Publications by authors named "Irene Volonghi"

29 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

SARS-CoV-2 encephalitis is a cytokine release syndrome: evidences from cerebrospinal fluid analyses.

Clin Infect Dis 2021 Jan 4. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Neurology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Italy.

Background: Recent findings indicated that SARS-CoV-2 related neurological manifestations involve cytokine release syndrome along with endothelial activation, blood brain barrier dysfunction, and immune-mediated mechanisms. Very few studies have fully investigated the CSF correlates of SARS-CoV-2 encephalitis.

Methods: Patients with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and encephalitis (COV-Enc), encephalitis without SARS-CoV-2 infection (ENC) and healthy controls (HC) underwent an extended panel of CSF neuronal (NfL, T-tau), glial (GFAP, TREM2, YKL-40) and inflammatory biomarkers (IL-1β, IL-6, Il-8, TNF- α, CXCL-13 and β2-microglobulin).

Results: Thirteen COV-Enc, 21 ENC and 18 HC entered the study. In COV-Enc cases, CSF was negative for SARS-CoV-2 real-time PCR but exhibited increased IL-8 levels independently from presence of pleocytosis/hyperproteinorracchia. COV-Enc patients showed increased IL-6, TNF- α, and β2-microglobulin and glial markers (GFAP, sTREM-2, YKL-40) levels similar to ENC but normal CXCL13 levels. Neuronal markers NfL and T-Tau were abnormal only in severe cases.

Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2-related encephalitis were associated with prominent glial activation and neuroinflammatory markers, whereas neuronal markers were increased in severe cases only. The pattern of CSF alterations suggested a cytokine-release syndrome as the main inflammatory mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 related encephalitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1933DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799260PMC
January 2021

Clinical Presentation and Outcomes of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2-Related Encephalitis: The ENCOVID Multicenter Study.

J Infect Dis 2021 01;223(1):28-37

Neurology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Background: Several preclinical and clinical investigations have argued for nervous system involvement in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Some sparse case reports have described various forms of encephalitis in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease, but very few data have focused on clinical presentations, clinical course, response to treatment, and outcomes.

Methods: The SARS-CoV-2 related encephalopaties (ENCOVID) multicenter study included patients with encephalitis with full infectious screening, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data and confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection recruited from 13 centers in northern Italy. Clinical presentation and laboratory markers, severity of COVID-19 disease, response to treatment, and outcomes were recorded.

Results: Twenty-five cases of encephalitis positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection were included. CSF showed hyperproteinorrachia and/or pleocytosis in 68% of cases whereas SARS-CoV-2 RNA by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction resulted negative. Based on MRI, cases were classified as acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis (ADEM; n = 3), limbic encephalitis (LE; n = 2), encephalitis with normal imaging (n = 13), and encephalitis with MRI alterations (n = 7). ADEM and LE cases showed a delayed onset compared to the other encephalitis cases (P = .001) and were associated with previous, more severe COVID-19 respiratory involvement. Patients with MRI alterations exhibited worse response to treatment and final outcomes compared to those with other encephalitis.

Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with a wide spectrum of encephalitis characterized by different clinical presentation, response to treatment, and outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa609DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7543535PMC
January 2021

Clinical characteristics and outcomes of inpatients with neurologic disease and COVID-19 in Brescia, Lombardy, Italy.

Neurology 2020 08 22;95(7):e910-e920. Epub 2020 May 22.

From the Neurology Unit (A.B., A. Pilotto, I.L., M.G., E.B., S.B., M.C., S.C.P., V.C., A.I., M. Locatelli, S.M., B.R., L.R., A.S., F.S.d.C., N.Z., B.B., A. Pezzini, A. Padovani), Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia; Neurology Unit (A.B., A. Pilotto, C.A., A.A., S.C., E.C., M.F., S. Gipponi, P.L., L.P., R.R., L.R., I.V., B.B., A. Pezzini, A. Padovani), Vascular Neurology Unit (E.P., A.C., I.D., M.G., N.G., R.S., V.V., M.M.), and Neurophysiology Unit (S. Gazzina, U.L.), Department of Neurological and Vision Sciences, ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia; Neurology Unit (M.B.), University of Bologna; Department of Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases (L.B.) and Neurology (M. Leonardi), Public Health and Disability Unit, Foundation IRCCS Neurological Institute Carlo Besta, Milan; and Neurology Unit (P.I.), Fondazione Poliambulanza Hospital, Brescia, Italy.

Objective: To report clinical and laboratory characteristics, treatment, and clinical outcomes of patients admitted for neurologic diseases with and without coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Methods: In this retrospective, single-center cohort study, we included all adult inpatients with confirmed COVID-19 admitted to a neuro-COVID unit beginning February 21, 2020, who had been discharged or died by April 5, 2020. Demographic, clinical, treatment, and laboratory data were extracted from medical records and compared (false discovery rate corrected) to those of neurologic patients without COVID-19 admitted in the same period.

Results: One hundred seventy-three patients were included in this study, of whom 56 were positive and 117 were negative for COVID-19. Patients with COVID-19 were older (77.0 years, interquartile range [IQR] 67.0-83.8 years vs 70.1 years, IQR 52.9-78.6 years, = 0.006), had a different distribution regarding admission diagnoses, including cerebrovascular disorders (n = 43, 76.8% vs n = 68, 58.1%), and had a higher quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score on admission (0.9, IQR 0.7-1.1 vs 0.5, IQR 0.4-0.6, = 0.006). In-hospital mortality rates (n = 21, 37.5% vs n = 5, 4.3%, < 0.001) and incident delirium (n = 15, 26.8% vs n = 9, 7.7%, = 0.003) were significantly higher in the COVID-19 group. Patients with COVID-19 and without COVID with stroke had similar baseline characteristics, but patients with COVID-19 had higher modified Rankin Scale scores at discharge (5.0, IQR 2.0-6.0 vs 2.0, IQR 1.0-3.0, < 0.001), with a significantly lower number of patients with a good outcome (n = 11, 25.6% vs n = 48, 70.6%, < 0.001). In patients with COVID-19, multivariable regressions showed increasing odds of in-hospital death associated with higher qSOFA scores (odds ratio [OR] 4.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21-16.5, = 0.025), lower platelet count (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97-0.99, = 0.005), and higher lactate dehydrogenase (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.03, = 0.009) on admission.

Conclusions: Patients with COVID-19 admitted with neurologic disease, including stroke, have a significantly higher in-hospital mortality and incident delirium and higher disability than patients without COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000009848DOI Listing
August 2020

Steroid-Responsive Encephalitis in Coronavirus Disease 2019.

Ann Neurol 2020 08 9;88(2):423-427. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Neurology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection has the potential for targeting the central nervous system, and several neurological symptoms have been described in patients with severe respiratory distress. Here, we described the case of a 60-year-old patient with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection but only mild respiratory abnormalities who developed an akinetic mutism attributable to encephalitis. Magnetic resonance imaging was negative, whereas electroencephalography showed generalized theta slowing. Cerebrospinal fluid analyses during the acute stage were negative for SARS-CoV-2, positive for pleocytosis and hyperproteinorrachia, and showed increased interleukin-8 and tumor necrosis factor-α concentrations. Other infectious or autoimmune disorders were excluded. A progressive clinical improvement along with a reduction of cerebrospinal fluid parameters was observed after high-dose steroid treatment, thus arguing for an inflammatory-mediated brain involvement related to COVID-19. ANN NEUROL 2020;88:423-427.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25783DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7276848PMC
August 2020

Mitochondrial Neurogastrointestinal Encephalomyopathy (MNGIE-MTDPS1).

J Clin Med 2018 Oct 26;7(11). Epub 2018 Oct 26.

Center for Neuromuscular Diseases, Unit of Neurology, ASST Spedali Civili and University of Brescia, 25100 Brescia, Italy.

Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE-MTDPS1) is a devastating autosomal recessive disorder due to mutations in , which cause a loss of function of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), nucleoside accumulation in plasma and tissues, and mitochondrial dysfunction. The clinical picture includes progressive gastrointestinal dysmotility, cachexia, ptosis and ophthalmoparesis, peripheral neuropathy, and diffuse leukoencephalopathy, which usually lead to death in early adulthood. Other two MNGIE-type phenotypes have been described so far, which are linked to mutations in and genes. Therapeutic options are currently available in clinical practice (allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and carrier erythrocyte entrapped thymidine phosphorylase therapy) and newer, promising therapies are expected in the near future. Since successful treatment is strictly related to early diagnosis, it is essential that clinicians be warned about the clinical features and diagnostic procedures useful to suspect diagnosis of MNGIE-MTDPS1. The aim of this review is to promote the knowledge of the disease as well as the involved mechanisms and the diagnostic processes in order to reach an early diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm7110389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6262582PMC
October 2018

Mitochondrial diseases: advances and issues.

Appl Clin Genet 2017 15;10:21-26. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

Center for Neuromuscular Diseases and Neuropathies, Unit of Neurology, ASST "Spedali Civili", University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Mitochondrial diseases (MDs) are a clinically heterogeneous group of disorders caused by a dysfunction of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. They can be related to mutation of genes encoded using either nuclear DNA or mitochondrial DNA. The advent of next generation sequencing and whole exome sequencing in studying the molecular bases of MDs will bring about a revolution in the field of mitochondrial medicine, also opening the possibility of better defining pathogenic mechanisms and developing novel therapeutic approaches for these devastating disorders. The canonical rules of mitochondrial medicine remain milestones, but novel issues have been raised following the use of advanced diagnostic technologies. Rigorous validation of the novel mutations detected using deep sequencing in patients with suspected MD, and a clear definition of the natural history, outcome measures, and biomarkers that could be usefully adopted in clinical trials, are mandatory goals for the scientific community. Today, therapy is often inadequate and mostly palliative. However, important advances have been made in treating some clinical entities, eg, mitochondrial neuro-gastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, for which approaches using allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, orthotopic liver transplantation, and carrier erythrocyte entrapped thymidine phosphorylase enzyme therapy have recently been developed. Promising new treatment methods are being identified so that researchers, clinicians, and patients can join forces to change the history of these untreatable disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/TACG.S94267DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5317313PMC
February 2017

Connective tissue anomalies in patients with spontaneous cervical artery dissection.

Neurology 2014 Nov 29;83(22):2032-7. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

From the U.O. Neurologia (A.G.), Istituto Clinico S. Anna, Brescia; Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Sperimentali (P.C., A.M., L.P., I.V., V.D.G., A. Padovani, A. Pezzini), Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia; U.O. di Recupero e Rieducazione Funzionale (E.D.Z.), IRCCS Fondazione Don Gnocchi, Milano; Stroke Unit (M.G.), Neurologia Vascolare, Spedali Civili di Brescia; U.O. Neurologia (P.B., G.T., M. Carletti), Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria Borgo Trento, Verona; U.O.C. Neurologia (N. Checcarelli), Ospedale Valduce, Como; Dipartimento di Neuroscienze (G.M.), Università di Padova; U.O.C. Neurologia (M.M.), Ospedale di Arzignano; S.O.C. Neurologia (M. Chinaglia), Ospedale di Rovigo; and Sezione di Biologia e Genetica (M.R., N. Chiarelli, M. Colombi), Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare e Traslazionale, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Italia.

Objective: To investigate the prevalence of connective tissue abnormalities in patients with spontaneous cervical artery dissections (sCeAD).

Methods: We systematically assessed clinically detectable signs of connective tissue aberration in a series of consecutive patients with sCeAD and of age- and sex-matched patients with ischemic stroke unrelated to CeAD (non-CeAD IS) by a standard examination protocol including 68 items, and performed extensive molecular investigation for hereditary connective tissue disorders in all patients with sCeAD.

Results: The study group included 84 patients with sCeAD (mean age, 44.5 ± 7.8 years; 66.7% men) and 84 patients with non-CeAD IS. None of the patients with sCeAD met clinical or molecular diagnostic criteria for established hereditary connective tissue disorder. Connective tissue abnormalities were detected more frequently in the group of patients with sCeAD than in the group of those with non-CeAD IS (mean number of pathologic findings, 4.5 ± 3.5 vs 1.9 ± 2.3; p < 0.001). Eighty-one patients (96.4%) in the sCeAD group had at least one detectable sign compared with 55 patients (66.7%) in the group with non-CeAD IS (p < 0.001). Skeletal, ocular, and skin abnormalities, as well as craniofacial dysmorphisms, were the clinical signs more strongly associated with sCeAD. Signs suggesting connective tissue abnormality were also more frequently represented in patients with sCeAD than in patients with traumatic CeAD (28.6%, p < 0.001; mean number of pathologic findings, 1.7 ± 3.7, p = 0.045).

Conclusions: Connective tissue abnormalities are frequent in patients with sCeAD. This reinforces the hypothesis that systemic aberrations of the connective tissue might be implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000001030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4248452PMC
November 2014

Predictors of long-term recurrent vascular events after ischemic stroke at young age: the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults.

Circulation 2014 Apr 7;129(16):1668-76. Epub 2014 Feb 7.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italia (A. Pezzini, P.C., L.P., A.M., V.D.G., A. Padovani; Dipartimento di Scienze del Sistema Nervoso e del Comportamento, Unità di Statistica Medica e Genomica, Università di Pavia, Pavia, Italia (M.G.); Centro Trombosi, IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano-Milano, Italia (C.L., P.F.); Stroke Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Sant'Andrea, Roma, Italia (R.P., A.S., M.R.); Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Riabilitazione, Oftalmologia, Genetica e Scienze Materno-Infantili, Università di Genova, Genova, Italia (C.G., D.M.); Stroke Unit, Clinica Neurologica, Nuovo Ospedale Civile "S. Agostino Estense", AUSL Modena, Italia (A.Z., A.M.S.); Unità di Neurologia, Ospedale di Circolo, Università dell'Insubria, Varese, Italia (M.L.D.); Stroke Unit, Divisione di Medicina Cardiovascolare, Università di Perugia, Perugia, Italia (M.P.); Unità di Neurologia, Ospedale S. Andrea, La Spezia, Italia (M.D.S.); U.O.C. Neurologia, A.O Universitaria "San Giovanni di Dio e Ruggi d'Aragona", Salerno, Italia (A.T.); Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Scienze Psichiatriche e Anestesiologiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università di Messina, Messina, Italia (R.M.); Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Centro Neurolesi Bonino-Pulejo, Messina, Italia (R.S.C.); UO Neurologia, Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria Borgo Trento, Verona, Italia (P.B.); Stroke Center, Dipartimento di Neurologia, Ospedale Sacro Cuore Negrar, Verona, Italia (A.A.); Stroke Unit, U.O Neurologia, Azienda Ospedaliera "C. Poma", Mantova, Italia (G.S.); Stroke Unit, U.O Neurologia, IRCCS Ospedale S. Raffaele, Milano, Italia (M.S., G.G.); U.C Malattie Cerebrovascolari e Stroke Unit (A.C.) and U.C Neurologia d'Urgenza (G.M.), IRCCS Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Nazionale "C. Mondino," Pavia, Italia; Neurologia d'Urgenza and Stroke Unit, IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano-Milano, Italia (S.M.); Stroke Un

Background: Data on long-term risk and predictors of recurrent thrombotic events after ischemic stroke at a young age are limited.

Methods And Results: We followed 1867 patients with first-ever ischemic stroke who were 18 to 45 years of age (mean age, 36.8±7.1 years; women, 49.0%), as part of the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults (IPSYS). Median follow-up was 40 months (25th to 75th percentile, 53). The primary end point was a composite of ischemic stroke, transient ischemic attack, myocardial infarction, or other arterial events. One hundred sixty-three patients had recurrent thrombotic events (average rate, 2.26 per 100 person-years at risk). At 10 years, cumulative risk was 14.7% (95% confidence interval, 12.2%-17.9%) for primary end point, 14.0% (95% confidence interval, 11.4%-17.1%) for brain ischemia, and 0.7% (95% confidence interval, 0.4%-1.3%) for myocardial infarction or other arterial events. Familial history of stroke, migraine with aura, circulating antiphospholipid antibodies, discontinuation of antiplatelet and antihypertensive medications, and any increase of 1 traditional vascular risk factor were independent predictors of the composite end point in multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis. A point-scoring system for each variable was generated by their β-coefficients, and a predictive score (IPSYS score) was calculated as the sum of the weighted scores. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of the 0- to 5-year score was 0.66 (95% confidence interval, 0.61-0.71; mean, 10-fold internally cross-validated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.65).

Conclusions: Among patients with ischemic stroke aged 18 to 45 years, the long-term risk of recurrent thrombotic events is associated with modifiable, age-specific risk factors. The IPSYS score may serve as a simple tool for risk estimation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.005663DOI Listing
April 2014

Antithrombotic medications and the etiology of intracerebral hemorrhage: MUCH-Italy.

Neurology 2014 Feb 15;82(6):529-35. Epub 2014 Jan 15.

From the Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Sperimentali, Clinica Neurologica (A. Pezzini, P.C., L.P., A.M., V.D.G., A. Padovani), and Divisione di Biologia e Genetica, Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare e Traslazionale (M.R., M.C.), Università degli Studi di Brescia; Dipartimento di Scienze del Sistema Nervoso e del Comportamento (M. Grassi, D.P.), Unità di Statistica Medica e Genomica, Università di Pavia; Stroke Unit and Divisione di Medicina Cardiovascolare (M.P., V.C., G.A.), Università di Perugia; Stroke Unit (A.Z., M.L.D., A.M.S.), Clinica Neurologica, Nuovo Ospedale Civile "S. Agostino Estense," AUSL Modena; U.O di Neurologia (G.S., A.L., A.C.), Ospedale "C. Poma," Mantova; U.O. di Recupero e Rieducazione Funzionale (E.D.Z.), IRCCS Fondazione Don Gnocchi, Rovato; U.O Neurologia (A.G., I.V.), Istituto Clinico "S. Anna," Brescia; and Stroke Unit (M. Gamba), Neurologia Vascolare, Spedali Civili di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that the effect of antithrombotic medications on the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) varies according to the location of the hematoma.

Methods: Consecutive patients with ICH were enrolled as part of the Multicenter Study on Cerebral Hemorrhage in Italy (MUCH-Italy). Multivariable logistic regression models served to examine whether risk factors for ICH and location of the hematoma (deep vs lobar) predict treatment-specific ICH subgroups (antiplatelets-related ICH and oral anticoagulants [OACs]-related ICH).

Results: A total of 870 (313 lobar ICH, 557 deep ICH) subjects were included. Of these, 223 (25.6%) were taking antiplatelets and 77 (8.8%) OACs at the time of stroke. The odds of antiplatelet-related ICH increased with aging (odds ratio [OR] 1.05; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03-1.07) and hypertension (OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.22-2.85) but had no relation with the anatomical location of ICH. Conversely, lobar location of the hematoma was associated with the subgroup of OAC-related ICH (OR 1.70; 95% CI 1.03-2.81) when compared to the subgroup of patients taking no antithrombotic medications. Within the subgroup of patients taking OACs, international normalized ratio (INR) values were higher in those with lobar ICH as compared to those with deep ICH (2.8 ± 1.1 vs 2.2 ± 0.8; p = 0.011). The proportion of patients with lobar hematoma increased with increasing intensity of anticoagulation, with a ~2-fold increased odds of lobar compared to deep ICH (odds 2.17; p = 0.03) in those exposed to overanticoagulation (INR values >3.0).

Conclusions: OACs, as opposed to antiplatelets, predispose to lobar location of brain hematomas according to a dose-response relationship.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000000108DOI Listing
February 2014

Cognitive outcomes after acute coronary syndrome: a population based comparison with transient ischaemic attack and minor stroke.

Heart 2013 Oct 19;99(20):1509-14. Epub 2013 Jul 19.

Stroke Prevention Research Unit, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurology, John Radcliffe Hospital, and the University of Oxford, , Oxford, UK.

Objective: Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline when compared with controls, but case:control studies are subject to selection bias. We therefore compared cognitive outcomes in ACS with transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke, diseases with similar risk factor burden generally considered to be at high risk of cognitive decline.

Design: Prospective population based cohort study

Setting: Oxford Vascular Study (OXVASC) carried out within a defined population of 91 000 in Oxfordshire, UK.

Patients: 614 in total: 216 ACS, 182 TIA, 216 minor (non-disabling) stroke.

Outcome Measures: Mini-Mental-State-Examination (MMSE), Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status-modified (TICSm), and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) at 1 and 5 years.

Results: Overall risk factor burden was similar across groups but ACS patients had more smoking (27% vs 14%, p<0.001) and less hypertension (45% vs 53%, p<0.01) and atrial fibrillation (6% vs 14%, p<0.001). Cognitive outcomes were worse at 1 year in ACS versus TIA patients: mean±SD MMSE 26.6±2.7 vs 27.6±2.5, p<0.0001; OR=2.14, 95% CI 1.11 to 4.13 for moderate/severe cognitive impairment (MMSE <24) with a similar trend at 5 years, and ACS outcomes were more similar to minor stroke. Memory and language versus frontal/executive subtests were relatively more impaired in ACS than TIA and minor stroke patients.

Conclusions: Risk of cognitive impairment after ACS is similar to minor stroke and higher than TIA with implications for clinical practice including consent and adherence with medication. Differences in cognitive domain performance suggest a greater role for degenerative brain pathology in ACS which may be linked to vascular risk profile and cardiac factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2013-304207DOI Listing
October 2013

Pure midbrain ischemia and hypoplastic vertebrobasilar circulation.

Neurol Sci 2014 Feb 13;35(2):259-63. Epub 2013 Jul 13.

Stroke Unit, U.O. Neurologia Vascolare, Spedali Civili di Brescia, P.le Spedali Civili, 1, Brescia, Italy,

Isolated midbrain infarction is rare and little is known about etiology and patient's long-term follow up. We aimed to describe the clinical features, the causative diseases and the outcome of patients with isolated midbrain infarction who were admitted to our center, focusing on vascular abnormalities of posterior circulation. All patients with first acute ischemic stroke limited to the midbrain were included and their demographic features, neurological symptoms, neuroimaging data, and cardiovascular risk factors were recorded. Functional outcome, using modified Rankin scale, was assessed at discharge and at the 3 month follow up evaluation. We found nine patients with acute isolated midbrain infarction, representing 0.61 % of all ischemic stroke admitted to our center. The most common cause of stroke was small-vessel disease (88.8 %). At stroke onset, none of the patients had consciousness disturbances, and four patients (44.4 %) had gait impairment, five patients (55.5 %) presented with diplopia due to involvement of the third nerve or fascicular type of third-nerve palsy, seven patients (77.7 %) had vascular anomalies of vertebrobasilar circulation: the most frequent was vertebral artery hypoplasia [four patients (44.4 %)]. At follow up evaluation, seven patients (77.7 %) had a good functional outcome and no patients experienced recurrence of cerebrovascular events. As isolated midbrain infarction is uncommon, specific ocular motor signs, mainly third-nerve palsy, may help to identify and localize the mesencephalic infarct. Abnormalities in vertebrobasilar circulation, such as hypoplastic basilar or vertebral artery, are frequently associated with isolated midbrain ischemia. The hypoplastic vertebrobasilar system may predispose to posterior ischemic stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-013-1502-xDOI Listing
February 2014

Complications of acute stroke and the occurrence of early seizures.

Cerebrovasc Dis 2013 31;35(5):444-50. Epub 2013 May 31.

Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Sperimentali, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italia. alessandro.pezzini @ med.unibs.it

Background: Seizures are common neurological consequences of stroke. Although a number of factors including stroke severity on admission, cortical involvement, and stroke subtype have been consistently associated with post-stroke seizures, the effect that medical and neurological complications of stroke, occurring in the very acute phase, might have on such a risk has never been adequately explored. In the present study we aimed at determining the extent to which complications within the first week of stroke influence the risk of early seizures (ES).

Methods: Data of consecutive patients with first-ever acute stroke included in the Brescia Stroke Registry were analyzed. ES (≤7 days) were recorded and correlated with demographic data, disease characteristics, risk factors, and prespecified medical and neurological stroke complications in a multivariate path analysis model.

Results: 516 patients with first-ever acute stroke were eligible for inclusion in the present study. Of them, 436 patients had ischemic stroke (IS) [64 (14.6%) with hemorrhagic transformation (HT)] and 80 had intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Twenty patients (3.9%) developed ES. Patients with ES had a higher burden of complications compared with those without (30 vs. 4.2%, for patients with >6 complications). Lesion type, stroke complications, and lesion site were directly related to the risk of seizure occurrence (OR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.07-0.80 for IS vs. ICH; OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.21-2.01 for any increase of 1 in the number of complications; OR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.04-0.56 for subcortical lesions vs. cortical lesions). Complications appeared also to mediate the indirect effect of lesion type on the occurrence of ES (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.60-0.94). No significant difference on the risk of ES was observed when HT and ICH were compared. The total effect of lesion type was 0.25 × 0.75 = 0.18, corresponding to (1-0.18) = 82% lower risk of ES for IS as compared to ICH.

Conclusion: Although major determinants of ES are nonmodifiable, preventable and treatable medical and neurologic complications within the first week of stroke increase the risk of ES and mediate the effect of established predictors on the propensity to post-stroke epilepsy. Future epidemiologic studies aimed at investigating post-stroke seizures should include precise information on these complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000348704DOI Listing
January 2014

Obesity and the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage: the multicenter study on cerebral hemorrhage in Italy.

Stroke 2013 Jun 2;44(6):1584-9. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Sperimentali, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, P.le Spedali Civili 1, 25123 Brescia, Italia.

Background And Purpose: The effect of obesity on the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) may depend on the pathophysiology of vessel damage. To further address this issue, we investigated and quantified the correlations between obesity and obesity-related conditions in the causal pathways leading to ICH.

Methods: A total of 777 ICH cases ≥ 55 years of age (287 lobar ICH and 490 deep ICH) were consecutively enrolled as part of the Multicenter Study on Cerebral Hemorrhage in Italy and compared with 2083 control subjects by a multivariate path analysis model. Separate analyses were conducted for deep and lobar ICH.

Results: Obesity was not independently associated with an increased risk of lobar ICH (odds ratio [OR], 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.58-1.01) or deep ICH (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.95-1.45) when compared with control subjects. The path analysis confirmed the nonsignificant total effect of obesity on the risk of lobar ICH (OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.58-1.02) but demonstrated a significant indirect effect on the risk of deep ICH (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.03-1.57), mostly determined by hypertension (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.04-1.11) and diabetes mellitus (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01-1.07). Obesity was also associated with an increased risk of deep ICH when compared with lobar ICH (OR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.14-2.31).

Conclusions: Obesity increases the risk of deep ICH, mostly through an indirect effect on hypertension and other intermediate obesity-related comorbidities, but has no major influence on the risk of lobar ICH. This supports the hypothesis of different, vessel-specific, biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between obesity and cerebral hemorrhage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.000069DOI Listing
June 2013

Headache due to spontaneous intracranial hypotension and subsequent cerebral vein thrombosis.

Headache 2012 Nov-Dec;52(10):1592-6. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Cerebral vein thrombosis (CVT) is a rare complication of spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). When to suspect a thrombotic disorder during the course of intracranial hypotension is not fully elucidated. A 48-year-old woman was admitted because of SIH with no signs of CVT on neuroimaging. The occurrence of diplopia and blurred vision 12 days later led to the performance of further investigations, which revealed thrombosis of the left lateral sinus, in the absence of variations in the headache characteristics. Among the other 4 cases of SIH clearly preceding the occurrence of CVT reported so far, only one had a change in the headache pattern related to CVT development. Although a change in the characteristics of headache is considered a marker of CVT in patients with SIH, this is not invariably part of the clinical scenario. Any new neurologic finding on exam in the disease course should raise a suspicion of venous thrombosis, thus prompting further specific investigations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-4610.2012.02261.xDOI Listing
April 2014

Grange syndrome: an identifiable cause of stroke in young adults.

Am J Med Genet A 2012 Nov 17;158A(11):2894-8. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Grange syndrome is a disorder characterized by arterial occlusive disease, hypertension, congenital cardiac defects, bone fragility, brachysyndactyly, and learning disabilities. It was first described in four members of the same family and in two sporadic cases thereafter, suggesting the possibility of various patterns of inheritance. We report on the case of an 18-year-old female presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage due to the rupture of a basilar artery aneurysm, and with distinctive systemic features including extensive vasculopathy, facial dysmorphisms and brachysyndactyly, consistent with the diagnosis of Grange syndrome. Although rare and not fully characterized, Grange syndrome should be included in the differential diagnosis of stroke at young age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.35593DOI Listing
November 2012

Thromboembolic complications of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis 2012 Sep;23(6):559-62

Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Neurological Clinic, University of Studies of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an adverse effect of heparin therapy which can be responsible for thrombotic events with embolic consequences. Although ischemic stroke is a well known consequence of HIT, few cases of cerebral ischemia of arterial origin have been reported so far. A 38-year-old man was admitted because of acute multiple ischemic strokes and pulmonary embolism which occurred during treatment with low molecular weight heparin as prophylactic therapy for orthopedic surgery. Neuroimaging showed occlusion of the right common carotid artery with multiple acute cerebral infarcts. Testing for anti-platelet factor 4 antibodies confirmed the diagnosis. Systematic review of the literature revealed 55 cases of arterial stroke and three cases of carotid artery occlusion caused by HIT. Although arterial ischemic stroke is a rare complication of HIT, a high level of suspicion and a prompt diagnosis of this coagulation disorder are necessary to avoid life-threatening thromboembolic complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MBC.0b013e3283502989DOI Listing
September 2012

Large middle cerebral artery and panhemispheric infarction.

Front Neurol Neurosci 2012 14;30:154-7. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Large middle cerebral artery (MCA) and panhemispheric stroke represent a minority of cerebral ischemic events, yet they are responsible for a disproportionate share of morbidity and mortality. Malignant infarction with formation of cerebral edema is a common cause for secondary neurologic deterioration. Despite intensive medical and surgical care, prognosis is often poor and mortality may be as high as 60-80%. Surgical intervention can reduce that mortality compared to medical therapy alone, but necessitates a careful exploration of patient characteristics for acceptable outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000333628DOI Listing
June 2012

Interaction between proatherosclerotic factors and right-to-left shunt on the risk of cryptogenic stroke: the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults.

Heart 2012 Mar 23;98(6):485-9. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, P.le Spedali Civili, 1, 25100 Brescia, Italia.

Objective: To explore the interaction effects between cardiac interatrial right-to-left shunt (RLS) and proatherosclerotic factors on the risk of brain ischaemia.

Design: Multicentre Italian case-control study.

Setting: University hospitals.

Participants: 588 patients with cryptogenic stroke (CS) aged ≤45 years and 585 control subjects consecutively enrolled as part of the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults.

Methods: Interaction effects between RLS and an individual proatherosclerotic score computed from the number of conventional vascular risk factors for the risk of CS were investigated. Data were examined by logistic regression models and expressed as interaction OR or interaction risk difference (RD).

Results: CS risk increased with increasing number of proatherosclerotic factors in subjects without RLS (OR 2.73; 95% CI 1.98 to 3.76; RD +0.246; 95% CI +0.17 to +0.32; for subjects with one or more factors), but was higher in subjects with RLS and no additional proatherosclerotic factors (OR 5.14; 95% CI 3.49 to 7.58; RD +0.388; 95% CI +0.31 to +0.47) compared with subjects without RLS and no risk factors. Negative interaction and antagonistic effects between RLS and proatherosclerotic factors were observed (interaction OR 0.52; 95% CI 0.31 to 0.91; interaction RD -0.17; 95% CI -0.29 to -0.05).

Conclusions: The influence of RLS on the risk of CS decreases with increasing number of atherosclerotic factors, and is highest when such factors are absent. Individual proatherosclerotic profiles may help to identify patients with CS whose patent foramen ovale is probably pathogenic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2011-300970DOI Listing
March 2012

Ischemic Stroke during Pregnancy and Puerperium.

Stroke Res Treat 2011 Jan 27;2011:606780. Epub 2011 Jan 27.

Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Brescia, 25128 Brescia, Italy.

Ischemic stroke during pregnancy and puerperium represents a rare occurrence but it could be a serious and stressful event for mothers, infants, and also families. Whenever it does occur, many concerns arise about the safety of the mother and the fetus in relation to common diagnostic tests and therapies leading to a more conservative approach. The physiological adaptations in the cardiovascular system and in the coagulability that accompany the pregnant state, which are more significant around delivery and in the postpartum period, likely contribute to increasing the risk of an ischemic stroke. Most of the causes of an ischemic stroke in the young may also occur in pregnant patients. Despite this, there are specific conditions related to pregnancy which may be considered when assessing this particular group of patients such as pre-eclampsia-eclampsia, choriocarcinoma, peripartum cardiomiopathy, amniotic fluid embolization, and postpartum cerebral angiopathy. This article will consider several questions related to pregnancy-associated ischemic stroke, dwelling on epidemiological and specific etiological aspects, diagnostic issue concerning the use of neuroimaging, and the related potential risks to the embryo and fetus. Therapeutic issues surrounding the use of anticoagulant and antiplatelets agents will be discussed along with the few available reports regarding the use of thrombolytic therapy during pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/606780DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038679PMC
January 2011

Mutations in TGFBR2 gene cause spontaneous cervical artery dissection.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2011 Dec 26;82(12):1372-4. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, P le Spedali Civili, 1, 25100 Brescia, Italia.

Mutations in the genes encoding transforming growth factor β receptors 1 and 2 (TGFBR1 and TGFBR2) have recently been associated with hereditary connective tissue disorders with widespread vascular involvement, including arterial dissection. To determine whether mutations in these genes cause spontaneous cervical artery dissection (sCAD), all coding exons of TGFBR1 and TGFBR2 were sequenced in 56 consecutive patients with sCAD. Novel TGFBR2 disease causing mutations were found in two patients. The two mutations were the pK327R substitution affecting the kinase domain of TGFBR2 and the pC138R substitution falling in the extracellular domain of the protein, involved in TGFβ binding and signalling. No TGFBR1 mutation was found. The findings indicate that TGFBR2 gene mutations are responsible for sCAD in 3.6% (95% CI 0.0 to 8.4) of cases, have implications in understanding the role of TGFβ signalling in the pathogenesis of sCAD and emphasise the importance of considering molecular characterisation of the TGFBR2 gene in these patients, regardless of the presence of clinical features suggestive of hereditary connective tissue disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp.2010.231902DOI Listing
December 2011

The migraine-ischemic stroke relation in young adults.

Stroke Res Treat 2010 Dec 9;2011:304921. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Piazzale Spedali Civili, 1, 25100 Brescia, Italy.

In spite of the strong epidemiologic evidence linking migraine and ischemic stroke in young adults, the mechanisms explaining this association remain poorly understood. The observation that stroke occurs more frequently during the interictal phase of migraine prompts to speculation that an indirect relation between the two diseases might exist. In this regard, four major issues might be considered which may be summarized as follows: (1) the migraine-ischemic stroke relation is influenced by specific risk factors such as patent foramen ovale or endothelial dysfunction and more frequent in particular conditions like spontaneous cervical artery dissection; (2) migraine is associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors; (3) the link is caused by migraine-specific drugs; (4) migraine and ischemic vascular events are linked via a genetic component. In the present paper, we will review epidemiological studies, discuss potential mechanisms of migraine-induced stroke and comorbid ischemic stroke, and pose new research questions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/304921DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005862PMC
December 2010

Predictors of migraine subtypes in young adults with ischemic stroke: the italian project on stroke in young adults.

Stroke 2011 Jan 24;42(1):17-21. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, P.le Spedali Civili, 1, 25100 Brescia, Italia.

Background And Purpose: the mechanisms underlying the relationship between migraine and ischemic stroke remain uncertain. The aim of the present study was to investigate the predictive value of major cardiovascular risk factors, cardiac interatrial abnormalities, and additional biological markers on migraine subtypes in young adults with ischemic stroke.

Methods: ischemic stroke patients aged 45 years or younger were consecutively enrolled as part of the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults. A comprehensive evaluation was performed including assessment of self-reported migraine and cardiovascular risk factors, interatrial right-to-left shunt, and genotyping to detect factor V Leiden and the G20210A mutation in the prothrombin gene.

Results: nine hundred eighty-one patients (mean age, 36.0 ± 7.6 years; 50.7% women) were included. The risk of migraine with aura increased with decreasing number of cardiovascular risk factors (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.24-0.99 for 2 factors or more), increasing number of thrombophilic variants (OR, 2.21; 95% CI, 1.05-4.68 for carriers of at least 1 of the 2), and the presence of right-to-left shunt (OR, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.37-3.45), as compared to patients without migraine. None of these factors had influence on the risk of migraine without aura.

Conclusions: in young adults with ischemic stroke, low cardiovascular risk profile, right-to-left shunt, and an underlying procoagulant state are predictors of migraine with aura. The biological effects of these factors should be considered in future studies aimed at investigating the mechanisms linking migraine to brain ischemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.592246DOI Listing
January 2011

Influence of acute blood pressure on short- and mid-term outcome of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

J Neurol 2011 Apr 6;258(4):634-40. Epub 2010 Nov 6.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, P.le Spedali Civili, 1, 25100 Brescia, Italy.

The optimal management of blood pressure (BP) during acute stroke is controversial. We aimed to investigate whether (1) acute BP has differential impact on clinical outcome of ischemic stroke (IS) and spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and (2) the magnitude of such an effect varies from the very acute phase to the postacute phase of the two diseases. BP values were automatically recorded at 15-min intervals within the first 48 h in consecutive patients with stroke onset less than 24 h before Stroke Unit admission. Growth mixture models were applied to evaluate the association between binary outcome measures [(1) early neurological deterioration (defined as a ≥4-point increase in 48-h National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale [NIHSS] score), (2) 90-day unfavorable functional status (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] 3-6), and (3) 90-day mortality] and the latent heterogeneity of maximum BP trajectories over time, expressed by two (high/low) BP latent classes within stroke groups. After exclusions, 264 patients (198 IS, 66 ICH) were included. High systolic BP (sBP) class was associated with (1) a direct ~15% increased risk of early neurological deterioration [risk difference (RD), +0.151; 95% confidence interval (CI) +0.039 to +0.263] and ~4% worse 48-h outcome for ICH with respect to IS (RD, +0.038; 95% CI +0.005 to +0.071), (2) a ~28% increased risk of 90-day unfavorable outcome in the group of patients with ICH with respect to IS [IRD = RD(ICH) - RD(IS), +0.289; 95% CI +0.010 to +0.571], and (3) no significant effect on 90-day mortality. The influence of acute BP values on mid-term stroke outcome varies depending on the stroke subtype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-010-5813-zDOI Listing
April 2011

New insights into the pleiotropic effects of statins for stroke prevention.

Mini Rev Med Chem 2009 Jun;9(7):794-804

Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, P.le Spedali Civili, 1, 25100 Brescia, Italia.

There is compelling evidence that treatment with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors - "statins" - the most important class of lipid lowering agents, reduces ischemic stroke incidence independent on their effect on serum cholesterol levels. In this review, the non-lipid-mediated - "pleiotropic" - effects of statins as well as their potential implication in developing new treatment strategies for stroke prevention will be discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/138955709788452658DOI Listing
June 2009

Do common prothrombotic mutations influence the risk of cerebral ischaemia in patients with patent foramen ovale? Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Thromb Haemost 2009 May;101(5):813-7

Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia P.le Spedali Civili, 1 25100 Brescia, Italia.

Conflicting results are available on the association of prothrombotic genetic abnormalities with patent foramen ovale (PFO)-related cerebral ischaemia. We comprehensively sought and identified studies of the association of both the factor V Leiden (FV(G1691A) mutation) and the prothrombin mutation (PT(G20210A) mutation) with PFO-related cerebral ischaemia and did meta-analyses to assess the evidence for such a relation. We analysed data from six eligible studies in 856 cases and 1,001 control subjects. Additional unpublished data from a new series including 463 subjects were also entered into the analysis. The PT(G20210A) variant was significantly associated with PFO-related stroke in comparison with both control subjects (odds ratio [OR] 3.85; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.22 to 6.66) and non-PFO-associated stroke patients (OR 2.31; 95% CI 1.20 to 4.43), whereas a trend toward an association was observed for the FV(G1691A) mutation (OR 1.18; 95% CI 0.73 to 1.90, compared to control subjects; OR 1.14; 95% CI 0.62 to 2.09, compared to non-PFO-associated stroke patients). The status of carrier of either the FV(G1691A) mutation or the PT(G20210A) variant was associated with a risk for stroke of 1.98 (95% CI 1.38 to 2.83) and 1.62 (95% CI 1.03 to 2.57), as compared to control subjects and non-PFO-associated stroke patients, respectively. Addition of common prothrombotic genetic variants to standard initial screening may contribute to stratifying PFO-associated stroke patients at different risk of ischaemic events and targeting secondary prevention strategies.
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May 2009

The migraine-ischemic stroke connection: potential pathogenic mechanisms.

Curr Mol Med 2009 Mar;9(2):215-26

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Universită degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italia.

Strong epidemiological evidence indicates that migraine, especially migraine with aura, is associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke. However, the precise mechanisms of such a relation are currently not fully elucidated and are still a matter of speculation. Migraine may directly cause an ischemic event (i.e, migrainous infarct), by inducing cerebral microcirculatory vasoconstriction (cortical spreading depression-related oligemia), intracerebral large vessels spasm, and vascular endothelium-related hypercoagulability. On the other hand, migraine may predispose to cerebral ischemia outside of a migraine attack by affecting endothelial function, alone or in combination with traditional vascular risk factors, or by interacting with pre-existent stroke susceptibility conditions (i.e, patent foramen ovale). At least theoretically, the migraine-stroke link may be the consequence of the unfavourable effect of migraine-specific drugs (i.e, triptans or ergot alkaloids). Finally, migraine and ischemic vascular events may be linked via genetic pathways, certain genes playing a role on both diseases and influencing their relation. The coexistence of ischemic stroke and migraine in the context of specific syndromes (i.e, CADASIL) characterized by peculiar phenotype, proven inherited background and chronic alterations of the wall of cerebral small vessel arteries suggests that migraine and ischemic stroke may be the end phenotype of common pathogenic mechanisms. How to identify those migraineurs at highest risk of ischemic stroke and whether stroke can be prevented by specific therapeutic strategies are the goals of future research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156652409787581583DOI Listing
March 2009

Migraine and ischemic stroke: a debated question.

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2008 Aug 7;28(8):1399-421. Epub 2008 May 7.

Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Numerous epidemiologic observations reporting high prevalence of migraine among young individuals with stroke as well as dysfunction of cerebral arteries during migraine attacks prompt speculation on the existence of a comorbidity between the two disorders. The recent finding of silent infarct-like brain lesions in migraineurs reinforced this hypothesis and raised questions on whether migraine may be a progressive disorder rather than simply an episodic disorder. Stroke can occur during the course of migraine attacks with aura, supporting the assumption of a causal relation between the two diseases. Migraine may accentuate other existing risk factors for stroke, and both jointly increase the risk of cerebral ischemia outside of migraine attacks. In this regard, the role of migraine might be that of predisposing condition for cerebral ischemia. Migraine and ischemic stroke may be the end phenotype of common pathogenic mechanisms. Evidence of a migraine-stroke relation in cases of specific disorders, such as CADASIL (cerebral autosomal-dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy) and MELAS (mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes), strongly supports this concept. Finally, acute focal cerebral ischemia can trigger migraine attacks, and, thus, migraine may be the consequence of stroke. In this paper, we will review contemporary epidemiologic studies, discuss potential mechanisms of migraine-induced stroke and comorbid ischemic stroke, and pose new research questions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/jcbfm.2008.36DOI Listing
August 2008