Publications by authors named "Giuseppina Vitale"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Epileptic seizures of suspected autoimmune origin: a multicentre retrospective study.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 Nov 28;91(11):1145-1153. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

Department of Neuroscience, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, Section of Neurology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy

Objective: To analyse autoantibody status in a well-defined European multicentre cohort of patients with epilepsy of unknown aetiology and to validate the recently proposed Antibody Prevalence in Epilepsy (APE2) and Response to ImmunoTherapy in Epilepsy (RITE2) scores.

Methods: We retrospectively collected clinical and paraclinical data of 92 patients referred to the Neurology Units of Verona and Salzburg between January 2014 and July 2019 with new-onset epilepsy, status epilepticus or chronic epilepsy of unknown aetiology. Fixed and live cell-based assays, tissue-based assays, immunoblot, and live rat hippocampal cell cultures were performed in paired serum/cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to detect antineuronal and antiglial antibodies. The APE2 and RITE2 scores were then calculated and compared with clinical and laboratory data.

Results: Autoantibodies were detected in 29/92 patients (31.5%), with multiple positivity observed in 6/29 cases. The APE2 score (median 5, range 1-15) significantly correlated with antibody positivity (p=0.014), especially for the presence of neuropsychiatric symptoms (p<0.01), movement disorders (p<0.01), dysautonomia (p=0.03), faciobrachial dyskinesias (p=0.03) and cancer history (p<0.01). Status epilepticus was significantly more frequent in antibody-negative patients (p<0.01). Among the items of the RITE2 score, early initiation of immunotherapy correlated with a good treatment response (p=0.001), whereas a cancer history was significantly more common among non-responders (p<0.01). Persistence of neuropsychiatric symptoms and seizures correlated with antiepileptic maintenance after at least 1 year.

Conclusions: This is the first study that independently validates the APE2 and RITE2 scores and includes the largest cohort of patients whose paired serum and CSF samples have been tested for autoantibodies possibly associated with autoimmune epilepsy.
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November 2020

Natural history and mortality of chronic epilepsy in an untreated population of rural Bolivia: a follow-up after 10 years.

Epilepsia 2009 Oct 26;50(10):2199-206. Epub 2009 Jun 26.

Department of Neurosciences, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.

Purpose: To evaluate the natural history and mortality of chronic epilepsy in an untreated prevalence cohort of people with epilepsy (PWE) in a rural area of Bolivia.

Methods: During 1994-1996 we carried out an epidemiologic survey in a sample of 9,995 subjects in the Cordillera province. At the end of the survey we identified 130 PWE, of whom 118 were classified as having "active epilepsy." We revisited this cohort 10 years after the prevalence survey.

Results: We were able to trace 103 (87.3%) of the 118 PWE previously identified. Ten of the 103 subjects died during the follow-up period. Of the 93 PWE still alive, adequate information on the occurrence of seizures was available for 71 subjects, of whom 31 (43.7%) were seizure-free for more than 5 years; only 3 of these 31 subjects have taken an antiepileptic drug (AED) for more than 1 year. Generalized seizures were associated with a better prognosis. Mortality rate in our prevalent cohort was 10.0/1,000 person-year at risk [95% confidence interval (CI) 5.5-18.3], without a significant increased risk respect to the general population [standardized mortality rate (SMR) 1.34; 95% CI 0.68-2.39]; a significant increased risk of death was found for patients with remote symptomatic epilepsy (SMR 3.0; 95% CI 1.2-6.3) but not with idiopathic epilepsy. Three of the 10 subjects died of causes possibly related to epilepsy.

Discussion: Our data suggest that spontaneous remission of epilepsy occurs in a substantial proportion of untreated patients affected by chronic epilepsy; concerning mortality, we found a 3-fold increased mortality in patients with remote symptomatic epilepsy.
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October 2009

A pilot trial of levetiracetam in eyelid myoclonia with absences (Jeavons syndrome).

Epilepsia 2008 Mar 29;49(3):425-30. Epub 2008 Jan 29.

Epilepsy Center, Department of Neurological Sciences, Federico II University, Napoli, Italy.

Objective: Eyelid myoclonia with absences (EMA) or Jeavons syndrome characterized by eyelid myoclonia (EM) (with or without absences), eye closure-induced EEG paroxysms, and photosensitivity. We conducted an open-label trial of levetiracetam in EMA.

Patients And Methods: Patients were recruited in different Italian Epilepsy Centres. Levetiracetam was administrated at starting dose of 10 mg/kg/day up to 50-60 mg/kg/day in two doses. Treatment period included a 5-6 week up-titration phase and a 12-week evaluation phase. The number of days with EM (i.e., days with seizures, DwS) and number of generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) were evaluated. Analysis of intent-to-treat population was performed using Fisher's and Wilcoxon tests.

Results: Thirty-five patients (23 F) with a mean age of 19 +/- 6 years were recruited. Twenty-seven had previously undergone one to five adequate trials of antiepileptic drugs. The median number of DwS/month was 12 +/- 8.2. Twenty-one patients experienced GTCS (median number/month: 1 +/- 0.2). Thirty-four subjects completed the trial. Levetiracetam was well tolerated (mean dose: 1985 mg/day). Responders were 28/35 (80%) patients, nine taking levetiracetam as monotherapy. Six patients were seizure-free, 15 had > or =75% and seven >50% seizure reduction. GTCS remitted in 14 out of 21 (66.6%) patients. The number/month of DwS (median: 12 vs 5; p = 0.0001) and of GTCS (median: 1 vs 0; p = 0.0001) decreased compared to baseline period. Disappearance or clear reduction in paroxysmal abnormalities at eye closure occurred in 20 of the responders and photoparoxysmal response in 19. Mean follow-up was 23.9 +/- 18.5 months.

Conclusion: Levetiracetam is effective and well tolerated in EMA. Placebo-controlled studies should confirm these findings.
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March 2008

Epilepsy and toxocariasis: a case-control study in Italy.

Epilepsia 2008 Apr 21;49(4):594-9. Epub 2007 Nov 21.

Department of Neurosciences, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.

Purpose: To assess the relationship between epilepsy and toxocariasis in adult subjects by means of a case-control study in Catania, Italy.

Methods: People with epilepsy (PWE) were randomly selected from the database of the center of epilepsy of our department. Epilepsy was diagnosed according to the definition proposed by the International League Against Epilepsy. One healthy control per each case was selected among subjects who went to the central laboratory for a hematological check. Control subjects underwent a complete neurological examination to exclude the presence of neurological disorders. PWE and controls were assessed serologically for antibodies against Toxocara canis (T. canis) by an immunoblotting assay.

Results: Two hundred thirty-one PWE (110 men and 121 women) and 201 controls (126 men and 75 women) were enrolled in the study. Of the 231 PWE, 152 presented partial seizures. Antibodies anti-T. canis were found in 38 PWE (16.4%) and in 13 controls (6.6%) giving a crude OR of 2.85 (95% CI 1.47-5.51). Adjusted OR estimated by logistic regression was 3.90 (95% CI 1.91-7.98). This association was mainly due to a significant association between Toxocara antibodies and partial epilepsy (adjusted OR 4.69; 95% CI 2.24-9.80), while a positive, but not significant, association was found with generalized seizures (adjusted OR 1.74; 95% CI 0.60-5.05).

Conclusion: We found a significant association between T. canis seropositivity and epilepsy and a stronger association was found with partial epilepsy. Our finding suggests that toxocariasis may increase the risk of epilepsy.
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April 2008