMA patients longitudinally and compared SC data between groups transversally. Patient motor function was stable, with only Patient 2 showing moderate improvements. Average muscle FF was already high at baseline (50%) and progressed over time (57%). w-T2 was also slightly higher than previously published data at baseline and slightly decreased over time. Cross-sectional area of the whole SC, gray matter (GM), and ventral horns (VHs) of Patients 1 and 3 were reduced compared to controls and remained stable over time, while GM and VHs areas of Patient 2 slightly increased. We found altered diffusion and magnetization transfer parameters in SC structures of SMA patients compared to controls, thus suggesting changes in tissue microstructure and myelin content. In this pilot study, we found a progression of FF in thigh muscles of SMA 3a patients during nusinersen therapy and a concurrent slight reduction of w-T2 over time. The SC qMRI analysis confirmed previous imaging and histopathological studies suggesting degeneration of αMN of the VHs, resulting in GM atrophy and demyelination. Our longitudinal data suggest that qMRI could represent a feasible technique for capturing microstructural changes induced by SMA and a candidate methodology for monitoring the effects of treatment, once replicated on a larger cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.613834DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8039452PMC
March 2021

A novel de novo DDX3X missense variant in a female with brachycephaly and intellectual disability: a case report.

Ital J Pediatr 2021 Mar 31;47(1):81. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Background: De novo pathogenic variants in the DDX3X gene are reported to account for 1-3% of unexplained intellectual disability (ID) in females, leading to the rare disease known as DDX3X syndrome (MRXSSB, OMIM #300958). Besides ID, these patients manifest a variable clinical presentation, which includes neurological and behavioral defects, and abnormal brain MRIs.

Case Presentation: We report a 10-year-old girl affected by delayed psychomotor development, delayed myelination, and polymicrogyria (PMG). We identified a novel de novo missense mutation in the DDX3X gene (c.625C > G) by whole exome sequencing (WES). The DDX3X gene encodes a DEAD-box ATP-dependent RNA-helicase broadly implicated in gene expression through regulation of mRNA metabolism. The identified mutation is located just upstream the helicase domain and is suggested to impair the protein activity, thus resulting in the altered translation of DDX3X-dependent mRNAs. The proband, presenting with the typical PMG phenotype related to the syndrome, does not show other clinical signs frequently reported in presence of missense DDX3X mutations that are associated with a most severe clinical presentation. In addition, she has brachycephaly, never described in female DDX3X patients, and macroglossia, that has never been associated with the syndrome.

Conclusions: This case expands the knowledge of DDX3X pathogenic variants and the associated DDX3X syndrome phenotypic spectrum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-021-01033-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8011215PMC
March 2021

Fast Open-Source Toolkit for Water T2 Mapping in the Presence of Fat From Multi-Echo Spin-Echo Acquisitions for Muscle MRI.

Front Neurol 2021 26;12:630387. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Neurology, Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, United States.

Imaging has become a valuable tool in the assessment of neuromuscular diseases, and, specifically, quantitative MR imaging provides robust biomarkers for the monitoring of disease progression. Quantitative evaluation of fat infiltration and quantification of the T2 values of the muscular tissue's water component (wT2) are two of the most essential indicators currently used. As each voxel of the image can contain both water and fat, a two-component model for the estimation of wT2 must be used. In this work, we present a fast method for reconstructing wT2 maps obtained from conventional multi-echo spin-echo (MESE) acquisitions and released as Free Open Source Software. The proposed software is capable of fast reconstruction thanks to extended phase graphs (EPG) simulations and dictionary matching implemented on a general-purpose graphic processing unit. The program can also perform more conventional biexponential least-squares fitting of the data and incorporate information from an external water-fat acquisition to increase the accuracy of the results. The method was applied to the scans of four healthy volunteers and five subjects suffering from facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Conventional multi-slice MESE acquisitions were performed with 17 echoes, and additionally, a 6-echo multi-echo gradient-echo (MEGE) sequence was used for an independent fat fraction calculation. The proposed reconstruction software was applied on the full datasets, and additionally to reduced number of echoes, respectively, to 8, 5, and 3, using EPG and biexponential least-squares fitting, with and without incorporating information from the MEGE acquisition. The incorporation of external fat fraction maps increased the robustness of the fitting with a reduced number of echoes per datasets, whereas with unconstrained fitting, the total of 17 echoes was necessary to retain an independence of wT2 from the level of fat infiltration. In conclusion, the proposed software can successfully be used to calculate wT2 maps from conventional MESE acquisition, allowing the usage of an optimized protocol with similar precision and accuracy as a 17-echo acquisition. As it is freely released to the community, it can be used as a reference for more extensive cohort studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.630387DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952742PMC
February 2021

Fulminant inflammatory demyelination presenting as stroke-in-evolution in an elderly subject.

Brain Behav 2020 Dec 8:e01967. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Emergency Neurology Unit, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy.

Background: Fulminant inflammatory demyelination is a possible presentation of inflammatory demyelinating disorders, thus representing a potential stroke mimic especially in younger patients.

Aims Of The Study: To describe clinical and diagnostic pitfalls in a case of fulminant inflammatory demyelination presenting with stroke-like symptoms in an elderly patient.

Methods: Case report and case-based review of the literature.

Results: A 67-year-old woman, who accessed the emergency room as suspect stroke for hyperacute onset of rapidly worsening speech impairment and drowsiness, was later diagnosed with a huge brain inflammatory demyelination. Clinical, laboratory, and neuroimaging tests did not allow to put a more specific diagnosis. Due to the rapidly deteriorating course, she received immunosuppression with benefit.

Conclusion: This report is meant to highlight the diagnostic challenges connected with fulminant inflammatory demyelination, which sometime can resemble a stroke-in evolution and appear clinically unfitting for inclusion in any specific pathological entities within the broad-spectrum of inflammatory demyelinating disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1967DOI Listing
December 2020

The epileptology of Aicardi-Goutières syndrome: electro-clinical-radiological findings.

Seizure 2021 Mar 1;86:197-209. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Department of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy; Department of Brain and Behavioural Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Objective: Although epileptic seizures occur in approximately a quarter of patients with Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS), their phenotypic and electrophysiological characterization remains elusive. The aim of our study was to characterize epilepsy phenotypes and electroencephalographic (EEG) patterns in AGS and look for possible correlations with clinical, genetic and neuroradiological features.

Methods: We selected patients with an established AGS diagnosis followed at three Italian reference centers. Medical records, EEGs and MRI/CT findings were reviewed. EEGs were independently and blindly reviewed by three board-certified pediatric epileptologists. Chi square and Fisher's exact tests were used to test associations between epilepsy and EEG feature categories and clinical, radiological and genetic variables.

Results: Twenty-seven patients were enrolled. We reviewed 63 EEGs and at least one brain MRI scan per patient. Epilepsy, mainly in the form of epileptic spasms and focal seizures, was present in 37 % of the cohort; mean age at epilepsy onset was 9.5 months (range 1-36). The presence of epilepsy was associated with calcification severity (p = 0.016) and startle reactions (p = 0.05). Organization of EEG electrical activity appeared to be disrupted or markedly disrupted in 73 % of cases. Severe EEG disorganization correlated with microcephaly (p < 0.001) and highly abnormal MRI T2-weighted signal intensity in white matter (p = 0.022). Physiological organization of the EEG was found to be better preserved during sleep (87 %) than wakefulness (38 %). Focal slow activity was recorded in more than one third of cases. Fast activity, either diffuse or with frontal location, was more frequent in the awake state (78 %) than in sleep (50 %). Interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) were present in 33 % of awake and 45 % of sleep recordings. IEDs during sleep were associated with a higher risk of a epileptic seizures (p = 0.008).

Significance: The hallmarks of EEG recordings in AGS were found to be: disruption of electrical organization, the presence of focal slow and fast activity, and the presence of IEDs, both in patients with and in those without epilepsy. The associations between epilepsy and calcification and between EEG pattern and the finding of a highly abnormal white matter T2 signal intensity suggest a common anatomical correlate. However, the complex anatomical-electroclinical basis of AGS-related epilepsy still requires further elucidation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2020.11.019DOI Listing
March 2021

Human Herpesvirus 6 Encephalitis in Immunocompetent and Immunocompromised Hosts.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 03 12;8(2). Epub 2021 Jan 12.

From the Neuroncology Unit (G.B., E.V., E.M.), and Neuroradiology Unit (M.P., A.P.), IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia; Molecular Virology Unit (G.C., F.B.), Microbiology and Virology Department, Diagnostic Radiology, Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology Unit (A.M.S.), Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit (A.A.C., P.B., O.B.), Infectious and Tropical Diseases Unit (A.D.M.), Pediatric Clinic (V.R., T.F., S.S.), and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (F.C., M.Z.), Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia; and Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences (A.P.), Department of Molecular Medicine (P.B., O.B.), and Department of Clinical, Surgical, Diagnostic and Paediatric Sciences (F.B.), University of Pavia, Italy.

Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the clinical, radiologic, and biological features associated with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) encephalitis in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts to establish which clinical settings should prompt HHV-6 testing.

Methods: We performed a retrospective research in the virology database of Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo (Pavia, Italy) for all patients who tested positive for HHV-6 DNA in the CSF and/or in blood from January 2008 to September 2018 and separately assessed the number of patients meeting the criteria for HHV-6 encephalitis in the group of immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts.

Results: Of the 926 patients tested for HHV-6 during the period of interest, 45 met the study criteria. Among immunocompetent hosts (n = 17), HHV-6 encephalitis was diagnosed to 4 infants or children presenting with seizures or mild encephalopathy during primary HHV-6 infection (CSF/blood replication ratio <1 in all cases). Among immunocompromised hosts (n = 28), HHV-6 encephalitis was diagnosed to 7 adolescents/adults with hematologic conditions presenting with altered mental status (7/7), seizures (3/7), vigilance impairment (3/7), behavioral changes (2/7), hyponatremia (2/7), and anterograde amnesia (1/7). Initial brain MRI was altered only in 2 patients, but 6 of the 7 had a CSF/blood replication ratio >1.

Conclusions: The detection of a CSF/blood replication ratio >1 represented a specific feature of immunocompromised patients with HHV-6 encephalitis and could be of special help to establish a diagnosis of HHV-6 encephalitis in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients lacking radiologic evidence of limbic involvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000942DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7963435PMC
March 2021

Thalamocortical Connectivity in Experimentally-Induced Migraine Attacks: A Pilot Study.

Brain Sci 2021 Jan 27;11(2). Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Headache Science Center, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

In this study we used nitroglycerin (NTG)-induced migraine attacks as a translational human disease model. Static and dynamic functional connectivity (FC) analyses were applied to study the associated functional brain changes. A spontaneous migraine-like attack was induced in five episodic migraine (EM) patients using a NTG challenge. Four task-free functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans were acquired over the study: baseline, prodromal, full-blown, and recovery. Seed-based correlation analysis (SCA) was applied to fMRI data to assess static FC changes between the thalamus and the rest of the brain. Wavelet coherence analysis (WCA) was applied to test time-varying phase-coherence changes between the thalamus and salience networks (SNs). SCA results showed significantly FC changes between the right thalamus and areas involved in the pain circuits (insula, pons, cerebellum) during the prodromal phase, reaching its maximal alteration during the full-blown phase. WCA showed instead a loss of synchronisation between thalami and SN, mainly occurring during the prodrome and full-blown phases. These findings further support the idea that a temporal change in thalamic function occurs over the experimentally induced phases of NTG-induced headache in migraine patients. Correlation of FC changes with true clinical phases in spontaneous migraine would validate the utility of this model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020165DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7911420PMC
January 2021

Differential imaging of atypical demyelinating lesions of the central nervous system.

Radiol Med 2021 Jan 24. Epub 2021 Jan 24.

Advanced Imaging and Radiomics Center, Neuroradiology Department, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Via Mondino 2, 27100, Pavia, PV, Italy.

The detection of atypical and sometimes aggressive or tumefactive demyelinating lesions of the central nervous system often poses difficulties in the differential diagnosis. The clinical presentation is generally aspecific, related to the location and similar to a number of different lesions, including neoplasms and other intracranial lesions with mass effect. CSF analysis may also be inconclusive, especially for lesions presenting as a single mass at onset. As a consequence, a brain biopsy is frequently performed for characterization. Advanced MRI imaging plays an important role in directing the diagnosis, reducing the rate of unnecessary biopsies and allowing a prompt start of therapy that is often crucial, especially in the case of infratentorial lesions. In this review, the main pattern of presentation of atypical inflammatory demyelinating diseases is discussed, with particular attention on the differential diagnosis and how to adequately define the correct etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11547-021-01334-yDOI Listing
January 2021

Adoptive Transfer of JC Virus-Specific T Lymphocytes for the Treatment of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy.

Ann Neurol 2021 Apr 10;89(4):769-779. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Cell Factory, IRCCS Fondazione Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Objective: Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is still burdened by high mortality in a subset of patients, such as those affected by hematological malignancies. The aim of this study was to analyze the safety and carry out preliminary evaluation of the efficacy of polyomavirus JC (JCPyV)-specific T cell therapy in a cohort of hematological patients with PML.

Methods: Between 2014 and 2019, 9 patients with a diagnosis of "definite PML" according to the 2013 consensus who were showing progressive clinical deterioration received JCPyV-specific T cells. Cell lines were expanded from autologous or allogenic peripheral blood mononuclear cells by stimulation with JCPyV antigen-derived peptides.

Results: None of the patients experienced treatment-related adverse events. In the evaluable patients, an increase in the frequency of circulating JCPyV-specific lymphocytes was observed, with a decrease or clearance of JCPyV viral load in cerebrospinal fluid. In responsive patients, transient appearance of punctate areas of contrast enhancement within, or close to, PML lesions was observed, which was interpreted as a sign of immune control and which regressed spontaneously without the need for steroid treatment. Six of 9 patients achieved PML control, with 5 alive and in good clinical condition at their last follow-up.

Interpretation: Among other novel treatments, T cell therapy is emerging as a viable treatment option in patients with PML, particularly for those not amenable to restoration of specific immunity. Neurologists should be encouraged to refer PML patients to specialized centers to allow access to this treatment strategy. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:769-779.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.26020DOI Listing
April 2021

Multicentric Retrospective Evaluation of Five Classic Infantile Pompe Disease Subjects Under Enzyme Replacement Therapy With Early Infratentorial Involvement.

Front Neurol 2020 25;11:569153. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Fondazione Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Neuroradiology Unit, Milan, Italy.

White matter (WM) abnormalities and ventricular enlargement in brain MRI are well-known features in infantile-onset Pompe disease (IOPD) in the era of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT). In this multicentric observational retrospective study, we report a small cohort of IOPD subjects under ERT treatment ( = 5, median age at MRI = 7.4 years, median period of treatment = 85 months) that showed the classic features of extensive supratentorial WM abnormalities but also unusual findings such as early infratentorial WM abnormalities and late supratentorial U-fiber involvement. Given the recent implementation of ERT and the rarity of the disease, a complete spectrum of presentation and understanding of progressive pathology in the brain of IOPD subjects in treatment remains underacknowledged. The availability of long-term follow-up of IOPD subjects under ERT treatment allows a better insight into the evolution of brain abnormalities in such disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.569153DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7732650PMC
November 2020

Texture analysis and machine learning to predict water T2 and fat fraction from non-quantitative MRI of thigh muscles in Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.

Eur J Radiol 2021 Jan 2;134:109460. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Department of Neuroradiology, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy; Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, PV, Italy.

Purpose: Quantitative MRI (qMRI) plays a crucial role for assessing disease progression and treatment response in neuromuscular disorders, but the required MRI sequences are not routinely available in every center. The aim of this study was to predict qMRI values of water T2 (wT2) and fat fraction (FF) from conventional MRI, using texture analysis and machine learning.

Method: Fourteen patients affected by Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy were imaged at both thighs using conventional and quantitative MR sequences. Muscle FF and wT2 were calculated for each muscle of the thighs. Forty-seven texture features were extracted for each muscle on the images obtained with conventional MRI. Multiple machine learning regressors were trained to predict qMRI values from the texture analysis dataset.

Results: Eight machine learning methods (linear, ridge and lasso regression, tree, random forest (RF), generalized additive model (GAM), k-nearest-neighbor (kNN) and support vector machine (SVM) provided mean absolute errors ranging from 0.110 to 0.133 for FF and 0.068 to 0.115 for wT2. The most accurate methods were RF, SVM and kNN to predict FF, and tree, RF and kNN to predict wT2.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that it is possible to estimate with good accuracy qMRI parameters starting from texture analysis of conventional MRI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrad.2020.109460DOI Listing
January 2021

Basal Ganglia Dysmorphism in Patients With Aicardi Syndrome.

Neurology 2021 03 4;96(9):e1319-e1333. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

From the Department of Brain and Behavioural Neurosciences (S.M., A.P., M. Formica, S.O.) and Department of Public Health Experimental and Forensic Medicine, Biostatistic and Clinical Epidemiology Unit (P. Borrelli), University of Pavia; Pediatric Neurology Unit (S.M., M. Mastrangelo, P.V.), V. Buzzi Children's Hospital, Milan; Department of Neuroradiology (A.P.), Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit (R.B., V.D.G., S.O.), and Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, University of Pavia and Clinical Trial Center (E.P.), IRCCS Mondino Foundation Pavia; Neuroimaging Lab (F.A.) and Neuropsychiatry and Neurorehabilitation Unit (R.R.), Scientific Institute, IRCCS Eugenio Medea, Bosisio Parini, Lecco; Child Neuropsychiatric Unit (P.A., L.G.), Civilian Hospital, Brescia; Scientific Institute (P. Bonanni, A.D., E.O.), IRCCS E. Medea, Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology Unit, Conegliano, Treviso; UOC Child Neuropsychiatry (B.D.B., F.D.), Department of Surgical Sciences, Dentistry, Gynecology and Pediatrics, University of Verona, Italy; Département de Neurologie Pédiatrique (N.D.), Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; AdPueriVitam (O.D.), Antony; Service d'Explorations Fonctionnelles (S.G.), Centre de Médecine du Sommeil, l'Hôpital Àntoine Béclère, AP-HP, Clamart; Pediatrics Departement (S.G.), André-Grégoire Hospital, Centre Hospitalier Inter Communal, Montreuil, France; Pediatric Neurology, Neurogenetics and Neurobiology Unit and Laboratories, Neuroscience Department (R.G., M. Montomoli, M.C.) and Radiology (M. Mortilla), A. Meyer Children's Hospital, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, University of Florence; IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation (R.G.), Pisa; Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Epilepsy Center (F.L.B., A.V.), San Paolo Hospital, Department of Health Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan; Child Neurology, NESMOS Department (P.P.), Faculty of Medicine & Psychology, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University, Rome; Department of Neuroradiology (L.P.), Pediatric Neuroradiology Section, ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia; Pediatric Neuroradiology Unit (M.S.), IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genova; Neurology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Member of the ERN EpiCARE (F.V.), Oncological Neuroradiology Unit, Department of Imaging, IRCCS (G.C.), and Department of Neuroscience and Neurorehabilitation (A.F.), Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy; Institut Imagine (N.B.-B.), Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cités; Pediatric Neurology (N.B.-B., I.D.), Necker Enfants Malades Hospital, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris; INSERM UMR-1163 (N.B.-B., A. Arzimanoglou), Embryology and Genetics of Congenital Malformations, France; UOC Neurochirurgia (A. Accogli, V.C.), Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa (F.Z.), and Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Neuroscience, IRCCS (F.Z.), Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; Neurochirurgie Pédiatrique (M.B.), Hôpital NEM, Paris, France; Centre Médico-Chirurgical des Eaux-Vives (V.C.-V.), Swiss Medical Network, Genève, Switzerland; Neuroradiology Unit (L.C.) and Developmental Neurology Unit (S.D.), Foundation IRCCS C. Besta Neurological Institute, Milan; Service de Génétique (M.D.-F.), AMH2, CHU Reims, UFR de Médecine, Reims, France; Epilepsy Centre-Clinic of Nervous System Diseases (G.d.), Riuniti Hospital, Foggia, Italy; MediClubGeorgia Co Ltd (N.E.), Tbilisi, Georgia; Epilepsy Center (N.E.), Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Germany; Child and Adolescence Neurology and Psychiatry Unit (E. Fazzi), ASST Civil Hospital, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia; Child Neurology Department (E. Fiorini), Verona, Italy; Service de Genetique Clinique (M. Fradin, P.L., C.Q.), CLAD-Ouest, Hospital Sud, Rennes, France; Child Neurology Unit, Pediatric Department (C.F., C.S.), Azienda USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia; Department of Pediatric Neuroscience (T.G., R.S.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, Milan, Italy; Department of Epilepsy Genetics and Personalized Treatment (K.M.J., R.S.M.), The Danish Epilepsy Centre, Dianalund; Institute for Regional Health Services (K.M.J., R.S.M.), University of Southern Denmark, Odense; Unit of Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Neurorehabilitation (S.L.), Woman-Mother-Child Department, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland; Unit of Neuroradiology (D.M.), Fondazione CNR/Regione Toscana G. Monasterio, Pisa; Pediatric Neurology Unit and Epilepsy Center (E.R., A.R.), Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Milan, Italy; KJF Klinik Josefinum GmbH (C.U.), Klinik für Kinder und Jugendliche, Neuropädiatrie, Augsburg, Germany; Department of Paediatric Clinical Epileptology, Sleep Disorders and Functional Neurology (A. Arzimanoglou), University Hospitals of Lyon, Coordinator of the ERN EpiCARE, France; and Pediatric Epilepsy Unit, Child Neurology Department (P.V.), Hospital San Juan de Dios, Member of the ERN EpiCARE and Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: Aiming to detect associations between neuroradiologic and EEG evaluations and long-term clinical outcome in order to detect possible prognostic factors, a detailed clinical and neuroimaging characterization of 67 cases of Aicardi syndrome (AIC), collected through a multicenter collaboration, was performed.

Methods: Only patients who satisfied Sutton diagnostic criteria were included. Clinical outcome was assessed using gross motor function, manual ability, and eating and drinking ability classification systems. Brain imaging studies and statistical analysis were reviewed.

Results: Patients presented early-onset epilepsy, which evolved into drug-resistant seizures. AIC has a variable clinical course, leading to permanent disability in most cases; nevertheless, some cases presented residual motor abilities. Chorioretinal lacunae were present in 86.56% of our patients. Statistical analysis revealed correlations between MRI, EEG at onset, and clinical outcome. On brain imaging, 100% of the patients displayed corpus callosum malformations, 98% cortical dysplasia and nodular heterotopias, and 96.36% intracranial cysts (with similar rates of 2b and 2d). As well as demonstrating that posterior fossa abnormalities (found in 63.63% of cases) should also be considered a common feature in AIC, our study highlighted the presence (in 76.36%) of basal ganglia dysmorphisms (never previously reported).

Conclusion: The AIC neuroradiologic phenotype consists of a complex brain malformation whose presence should be considered central to the diagnosis. Basal ganglia dysmorphisms are frequently associated. Our work underlines the importance of MRI and EEG, both for correct diagnosis and as a factor for predicting long-term outcome.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with AIC, specific MRI abnormalities and EEG at onset are associated with clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8055324PMC
March 2021

Abdominal pain as first manifestation of lyme neuroborreliosis in children, case report and review of literature.

Ital J Pediatr 2020 Nov 23;46(1):172. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Pediatrics, Foundation IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Background: Lyme neuroborreliosis can cause a variety of neurological manifestations. European children usually present facial nerve palsy, other cranial nerve palsies and aseptic meningitis.

Case Presentation: We hereby report a case of Lyme neuroborreliosis in a 9-year-old boy with abdominal pain as first symptom and subsequent onset of attention deficit and ataxia. Diagnosis was made by detection of specific antibody in both serum and cerebrospinal fluid with neuro-radiological images suggestive for this infectious disease. A 12-months follow-up was performed during which no relevant neurological sequelae were revealed.

Conclusion: This case report shows that abdominal radiculitis, although extremely rare, could be the first manifestation of early Lyme neuroborreliosis in pediatric patients. Pediatricians must consider Lyme disease in the differential diagnosis of abdominal pain of unknown origin in children, especially in countries where the infection is endemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-020-00936-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7684897PMC
November 2020

AQP4 autoantibodies in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus.

J Neuroimmunol 2020 12 30;349:577407. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Neuroimmunology Laboratory, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy.

Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is a common neurological disorder with unknown etiology. A selective depletion of aquaporin 4 (AQP4) has been shown in iNPH patients. We collected serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from 43 iNPH patients and 35 with other neurodegenerative conditions, and serum from 43 healthy subjects. All samples were tested for AQP4-IgG/IgA/IgM antibodies using a live cell-based assay. No patients or controls had serum/CSF AQP4-IgG/IgA. One/43 iNPH patient and 0/43 controls tested positive for serum AQP4-IgM. The AQP4-IgM-positive iNPH patient had no clinico-radiological distinctive features. AQP4 antibodies are unlikely to play a role in iNPH pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroim.2020.577407DOI Listing
December 2020

Variable echo time imaging for detecting the short T2* components of the sciatic nerve: a validation study.

MAGMA 2020 Sep 22. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Neuroradiology, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy.

Objective: The aim of this study was to develop and validate an MRI protocol based on a variable echo time (vTE) sensitive to the short T2* components of the sciatic nerve.

Materials And Methods: 15 healthy subjects (M/F: 9/6; age: 21-62) were scanned at 3T targeting the sciatic nerve at the thigh bilaterally, using a dual echo variable echo time (vTE) sequence (based on a spoiled gradient echo acquisition) with echo times of 0.98/5.37 ms. Apparent T2* (aT2*) values of the sciatic nerves were calculated with a mono-exponential fit and used for data comparison.

Results: There were no significant differences in aT2* related to side, sex, age, and BMI, even though small differences for side were reported. Good-to-excellent repeatability and reproducibility were found for geometry of ROIs (Dice indices: intra-rater 0.68-0.7; inter-rater 0.70-0.72) and the related aT2* measures (intra-inter reader ICC 0.95-0.97; 0.66-0.85) from two different operators. Side-related signal-to-noise-ratio non-significant differences were reported, while contrast-to-noise-ratio measures were excellent both for side and echo.

Discussion: Our study introduces a novel MR sequence sensitive to the short T2* components of the sciatic nerve and may be used for the study of peripheral nerve disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10334-020-00886-wDOI Listing
September 2020

Aicardi Syndrome: Key Fetal MRI Features and Prenatal Differential Diagnosis.

Neuropediatrics 2020 08 3;51(4):276-285. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Department of Pediatric Radiology and Neuroradiology, Children's Hospital V. Buzzi, Milan, Italy.

Objective: This study was aimed to investigate the prenatal findings in Aicardi syndrome (AIC) by intrauterine magnetic resonance imaging (iuMRI) suggesting possible diagnostic criteria and differential diagnosis.

Methods: The iuMRI features of nine AIC confirmed cases were described and then compared with those of postnatal MRI. Furthermore, all iuMRI cases with both corpus callosum (CC) agenesis-dysgenesis and cortical malformation (AIC mimickers) were retrospectively reviewed and compared with iuMRI AIC cases, in order to identify possible neuroradiological predictors of AIC syndrome. For this purpose, Chi-square statistic and binary logistic regression analysis were performed.

Results: In all AIC cases, iuMRI was able to detect CC agenesis-dysgenesis and cortical development anomalies. Postnatal MRI revealed some additional findings mainly including further cystic lesions and in two cases small coloboma. A statistically significant difference between AIC and AIC mimicker were found regarding sex, nodular heterotopias, posterior fossa abnormalities, coloboma, and cortical gyration abnormalities. The most predictive variables in the logistic regression model were cortical gyration abnormalities, coloboma, and sex.

Conclusion: The iuMRI findings may suggest prenatal diagnosis of AIC syndrome with significant impact on parental counseling. Among possible differential diagnoses, tubulinopathies emerged.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1710528DOI Listing
August 2020

Is the fear of COVID-19 infection the same in all subjects?

Int J Infect Dis 2020 08 15;97:331-333. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Microbiology and Virology Unit, San Matteo Hospital, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.06.040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295515PMC
August 2020

Lumboperitoneal shunt in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus: a prospective controlled study.

J Neurol 2020 Sep 5;267(9):2556-2566. Epub 2020 May 5.

Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Unit, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Via Mondino 2, 27100, Pavia, Italy.

Objective: In this prospective, controlled, monocentric study, we described the clinical and neuroimaging 12-month follow-up of two parallel cohorts of subjects with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH), who did or did not undergo lumboperitoneal shunt (LPS).

Methods: We recruited 78 iNPH patients. At baseline, subjects underwent clinical and neuropsychological assessments, 3 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and tap test. After baseline, 44 patients (LPS group) opted for LPS implantation, whereas 34 subjects (control group) declined surgery. Both cohorts were then followed up for 12 months through scheduled clinical and neuropsychological evaluations every 6 months. 3 T MRI was repeated at 12-month follow-up.

Results: Gait, balance, and urinary continence improved in the LPS group, without significant influence on cognitive functions. Conversely, gait and urinary continence worsened in the control group. No preoperative MRI parameter was significant outcome predictor after LPS. Of relevance, in responders to LPS, we found postoperative reduction of periventricular white matter (PWM) hyperintensities, which were instead increased in the control group.

Conclusions: LPS is safe and effective in iNPH. An early surgical treatment is desirable to prevent clinical worsening. Post-surgery decrease of PWM hyperintensities may be a useful MRI marker surrogate for clinical effectiveness of LPS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-09844-xDOI Listing
September 2020

MRI study of paraspinal muscles in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

J Clin Med 2020 Mar 28;9(4). Epub 2020 Mar 28.

IRCCS Mondino Foundation, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

Background: the study of paraspinal muscles is pivotal for the diagnosis and staging of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and is usually performed by electromyography.

Objective: to evaluate the role of paraspinal muscle MRI as a diagnostic biomarker in ALS.

Methods: we evaluated T1-w images of newly diagnosed ALS patients (n = 14), age-matched healthy controls (n = 11), patients affected by inflammatory myopathy (n = 10), and lumbar radiculopathy (n = 19), and compared them semiquantitatively by using the Mercuri Scale.

Results: a significant difference in the appearance of the psoas muscle was observed between ALS patients and patients with radiculopathy (p = 0.003); after stratifying ALS patients into spinal and bulbar onsets, we found a significant difference in the appearance of the longissimus dorsi muscle between the spinal onset ALS subgroup and bulbar onset ALS subgroup (p = 0.0245), while no difference was found for multifidus (p = 0.1441), iliocostal (p = 0.0655), and psoas muscles (p = 0.0813) between the cohort subgroups.

Conclusions: paraspinal T1-w MRI could help to distinguish spinal ALS patients from healthy and pathological controls. Specifically, the study of longissimus dorsi could play the role of a diagnostic ALS biomarker.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9040934DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230865PMC
March 2020

Diagnosing acute encephalitis in patients with hematological disorders: caveats and pitfalls.

J Neurovirol 2020 04 20;26(2):257-263. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Neuroncology Unit, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy.

The aim of this study was to review the quality of the diagnostic work-up for acute encephalitis carried out at our center in a cohort of patients with hematological disorders. Our data showed substantial heterogeneity in investigating patients. Not all patients had their CSF tested for viruses commonly responsible for encephalitis in immunocompetent individuals (e.g., VZV, enterovirus). A blood sample for the calculation of the CSF/blood replication ratio was collected in 74% of cases. CSF cultures and immunophenotyping of CSF cells were performed in 77% and 21% of patients, respectively. A multidisciplinary consensus is needed to improve current guidelines and standardize diagnostic protocols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13365-019-00817-zDOI Listing
April 2020

Ten-year experience with standardized non-operating room anesthesia with Sevoflurane for MRI in children affected by neuropsychiatric disorders.

BMC Anesthesiol 2019 12 18;19(1):235. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Rianimazione 1 Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, 27100, Pavia, Italy.

Background: Children require anesthesia for MRI to maintain immobility and reduce discomfort; clear indications about the best anesthesiologic management are lacking and each center developed its own protocol. Moreover, children with neuropsychiatric disorders more likely require sedation and are described in literature as more prone to general and respiratory complications. Aim of this study was to analyze the applicability of a sevoflurane-based approach, to describe general and respiratory complications and to identify risk factors in a pediatric neuropsychiatric population.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study, university Hospital (January 2007-December 2016). All the 1469 anesthesiologic records of children addressed from Neuropsychiatric Unit to undergo MRI under general anesthesia were analyzed; 12 patients equal or older than 18-year-old were excluded. We identified post-hoc nine macro-categories: static encephalopathies, metabolic/evolutive encephalopathies, epileptic encephalopathies, neuromuscular diseases, autistic spectrum disorders, migraine, psychiatric disorders, intellectual disabilities, others. A logistic regression model for events with low frequency (Firth's penalized likelihood approach) was carried out to identify the mutually adjusted effect among endpoints (complications) and the independent variables chosen on the basis of statistical significance (univariate analysis, p ≤ 0.05) and clinical judgment.

Results: Of 1457 anesthesiologic records (age 4.0 (IQR 2.0 to 7.0) year-old, males 891 (61.2%), weight 17.0 (IQR 12.0 to 24.9) kg), 18 were cancelled for high anesthesiologic risk, 50 were cooperative, 1389 were anesthetized. A sevoflurane-based anesthesia was feasible in 92.3%; these patients required significantly less mechanical ventilation (8.6 vs. 16.2%; p = 0.012). Complications' rate was low (6.2%; 3.1% respiratory). The risk for general complications increases with ASA score > 1 (OR 2.22, 95 CI% 1.30 to 3.77, p = 0.003), male sex (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.81, p = 0.025), multi-drug anesthesia (OR 2.98, 95 CI% 1.26 to 7.06, p = 0.013). For respiratory complications, it increases with ASA score > 1 (OR 2.34, 95 CI% 1.19 to 4.73, p = 0.017), autumn-winter (OR 2.01, 95 CI% 1.06 to 3.78, p = 0.030), neuromuscular disorders (OR 3.18, 95 CI% 1.20 to 8.41, p = 0.020). We had no major complications compromising patients' outcome or requiring admission to ICU.

Conclusions: Sevoflurane anesthesia is feasible and safe for children affected by neuropsychiatric disorders undergoing MRI. Specific risk factors for general and respiratory complications should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12871-019-0897-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6921558PMC
December 2019

Predictors of Outcomes in Adolescents With Clinical High Risk for Psychosis, Other Psychiatric Symptoms, and Psychosis: A Longitudinal Protocol Study.

Front Psychiatry 2019 3;10:787. Epub 2019 Dec 3.

Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

In children and adolescents, schizophrenia is one of the ten main causes of disability-adjusted life years. The identification of people at Clinical High Risk of developing Psychosis (CHR-P) is one of the most promising strategies to improve outcomes. However, in children and adolescents research on the CHR-P state is still in its infancy and the clinical validity of at-risk criteria appears understudied in this population. Furthermore, only few studies have evaluated the psychopathological, neuropsychological, neuroimaging characteristics and, especially, long-term outcomes of adolescents at high risk. We present here the protocol of an innovative longitudinal cohort study of adolescents aged 12-17. The sample will consist of patients admitted to a third level neuropsychiatric unit, belonging to one of the following three subgroups: 1) adolescents with established Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-Fifth Edition psychosis, 2) adolescents with CHR-P, and 3) adolescents with psychiatric symptoms other than established psychosis or CHR-P. The primary aim of our study is to evaluate the 2-year prognosis across the three groups. We will measure transition to psychosis (or the stability of the diagnosis of psychosis in the psychotic group), the risk of development of other psychiatric disorders, as well as socio-occupational functioning at outcome. The secondary aim will be to explore the effect of specific predictors (clinical, neuropsychological and neuroimaging factors) on the prognosis. At baseline, 1-year and 2-year follow-up participants will be assessed using standardized semi-structured interviews and instruments. Psychopathological and functioning variables, as well as neuropsychological domains will be compared across the three subgroups. Moreover, at baseline and 2-year follow-up all recruited patients will undergo a 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging examination and diffusion tensor imaging parameters will be analyzed. We believe that this study will advance our ability to predict outcomes in underage CHR-P samples. In particular, our data will enable a better understanding of the clinical significance of CHR-P in adolescents, and shed new light on prognostic factors that can be used to refine the prediction of clinical outcomes and the implementation of preventive interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00787DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6902080PMC
December 2019

MRI patterns of muscle involvement in type 2 and 3 spinal muscular atrophy patients.

J Neurol 2020 Apr 27;267(4):898-912. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Pediatric Neurology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Gemelli 8, 00168, Rome, Italy.

Only few studies have reported muscle involvement in spinal muscular atrophy using muscle MRI but this has not been systematically investigated in a large cohort of both pediatric and adult patients with type 2 and type 3 spinal muscular atrophy. The aim of the present study was to define possible patterns of muscle involvement on MRI, assessing both fatty replacement and muscle atrophy, in a cohort of type 2 and type 3 spinal muscular atrophy children and adults (age range 2-45 years), including both ambulant and non-ambulant patients. Muscle MRI protocol consisted in T1-weighted sequences acquired on axial plane covering the pelvis, the thigh, and the leg with contiguous slices. Each muscle was examined through its whole extension using a grading system that allows a semiquantitative evaluation of fatty infiltration. Thigh muscles were also grouped in anterior, posterior, and medial compartment for classification of global atrophy. The results showed a large variability in both type 2 and type 3 spinal muscular atrophy, with a various degree of proximal to distal gradient. Some muscles, such us the adductor longus and gracilis were always selectively spared. In all patients, the involvement was a combination of muscle atrophy and muscle infiltration. The variability observed may help to better understand both natural history and response to new treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-019-09646-wDOI Listing
April 2020

MYO-MRI diagnostic protocols in genetic myopathies.

Neuromuscul Disord 2019 11 16;29(11):827-841. Epub 2019 Sep 16.

Robert-Yves Carlier, Service de Radiologie et Imagerie Médicale Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Garches, France; Centre de référence des maladies neuro-musculaires Paris-Nord-ESt, Filenemus, France. Electronic address:

Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging has emerged as a useful imaging tool in diagnosing and characterizing the progression of myopathies and muscular dystrophies. Whole-body MRI indications and diagnostic efficacy are becoming better defined with the increasing number of cases, publications and discussions within multidisciplinary working groups. Advanced Whole-body MRI protocols are rapid, lower cost, and well-tolerated by patients. Accurate interpretation of muscle Whole-body MRI requires a detailed knowledge of muscle anatomy and differential pattern of involvement in muscle diseases. With the surge in recently identified novel genetic myopathies, Whole-body MRI will become increasingly useful for phenotypic validation of genetic variants of unknown significance. In addition, Whole-body MRI will be progressively used as a biomarker for disease progression and quantify response to therapy with the emergence of novel disease modifying treatments. This review outlines Whole-body MRI indications and updates refined protocols and provides a comprehensive overview of the diagnostic utility and suggested methodology of Whole-body MRI for pediatric and adult patients with muscle diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2019.08.011DOI Listing
November 2019

Tracking muscle wasting and disease activity in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy by qualitative longitudinal imaging.

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2019 12 30;10(6):1258-1265. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Unità Operativa Complessa di Neurologia, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Background: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is one of the most frequent late-onset muscular dystrophies, characterized by progressive fatty replacement and degeneration involving single muscles in an asynchronous manner. With clinical trials at the horizon in this disease, the knowledge of its natural history is of paramount importance to understand the impact of new therapies. The aim of this study was to assess disease progression in FSHD using qualitative muscle magnetic resonance imaging, with a focus on the evolution of hyperintense lesions identified on short-tau inversion recovery (STIR+) sequences, hypothesized to be markers of active muscle injury.

Methods: One hundred genetically confirmed consecutive FSHD patients underwent lower limb muscle magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and after 365 ± 60 days in this prospective longitudinal study. T1 weighted (T1w) and STIR sequences were used to assess fatty replacement using a semiquantitative visual score and muscle oedema. The baseline and follow-up scans of each patient were also evaluated by unblinded direct comparison to detect the changes not captured by the scoring system.

Results: Forty-nine patients showed progression on T1w sequences after 1 year, and 30 patients showed at least one new STIR+ lesion. Increased fat deposition at follow-up was observed in 13.9% STIR+ and in only 0.21% STIR- muscles at baseline (P < 0.001). Overall, 89.9% of the muscles that showed increased fatty replacement were STIR+ at baseline and 7.8% were STIR+ at 12 months. A higher number of STIR+ muscles at baseline was associated with radiological worsening (odds ratio 1.17, 95% confidence interval 1.06-1.30, P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Our study confirms that STIR+ lesions represent prognostic biomarkers in FSHD and contributes to delineate its radiological natural history, providing useful information for clinical trial design. Given the peculiar muscle-by-muscle involvement in FSHD, MRI represents an invaluable tool to explore the modalities and rate of disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcsm.12473DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6903444PMC
December 2019