Publications by authors named "Nawaf Yassi"

62 Publications

Sleep symptomatology is associated with greater subjective cognitive concerns: Findings from the community-based Healthy Brain Project.

Sleep 2021 Apr 10. Epub 2021 Apr 10.

The Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.

Study Objectives: To examine if sleep symptomatology was associated with subjective cognitive concerns or objective cognitive performance in a dementia-free community-based sample.

Methods: A total of 1421 middle-aged participants (mean±standard deviation = 57±7; 77% female) from the Healthy Brain Project completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) to measure sleep quality, insomnia symptom severity, and daytime sleepiness, respectively. Participants were classified as having no sleep symptomatology (normal scores on each sleep measure), moderate sleep symptomatology (abnormal scores on one sleep measure), or high sleep symptomatology (abnormal scores on at least two sleep measures), using established cut-off values. Analysis of covariance was used to compare objective cognitive function (Cogstate Brief Battery) and subjective cognitive concerns (Modified Cognitive Function Instrument) across groups.

Results: Following adjustments for age, sex, education, mood, and vascular risk factors, persons classified as having high sleep symptomatology, versus none, displayed more subjective cognitive concerns (d=0.24) but no differences in objective cognitive performance (d=0.00-0.18). Subjective cognitive concerns modified the association between sleep symptomatology and psychomotor function. The strength of the relationship between high sleep symptomatology (versus none) and psychomotor function was significantly greater in persons with high as compared with low cognitive concerns (β±SE =-0.37±0.16; p=0.02).

Conclusions: More severe sleep symptomatology was associated with greater subjective cognitive concerns. Persons reporting high levels of sleep symptomatology may be more likely to display poorer objective cognitive function in the presence of subjective cognitive concerns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsab097DOI Listing
April 2021

White Matter Hyperintensities: How Much (and What Shape) Is Too Much?

Neurology 2021 04 16;96(17):781-782. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

From the Departments of Medicine and Neurology (N.Y., B.C.V.C.), Melbourne Brain Centre at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne; Population Health and Immunity Division (N.Y.), The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research; and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health (B.C.V.C.), Parkville, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011829DOI Listing
April 2021

Visual Memory Deficits in Middle-Aged APOEɛ4 Homozygotes Detected Using Unsupervised Cognitive Assessments.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;79(4):1563-1573

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Background: The apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4 allele is associated with dose-response effects on cognitive dysfunction and dementia risk in older adults. However, its effects on cognition in middle-aged adults remains unclear.

Objective: We examined effects of ɛ4 heterozygosity and homozygosity on objective and subjective cognition in middle-aged adults enrolled in the Healthy Brain Project (HBP) and in older adults from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) study.

Methods: HBP participants (1,000 non-carriers; 450 ɛ4 heterozygotes; 50 ɛ4 homozygotes) completed unsupervised assessments of the Cogstate Brief Battery (CBB), ratings of subjective cognitive function and provided a saliva sample. AIBL cognitively normal participants (650 non-carriers; 204 ɛ4 heterozygotes; 31 ɛ4 homozygotes) completed in-person assessments of the CBB, ratings of subjective cognitive function and provided a blood sample.

Results: Greater memory impairment was observed in middle-aged ɛ4 homozygotes compared with ɛ4 heterozygotes and non-carriers. When data from middle-aged (HBP) and older (AIBL) adults were pooled, the effect of ɛ4 homozygosity and memory impairment increased with age. In both middle-aged and older adults, ɛ4 heterozygotes did not differ from non-carriers on any measure of objective or subjective cognition.

Conclusion: Memory impairment in ɛ4 homozygotes is evident in adults aged 50-60 years, and this can be detected through unsupervised cognitive assessments. The effect of ɛ4 homozygosity increases with older age. APOEɛ4 homozygosity has a negative impact on memory as early as midlife, but due to the subtle magnitude of effect, our findings support the necessity of online platforms in large cohorts to assess these complex relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201281DOI Listing
January 2021

Tenecteplase vs Alteplase Before Endovascular Therapy in Basilar Artery Occlusion.

Neurology 2021 03 6;96(9):e1272-e1277. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

From the Department of Medicine and Neurology (F. Alemseged, G.S., L.C., B.Y., M.W.P., S.M.D., P.J.M., N.Y. B.C.V.C.), University of Melbourne, and Department of Radiology (C.W., S.B., R.D.), Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia; Stroke Unit (F. Alemseged, A.R., F.S., M.D.) and Department of Biomedicine and Prevention (F.D.), University Hospital of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy; Department of Neurology (F.C.N.), Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology (V.P.), Institute of Neuroradiology (D.K.), and Dresden Neurovascular Center (V.P., D.K.), University of Technology Dresden, Germany; Department of Interventional Neuroradiology (G.B.), Sainte-Anne-Hospital, Paris, France; Department of Neurology (T.J.K.), Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia; Department of Neurology (T.Y.W.), Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand; Division of Medicine (D.S.), Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia; NEUROFARBA Department (F. Arba), Careggi University Hospital, Florence; ASST Valcamonica (A.M.), Department of Neurology, Esine, Italy; Department of Neurosciences (H.M.D.), Eastern Health, Melbourne; Department of Neurology (P.B.), Gold Coast University Hospital, Queensland; Department of Neurology (B.O.), Gosford Hospital, New South Wales; and Population Health and Immunity Division (N.Y.), The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Australia.

Objective: To investigate the efficacy of tenecteplase (TNK), a genetically modified variant of alteplase with greater fibrin specificity and longer half-life than alteplase, prior to endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) in patients with basilar artery occlusion (BAO).

Methods: To determine whether TNK is associated with better reperfusion rates than alteplase prior to EVT in BAO, clinical and procedural data of consecutive patients with BAO from the Basilar Artery Treatment and Management (BATMAN) registry and the Tenecteplase vs Alteplase before Endovascular Therapy for Ischemic Stroke (EXTEND-IA TNK) trial were retrospectively analyzed. Reperfusion >50% or absence of retrievable thrombus at the time of the initial angiogram was evaluated.

Results: We included 110 patients with BAO treated with IV thrombolysis prior to EVT (mean age 69 [SD 14] years; median NIH Stroke Scale score 16 [interquartile range (IQR) 7-32]). Nineteen patients were thrombolysed with TNK (0.25 mg/kg or 0.40 mg/kg) and 91 with alteplase (0.9 mg/kg). Reperfusion >50% occurred in 26% (n = 5/19) of patients thrombolysed with TNK vs 7% (n = 6/91) thrombolysed with alteplase (risk ratio 4.0, 95% confidence interval 1.3-12; = 0.02), despite shorter thrombolysis to arterial puncture time in the TNK-treated patients (48 [IQR 40-71] minutes) vs alteplase-treated patients (110 [IQR 51-185] minutes; = 0.004). No difference in symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage was observed (0/19 [0%] TNK, 1/91 [1%] alteplase; = 0.9).

Conclusions: TNK may be associated with an increased rate of reperfusion in comparison with alteplase before EVT in BAO. Randomized controlled trials to compare TNK with alteplase in patients with BAO are warranted.

Clinicaltrialsgov Identifiers: NCT02388061 and NCT03340493.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class III evidence that TNK leads to higher reperfusion rates in comparison with alteplase prior to EVT in patients with BAO.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011520DOI Listing
March 2021

Utility of Severity-Based Prehospital Triage for Endovascular Thrombectomy: ACT-FAST Validation Study.

Stroke 2021 01 22;52(1):70-79. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Departments of Medicine and Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at The Royal Melbourne Hospital (H.Z., L.C., J.L.N., C.W., F.A., F.N., P.J.M., M.W.P., N.Y., S.M.D., B.C.V.C.), University of Melbourne, Australia.

Background And Purpose: Severity-based assessment tools may assist in prehospital triage of patients to comprehensive stroke centers (CSCs) for endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), but criticisms regarding diagnostic inaccuracy have not been adequately addressed. This study aimed to quantify the benefits and disadvantages of severity-based triage in a large real-world paramedic validation of the Ambulance Clinical Triage for Acute Stroke Treatment (ACT-FAST) algorithm.

Methods: Ambulance Victoria paramedics assessed the prehospital ACT-FAST algorithm in patients with suspected stroke from November 2017 to July 2019 following an 8-minute training video. All patients were transported to the nearest stroke center as per current guidelines. ACT-FAST diagnostic accuracy was compared with hospital imaging for the presence of large vessel occlusion (LVO) and need for CSC-level care (LVO, intracranial hemorrhage, and tumor). Patient-level time saving to EVT was modeled using a validated Google Maps algorithm. Disadvantages of CSC bypass examined potential thrombolysis delays in non-LVO infarcts, proportion of patients with false-negative EVT, and CSC overburdening.

Results: Of 517 prehospital assessments, 168/517 (32.5%) were ACT-FAST positive and 132/517 (25.5%) had LVO. ACT-FAST sensitivity and specificity for LVO was 75.8% and 81.8%, respectively. Positive predictive value was 58.8% for LVO and 80.0% when intracranial hemorrhage and tumor (CSC-level care) were included. Within the metropolitan region, 29/55 (52.7%) of ACT-FAST-positive patients requiring EVT underwent a secondary interhospital transfer. Prehospital bypass with avoidance of secondary transfers was modeled to save 52 minutes (95% CI, 40.0-61.5) to EVT commencement. ACT-FAST was false-positive in 8 patients receiving thrombolysis (8.1% of 99 non-LVO infarcts) and false-negative in 4 patients with EVT requiring secondary transfer (5.4% of 74 EVT cases). CSC bypass was estimated to over-triage 1.1 patients-per-CSC-per-week in our region.

Conclusions: The overall benefits of an ACT-FAST algorithm bypass strategy in expediting EVT and avoiding secondary transfers are estimated to substantially outweigh the disadvantages of potentially delayed thrombolysis and over-triage, with only a small proportion of EVT patients missed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.031467DOI Listing
January 2021

Prevalence and clinical associations of tau in Lewy body dementias: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2020 11 23;80:184-193. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Department of Medicine - The Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, 3050, Australia; Population Health and Immunity Division, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, VIC, 3052, Australia.

Introduction: Alzheimer's disease neuropathologies (amyloid-β and tau) frequently co-exist to varying degrees in Lewy body dementias (LBD), which include dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD).

Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of tau in DLB and PDD, and its associations with clinical outcomes.

Methods: We searched the major electronic databases using the search term: ("dementia with Lewy bodies" OR "diffuse Lewy body disease" OR "Lewy body variant of Alzheimer's disease") AND ("tau protein" OR "tauopathy" OR "neurofibrillary tangle"), for relevant studies which evaluated tau in LBD. Forty-nine articles met the inclusion criteria for data extraction. Where appropriate, a random-effect meta-analysis was performed to obtain pooled estimates for prevalence and risk ratios (RR) or standardized mean differences (SMD) for clinical features, diagnostic accuracy and cognition.

Results: Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage ≥ III was observed in 66% (n = 1511, 95%CI 60%-73%) of DLB and 52% (n = 433, 95%CI 27%-76%) of PDD at autopsy. Abnormal CSF phosphorylated-tau levels were present in 28% (n = 925, 95%CI 25%-31%) of DLB and 15% (n = 172, 95%CI 5%-24%) of PDD cases. Higher tau burden in DLB was associated with reduced likelihood of manifesting visual hallucinations (RR 0.56; 95%CI 0.40-0.77) and motor parkinsonism (RR 0.62; 95%CI 0.40-0.98), lower diagnostic accuracy of DLB during life (RR 0.49; 95%CI 0.38-0.64) and worse cognition prior to death (SMD 0.63; 95%CI 0.46-0.81).

Conclusions: Tau is common in LBD and may reduce clinical diagnostic accuracy in people with DLB. Prospective longitudinal studies are needed to understand the roles of co-morbid neuropathologies in Lewy body dementias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2020.09.030DOI Listing
November 2020

Intravenous alteplase for stroke with unknown time of onset guided by advanced imaging: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data.

Lancet 2020 11 8;396(10262):1574-1584. Epub 2020 Nov 8.

Department of Neurology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.

Background: Patients who have had a stroke with unknown time of onset have been previously excluded from thrombolysis. We aimed to establish whether intravenous alteplase is safe and effective in such patients when salvageable tissue has been identified with imaging biomarkers.

Methods: We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data for trials published before Sept 21, 2020. Randomised trials of intravenous alteplase versus standard of care or placebo in adults with stroke with unknown time of onset with perfusion-diffusion MRI, perfusion CT, or MRI with diffusion weighted imaging-fluid attenuated inversion recovery (DWI-FLAIR) mismatch were eligible. The primary outcome was favourable functional outcome (score of 0-1 on the modified Rankin Scale [mRS]) at 90 days indicating no disability using an unconditional mixed-effect logistic-regression model fitted to estimate the treatment effect. Secondary outcomes were mRS shift towards a better functional outcome and independent outcome (mRS 0-2) at 90 days. Safety outcomes included death, severe disability or death (mRS score 4-6), and symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage. This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020166903.

Findings: Of 249 identified abstracts, four trials met our eligibility criteria for inclusion: WAKE-UP, EXTEND, THAWS, and ECASS-4. The four trials provided individual patient data for 843 individuals, of whom 429 (51%) were assigned to alteplase and 414 (49%) to placebo or standard care. A favourable outcome occurred in 199 (47%) of 420 patients with alteplase and in 160 (39%) of 409 patients among controls (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1·49 [95% CI 1·10-2·03]; p=0·011), with low heterogeneity across studies (I=27%). Alteplase was associated with a significant shift towards better functional outcome (adjusted common OR 1·38 [95% CI 1·05-1·80]; p=0·019), and a higher odds of independent outcome (adjusted OR 1·50 [1·06-2·12]; p=0·022). In the alteplase group, 90 (21%) patients were severely disabled or died (mRS score 4-6), compared with 102 (25%) patients in the control group (adjusted OR 0·76 [0·52-1·11]; p=0·15). 27 (6%) patients died in the alteplase group and 14 (3%) patients died among controls (adjusted OR 2·06 [1·03-4·09]; p=0·040). The prevalence of symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage was higher in the alteplase group than among controls (11 [3%] vs two [<1%], adjusted OR 5·58 [1·22-25·50]; p=0·024).

Interpretation: In patients who have had a stroke with unknown time of onset with a DWI-FLAIR or perfusion mismatch, intravenous alteplase resulted in better functional outcome at 90 days than placebo or standard care. A net benefit was observed for all functional outcomes despite an increased risk of symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage. Although there were more deaths with alteplase than placebo, there were fewer cases of severe disability or death.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32163-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7734592PMC
November 2020

Association of Reperfusion After Thrombolysis With Clinical Outcome Across the 4.5- to 9-Hours and Wake-up Stroke Time Window: A Meta-Analysis of the EXTEND and EPITHET Randomized Clinical Trials.

JAMA Neurol 2021 Feb;78(2):236-240

Department of Medicine and Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Importance: Intravenous alteplase reduces disability after ischemic stroke in patients 4.5 to 9 hours after onset and with wake-up onset stroke selected using perfusion imaging mismatch. However, whether the benefit is consistent across the 4.5- to 6-hours, 6- to 9-hours, and wake-up stroke epochs is uncertain.

Objective: To examine the association of reperfusion with reduced disability, including by onset-to-randomization time strata in the Extending the Time for Thrombolysis in Emergency Neurological Deficits (EXTEND) and Echoplanar Imaging Thrombolytic Evaluation Trial (EPITHET) randomized clinical trials.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Individual patient meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials performed from August 2001 to June 2018 with 3-month follow-up. Patients had acute ischemic stroke with 4.5-to 9-hours poststroke onset or with wake-up stroke were randomized to alteplase or placebo after perfusion mismatch imaging. Analysis began July 2019 and ended May 2020.

Exposures: Reperfusion was defined as more than 90% reduction in time to maximum of more than 6 seconds' lesion volume at 24- to 72-hour follow-up.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Ordinal logistic regression adjusted for baseline age and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score was used to analyze functional improvement in day 90 modified Rankin Scale score overall, including a reperfusion × time-to-randomization multiplicative interaction term, and in the 4.5- to 6-hours, 6- to 9-hours, and wake-up time strata. Symptomatic hemorrhage was defined as large parenchymal hematoma with a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score increase of 4 points or more.

Results: Reperfusion was assessable in 270 of 295 patients (92%), 68 of 133 (51%) in the alteplase group, and 38 of 137 (28%) in the placebo reperfused group (P < .001). The median (interquartile range) age was 76 (66-81) years in the reperfusion group vs 74 (64.5-81.0) years in the group with no reperfusion. The median (interquartile range) baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score was 10 (7-15) in the reperfusion group vs 12 (8.0-17.5) in the no reperfusion group. Overall, reperfusion was associated with improved functional outcome (common odds ratio, 7.7; 95% CI, 4.6-12.8; P < .001). Reperfusion was associated with significantly improved functional outcome in each of the 4.5- to 6-hours, 6- to 9-hours, and wake-up time strata, with no evidence of association between time to randomization and beneficial effect of reperfusion (P = .63). Symptomatic hemorrhage, assessed in all 294 patients, occurred in 3 of 51 (5.9%) in the 4.5- to 6-hours group, 2 of 28 (7.1%) in the 6- to 9-hours group, and 4 of 73 (5.5%) in the wake-up stroke in patients treated with alteplase (Fisher P = .91).

Conclusions And Relevance: Strong benefits of reperfusion in all time strata without differential risk in symptomatic hemorrhage support the consistent treatment effect of alteplase in perfusion mismatch-selected patients throughout the 4.5- to 9-hours and wake-up stroke time window.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.4123DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7607491PMC
February 2021

Tranexamic acid in patients with intracerebral haemorrhage (STOP-AUST): a multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial.

Lancet Neurol 2020 12 28;19(12):980-987. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Department of Neurology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

Background: Despite intracerebral haemorrhage causing 5% of deaths worldwide, few evidence-based therapeutic strategies other than stroke unit care exist. Tranexamic acid decreases haemorrhage in conditions such as acute trauma and menorrhoea. We aimed to assess whether tranexamic acid reduces intracerebral haemorrhage growth in patients with acute intracerebral haemorrhage.

Methods: We did a prospective, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, investigator-led, phase 2 trial at 13 stroke centres in Australia, Finland, and Taiwan. Patients were eligible if they were aged 18 years or older, had an acute intracerebral haemorrhage fulfilling clinical criteria (eg, Glasgow Coma Scale score of >7, intracerebral haemorrhage volume <70 mL, no identified or suspected secondary cause of intracerebral haemorrhage, no thrombotic events within the previous 12 months, no planned surgery in the next 24 h, and no use of anticoagulation), had contrast extravasation on CT angiography (the so-called spot sign), and were treatable within 4·5 h of symptom onset and within 1 h of CT angiography. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either 1 g of intravenous tranexamic acid over 10 min followed by 1 g over 8 h or matching placebo, started within 4·5 h of symptom onset. Randomisation was done using a centralised web-based procedure with randomly permuted blocks of varying size. All patients, investigators, and staff involved in patient management were masked to treatment. The primary outcome was intracerebral haemorrhage growth (>33% relative or >6 mL absolute) at 24 h. The primary and safety analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01702636).

Findings: Between March 1, 2013, and Aug 13, 2019, we enrolled and randomly assigned 100 participants to the tranexamic acid group (n=50) or the placebo group (n=50). Median age was 71 years (IQR 57-79) and median intracerebral haemorrhage volume was 14·6 mL (7·9-32·7) at baseline. The primary outcome was not different between the two groups: 26 (52%) patients in the placebo group and 22 (44%) in the tranexamic acid group had intracerebral haemorrhage growth (odds ratio [OR] 0·72 [95% CI 0·32-1·59], p=0·41). There was no evidence of a difference in the proportions of patients who died or had thromboembolic complications between the groups: eight (16%) in the placebo group vs 13 (26%) in the tranexamic acid group died and two (4%) vs one (2%) had thromboembolic complications. None of the deaths was considered related to study medication.

Interpretation: Our study does not provide evidence that tranexamic acid prevents intracerebral haemorrhage growth, although the treatment was safe with no increase in thromboembolic complications. Larger trials of tranexamic acid, with simpler recruitment methods and an earlier treatment window, are justified.

Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council, Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30369-0DOI Listing
December 2020

Stroke Care Trends During COVID-19 Pandemic in Zanjan Province, Iran. From the CASCADE Initiative: Statistical Analysis Plan and Preliminary Results.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 Dec 16;29(12):105321. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Westchester Medical Center Health Network, Director of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurological Services, Valhalla, NY, USA; Westchester Medical Center Health Network, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY, USA.

Background: The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted global healthcare systems and this may affect stroke care and outcomes. This study examines the changes in stroke epidemiology and care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Zanjan Province, Iran.

Methods: This study is part of the CASCADE international initiative. From February 18, 2019, to July 18, 2020, we followed ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke hospitalization rates and outcomes in Valiasr Hospital, Zanjan, Iran. We used a Bayesian hierarchical model and an interrupted time series analysis (ITS) to identify changes in stroke hospitalization rate, baseline stroke severity [measured by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)], disability [measured by the modified Rankin Scale (mRS)], presentation time (last seen normal to hospital presentation), thrombolytic therapy rate, median door-to-needle time, length of hospital stay, and in-hospital mortality. We compared in-hospital mortality between study periods using Cox-regression model.

Results: During the study period, 1,026 stroke patients were hospitalized. Stroke hospitalization rates per 100,000 population decreased from 68.09 before the pandemic to 44.50 during the pandemic, with a significant decline in both Bayesian [Beta: -1.034; Standard Error (SE): 0.22, 95% CrI: -1.48, -0.59] and ITS analysis (estimate: -1.03, SE = 0.24, p < 0.0001). Furthermore, we observed lower admission rates for patients with mild (NIHSS < 5) ischemic stroke (p < 0.0001). Although, the presentation time and door-to-needle time did not change during the pandemic, a lower proportion of patients received thrombolysis (-10.1%; p = 0.004). We did not see significant changes in admission rate to the stroke unit and in-hospital mortality rate; however, disability at discharge increased (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: In Zanjan, Iran, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted stroke outcomes and altered the delivery of stroke care. Observed lower admission rates for milder stroke may possibly be due to fear of exposure related to COVID-19. The decrease in patients treated with thrombolysis and the increased disability at discharge may indicate changes in the delivery of stroke care and increased pressure on existing stroke acute and subacute services. The results of this research will contribute to a similar analysis of the larger CASCADE dataset in order to confirm findings at a global scale and improve measures to ensure the best quality of care for stroke patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.105321DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7494258PMC
December 2020

Cost-Effectiveness of Tenecteplase Before Thrombectomy for Ischemic Stroke.

Stroke 2020 12 7;51(12):3681-3689. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Department of Medicine and Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (L.C., N.Y., B.Y., M.W.P., G.A.D., S.M.D., B.C.V.C.), University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.

Background And Purpose: Tenecteplase improved functional outcomes and reduced the requirement for endovascular thrombectomy in ischemic stroke patients with large vessel occlusion in the EXTEND-IA TNK randomized trial. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of tenecteplase versus alteplase in this trial.

Methods: Post hoc within-trial economic analysis included costs of index emergency department and inpatient stroke hospitalization, rehabilitation/subacute care, and rehospitalization due to stroke within 90 days. Sources for cost included key study site complemented by published literature and government websites. Quality-adjusted life-years were estimated using utility scores derived from the modified Rankin Scale score at 90 days. Long-term modeled cost-effectiveness analysis used a Markov model with 7 health states corresponding to 7 modified Rankin Scale scores. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: Within the 202 patients in the randomized controlled trial, total cost was nonsignificantly lower in the tenecteplase-treated patients (40 997 Australian dollars [AUD]) compared with alteplase-treated patients (46 188 AUD) for the first 90 days(=0.125). Tenecteplase was the dominant treatment strategy in the short term, with similar cost (5412 AUD [95% CI, -13 348 to 2523]; =0.181) and higher benefits (0.099 quality-adjusted life-years [95% CI, 0.001-0.1967]; =0.048), with a 97.4% probability of being cost-effective. In the long-term, tenecteplase was associated with less additional lifetime cost (96 357 versus 106 304 AUD) and greater benefits (quality-adjusted life-years, 7.77 versus 6.48), and had a 100% probability of being cost-effective. Both deterministic sensitivity analysis and probabilistic sensitivity analyses yielded similar results.

Conclusions: Both within-trial and long-term economic analyses showed that tenecteplase was highly likely to be cost-effective for patients with acute stroke before thrombectomy. Recommending the use of tenecteplase over alteplase could lead to a cost saving to the healthcare system both in the short and long term. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02388061.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029666DOI Listing
December 2020

Comorbidity of Cerebrovascular and Alzheimer's Disease in Aging.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;78(1):321-334

The Australian e-Health Research Centre, CSIRO Health and Biosecurity, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Background: Cerebrovascular disease often coexists with Alzheimer's disease (AD). While both diseases share common risk factors, their interrelationship remains unclear. Increasing the understanding of how cerebrovascular changes interact with AD is essential to develop therapeutic strategies and refine biomarkers for early diagnosis.

Objective: We investigate the prevalence and risk factors for the comorbidity of amyloid-β (Aβ) and cerebrovascular disease in the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of Ageing, and further examine their cross-sectional association.

Methods: A total of 598 participants (422 cognitively normal, 89 with mild cognitive impairment, 87 with AD) underwent positron emission tomography and structural magnetic resonance imaging for assessment of Aβ deposition and cerebrovascular disease. Individuals were categorized based on the comorbidity status of Aβ and cerebrovascular disease (V) as Aβ-V-, Aβ-V+, Aβ+V-, or Aβ+V+.

Results: Advancing age was associated with greater likelihood of cerebrovascular disease, high Aβ load and their comorbidity. Apolipoprotein E ɛ4 carriage was only associated with Aβ positivity. Greater total and regional WMH burden were observed in participants with AD. However, no association were observed between Aβ and WMH measures after stratification by clinical classification, suggesting that the observed association between AD and cerebrovascular disease was driven by the common risk factor of age.

Conclusion: Our observations demonstrate common comorbid condition of Aβ and cerebrovascular disease in later life. While our study did not demonstrate a convincing cross-sectional association between Aβ and WMH burden, future longitudinal studies are required to further confirm this.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200419DOI Listing
January 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic and Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases: An Ecological Study on Data of 185 Countries.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 Sep 25;29(9):105089. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Department of Neurology and Stroke Unit, San Camillo de' Lellis General District Hospital, Rieti, Italy; Neurological Section, Neuro-epidemiology Unit, SMDN-Centre for Cardiovascular Medicine and Cerebrovascular Disease Prevention, Sulmona, L'Aquila, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: The interaction between coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and non-communicable diseases may increase the global burden of disease. We assessed the association of COVID-19 with ageing and non-communicable diseases.

Methods: We extracted data regarding non-communicable disease, particularly cardiovascular disease, deaths, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and healthy life expectancy (HALE) from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2017. We obtained data of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths, and tests from the Our World in Data database as of May 28, 2020. Potential confounders of pandemic outcomes analyzed include institutional lockdown delay, hemispheric geographical location, and number of tourists. We compared all countries according to GBD classification and World Bank income level. We assessed the correlation between independent variables associated with COVID-19 caseload and mortality using Spearman's rank correlation and adjusted mixed model analysis.

Findings: High-income had the highest, and the Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania region had the least cases per million population (3050.60 vs. 63.86). Sub-saharan region has reported the lowest number of COVID-19 mortality (1.9). Median delay to lockdown initiation varied from one day following the first case in Latin America and Caribbean region, to 34 days in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania. Globally, non-communicable disease DALYs were correlated with COVID-19 cases (r = 0.32, p<0.001) and deaths (r = 0.37, p<0.001). HALE correlated with COVID-19 cases (r = 0.63, p<0.001) and deaths (r = 0.61, p<0.001). HALE was independently associated with COVID-19 case rate and the number of tourists was associated with COVID-19 mortality in the adjusted model.

Interpretation: Preventive measures against COVID-19 should protect the public from the dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, particularly in the elderly. In addition to active COVID-19 surveillance, policymakers should utilize this evidence as a guide for prevention and coordination of health services. This model is timely, as many countries have begun to reduce social isolation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.105089DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7315949PMC
September 2020

Call to Action: SARS-CoV-2 and CerebrovAscular DisordErs (CASCADE).

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 Sep 8;29(9):104938. Epub 2020 May 8.

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

Background And Purpose: The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2), now named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), may change the risk of stroke through an enhanced systemic inflammatory response, hypercoagulable state, and endothelial damage in the cerebrovascular system. Moreover, due to the current pandemic, some countries have prioritized health resources towards COVID-19 management, making it more challenging to appropriately care for other potentially disabling and fatal diseases such as stroke. The aim of this study is to identify and describe changes in stroke epidemiological trends before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: This is an international, multicenter, hospital-based study on stroke incidence and outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will describe patterns in stroke management, stroke hospitalization rate, and stroke severity, subtype (ischemic/hemorrhagic), and outcomes (including in-hospital mortality) in 2020 during COVID-19 pandemic, comparing them with the corresponding data from 2018 and 2019, and subsequently 2021. We will also use an interrupted time series (ITS) analysis to assess the change in stroke hospitalization rates before, during, and after COVID-19, in each participating center.

Conclusion: The proposed study will potentially enable us to better understand the changes in stroke care protocols, differential hospitalization rate, and severity of stroke, as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, this will help guide clinical-based policies surrounding COVID-19 and other similar global pandemics to ensure that management of cerebrovascular comorbidity is appropriately prioritized during the global crisis. It will also guide public health guidelines for at-risk populations to reduce risks of complications from such comorbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.104938DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7205703PMC
September 2020

Correlations between COVID-19 and burden of dementia: An ecological study and review of literature.

J Neurol Sci 2020 09 4;416:117013. Epub 2020 Jul 4.

Department of Neurology and Stroke Unit, San Camillo de' Lellis General District Hospital, Rieti, Italy; Neurological Section, Neuro-epidemiology Unit, SMDN-Centre for Cardiovascular Medicine and Cerebrovascular Disease Prevention, Sulmona, L'Aquila, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: Current evidence on the association between COVID-19 and dementia is sparse. This study aims to investigate the associations between COVID-19 caseload and the burden of dementia.

Methods: We gathered data regarding burden of dementia (disability-adjusted life years [DALYs] per 100,000), life expectancy, and healthy life expectancy (HALE) from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2017 study. We obtained COVID-19 data from Our World in Data database. We analyzed the association of COVID-19 cases and deaths with the burden of dementia using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient.

Results: Globally, we found significant positive (p < .001) correlations between life expectancy (r = 0.60), HALE (r = 0.58), and dementia DALYs (r = 0.46) with COVID-19 caseloads. Likewise, we found similar correlations between life expectancy (r = 0.60), HALE (r = 0.58) and dementia DALYs (r = 0.54) with COVID-19 mortality.

Conclusion: Health policymakers should clarify a targeted model of disease surveillance in order to reduce the dual burden of dementia and COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.117013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334961PMC
September 2020

Unsupervised assessment of cognition in the Healthy Brain Project: Implications for web-based registries of individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimers Dement (N Y) 2020 26;6(1):e12043. Epub 2020 Jun 26.

Melbourne Dementia Research Centre Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the University of Melbourne Parkville Victoria Australia.

Introduction: Web-based platforms are used increasingly to assess cognitive function in unsupervised settings. The utility of cognitive data arising from unsupervised assessments remains unclear. We examined the acceptability, usability, and validity of unsupervised cognitive testing in middle-aged adults enrolled in the Healthy Brain Project.

Methods: A total of 1594 participants completed unsupervised assessments of the Cogstate Brief Battery. Acceptability was defined by the amount of missing data, and usability by examining error of test performance and the time taken to read task instructions and complete tests (learnability).

Results: Overall, we observed high acceptability (98% complete data) and high usability (95% met criteria for low error rates and high learnability). Test validity was confirmed by observation of expected inverse relationships between performance and increasing test difficulty and age.

Conclusion: Consideration of test design paired with acceptability and usability criteria can provide valid indices of cognition in the unsupervised settings used to develop registries of individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/trc2.12043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7317647PMC
June 2020

Effect of Intravenous Tenecteplase Dose on Cerebral Reperfusion Before Thrombectomy in Patients With Large Vessel Occlusion Ischemic Stroke: The EXTEND-IA TNK Part 2 Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA 2020 04;323(13):1257-1265

Department of Medicine, Ballarat Base Hospital, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

Importance: Intravenous thrombolysis with tenecteplase improves reperfusion prior to endovascular thrombectomy for ischemic stroke compared with alteplase.

Objective: To determine whether 0.40 mg/kg of tenecteplase safely improves reperfusion before endovascular thrombectomy vs 0.25 mg/kg of tenecteplase in patients with large vessel occlusion ischemic stroke.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Randomized clinical trial at 27 hospitals in Australia and 1 in New Zealand using open-label treatment and blinded assessment of radiological and clinical outcomes. Patients were enrolled from December 2017 to July 2019 with follow-up until October 2019. Adult patients (N = 300) with ischemic stroke due to occlusion of the intracranial internal carotid, \basilar, or middle cerebral artery were included less than 4.5 hours after symptom onset using standard intravenous thrombolysis eligibility criteria.

Interventions: Open-label tenecteplase at 0.40 mg/kg (maximum, 40 mg; n = 150) or 0.25 mg/kg (maximum, 25 mg; n = 150) given as a bolus before endovascular thrombectomy.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was reperfusion of greater than 50% of the involved ischemic territory prior to thrombectomy, assessed by consensus of 2 blinded neuroradiologists. Prespecified secondary outcomes were level of disability at day 90 (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score; range, 0-6); mRS score of 0 to 1 (freedom from disability) or no change from baseline at 90 days; mRS score of 0 to 2 (functional independence) or no change from baseline at 90 days; substantial neurological improvement at 3 days; symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage within 36 hours; and all-cause death.

Results: All 300 patients who were randomized (mean age, 72.7 years; 141 [47%] women) completed the trial. The number of participants with greater than 50% reperfusion of the previously occluded vascular territory was 29 of 150 (19.3%) in the 0.40 mg/kg group vs 29 of 150 (19.3%) in the 0.25 mg/kg group (unadjusted risk difference, 0.0% [95% CI, -8.9% to -8.9%]; adjusted risk ratio, 1.03 [95% CI, 0.66-1.61]; P = .89). Among the 6 secondary outcomes, there were no significant differences in any of the 4 functional outcomes between the 0.40 mg/kg and 0.25 mg/kg groups nor in all-cause deaths (26 [17%] vs 22 [15%]; unadjusted risk difference, 2.7% [95% CI, -5.6% to 11.0%]) or symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (7 [4.7%] vs 2 [1.3%]; unadjusted risk difference, 3.3% [95% CI, -0.5% to 7.2%]).

Conclusions And Relevance: Among patients with large vessel occlusion ischemic stroke, a dose of 0.40 mg/kg, compared with 0.25 mg/kg, of tenecteplase did not significantly improve cerebral reperfusion prior to endovascular thrombectomy. The findings suggest that the 0.40-mg/kg dose of tenecteplase does not confer an advantage over the 0.25-mg/kg dose in patients with large vessel occlusion ischemic stroke in whom endovascular thrombectomy is planned.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03340493.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1511DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139271PMC
April 2020

Melbourne Mobile Stroke Unit and Reperfusion Therapy: Greater Clinical Impact of Thrombectomy Than Thrombolysis.

Stroke 2020 03 12;51(3):922-930. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

From the Department of Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre (H.Z., S.C., D.E., L.C., N.Y., B.Y., B.C.V.C., M.W.P., G.A.D., S.M.D.), Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.

Background and Purpose- Mobile stroke units (MSUs) are increasingly used worldwide to provide prehospital triage and treatment. The benefits of MSUs in giving earlier thrombolysis have been well established, but the impacts of MSUs on endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) and effect on disability avoidance are largely unknown. We aimed to determine the clinical impact and disability reduction for reperfusion therapies in the first operational year of the Melbourne MSU. Methods- Treatment time metrics for MSU patients receiving reperfusion therapy were compared with control patients presenting to metropolitan Melbourne stroke units via standard ambulance within MSU operating hours. The primary outcome was median time difference in first ambulance dispatch to treatment modeled using quantile regression analysis. Time savings were subsequently converted to disability-adjusted life years avoided using published estimates. Results- In the first 365-day operation of the Melbourne MSU, prehospital thrombolysis was administered to 100 patients (mean age, 73.8 years; 62% men). The median time savings per MSU patient, compared with the control cohort, was 26 minutes (<0.001) for dispatch to hospital arrival and 15 minutes (<0.001) for hospital arrival to thrombolysis. The calculated overall time saving from dispatch to thrombolysis was 42.5 minutes (95% CI, 36.0-49.0). In the same period, 41 MSU patients received EVT (mean age, 76 years; 61% men) with median dispatch-to-treatment time saving of 51 minutes ([95% CI, 30.1-71.9], <0.001). This included a median time saving of 17 minutes ([95% CI, 7.6-26.4], =0.001) for EVT hospital arrival to arterial puncture for MSU patients. Estimated median disability-adjusted life years saved through earlier provision of reperfusion therapies were 20.9 for thrombolysis and 24.6 for EVT. Conclusions- The Melbourne MSU substantially reduced time to reperfusion therapies, with the greatest estimated disability avoidance driven by the more powerful impact of earlier EVT. These findings highlight the benefits of prehospital notification and direct triage to EVT centers with facilitated workflow on arrival by the MSU.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.027843DOI Listing
March 2020

Gradient of Tissue Injury after Stroke: Rethinking the Infarct versus Noninfarcted Dichotomy.

Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 18;49(1):32-38. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Departments of Medicine and Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Aim: To evaluate the degree of variability in microstructural injury within and adjacent to regions identified as infarcted tissue using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

Methods: In this prospective longitudinal study, 18 patients presenting within 12 h of anterior circulation acute ischemic stroke who underwent CT perfusion (CTP) at baseline followed by fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and DTI 1-month were analyzed. Four regions of interest (ROI) corresponding to the severity of hypoperfusion on CTP within and beyond the radiological infarct lesion defined on FLAIR were segmented. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were quantified for each ROI and compared to a mirror homologue in the contralateral hemisphere. Ipsilateral to contralateral FA and MD ratios were compared across ROIs.

Results: Lower FA and higher MD values were observed within both the infarct lesion and the peri-infarct tissue compared with their homologous contralateral brain regions (all comparisons p ≤ 0.01). No difference was observed in FA and MD between remote nonhypoperfused tissue and its contralateral homologous region (FA p = 0.42, MD p ≥ 0.99). The magnitude of asymmetry (ipsilateral/contralateral ratios) of FA and MD was greater with increasing severity of hypoperfusion in a dose-response pattern. Asymmetry greatest in the area of infarction with severe hypoperfusion, followed by infarction with moderate hypoperfusion, the peri-infarct hypoperfused tissue, and lastly the remote nonhypoperfused normal tissue (median on clustered quantile regression p ≤ 0.01).

Conclusion: A gradient of microstructural injury corresponding to the severity of ischemic insult is present within and beyond conventionally defined infarct boundaries. The traditional dichotomized notion of infarcted versus noninfarcted tissue widely adopted in clinical research and in practice warrants reexamination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000505847DOI Listing
September 2020

Emerging Stroke Clinicians and Scientists: An Australasian Experience.

Stroke 2020 02 10;51(2):e21-e23. Epub 2020 Jan 10.

Department of Medicine, Melbourne Brain Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (N.Y.), University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.028210DOI Listing
February 2020

Rates of age- and amyloid β-associated cortical atrophy in older adults with superior memory performance.

Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2019 Dec 12;11:566-575. Epub 2019 Aug 12.

The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Introduction: Superior cognitive performance in older adults may reflect underlying resistance to age-associated neurodegeneration. While elevated amyloid β (Aβ) deposition (Aβ+) has been associated with increased cortical atrophy, it remains unknown whether "SuperAgers" may be protected from Aβ-associated neurodegeneration.

Methods: Neuropsychologically defined SuperAgers (n = 172) and cognitively normal for age (n = 172) older adults from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle study were case matched. Rates of cortical atrophy over 8 years were examined by SuperAger classification and Aβ status.

Results: Of the case-matched SuperAgers and cognitively normal for age older adults, 40.7% and 40.1%, respectively, were Aβ+. Rates of age- and Aβ-associated atrophy did not differ between the groups on any measure. Aβ- individuals displayed the slowest rates of atrophy.

Discussion: Maintenance of superior memory in late life does not reflect resistance to age- or Aβ-associated atrophy. However, those individuals who reached old age without cognitive impairment nor elevated Aβ deposition (i.e. Aβ-) displayed reduced rates of cortical atrophy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dadm.2019.05.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6939054PMC
December 2019

Influence of Comorbidity of Cerebrovascular Disease and Amyloid-β on Alzheimer's Disease.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;73(3):897-907

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.

Background: Quantifying the contribution of cerebrovascular disease to the clinical and pathological profile of Alzheimer's disease is challenging.

Objective: We aimed to determine the influence of cerebrovascular disease, amyloid-β (Aβ), and their comorbidity on cognitive decline, hippocampal atrophy, and Aβ deposition, by evaluating data from the Australian Imaging, Biomarker and Lifestyle Study of Ageing.

Methods: Two-hundred and eighteen participants underwent Aβ PET, MRI, and cognitive assessment at 18-month intervals for up to 90 months. Aβ status was determined on baseline PET. Participants were also classified as V+ on baseline MRI if they had≥1 large cortical infarcts, subcortical infarcts, or cortical cerebral microinfarcts; or white matter hyperintensity volume greater than the 90th percentile of healthy controls. Linear mixed models were conducted comparing slopes of change in cognition, hippocampal volume, and Aβ load between the four resultant groups.

Results: Mean age at baseline was 74 years (range 59-96). One-hundred and fifteen participants were cognitively normal, 54 had mild cognitive impairment, and 49 had Alzheimer's disease. Compared to the Aβ-/V- group, the Aβ+/V- and Aβ+/V+ groups showed significantly faster cognitive decline and hippocampal atrophy over 90 months. V+ status was associated with greater cognitive decline (Cohen's d = 0.85, p < 0.001) and hippocampal atrophy (d = 2.05, p < 0.001) in the Aβ+ group but not in the Aβ- group. V+ status was not associated with Aβ accumulation in any group.

Conclusion: Comorbidity of cerebrovascular disease and Aβ was associated with cognitive decline and neurodegeneration. Cerebrovascular disease was not associated with the rate of Aβ accumulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-191028DOI Listing
January 2020

Brain frailty and small vessel disease for stroke outcome prediction: Are we there yet?

Neurology 2020 02 27;94(5):191-192. Epub 2019 Dec 27.

From the Department of Medicine and Neurology (N.Y, B.C.V.C.), Melbourne Brain Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health (N.Y, B.C.V.C.), University of Melbourne; Population Health and Immunity Division (N.Y.), Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville; and Western Australian Centre for Health & Ageing (L.F.), Medical School, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000008880DOI Listing
February 2020

Determining the optimal dose of tenecteplase before endovascular therapy for ischemic stroke (EXTEND-IA TNK Part 2): A multicenter, randomized, controlled study.

Int J Stroke 2020 Jul 30;15(5):567-572. Epub 2019 Sep 30.

Department of Medicine and Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background And Hypothesis: Intravenous thrombolysis with tenecteplase is more effective than alteplase in achieving substantial reperfusion at initial angiographic assessment and improves functional outcome. However, the optimal dose of tenecteplase remains uncertain. We hypothesized that 0.40 mg/kg tenecteplase is superior to 0.25 mg/kg tenecteplase in achieving reperfusion at initial angiogram, when administered within 4.5 h of ischemic stroke onset, in patients planned to undergo endovascular therapy.

Study Design: EXTEND-IA TNK part 2 is an investigator-initiated, phase II, multicenter, prospective, randomized, open-label, blinded-endpoint (PROBE) study. Eligibility requires a diagnosis of ischemic stroke within 4.5 h of stroke onset, pre-stroke modified Rankin Scale (mRS)≤3 (no upper age limit), absence of contraindications to intravenous thrombolysis, and large vessel occlusion (internal carotid, basilar, or middle cerebral artery) on multimodal CT. Patients are randomized to IV tenecteplase at either 0.40 mg/kg (max 40 mg) or 0.25 mg/kg (max 25 mg) prior to thrombectomy.

Study Outcomes: The primary outcome measure is reperfusion on the initial catheter angiogram, assessed as modified Treatment In Cerebral Infarction (mTICI) 2b/3, or the absence of retrievable intracranial thrombus. Secondary outcomes include mRS at day 90 and early neurological improvement (reduction in National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) by ≥8 points or reaching 0-1) at day 3. Safety outcomes are death and symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03340493.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1747493019879652DOI Listing
July 2020

Response by Alemseged et al to Letter Regarding Article, "Response to Late-Window Endovascular Revascularization Is Associated With Collateral Status in Basilar Artery Occlusion".

Stroke 2019 09 25;50(9):e270. Epub 2019 Jul 25.

Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.026645DOI Listing
September 2019

Determining the Temporal Profile of Intracranial Pressure Changes Following Transient Stroke in an Ovine Model.

Front Neurosci 2019 9;13:587. Epub 2019 Jul 9.

Adelaide Medical School, Adelaide Centre for Neuroscience Research, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

Background And Purpose: Cerebral edema and elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) are the leading cause of death in the first week following stroke. Despite this, current treatments are limited and fail to address the underlying mechanisms of swelling, highlighting the need for targeted treatments. When screening promising novel agents, it is essential to use clinically relevant large animal models to increase the likelihood of successful clinical translation. As such, we sought to develop a survival model of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) in the sheep and subsequently characterize the temporal profile of cerebral edema and elevated ICP following stroke in this novel, clinically relevant model.

Methods: Merino-sheep (27M;31F) were anesthetized and subject to 2 h tMCAO with reperfusion or sham surgery. Following surgery, animals were allowed to recover and returned to their home pens. At preselected times points ranging from 1 to 7 days post-stroke, animals were re-anesthetized, ICP measured for 4 h, followed by imaging with MRI to determine cerebral edema, midline shift and infarct volume (FLAIR, T2 and DWI). Animals were subsequently euthanized and their brain removed for immunohistochemical analysis. Serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples were also collected and analyzed for substance P (SP) using ELISA.

Results: Intracranial pressure and MRI scans were normal in sham animals. Following stroke, ICP rose gradually over time and by 5 days was significantly ( < 0.0001) elevated above sham levels. Profound cerebral edema was observed as early as 2 days post-stroke and continued to evolve out to 6 days, resulting in significant midline shift which was most prominent at 5 days post-stroke ( < 0.01), in keeping with increasing ICP. Serum SP levels were significantly elevated ( < 0.01) by 7 days post-tMCAO.

Conclusion: We have successfully developed a survival model of ovine tMCAO and characterized the temporal profile of ICP. Peak ICP elevation, cerebral edema and midline shift occurred at days 5-6 following stroke, accompanied by an elevation in serum SP. Our findings suggest that novel therapeutic agents screened in this model targeting cerebral edema and elevated ICP would most likely be effective when administered prior to 5 days, or as early as possible following stroke onset.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00587DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6629870PMC
July 2019

NK1-r Antagonist Treatment Comparable to Decompressive Craniectomy in Reducing Intracranial Pressure Following Stroke.

Front Neurosci 2019 5;13:681. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Adelaide Medical School and Adelaide Centre for Neuroscience Research, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

The morbidity and early mortality associated with stroke is largely attributable to cerebral edema and elevated intracranial pressure (ICP). Existing pharmacotherapies do not target the underlying pathophysiology and are often ineffective in sustainably lowering ICP, whilst decompressive craniectomy (DC) surgery is life-saving yet with surgical/peri-operative risk and increased morbidity in the elderly. Accordingly, there is an urgent need for therapies that directly target the mechanisms of edema genesis. Neurogenic inflammation, mediated by substance P (SP) binding to the tachykinin NK1 receptor (NK1-r), is associated with blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption, cerebral edema and poor outcome post-stroke. NK1-r antagonist treatment ameliorates BBB dysfunction and cerebral edema in rodent stroke models. However, treatment has not been investigated in a large animal model, an important step toward clinical translation. Consequently, the current study compared the efficacy of NK1-r antagonist treatment to DC surgery in reducing ICP post-stroke in a clinically relevant ovine model. Anesthetized female Merino sheep (65 ± 6 kg, 18-24 months) underwent sham surgery ( = 4) or permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion ( = 22). Stroke animals were randomized into one of 5 treatments: 1×NK1 bolus (4 h), 2×NK1 bolus (4 h;9 h), 3×NK1 bolus (4 h;9 h;14 h), DC surgery (performed at 4 h) or saline vehicle. ICP, blood pressure and blood gasses were monitored for 24 h post-stroke. At 24 h post-stroke anesthetized animals underwent MRI followed by perfusion and brains removed and processed for histological assessment. 2×NK1, 3×NK1 administration or DC surgery significantly ( < 0.05) reduced ICP compared to vehicle. 1×NK1 was ineffective in sustainably lowering ICP. On MRI, midline shift and cerebral edema were more marked in vehicles compared to NK1-r treatment groups. Two or three boluses of NK1-r antagonist treatment reduced ICP comparable to DC surgery, suggesting it may provide a novel alternative to invasive surgery for the management of elevated ICP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00681DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6624444PMC
July 2019

Extending thrombolysis to 4·5-9 h and wake-up stroke using perfusion imaging: a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data.

Lancet 2019 07 22;394(10193):139-147. Epub 2019 May 22.

Department of Neurology, Sapienza University of Roma, Rome, Italy.

Background: Stroke thrombolysis with alteplase is currently recommended 0-4·5 h after stroke onset. We aimed to determine whether perfusion imaging can identify patients with salvageable brain tissue with symptoms 4·5 h or more from stroke onset or with symptoms on waking who might benefit from thrombolysis.

Methods: In this systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data, we searched PubMed for randomised trials published in English between Jan 1, 2006, and March 1, 2019. We also reviewed the reference list of a previous systematic review of thrombolysis and searched ClinicalTrials.gov for interventional studies of ischaemic stroke. Studies of alteplase versus placebo in patients (aged ≥18 years) with ischaemic stroke treated more than 4·5 h after onset, or with wake-up stroke, who were imaged with perfusion-diffusion MRI or CT perfusion were eligible for inclusion. The primary outcome was excellent functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score 0-1) at 3 months, adjusted for baseline age and clinical severity. Safety outcomes were death and symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage. We calculated odds ratios, adjusted for baseline age and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, using mixed-effects logistic regression models. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42019128036.

Findings: We identified three trials that met eligibility criteria: EXTEND, ECASS4-EXTEND, and EPITHET. Of the 414 patients included in the three trials, 213 (51%) were assigned to receive alteplase and 201 (49%) were assigned to receive placebo. Overall, 211 patients in the alteplase group and 199 patients in the placebo group had mRS assessment data at 3 months and thus were included in the analysis of the primary outcome. 76 (36%) of 211 patients in the alteplase group and 58 (29%) of 199 patients in the placebo group had achieved excellent functional outcome at 3 months (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1·86, 95% CI 1·15-2·99, p=0·011). Symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage was more common in the alteplase group than the placebo group (ten [5%] of 213 patients vs one [<1%] of 201 patients in the placebo group; adjusted OR 9·7, 95% CI 1·23-76·55, p=0·031). 29 (14%) of 213 patients in the alteplase group and 18 (9%) of 201 patients in the placebo group died (adjusted OR 1·55, 0·81-2·96, p=0·66).

Interpretation: Patients with ischaemic stroke 4·5-9 h from stroke onset or wake-up stroke with salvageable brain tissue who were treated with alteplase achieved better functional outcomes than did patients given placebo. The rate of symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage was higher with alteplase, but this increase did not negate the overall net benefit of thrombolysis.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31053-0DOI Listing
July 2019

Response to Late-Window Endovascular Revascularization Is Associated With Collateral Status in Basilar Artery Occlusion.

Stroke 2019 May 16:STROKEAHA118023361. Epub 2019 May 16.

From the Department of Medicine and Neurology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia (F. Alemseged, D.S., B.Y., G.S., M.W.P., S.M.D., N.Y., B.C.V.C.).

Background and Purpose- The benefit of endovascular therapy in extended time windows has been demonstrated in patients with anterior circulation large vessel occlusion ischemic stroke and favorable imaging profile. We evaluated whether collaterals and thrombus burden influence the associations between revascularization, time-to-treatment, and outcome in endovascular therapy-treated patients with basilar artery occlusion. Methods- We retrospectively analyzed clinical and imaging data of consecutive endovascular therapy-treated patients with basilar artery occlusion included in the multicenter Basilar Artery Treatment and Management Collaboration. The BATMAN (Basilar Artery on Computed Tomography Angiography score, which evaluates thrombus burden and collaterals) and the PC-CS (Posterior Circulation Collateral score, which evaluates collaterals) were assessed on computed tomography angiography, blinded to clinical outcome. Good outcome was defined as modified Rankin Scale score of ≤3 within 3 months; revascularization (successful reperfusion) as modified Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction 2b-3 (or TIMI [Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction] 2-3 in the BASICS [Basilar Artery International Cooperation Study] registry). Results- We included 172 patients with basilar artery occlusion treated with endovascular therapy (124 with mechanical thrombectomy): mean (SD) age 65 (13) years, median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale 22 (interquartile range 12-30), 64 (37%) treated >6 hours. Revascularization (achieved in 79% of patients) was associated with good outcome ( P=0.003). The use of new generation thrombectomy devices was associated with good outcome ( P=0.03). In patients who achieved revascularization, 29/46 (63%) of patients with a favorable BATMAN score and 26/51 (51%) with favorable PC-CS had good outcomes. In logistic regression analysis (adjusted for age, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and time-to-treatment ≤6/>6 hours), revascularization was associated with good outcome in patients with favorable BATMAN score (odds ratio, 15.8; 95% CI, 1.4-175; P=0.02) or PC-CS (odds ratio, 9.4; 95% CI, 1.4-64; P=0.02). In patients who achieved revascularization, early (time-to-treatment ≤6 hours) but not late treatment was associated with improved outcome in patients with unfavorable BATMAN score (18/52 [35%]; odds ratio, 15; 95% CI, 1.9-124; P=0.01) or PC-CS (16/44 [36%]; odds ratio, 5.5; 95% CI, 1.4-21; P=0.01). Conclusions- Revascularization is associated with good outcome in patients with basilar artery occlusion with good collaterals and less extensive occlusion, even >6 hours after onset.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.023361DOI Listing
May 2019

Thrombolysis Guided by Perfusion Imaging up to 9 Hours after Onset of Stroke.

N Engl J Med 2019 05;380(19):1795-1803

From Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health (H.M., L. Churilov, N.Y., V.T., L. Carey, A.M., G.A.D.), the Department of Medicine and Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (B.C.V.C., M.W.P., L. Churilov, S. Christensen, N.Y., G.S., A.B., B.Y., A.M., S.M.D., G.A.D.), and the Department of Radiology, Royal Melbourne Hospital (P.M.D., B.Y., P.J.M.), University of Melbourne, Parkville, the Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Science, Monash University, Clayton (H.M., T.G.P.), the Departments of Medicine and Neurology, Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne and Western Health, Sunshine Hospital, St. Albans (T.W.), the Department of Neurosciences, Eastern Health and Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Box Hill (H.M.D., C.F.B.), the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Geelong, Deakin University, Geelong (B.C.), the Department of Neurology, Austin Hospital, Austin Health, Heidelberg (V.T.), and Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora (L. Carey), VIC, the Department of Neurology, Priority Research Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, John Hunter Hospital (C.R.L., F.M.), University of Newcastle (J.S.), Newcastle, the Department of Neurology, Westmead Hospital (N.M.), the Department of Neurology, Royal North Shore Hospital and Kolling Institute, University of Sydney (M.K.), and the Department of Neurology, St. Vincent's Hospital Sydney (R.M.), Sydney, and the Department of Neurology, Gosford Hospital, Gosford (J.S.), NSW, the Department of Neurology, Royal Adelaide Hospital (T.J.K., J.J.), the Department of Neurology, Lyell McEwin Hospital (D.F.), and the Department of Neurology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital (J.J.), Adelaide, SA, the Department of Medicine, Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Nambour (R.G.), the Department of Neurology, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and the University of Queensland, Brisbane (A.A.W.), and the Department of Neurology, Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport (A.S.), and Australia and Griffith University, Gold Coast (A.S.), QLD - all in Australia; the Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science (C.H.) and the School of Medicine (C.-H.T.), China Medical University, and the Department of Neurology, China Medical University Hospital (C.-H.T.), Taichung, the Department of Neurology, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center (J.-T.L.), the Department of Neurology, Shuang Ho Hospital (C.-J.H.), the Department of Neurology, En Chu Kong Hospital (Y.S.), the Stroke Center and Department of Neurology, National Taiwan University Hospital (J.-S.J.), and the Department of Neurology, Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, Taipei Medical University College of Medicine (L.-M.L.), Taipei, the Stroke Center and Department of Neurology, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua (M.-C.S.), the Department of Neurology, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan (C.-H.C.), and the Department of Neurology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung (C.-H.L.) - all in Taiwan; the Department of Neurology, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki (S. Curtze, A.M.); the Department of Neurology, Auckland City Hospital, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand (P.A.B.); and the Stanford Stroke Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA (S. Christensen).

Background: The time to initiate intravenous thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke is generally limited to within 4.5 hours after the onset of symptoms. Some trials have suggested that the treatment window may be extended in patients who are shown to have ischemic but not yet infarcted brain tissue on imaging.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving patients with ischemic stroke who had hypoperfused but salvageable regions of brain detected on automated perfusion imaging. The patients were randomly assigned to receive intravenous alteplase or placebo between 4.5 and 9.0 hours after the onset of stroke or on awakening with stroke (if within 9 hours from the midpoint of sleep). The primary outcome was a score of 0 or 1 on the modified Rankin scale, on which scores range from 0 (no symptoms) to 6 (death), at 90 days. The risk ratio for the primary outcome was adjusted for age and clinical severity at baseline.

Results: After 225 of the planned 310 patients had been enrolled, the trial was terminated because of a loss of equipoise after the publication of positive results from a previous trial. A total of 113 patients were randomly assigned to the alteplase group and 112 to the placebo group. The primary outcome occurred in 40 patients (35.4%) in the alteplase group and in 33 patients (29.5%) in the placebo group (adjusted risk ratio, 1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 2.06; P = 0.04). Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage occurred in 7 patients (6.2%) in the alteplase group and in 1 patient (0.9%) in the placebo group (adjusted risk ratio, 7.22; 95% CI, 0.97 to 53.5; P = 0.05). A secondary ordinal analysis of the distribution of scores on the modified Rankin scale did not show a significant between-group difference in functional improvement at 90 days.

Conclusions: Among the patients in this trial who had ischemic stroke and salvageable brain tissue, the use of alteplase between 4.5 and 9.0 hours after stroke onset or at the time the patient awoke with stroke symptoms resulted in a higher percentage of patients with no or minor neurologic deficits than the use of placebo. There were more cases of symptomatic cerebral hemorrhage in the alteplase group than in the placebo group. (Funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and others; EXTEND ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00887328 and NCT01580839.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1813046DOI Listing
May 2019