Publications by authors named "Laura Balcer"

224 Publications

COVID-19 associated brain/spinal cord lesions and leptomeningeal enhancement: A meta-analysis of the relationship to CSF SARS-CoV-2.

J Neuroimaging 2021 Jun 8. Epub 2021 Jun 8.

Department of Neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.

Background And Purpose: We reviewed the literature to evaluate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) results from patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who had neurological symptoms and had an MRI that showed (1) central nervous system (CNS) hyperintense lesions not attributed to ischemia and/or (2) leptomeningeal enhancement. We sought to determine if these findings were associated with a positive CSF severe acute respiratory syndrome associated coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Methods: We performed a systematic review of Medline and Embase from December 1, 2019 to November 18, 2020. CSF results were evaluated based on the presence/absence of (1) ≥ 1 CNS hyperintense lesion and (2) leptomeningeal enhancement.

Results: In 117 publications, we identified 193 patients with COVID-19 who had an MRI of the CNS and CSF testing. There were 125 (65%) patients with CNS hyperintense lesions. Patients with CNS hyperintense lesions were significantly more likely to have a positive CSF SARS-CoV-2 PCR (10% [9/87] vs. 0% [0/43], p = 0.029). Of 75 patients who had a contrast MRI, there were 20 (27%) patients who had leptomeningeal enhancement. Patients with leptomeningeal enhancement were significantly more likely to have a positive CSF SARS-CoV-2 PCR (25% [4/16] vs. 5% [2/42], p = 0.024).

Conclusion: The presence of CNS hyperintense lesions or leptomeningeal enhancement on neuroimaging from patients with COVID-19 is associated with increased likelihood of a positive CSF SARS-CoV-2 PCR. However, a positive CSF SARS-CoV-2 PCR is uncommon in patients with these neuroimaging findings, suggesting they are often related to other etiologies, such as inflammation, hypoxia, or ischemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jon.12880DOI Listing
June 2021

Cerebrospinal fluid findings in patients with seizure in the setting of COVID-19: A review of the literature.

Seizure 2021 May 17;89:99-106. Epub 2021 May 17.

Department of Neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.

We reviewed the literature on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) studies in patients who had a seizure in the setting of COVID-19 infection to evaluate for evidence of viral neuroinvasion. We performed a systematic review of Medline and Embase to identify publications that reported one or more patients with COVID-19 who had a seizure and had CSF testing preformed. The search ranged from December 1st 2019 to November 18th 2020. We identified 56 publications which described 69 unique patients who met our inclusion criteria. Of the 54 patients whose past medical history was provided, 2 (4%) had epilepsy and 1 (2%) had a prior seizure in the setting of hyperglycemia, but the remaining 51 (94%) had no history of seizures. Seizure was the initial symptom of COVID-19 for 15 (22%) patients. There were 26 (40%) patients who developed status epilepticus. SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing was performed in the CSF for 45 patients; 6 (13%) had a positive CSF SARS-CoV-2 PCR, only 1 (17%) of whom had status epilepticus. The cycle thresholds were not reported. Evaluation for CSF SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (directly or indirectly, via testing for CSF oligoclonal bands or immunoglobulins) was performed in 26 patients, only 2 (8%) of whom had evidence of intrathecal antibody synthesis. Of the 11 patients who had CSF autoimmune antibody panels tested, 1 had NMDA antibodies and 1 had Caspr-2 antibodies. Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the CSF of patients with seizures who have COVID-19 is uncommon. Our review suggests that seizures in this patient population are not likely due to direct viral invasion of the brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2021.05.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8127527PMC
May 2021

Exploration of Rapid Automatized Naming and Standard Visual Tests in Prodromal Alzheimer Disease Detection.

J Neuroophthalmol 2021 May 17. Epub 2021 May 17.

Departments of Neurology (SZW, RNK, NM, LH, BJ, AC, JCR, SLG, TMW, AVM, and LJB), Population Health (RNK and LJB), and Ophthalmology (SZW, JCR, SLG, and LJB), New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, New York.

Background: Visual tests in Alzheimer disease (AD) have been examined over the last several decades to identify a sensitive and noninvasive marker of the disease. Rapid automatized naming (RAN) tasks have shown promise for detecting prodromal AD or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The purpose of this investigation was to determine the capacity for new rapid image and number naming tests and other measures of visual pathway structure and function to distinguish individuals with MCI due to AD from those with normal aging and cognition. The relation of these tests to vision-specific quality of life scores was also examined in this pilot study.

Methods: Participants with MCI due to AD and controls from well-characterized NYU research and clinical cohorts performed high and low-contrast letter acuity (LCLA) testing, as well as RAN using the Mobile Universal Lexicon Evaluation System (MULES) and Staggered Uneven Number test, and vision-specific quality of life scales, including the 25-Item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25) and 10-Item Neuro-Ophthalmic Supplement. Individuals also underwent optical coherence tomography scans to assess peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer and ganglion cell/inner plexiform layer thicknesses. Hippocampal atrophy on brain MRI was also determined from the participants' Alzheimer disease research center or clinical data.

Results: Participants with MCI (n = 14) had worse binocular LCLA at 1.25% contrast compared with controls (P = 0.009) and longer (worse) MULES test times (P = 0.006) with more errors in naming images (P = 0.009) compared with controls (n = 16). These were the only significantly different visual tests between groups. MULES test times (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] = 0.79), MULES errors (AUC = 0.78), and binocular 1.25% LCLA (AUC = 0.78) showed good diagnostic accuracy for distinguishing MCI from controls. A combination of the MULES score and 1.25% LCLA demonstrated the greatest capacity to distinguish (AUC = 0.87). These visual measures were better predictors of MCI vs control status than the presence of hippocampal atrophy on brain MRI in this cohort. A greater number of MULES test errors (rs = -0.50, P = 0.005) and worse 1.25% LCLA scores (rs = 0.39, P = 0.03) were associated with lower (worse) NEI-VFQ-25 scores.

Conclusions: Rapid image naming (MULES) and LCLA are able to distinguish MCI due to AD from normal aging and reflect vision-specific quality of life. Larger studies will determine how these easily administered tests may identify patients at risk for AD and serve as measures in disease-modifying therapy clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNO.0000000000001228DOI Listing
May 2021

Natalizumab in Early Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: A 4-Year, Open-Label Study.

Adv Ther 2021 May 20. Epub 2021 May 20.

Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.

Introduction: STRIVE was a 4-year, multicenter, observational, open-label, single-arm study of natalizumab treatment in anti-JC virus antibody-negative (JCV-negative) relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients with disease duration ≤ 3 years. The objective of STRIVE was to examine no evidence of disease activity (NEDA) status and predictors of NEDA in natalizumab-treated patients with early RRMS.

Methods: Proportions of patients with NEDA were evaluated along with baseline predictors of NEDA, annualized relapse rate, 24-week confirmed disability worsening (CDW), magnetic resonance imaging assessments (T2 and gadolinium-enhancing lesions), and serious adverse events.

Results: In years 1 and 2, 56.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 48.7-63.4%) and 73.6% (95% CI 66.2-80.2%) of patients (intent-to-treat population [N = 222]), respectively, achieved NEDA. In years 3 and 4, 84.6% (95% CI 78.0-89.9%) and 91.9% (95% CI 86.4-95.8%) of patients, respectively, achieved Clinical NEDA (no relapses or 24-week CDW). Baseline predictors of NEDA in year 4 were Expanded Disability Status Scale score ≤ 2.0 (odds ratio [OR] = 3.85 [95% CI 1.54-9.63]; p = 0.004) and T2 lesion volume > 4 cc (OR = 0.39 [95% CI 0.15-0.98]; p = 0.046), with the latter also predicting Clinical NEDA in year 4 (OR = 0.21 [95% CI 0.05-0.92]; p = 0.038). The cumulative probability of CDW at year 4 was 19.3%. Serious adverse events were reported in 11.3% of patients.

Conclusion: These results support the long-term safety and effectiveness of natalizumab. Baseline predictors of NEDA help to inform benefit-risk assessments of natalizumab treatment in JCV-negative patients with early RRMS.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT01485003.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12325-021-01722-wDOI Listing
May 2021

Artificial intelligence extension of the OSCAR-IB criteria.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2021 May 19. Epub 2021 May 19.

Division of Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, Division of Neurosciences and Mental Health SickKids Research Institute, University of Toronto, Canada.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-based diagnostic algorithms have achieved ambitious aims through automated image pattern recognition. For neurological disorders, this includes neurodegeneration and inflammation. Scalable imaging technology for big data in neurology is optical coherence tomography (OCT). We highlight that OCT changes observed in the retina, as a window to the brain, are small, requiring rigorous quality control pipelines. There are existing tools for this purpose. Firstly, there are human-led validated consensus quality control criteria (OSCAR-IB) for OCT. Secondly, these criteria are embedded into OCT reporting guidelines (APOSTEL). The use of the described annotation of failed OCT scans advances machine learning. This is illustrated through the present review of the advantages and disadvantages of AI-based applications to OCT data. The neurological conditions reviewed here for the use of big data include Alzheimer disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson disease, and epilepsy. It is noted that while big data is relevant for AI, ownership is complex. For this reason, we also reached out to involve representatives from patient organizations and the public domain in addition to clinical and research centers. The evidence reviewed can be grouped in a five-point expansion of the OSCAR-IB criteria to embrace AI (OSCAR-AI). The review concludes by specific recommendations on how this can be achieved practically and in compliance with existing guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51320DOI Listing
May 2021

A prospective study of long-term outcomes among hospitalized COVID-19 patients with and without neurological complications.

J Neurol Sci 2021 Jul 12;426:117486. Epub 2021 May 12.

New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Little is known regarding long-term outcomes of patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study of 6-month outcomes of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Patients with new neurological complications during hospitalization who survived were propensity score-matched to COVID-19 survivors without neurological complications hospitalized during the same period. The primary 6-month outcome was multivariable ordinal analysis of the modified Rankin Scale(mRS) comparing patients with or without neurological complications. Secondary outcomes included: activities of daily living (ADLs;Barthel Index), telephone Montreal Cognitive Assessment and Neuro-QoL batteries for anxiety, depression, fatigue and sleep.

Results: Of 606 COVID-19 patients with neurological complications, 395 survived hospitalization and were matched to 395 controls; N = 196 neurological patients and N = 186 controls completed follow-up. Overall, 346/382 (91%) patients had at least one abnormal outcome: 56% had limited ADLs, 50% impaired cognition, 47% could not return to work and 62% scored worse than average on ≥1 Neuro-QoL scale (worse anxiety 46%, sleep 38%, fatigue 36%, and depression 25%). In multivariable analysis, patients with neurological complications had worse 6-month mRS (median 4 vs. 3 among controls, adjusted OR 1.98, 95%CI 1.23-3.48, P = 0.02), worse ADLs (aOR 0.38, 95%CI 0.29-0.74, P = 0.01) and were less likely to return to work than controls (41% versus 64%, P = 0.04). Cognitive and Neuro-QOL metrics were similar between groups.

Conclusions: Abnormalities in functional outcomes, ADLs, anxiety, depression and sleep occurred in over 90% of patients 6-months after hospitalization for COVID-19. In multivariable analysis, patients with neurological complications during index hospitalization had significantly worse 6-month functional outcomes than those without.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2021.117486DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8113108PMC
July 2021

The APOSTEL 2.0 Recommendations for Reporting Quantitative Optical Coherence Tomography Studies.

Neurology 2021 Apr 28. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Department of Neurology with Institute of Translational Neurology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.

Objective: To update the consensus recommendations for reporting of quantitative optical coherence tomography (OCT) study results, thus revising the previously published Advised Protocol for OCT Study Terminology and Elements (APOSTEL) recommendations.

Methods: To identify studies reporting quantitative OCT results, we performed a PubMed search for the terms "quantitative" and "optical coherence tomography" from 2015 to 2017. Corresponding authors of the identified publications were invited to provide feedback on the initial APOSTEL recommendations via online surveys following the principle of a modified Delphi method. The results were evaluated and discussed by a panel of experts, and changes to the initial recommendations were proposed. A final survey was recirculated among the corresponding authors to obtain a majority vote on the proposed changes.

Results: One hundred sixteen authors participated in the surveys, resulting in 15 suggestions, of which 12 were finally accepted and incorporated into an updated 9-point-checklist. We harmonized the nomenclature of the outer retinal layers, added the exact area of measurement to the description of volume scans; we suggested reporting device-specific features. We advised to address potential bias in manual segmentation or manual correction of segmentation errors. References to specific reporting guidelines and room light conditions were removed. The participants' consensus with the recommendations increased from 80% for the previous APOSTEL version to greater than 90%.

Conclusions: The modified Delphi method resulted in an expert-led guideline (evidence class III, GRADE criteria) concerning study protocol, acquisition device, acquisition settings, scanning protocol, fundoscopic imaging, post-acquisition data selection, post-acquisition analysis, nomenclature and abbreviations, and statistical approach. It will still be essential to update these recommendations to new research and practices regularly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000012125DOI Listing
April 2021

Toxic Metabolic Encephalopathy in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19.

Neurocrit Care 2021 Mar 16. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Department of Neurology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Toxic metabolic encephalopathy (TME) has been reported in 7-31% of hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); however, some reports include sedation-related delirium and few data exist on the etiology of TME. We aimed to identify the prevalence, etiologies, and mortality rates associated with TME in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-positive patients.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective, multicenter, observational cohort study among patients with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection hospitalized at four New York City hospitals in the same health network between March 1, 2020, and May 20, 2020. TME was diagnosed in patients with altered mental status off sedation or after an adequate sedation washout. Patients with structural brain disease, seizures, or primary neurological diagnoses were excluded. The coprimary outcomes were the prevalence of TME stratified by etiology and in-hospital mortality (excluding comfort care only patients) assessed by using a multivariable time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models with adjustment for age, race, sex, intubation, intensive care unit requirement, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores, hospital location, and date of admission.

Results: Among 4491 patients with COVID-19, 559 (12%) were diagnosed with TME, of whom 435 of 559 (78%) developed encephalopathy immediately prior to hospital admission. The most common etiologies were septic encephalopathy (n = 247 of 559 [62%]), hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) (n = 331 of 559 [59%]), and uremia (n = 156 of 559 [28%]). Multiple etiologies were present in 435 (78%) patients. Compared with those without TME (n = 3932), patients with TME were older (76 vs. 62 years), had dementia (27% vs. 3%) or psychiatric history (20% vs. 10%), were more often intubated (37% vs. 20%), had a longer hospital length of stay (7.9 vs. 6.0 days), and were less often discharged home (25% vs. 66% [all P < 0.001]). Excluding comfort care patients (n = 267 of 4491 [6%]) and after adjustment for confounders, TME remained associated with increased risk of in-hospital death (n = 128 of 425 [30%] patients with TME died, compared with n = 600 of 3799 [16%] patients without TME; adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-1.52, P = 0.031), and TME due to hypoxemia conferred the highest risk (n = 97 of 233 [42%] patients with HIE died, compared with n = 631 of 3991 [16%] patients without HIE; aHR 1.56, 95% CI 1.21-2.00, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: TME occurred in one in eight hospitalized patients with COVID-19, was typically multifactorial, and was most often due to hypoxemia, sepsis, and uremia. After we adjustment for confounding factors, TME was associated with a 24% increased risk of in-hospital mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12028-021-01220-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7962078PMC
March 2021

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Consensus Diagnostic Criteria for Traumatic Encephalopathy Syndrome.

Neurology 2021 05 15;96(18):848-863. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

From the Boston University CTE Center (D.I.K.), Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston; Brain Injury Program (D.I.K.), Encompass Health Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital, Braintree, MA; University of Washington Memory & Brain Wellness Clinic (C.B.), Department of Neurology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; Department of Neurology (D.W.D., C.H.A.), Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ; Boston University CTE Center (J.M., M.L.A.), Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine; Boston University CTE Center (M.L.M.), Boston University School of Medicine, MA; Departments of Neurology (L.J.B.), Ophthalmology, and Population Health, New York University Grossman School of Medicine; Departments of Neurosciences and Psychiatry University of California San Diego (S.J.B.), La Jolla; Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry (W.B.B.), New York University Grossman School of Medicine; Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (D.L.B.), Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Department of Neurology, F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; Boston University CTE Center (R.C.C.), Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center, Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Boston University School of Medicine, MA; Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine and Neurology (K.D.-O.C.), Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York; Department of Neurology (Y.E.G.), Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ; Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (B.D.J.), Downey, CA; Department of Neurology (B.D.J.), Keck School of Medicine of USC. Los Angeles, CA; Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology (T.W.M.), Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis; Veterans Affairs Northwest Mental Illness (E.R.P.), Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (E.R.P.), University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (R.C.P.), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Department of Psychiatry and Psychology (J.V.W.), Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ; Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (R.D.Z.), Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (É.M.F.), Maastricht University, the Netherlands, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (D.J.B.), National Institutes of Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (W.J.K.), Bethesda, MD; Boston University CTE Center (Y.T.), Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health; Boston University CTE Center (A.C.M.), Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center, Departments of Neurology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine; VA Boston Healthcare System (A.C.M.), US Department of Veteran Affairs, MA; Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory (M.E.S.), Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Chambers-Grundy Center for Transformative Neuroscience (J.L.C.), Department of Brain Health, University of Nevada School of Integrated Health Sciences; Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (J.L.C.), Las Vegas, NV; Banner Alzheimer's Institute (E.M.R.), Arizona State University; Department of Psychiatry (E.M.R.), University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ; and Boston University CTE Center (R.A.S.), Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center, Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Anatomy & Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, MA.

Objective: To develop evidence-informed, expert consensus research diagnostic criteria for traumatic encephalopathy syndrome (TES), the clinical disorder associated with neuropathologically diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Methods: A panel of 20 expert clinician-scientists in neurology, neuropsychology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, and physical medicine and rehabilitation, from 11 academic institutions, participated in a modified Delphi procedure to achieve consensus, initiated at the First National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Consensus Workshop to Define the Diagnostic Criteria for TES April, 2019. Before consensus, panelists reviewed evidence from all published cases of CTE with neuropathologic confirmation, and they examined the predictive validity data on clinical features in relation to CTE pathology from a large clinicopathologic study (n = 298).

Results: Consensus was achieved in 4 rounds of the Delphi procedure. Diagnosis of TES requires (1) substantial exposure to repetitive head impacts (RHIs) from contact sports, military service, or other causes; (2) core clinical features of cognitive impairment (in episodic memory and/or executive functioning) and/or neurobehavioral dysregulation; (3) a progressive course; and (4) that the clinical features are not fully accounted for by any other neurologic, psychiatric, or medical conditions. For those meeting criteria for TES, functional dependence is graded on 5 levels, ranging from independent to severe dementia. A provisional level of certainty for CTE pathology is determined based on specific RHI exposure thresholds, core clinical features, functional status, and additional supportive features, including delayed onset, motor signs, and psychiatric features.

Conclusions: New consensus diagnostic criteria for TES were developed with a primary goal of facilitating future CTE research. These criteria will be revised as updated clinical and pathologic information and in vivo biomarkers become available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8166432PMC
May 2021

Sleep-deprived residents and rapid picture naming performance using the Mobile Universal Lexicon Evaluation System (MULES) test.

eNeurologicalSci 2021 Mar 2;22:100323. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Departments of Neurology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Objective: The Mobile Universal Lexicon Evaluation System (MULES) is a rapid picture naming task that captures extensive brain networks involving neurocognitive, afferent/efferent visual, and language pathways. Many of the factors captured by MULES may be abnormal in sleep-deprived residents. This study investigates the effect of sleep deprivation in post-call residents on MULES performance.

Methods: MULES, consisting of 54 color photographs, was administered to a cohort of neurology residents taking 24-hour in-hospital call ( = 18) and a group of similar-aged controls not taking call (n = 18). Differences in times between baseline and follow-up MULES scores were compared between the two groups.

Results: MULES time change in call residents was significantly worse (slower) from baseline (mean 1.2 s slower) compared to non-call controls (mean 11.2 s faster) ( < 0.001, Wilcoxon rank sum test). The change in MULES time from baseline was significantly correlated to the change in subjective level of sleepiness for call residents and to the amount of sleep obtained in the 24 h prior to follow-up testing for the entire cohort. For call residents, the duration of sleep obtained during call did not significantly correlate with change in MULES scores. There was no significant correlation between MULES change and sleep quality questionnaire score for the entire cohort.

Conclusion: The MULES is a novel test for effects of sleep deprivation on neurocognition and vision pathways. Sleep deprivation significantly worsens MULES performance. Subjective sleepiness may also affect MULES performance. MULES may serve as a useful performance assessment tool for sleep deprivation in residents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ensci.2021.100323DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7876539PMC
March 2021

Practical Approach to the Tele-Neuro-Ophthalmology and Neuro-Otology Visits: Instructional Videos.

J Neuroophthalmol 2021 03;41(1):10-12

Department of Neurology (RC, SNG, CC, SLG, LJB, JCR), New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, New York; Department of Ophthalmology (NR, LS), University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Departments of Ophthalmology (SLG, LJB, JCR) and Population Health (LJB), New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, New York.

Abstract: A collection of instructional videos that illustrate a step by step approach to tele-neuro-ophthalmology and neuro-otology visits. These videos provide instruction for patient preparation for their video visit, patient and provider interface with an electronic medical record associated video platform, digital applications to assist with vision testing, and practical advice for detailed remote neuro-ophthalmologic and neuro-otologic examinations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNO.0000000000001195DOI Listing
March 2021

Cerebrospinal fluid in COVID-19: A systematic review of the literature.

J Neurol Sci 2021 02 10;421:117316. Epub 2021 Jan 10.

Department of Neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY 10016, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY 10016, USA.

Objective: We sought to review the literature on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing in patients with COVID-19 for evidence of viral neuroinvasion by SARS-CoV-2.

Methods: We performed a systematic review of Medline and Embase between December 1, 2019 and November 18, 2020 to identify case reports or series of patients who had COVID-19 diagnosed based on positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or serologic testing and had CSF testing due to a neurologic symptom.

Results: We identified 242 relevant documents which included 430 patients with COVID-19 who had acute neurological symptoms prompting CSF testing. Of those, 321 (75%) patients had symptoms that localized to the central nervous system (CNS). Of 304 patients whose CSF was tested for SARS-CoV-2 PCR, there were 17 (6%) whose test was positive, all of whom had symptoms that localized to the central nervous system (CNS). The majority (13/17, 76%) of these patients were admitted to the hospital because of neurological symptoms. Of 58 patients whose CSF was tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibody, 7 (12%) had positive antibodies with evidence of intrathecal synthesis, all of whom had symptoms that localized to the CNS. Of 132 patients who had oligoclonal bands evaluated, 3 (2%) had evidence of intrathecal antibody synthesis. Of 77 patients tested for autoimmune antibodies in the CSF, 4 (5%) had positive findings.

Conclusion: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in CSF via PCR or evaluation for intrathecal antibody synthesis appears to be rare. Most neurological complications associated with SARS- CoV-2 are unlikely to be related to direct viral neuroinvasion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2021.117316DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7833669PMC
February 2021

How sandbag-able are concussion sideline assessments? A close look at eye movements to uncover strategies.

Brain Inj 2021 Mar 2;35(4):426-435. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Department of Neurology, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States.

Sideline diagnostic tests for concussion are vulnerable to volitional poor performance ("sandbagging") on baseline assessments, motivated by desire to subvert concussion detection and potential removal from play. We investigated eye movements during sandbagging versus best effort on the King-Devick (KD) test, a rapid automatized naming (RAN) task. Participants performed KD testing during oculography following instructions to sandbag or give best effort. Twenty healthy participants without concussion history were included (mean age 27 ± 8 years). Sandbagging resulted in longer test times (89.6 ± 39.2 s vs 48.2 ± 8.5 s, < .001), longer inter-saccadic intervals (459.5 ± 125.4 ms vs 311.2 ± 79.1 ms, < .001) and greater numbers of saccades (171.4 ± 47 vs 138 ± 24.2, < .001) and reverse saccades (wrong direction for reading) (21.2% vs 11.3%, < .001). Sandbagging was detectable using a logistic model with KD times as the only predictor, though more robustly detectable using eye movement metrics. KD sandbagging results in eye movement differences that are detectable by eye movement recordings and suggest an invalid test score. Objective eye movement recording during the KD test shows promise for distinguishing between best effort and post-injury performance, as well as for identifying sandbagging red flags.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699052.2021.1878554DOI Listing
March 2021

The complexity of eye-hand coordination: a perspective on cortico-cerebellar cooperation.

Cerebellum Ataxias 2020 Nov 13;7(1):14. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Eye-hand coordination (EHC) is a sophisticated act that requires interconnected processes governing synchronization of ocular and manual motor systems. Precise, timely and skillful movements such as reaching for and grasping small objects depend on the acquisition of high-quality visual information about the environment and simultaneous eye and hand control. Multiple areas in the brainstem and cerebellum, as well as some frontal and parietal structures, have critical roles in the control of eye movements and their coordination with the head. Although both cortex and cerebellum contribute critical elements to normal eye-hand function, differences in these contributions suggest that there may be separable deficits following injury.

Method: As a preliminary assessment for this perspective, we compared eye and hand-movement control in a patient with cortical stroke relative to a patient with cerebellar stroke.

Result: We found the onset of eye and hand movements to be temporally decoupled, with significant decoupling variance in the patient with cerebellar stroke. In contrast, the patient with cortical stroke displayed increased hand spatial errors and less significant temporal decoupling variance. Increased decoupling variance in the patient with cerebellar stroke was primarily due to unstable timing of rapid eye movements, saccades.

Conclusion: These findings highlight a perspective in which facets of eye-hand dyscoordination are dependent on lesion location and may or may not cooperate to varying degrees. Broadly speaking, the results corroborate the general notion that the cerebellum is instrumental to the process of temporal prediction for eye and hand movements, while the cortex is instrumental to the process of spatial prediction, both of which are critical aspects of functional movement control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40673-020-00123-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666466PMC
November 2020

Treatment with Zinc is Associated with Reduced In-Hospital Mortality Among COVID-19 Patients: A Multi-Center Cohort Study.

Res Sq 2020 Oct 26. Epub 2020 Oct 26.

Zinc impairs replication of RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-1, and may be effective against SARS-CoV-2. However, to achieve adequate intracellular zinc levels, administration with an ionophore, which increases intracellular zinc levels, may be necessary. We evaluated the impact of zinc with an ionophore (Zn+ionophore) on COVID-19 in-hospital mortality rates. A multicenter cohort study was conducted of 3,473 adult hospitalized patients with reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) positive SARS-CoV-2 infection admitted to four New York City hospitals between March 10 through May 20, 2020. Exclusion criteria were: death or discharge within 24h, comfort-care status, clinical trial enrollment, treatment with an IL-6 inhibitor or remdesivir. Patients who received Zn+ionophore were compared to patients who did not using multivariable time-dependent cox proportional hazards models for time to in-hospital death adjusting for confounders including age, sex, race, BMI, diabetes, week of admission, hospital location, sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score, intubation, acute renal failure, neurological events, treatment with corticosteroids, azithromycin or lopinavir/ritonavir and the propensity score of receiving Zn+ionophore. A sensitivity analysis was performed using a propensity score-matched cohort of patients who did or did not receive Zn+ionophore matched by age, sex and ventilator status. Among 3,473 patients (median age 64, 1947 [56%] male, 522 [15%] ventilated, 545[16%] died), 1,006 (29%) received Zn+ionophore. Zn+ionophore was associated with a 24% reduced risk of in-hospital mortality (12% of those who received Zn+ionophore died versus 17% who did not; adjusted Hazard Ratio [aHR] 0.76, 95% CI 0.60-0.96, P=0.023). More patients who received Zn+ionophore were discharged home (72% Zn+ionophore vs 67% no Zn+ionophore, P=0.003) Neither Zn nor the ionophore alone were associated with decreased mortality rates. Propensity score-matched sensitivity analysis (N=1356) validated these results (Zn+ionophore aHR for mortality 0.63, 95%CI 0.44-0.91, P=0.015). There were no significant interactions for Zn+ionophore with other COVID-19 specific medications. Zinc with an ionophore was associated with increased rates of discharge home and a 24% reduced risk of in-hospital mortality among COVID-19 patients, while neither zinc alone nor the ionophore alone reduced mortality. Further randomized trials are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-94509/v1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7605567PMC
October 2020

Afferent and Efferent Visual Markers of Alzheimer's Disease: A Review and Update in Early Stage Disease.

Front Aging Neurosci 2020 11;12:572337. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Department of Neurology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States.

Vision, which requires extensive neural involvement, is often impaired in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Over the last few decades, accumulating evidence has shown that various visual functions and structures are compromised in Alzheimer's dementia and when measured can detect those with dementia from those with normal aging. These visual changes involve both the afferent and efferent parts of the visual system, which correspond to the sensory and eye movement aspects of vision, respectively. There are fewer, but a growing number of studies, that focus on the detection of predementia stages. Visual biomarkers that detect these stages are paramount in the development of successful disease-modifying therapies by identifying appropriate research participants and in identifying those who would receive future therapies. This review provides a summary and update on common afferent and efferent visual markers of AD with a focus on mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and preclinical disease detection. We further propose future directions in this area. Given the ease of performing visual tests, the accessibility of the eye, and advances in ocular technology, visual measures have the potential to be effective, practical, and non-invasive biomarkers of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2020.572337DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7518395PMC
September 2020

Role for OCT in detecting hemi-macular ganglion cell layer thinning in patients with multiple sclerosis and related demyelinating diseases.

J Neurol Sci 2020 Dec 28;419:117159. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Department of Neurology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA; Department of Ophthalmology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Investigations have found associations of homonymous thinning of the macular ganglion cell/ inner-plexiform layer (GCIPL) with demyelinating lesions in the post-chiasmal visual pathway among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Retinal thinning may also occur through retrograde trans-synaptic degeneration, a process by which lesions in post-geniculate visual pathway structures lead to thinning of the GCIPL across thalamic synapses. The purpose of our study was to determine the frequency of homonymous hemimacular thinning that occurs in association with post-chiasmal visual pathway demyelinating lesions in patients with MS and other demyelinating diseases.

Methods: Adult patients with demyelinating diseases (MS, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder [NMOSD], myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody disease (anti-MOG)) who were participants in an ongoing observational study of visual pathway structure and function were analyzed for the presence of hemimacular GCIPL thinning on OCT scans. Brain MRI scans were examined for the presence of post-geniculate visual pathway demyelinating lesions.

Results: Among 135 participants in the visual pathway study, 5 patients (3.7%) had homonymous hemimacular GCIPL thinning. Eleven patients (8.1%) had a whole+half pattern of GCIPL thinning, characterized by hemimacular thinning in one eye and circumferential macular thinning in the contralateral eye. All but one patient with homonymous hemimacular thinning had demyelinating lesions in the post-geniculate visual pathway; however, these lesions were located in both cerebral hemispheres.

Conclusion: Homonymous hemimacular thinning in the GCIPL by OCT is associated with post-chiasmal visual pathway demyelinating lesions but it appears to be a relatively uncommon contributor to GCIPL loss. Patients with this pattern of GCIPL often fail to complain of hemifield visual loss. Future studies with prospective and detailed MR imaging may be able to more closely associate demyelinating lesions in anatomically appropriate regions of the post-chiasmal visual pathways with homonymous hemimacular thinning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.117159DOI Listing
December 2020

A Prospective Study of Neurologic Disorders in Hospitalized Patients With COVID-19 in New York City.

Neurology 2021 01 5;96(4):e575-e586. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

From the New York University Grossman School of Medicine (J.A.F., S.S., R.L., T.F., B.F., P.M.-V., T.S., S.B., D.Y., A.G., N.M., P.P., J.G., K.M., S.A., M.B., A.A., E.V., M.O., A.K., K.L., Daniel Friedman, David Friedman, M.H., J.H., S.T., J.H., N.A.-F., P.K., A.L., A.S.L., T.Z., D.E.K., B.M.C., J.T., S.Y., K.I., E.S., D.P., M.L., T.W., A.B.T., L.B., S.G.), New YorkUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (S.H.-Y.C., E.L.F.), PAThe Ohio State University (M.M., S.M.), ColumbusMedical University of Innsbruck (R.H.), AustriaThe Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (C.R., J.I.S., W.Z.), Baltimore, MDUniversity of Utah School of Medicine (M.S., A.d.H.), Salt Lake CityUniversity of Cambridge (D.M.), UK.

Objective: To determine the prevalence and associated mortality of well-defined neurologic diagnoses among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we prospectively followed hospitalized severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-positive patients and recorded new neurologic disorders and hospital outcomes.

Methods: We conducted a prospective, multicenter, observational study of consecutive hospitalized adults in the New York City metropolitan area with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. The prevalence of new neurologic disorders (as diagnosed by a neurologist) was recorded and in-hospital mortality and discharge disposition were compared between patients with COVID-19 with and without neurologic disorders.

Results: Of 4,491 patients with COVID-19 hospitalized during the study timeframe, 606 (13.5%) developed a new neurologic disorder in a median of 2 days from COVID-19 symptom onset. The most common diagnoses were toxic/metabolic encephalopathy (6.8%), seizure (1.6%), stroke (1.9%), and hypoxic/ischemic injury (1.4%). No patient had meningitis/encephalitis or myelopathy/myelitis referable to SARS-CoV-2 infection and 18/18 CSF specimens were reverse transcriptase PCR negative for SARS-CoV-2. Patients with neurologic disorders were more often older, male, white, hypertensive, diabetic, intubated, and had higher sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores (all < 0.05). After adjusting for age, sex, SOFA scores, intubation, history, medical complications, medications, and comfort care status, patients with COVID-19 with neurologic disorders had increased risk of in-hospital mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17-1.62, < 0.001) and decreased likelihood of discharge home (HR 0.72, 95% CI 0.63-0.85, < 0.001).

Conclusions: Neurologic disorders were detected in 13.5% of patients with COVID-19 and were associated with increased risk of in-hospital mortality and decreased likelihood of discharge home. Many observed neurologic disorders may be sequelae of severe systemic illness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010979DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7905791PMC
January 2021

Contrast Acuity and the King-Devick Test in Huntington's Disease.

Neuroophthalmology 2020 25;44(4):219-225. Epub 2019 Nov 25.

Department of Neurology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Saccadic eye movement abnormalities are among the earliest manifestations of Huntington's disease (HD) but are difficult to quantify at the bedside. Similarly, afferent visual pathway involvement in HD is poorly characterised. The objective was to evaluate afferent and efferent visual function in HD. Participants with manifest HD (n = 19) and healthy controls (n = 20) performed the King-Devick test, a timed test of rapid number naming. Binocular high and low-contrast (2.5% and 1.25%) acuities were measured using low-contrast Sloan letter charts, and pupillometric recordings were made using a handheld NeurOptics PLR-3000 pupillometer. The NEI-VFQ-25 questionnaire with 10-item neuro-ophthalmic supplement were also completed. Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) motor score and other clinical and demographic variables were collected. Comparisons between manifest HD and controls were performed using linear regression adjusted for confounders. Mean King-Devick time scores were 102.9 seconds in patients with manifest HD and 48.2 seconds in controls (p < .01, t-test). In unadjusted analyses, binocular high contrast acuity was seven letters (one Snellen line equivalent) lower in manifest HD than controls (p = .043). This effect was similar for low-contrast acuity, but only low-contrast acuity remained statistically significant after adjusting for covariates. Low-contrast acuity also correlated with UHDRS motor score. There were no differences in pupillary reactivity or self-reported vision-related quality of life. In conclusion, HD is associated with reduced low-contrast acuity and abnormal performance on the King-Devick test of rapid number naming. These tests are easy to administer, providing an objective quantitative measure of visual function which could be incorporated into optimised rating scales.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01658107.2019.1669668DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7518319PMC
November 2019

Prevalence and Impact of Hyponatremia in Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in New York City.

Crit Care Med 2020 12;48(12):e1211-e1217

Department of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY.

Objectives: Hyponatremia occurs in up to 30% of patients with pneumonia and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The prevalence of hyponatremia associated with coronavirus disease 2019 and the impact on outcome is unknown. We aimed to identify the prevalence, predictors, and impact on outcome of mild, moderate, and severe admission hyponatremia compared with normonatremia among coronavirus disease 2019 patients.

Design: Retrospective, multicenter, observational cohort study.

Setting: Four New York City hospitals that are part of the same health network.

Patients: Hospitalized, laboratory-confirmed adult coronavirus disease 2019 patients admitted between March 1, 2020, and May 13, 2020.

Interventions: None.

Measurements And Main Results: Hyponatremia was categorized as mild (sodium: 130-134 mmol/L), moderate (sodium: 121-129 mmol/L), or severe (sodium: ≤ 120 mmol/L) versus normonatremia (135-145 mmol/L). The primary outcome was the association of increasing severity of hyponatremia and in-hospital mortality assessed using multivariable logistic regression analysis. Secondary outcomes included encephalopathy, acute renal failure, mechanical ventilation, and discharge home compared across sodium levels using Kruskal-Wallis and chi-square tests. In exploratory analysis, the association of sodium levels and interleukin-6 levels (which has been linked to nonosmotic release of vasopressin) was assessed. Among 4,645 patient encounters, hyponatremia (sodium < 135 mmol/L) occurred in 1,373 (30%) and 374 of 1,373 (27%) required invasive mechanical ventilation. Mild, moderate, and severe hyponatremia occurred in 1,032 (22%), 305 (7%), and 36 (1%) patients, respectively. Each level of worsening hyponatremia conferred 43% increased odds of in-hospital death after adjusting for age, gender, race, body mass index, past medical history, admission laboratory abnormalities, admission Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score, renal failure, encephalopathy, and mechanical ventilation (adjusted odds ratio, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.08-1.88; p = 0.012). Increasing severity of hyponatremia was associated with encephalopathy, mechanical ventilation, and decreased probability of discharge home (all p < 0.001). Higher interleukin-6 levels correlated with lower sodium levels (p = 0.017).

Conclusions: Hyponatremia occurred in nearly a third of coronavirus disease 2019 patients, was an independent predictor of in-hospital mortality, and was associated with increased risk of encephalopathy and mechanical ventilation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0000000000004605DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7467047PMC
December 2020

Concerning Vision Therapy and Ocular Motor Training in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.

Ann Neurol 2020 11 16;88(5):1053-1054. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Neurology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25875DOI Listing
November 2020

The psychosocial implications of COVID-19 for a neurology program in a pandemic epicenter.

J Neurol Sci 2020 09 14;416:117034. Epub 2020 Jul 14.

New York University Grossman School of Medicine Department of Neurology, New York, NY, USA; New York University Grossman School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: We discuss the psychosocial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic as self-reported by housestaff and faculty in the NYU Langone Health Department of Neurology, and summarize how our program is responding to these ongoing challenges.

Methods: During the period of May 1-4, 2020, we administered an anonymous electronic survey to all neurology faculty and housestaff to assess the potential psychosocial impacts of COVID-19. The survey also addressed how our institution and department are responding to these challenges. This report outlines the psychosocial concerns of neurology faculty and housestaff and the multifaceted support services that our department and institution are offering in response. Faculty and housestaff cohorts were compared with regard to frequencies of binary responses (yes/ no) using the Fisher's exact test.

Results: Among 130 total survey respondents (91/191 faculty [48%] and 37/62 housestaff [60%]), substantial proportions of both groups self-reported having increased fear (79%), anxiety (83%) and depression (38%) during the COVID-19 pandemic. These proportions were not significantly different between the faculty and housestaff groups. Most respondents reported that the institution had provided adequate counseling and support services (91%) and that the department had rendered adequate emotional support (92%). Participants offered helpful suggestions regarding additional resources that would be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusion: COVID-19 has affected the lives and minds of faculty and housestaff in our neurology department at the epicenter of the pandemic. Efforts to support these providers during this evolving crisis are imperative for promoting the resilience necessary to care for our patients and colleagues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.117034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7358162PMC
September 2020

The SUN test of vision: Investigation in healthy volunteers and comparison to the mobile universal lexicon evaluation system (MULES).

J Neurol Sci 2020 08 30;415:116953. Epub 2020 May 30.

Department of Neurology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA; Department of Population Health, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA; Department of Ophthalmology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Tests of rapid automatized naming (RAN) have been used for decades to evaluate neurological conditions. RAN tests require extensive brain pathways involving visual perception, memory, eye movements and language. To the extent that different naming tasks capture varied visual pathways and related networks, we developed the Staggered Uneven Number (SUN) test of rapid number naming to complement existing RAN tests, such as the Mobile Universal Lexicon Evaluation System (MULES). The purpose of this investigation was to determine values for time scores for SUN, and to compare test characteristics between SUN and MULES.

Methods: We administered the SUN and MULES tests to healthy adult volunteers in a research office setting. MULES consists of 54 color photographs; the SUN includes 145 single- and multi-digit numbers. Participants are asked to name each number or picture aloud.

Results: Among 54 healthy participants, aged 33 ± 13 years (range 20-66), the average SUN time score was 45.2 ± 8.3 s (range 30-66). MULES test times were 37.4 ± 9.9 s (range 20-68). SUN and MULES time scores did not differ by gender, but were greater (worse) among older participants for MULES (r = 0.43, P = .001). Learning effects between first and second trials were greater for the MULES; participants improved (reduced) their time scores between trials by 5% on SUN and 16% for MULES (P < .0001, Wilcoxon signed-rank test).

Conclusion: The SUN is a new vision-based test that complements presently available picture- and number-based RAN tests. These assessments may require different brain pathways and networks for visual processing, visual memory, language and eye movements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.116953DOI Listing
August 2020

Feasibility of Smartphone-Delivered Progressive Muscle Relaxation in Persistent Post-Traumatic Headache Patients.

J Neurotrauma 2021 01 26;38(1):94-101. Epub 2020 Aug 26.

Department of Neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.

Persistent post-traumatic headache (PPTH) is often the most common injury after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), reported by 47-95% of patients. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) has level A evidence in preventing migraine and tension headaches. However, research on this behavioral therapy for PPTH, let alone smartphone delivered, is limited. We performed a single-arm study of prospective patients calling our Concussion Center between June 2017 and July 2018. Inclusion criteria were that subjects had to meet International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd Edition criteria for PPTH secondary to mTBI, have four or more headache days a month, be age 18-85 years and 3-12 months post-injury, own a smartphone, and not tried headache behavioral therapy within the year. We recorded baseline headache and neuropsychiatric data. Using the RELAXaHEAD smartphone application, which has a headache diary and PMR audio files, participants were instructed to record headache symptoms and practice 20 min of PMR daily. There were three monthly follow-up assessments. There were 49 subjects enrolled. Basic demographics were: 33 (67%) female with mean age 40.1 ± 14.6 [20, 75] years. Of the 49 subjects, 15 (31%) had pre-existing headaches. In 11 (22%) subjects, mTBI was sports related. Subjects reported 17.7 ± 9.3 [4, 31] headache days in the month before enrollment, and 49 (100%) experienced over three concussion symptoms. Participants inputted data in the RELAXaHEAD app on average 18.3 ± 12.0 days [0, 31] the first month. Number of participants who did PMR over four times per week was 12 (24.5%) the first month, 9 (22.5%) the second month, and 6 (15%) the third month. After 3 months, 17 (42.5 %) participants continued doing PMR. Participants cited time constraints, forgetfulness, application glitches, and repetitiveness as obstacles to practicing PMR. It is feasible to get PPTH subjects to practice behavioral therapy through low-cost smartphone-based PMR two times weekly. Future work will assess efficacy and examine how to optimize barriers to PMR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2019.6601DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7864112PMC
January 2021

Training in neurology: Flexibility and adaptability of a neurology training program at the epicenter of COVID-19.

Neurology 2020 06 8;94(24):e2608-e2614. Epub 2020 May 8.

From the Departments of Neurology (S.A., S.S., N.A.-F., A.K., L.J.B., S.L.G.), Population Health (L.J.B.), and Ophthalmology (L.J.B., S.L.G.), New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York.

Objective: To outline changes made to a neurology residency program in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Methods: In early March 2020, the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in the United States. New York City quickly became the epicenter of a global pandemic, and our training program needed to rapidly adapt to the increasing number of inpatient cases while being mindful of protecting providers and continuing education. Many of these changes unfolded over days, including removing residents from outpatient services, minimizing the number of residents on inpatient services, deploying residents to medicine services and medical intensive care units, converting continuity clinic patient visits to virtual options, transforming didactics to online platforms only, and maintaining connectedness in an era of social distancing. We have been able to accomplish this through daily virtual meetings among leadership, faculty, and residents.

Results: Over time, our program has successfully rolled out initiatives to service the growing number of COVID-related inpatients while maintaining neurologic care for those in need and continuing our neurologic education curriculum.

Conclusion: It has been necessary and feasible for our residency training program to undergo rapid structural changes to adapt to a medical crisis. The key ingredients in doing this successfully have been flexibility and teamwork. We suspect that many of the implemented changes will persist long after the COVID-19 crisis has passed and will change the approach to neurologic and medical training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000009675DOI Listing
June 2020

Rapid implementation of virtual neurology in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neurology 2020 06 1;94(24):1077-1087. Epub 2020 May 1.

From the Department of Neurology (S.N.G., S.C.H., L.J.B., A.K., H.W., S.L.G., N.A.B.), New York University Grossman School of Medicine; Department of Ophthalmology (L.J.B., S.L.G.), New York University Grossman School of Medicine; and Department of Population Health (L.J.B.), New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing world-wide social dislocation, operational and economic dysfunction, and high rates of morbidity and mortality. Medical practices are responding by developing, disseminating, and implementing unprecedented changes in health care delivery. Telemedicine has rapidly moved to the frontline of clinical practice due to the need for prevention and mitigation strategies; these have been encouraged, facilitated, and enabled by changes in government rules and regulations and payer-driven reimbursement policies. We describe our neurology department's situational transformation from in-person outpatient visits to a largely virtual neurology practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two key factors enabled our rapid deployment of virtual encounters in neurology and its subspecialties. The first was a well-established robust information technology infrastructure supporting virtual urgent care services at our institution; this connected physicians directly to patients using both the physician's and the patient's own mobile devices. The second is the concept of one patient, one chart, facilitated by a suite of interconnected electronic medical record (EMR) applications on several different device types. We present our experience with conducting general teleneurology encounters using secure synchronous audio and video connections integrated with an EMR. This report also details how we perform virtual neurologic examinations that are clinically meaningful and how we document, code, and bill for these virtual services. Many of these processes can be used by other neurology providers, regardless of their specific practice model. We then discuss potential roles for teleneurology after the COVID-19 global pandemic has been contained.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000009677DOI Listing
June 2020

Correlation of Visual Quality of Life With Clinical and Visual Status in Friedreich Ataxia.

J Neuroophthalmol 2020 06;40(2):213-217

Division of Neurology (PA, AL, DRL), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Departments of Neurology (RN-K, LJB), Population Health and Ophthalmology, NYU School of Medicine, Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, New York, New York.

Background: The primary objective was to determine the association of patient-reported vision-specific quality of life to disease status and visual function in patients with Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA).

Methods: Patients with FRDA were assessed with the 25-Item National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25) along with measures of disease status (ataxia stage) and visual function (low- and high-contrast letter acuity scores). The relations of NEI-VFQ-25 scores to those for disease status and visual function were examined.

Results: Scores for the NEI-VFQ-25 were lower in patients with FRDA (n = 99) compared with published disease-free controls, particularly reduced in a subgroup of FRDA patients with features of early onset, older age, and abnormal visual function.

Conclusions: The NEI-VFQ-25 captures the subjective component of visual function in patients with FRDA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNO.0000000000000878DOI Listing
June 2020