Publications by authors named "Francesca Torri"

2 Publications

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Next-generation sequencing application to investigate skeletal muscle channelopathies in a large cohort of Italian patients.

Neuromuscul Disord 2020 Dec 14. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Neurology IV Unit, Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Non-dystrophic myotonias and periodic paralyses are a heterogeneous group of disabling diseases classified as skeletal muscle channelopathies. Their genetic characterization is essential for prognostic and therapeutic purposes; however, several genes are involved. Sanger-based sequencing of a single gene is time-consuming, often expensive; thus, we designed a next-generation sequencing panel of 56 putative candidate genes for skeletal muscle channelopathies, codifying for proteins involved in excitability, excitation-contraction coupling, and metabolism of muscle fibres. We analyzed a large cohort of 109 Italian patients with a suspect of NDM or PP by next-generation sequencing. We identified 24 patients mutated in CLCN1 gene, 15 in SCN4A, 3 in both CLCN1 and SCN4A, 1 in ATP2A1, 1 in KCNA1 and 1 in CASQ1. Eight were novel mutations: p.G395Cfs*32, p.L843P, p.V829M, p.E258E and c.1471+4delTCAAGAC in CLCN1, p.K1302R in SCN4A, p.L208P in ATP2A1 and c.280-1G>C in CASQ1 genes. This study demonstrated the utility of targeted next generation sequencing approach in molecular diagnosis of skeletal muscle channelopathies and the importance of the collaboration between clinicians and molecular geneticists and additional methods for unclear variants to make a conclusive diagnosis.
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December 2020

Estimating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on services provided by Italian Neuromuscular Centers: an Italian Association of Myology survey of the acute phase.

Acta Myol 2020 Jun 1;39(2):57-66. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

Dino Ferrari Centre, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation (DEPT), Neuroscience Section, University of Milan, Italy.

Introduction: Since February 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy has forced the health care system to undergo profound rearrangements in its services and facilities, especially in the worst-hit areas in Northern Italy. In this setting, inpatient and outpatient services had to rethink and reorganize their activities to meet the needs of patients during the "lockdown". The Italian Association of Myology developed a survey to estimate the impact of these changes on patients affected by neuromuscular disorders and on specialized neuromuscular centers during the acute phase of COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We developed an electronic survey that was sent to neuromuscular centers affiliated with the Italian Association of Myology, assessing changes in pharmacological therapies provision, outpatient clinical and instrumental services, support services (physiotherapy, nursing care, psychological support) and clinical trials.

Results: 40% of surveyed neuromuscular centers reported a reduction in outpatient visit and examinations (44.5% of centers in Northern regions; 25% of centers in Central regions; 50% of centers in Southern regions). Twenty-two% of centers postponed in-hospital administration of therapies for neuromuscular diseases (23.4% in Northern regions; 13.0% in Central regions; 20% in Southern regions). Diagnostic and support services (physiotherapy, nursing care, psychological support) were suspended in 57% of centers (66/43/44% in Northern, Central and Southern centers respectively) Overall, the most affected services were rehabilitative services and on-site outpatient visits, which were suspended in 93% of centers. Strategies adopted by neuromuscular centers to overcome these changes included maintaining urgent on-site visits, addressing patients to available services and promoting remote contact and telemedicine.

Conclusions: Overall, COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant disruption of clinical and support services for patients with neuromuscular diseases. Despite the efforts to provide telemedicine consults to patients, this option could be promoted and improved further. A close collaboration between the different neuromuscular centers and service providers as well as further implementation of telehealth platforms are necessary to ensure quality care to NMD patients in the near future and in case of recurrent pandemic waves.
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June 2020