Publications by authors named "Vincent van Pesch"

101 Publications

Simultaneous bilateral optic neuropathy and myelitis revealing paraneoplastic neurological syndrome associated with multiple onconeuronal antibodies.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 Jan 22;49:102789. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Department of Neurology, CHU UCL Namur site Godinne, Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Yvoir, Belgium. Electronic address:

Paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS) are immune-mediated complications of cancer associated with a broad spectrum of clinical manifestations. Optic neuropathy (ON) and myelitis are frequent manifestations of multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optic spectrum disorders but are considered as non-classical in PNS. Here, we report a case of PNS revealed by simultaneous bilateral ON and myelitis related to a cluster of three neural autoantibodies, in the setting of small cell lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.102789DOI Listing
January 2021

Determinants of therapeutic lag in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2021 Jan 11:1352458520981300. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Melbourne MS Centre, Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background: A delayed onset of treatment effect, termed therapeutic lag, may influence the assessment of treatment response in some patient subgroups.

Objectives: The objective of this study is to explore the associations of patient and disease characteristics with therapeutic lag on relapses and disability accumulation.

Methods: Data from MSBase, a multinational multiple sclerosis (MS) registry, and OFSEP, the French MS registry, were used. Patients diagnosed with MS, minimum 1 year of exposure to MS treatment and 3 years of pre-treatment follow-up, were included in the analysis. Studied outcomes were incidence of relapses and disability accumulation. Therapeutic lag was calculated using an objective, validated method in subgroups stratified by patient and disease characteristics. Therapeutic lag under specific circumstances was then estimated in subgroups defined by combinations of clinical and demographic determinants.

Results: High baseline disability scores, annualised relapse rate (ARR) ⩾ 1 and male sex were associated with longer therapeutic lag on disability progression in sufficiently populated groups: females with expanded disability status scale (EDSS) < 6 and ARR < 1 had mean lag of 26.6 weeks (95% CI = 18.2-34.9), males with EDSS < 6 and ARR < 1 31.0 weeks (95% CI = 25.3-36.8), females with EDSS < 6 and ARR ⩾ 1 44.8 weeks (95% CI = 24.5-65.1), and females with EDSS ⩾ 6 and ARR < 1 54.3 weeks (95% CI = 47.2-61.5).

Conclusions: Pre-treatment EDSS and ARR are the most important determinants of therapeutic lag.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520981300DOI Listing
January 2021

Effect of Disease-Modifying Therapy on Disability in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Over 15 Years.

Neurology 2021 02 28;96(5):e783-e797. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

From CORe (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne; MS Centre (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia; Karolinska Institute (T.S.), Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Neuroscience (T.S., V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne; Burnet Institute (T.S.), Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology and Center of Clinical Neuroscience (D.H., E.K.H.), General University Hospital and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs (M. Trojano), University of Bari, Italy; Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena (G.I.), Sevilla, Spain; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences (A.L.), University "G. d'Annunzio," Chieti; Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (A.L.), University of Bologna, IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Italy; Hopital Notre Dame (A.P., M.G., P.D.), Montreal; CHUM and Universite de Montreal (A.P., M.G., P.D.); CISSS Chaudière-Appalache (P.G.), Levis, Canada; Department of Neurology (V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Neuro Rive-Sud (F. Grand'Maison), Quebec, Canada; Department of Neuroscience (P.S., D.F.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Modena, Italy; Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (V.S.), Isfahan, Iran; Amiri Hospital (R. Alroughani), Kuwait City, Kuwait; Zuyderland Ziekenhuis (R.H.), Sittard, the Netherlands; Medical Faculty (M. Terzi), 19 Mayis University, Samsun; KTU Medical Faculty Farabi Hospital (C.B.), Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey; School of Medicine and Public Health (J.L.-S.), University Newcastle; Department of Neurology (J.L.-S.), John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia; UOC Neurologia (E.P.), Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale Marche-AV3, Macerata, Italy; Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (V.V.P.), Brussels, Belgium; University of Parma (F. Granella); C. Mondino National Neurological Institute (R.B.), Pavia; Azienda Ospedaliera di Rilievo Nazionale San Giuseppe Moscati Avellino (D.S.), Italy; Flinders University (M. Slee), Adelaide; Westmead Hospital (S.V.), Sydney, Australia; Nemocnice Jihlava (R. Ampapa), Czech Republic; University of Queensland (P.M.), Brisbane; Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (P.M.), Brisbane, Australia; Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (C.R.-T.), Badalona, Spain; CSSS Saint-Jérôme (J.P.), Canada; Hospital Universitario Donostia (J.O.), Paseo de Begiristain, San Sebastián, Spain; Hospital Italiano (E.C.), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Brain and Mind Centre (M.B.), University of Sydney, Australia; INEBA-Institute of Neuroscience Buenos Aires (M.L.S.), Argentina; Hospital de Galdakao-Usansolo (J.L.S.-M.), Galdakao, Spain; Liverpool Hospital (S. Hodgkinson), Sydney, Australia; Jahn Ferenc Teaching Hospital (C.R.), Budapest, Hungary; Craigavon Area Hospital (S. Hughes), UK; Jewish General Hospital (F.M.), Montreal, Canada; Deakin University (C.S.), Geelong; Monash Medical Centre (E.B.), Melbourne, Australia; South East Trust (O.G.), Belfast, UK; Perron Institute (A.K.), University of Western Australia, Nedlands; Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (A.K.), Murdoch University; Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (A.K.), Perth, Australia; Department of Neurology (T.C.), Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Hungary; Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences (B.S.), Mumbai, India; St Vincents Hospital (N.S.), Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia; Veszprém Megyei Csolnoky Ferenc Kórház zrt (I.P.), Veszprem, Hungary; Royal Hobart Hospital (B.T.), Australia; Semmelweis University Budapest (M. Simo), Hungary; Central Military Emergency University Hospital (C.-A.S.), Bucharest; Titu Maiorescu University (C.-A.S.), Bucharest, Romania; BAZ County Hospital (A.S.), Miskolc, Hungary; and Box Hill Hospital (H.B.), Melbourne, Australia.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that immunotherapy prevents long-term disability in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), we modeled disability outcomes in 14,717 patients.

Methods: We studied patients from MSBase followed for ≥1 year, with ≥3 visits, ≥1 visit per year, and exposed to MS therapy, and a subset of patients with ≥15-year follow-up. Marginal structural models were used to compare the cumulative hazards of 12-month confirmed increase and decrease in disability, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) step 6, and the incidence of relapses between treated and untreated periods. Marginal structural models were continuously readjusted for patient age, sex, pregnancy, date, disease course, time from first symptom, prior relapse history, disability, and MRI activity.

Results: A total of 14,717 patients were studied. During the treated periods, patients were less likely to experience relapses (hazard ratio 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43-0.82, = 0.0016), worsening of disability (0.56, 0.38-0.82, = 0.0026), and progress to EDSS step 6 (0.33, 0.19-0.59, = 0.00019). Among 1,085 patients with ≥15-year follow-up, the treated patients were less likely to experience relapses (0.59, 0.50-0.70, = 10) and worsening of disability (0.81, 0.67-0.99, = 0.043).

Conclusion: Continued treatment with MS immunotherapies reduces disability accrual by 19%-44% (95% CI 1%-62%), the risk of need of a walking aid by 67% (95% CI 41%-81%), and the frequency of relapses by 40-41% (95% CI 18%-57%) over 15 years. This study provides evidence that disease-modifying therapies are effective in improving disability outcomes in relapsing-remitting MS over the long term.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that, for patients with relapsing-remitting MS, long-term exposure to immunotherapy prevents neurologic disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884998PMC
February 2021

Treatment Response Score to Glatiramer Acetate or Interferon Beta-1a.

Neurology 2021 01 6;96(2):e214-e227. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

From the Department of Health Sciences (DISSAL) (F.B., M.P.S.), University of Genoa, Italy; CORe (T.K., C.M.), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology (F.L.), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY; Department of Biostatistics (G.C.), University of Alabama at Birmingham; Department of Neurology and Center for Clinical Neuroscience (D.H., E.K.H.), First Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs (M. Trojano), University of Bari, Italy; Department of Neuroscience (A.P., M.G., P.D.), Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging, and Clinical Sciences (M.O.), University G. d'Annunzio, Chieti; IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna (A.L.); Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Neuromotorie (A.L.), Università di Bologna, Italy; Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena (G. Izquierdo. S.E.), Sevilla, Spain; Department of Medical, Surgical Science and Advanced Technology "GF Ingrassia" (F.P.), University of Catania, Italy; Ondokuz Mayis University (M. Terzi), Department of Neurology, Samsun, Turkey; CISSS Chaudi're-Appalache (P.G.), Centre-Hospitalier, Levis, Quebec, Canada; IRCCS Mondino Foundation (R.B.), Pavia; Department of Neuroscience (P.S., D.F.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Modena, Italy; Department of Neurology (S.O.), Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey; Ospedali Riuniti di Salerno (G. Iuliano), Salerno, Italy; Department of Neurology (C.B.), Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey; Department of Neurology (R.H.), Zuyderland Medical Center, Sittard, the Netherlands; Neuro Rive-Sud (F.G.), Hôpital Charles LeMoyne, Greenfield Park, Quebec, Canada; Clinico San Carlos (C.O.-G), Madrid, Spain; Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (V.v.P.); Université Catholique de Louvain (V.v.P.), Brussels, Belgium; UOC Neurologia (E.C.), Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale Marche-AV3, Macerata, Italy; Kommunehospitalet (T.P.), Arhus C, Denmark; Koc University (A.A.), School of Medicine; Bakirkoy Education and Research Hospital for Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases (A.S.), Istanbul, Turkey; Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (C.R.-T.), Badalona, Spain; University of Queensland (P.M.), Brisbane, Australia; Haydarpasa Numune Training and Research Hospital (R.T.), Istanbul, Turkey; Central Clinical School (H.B.), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (J.S.W.); Rehabilitation Unit (C.S.), "Mons. L. Novarese" Hospital, Moncrivello; and IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino (M.P.S.), Genoa, Italy.

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of glatiramer acetate (GA) vs intramuscular interferon beta-1a (IFN-β-1a), we applied a previously published statistical method aimed at identifying patients' profiles associated with efficacy of treatments.

Methods: Data from 2 independent multiple sclerosis datasets, a randomized study (the Combination Therapy in Patients With Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis [CombiRx] trial, evaluating GA vs IFN-β-1a) and an observational cohort extracted from MSBase, were used to build and validate a treatment response score, regressing annualized relapse rates (ARRs) on a set of baseline predictors.

Results: The overall ARR ratio of GA to IFN-β-1a in the CombiRx trial was 0.72. The response score (made up of a linear combination of age, sex, relapses in the previous year, disease duration, and Expanded Disability Status Scale score) detected differential response of GA vs IFN-β-1a: in the trial, patients with the largest benefit from GA vs IFN-β-1a (lower score quartile) had an ARR ratio of 0.40 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.25-0.63), those in the 2 middle quartiles of 0.90 (95% CI 0.61-1.34), and those in the upper quartile of 1.14 (95% CI 0.59-2.18) (heterogeneity = 0.012); this result was validated on MSBase, with the corresponding ARR ratios of 0.58 (95% CI 0.46-0.72), 0.92 (95% CI 0.77-1.09,) and 1.29 (95% CI 0.97-1.71); heterogeneity < 0.0001).

Conclusions: We demonstrate the possibility of a criterion, based on patients' characteristics, to choose whether to treat with GA or IFN-β-1a. This result, replicated on an independent real-life cohort, may have implications for clinical decisions in everyday clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010991DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7905777PMC
January 2021

Delay from treatment start to full effect of immunotherapies for multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2020 09;143(9):2742-2756

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 3050, Australia.

In multiple sclerosis, treatment start or switch is prompted by evidence of disease activity. Whilst immunomodulatory therapies reduce disease activity, the time required to attain maximal effect is unclear. In this study we aimed to develop a method that allows identification of the time to manifest fully and clinically the effect of multiple sclerosis treatments ('therapeutic lag') on clinical disease activity represented by relapses and progression-of-disability events. Data from two multiple sclerosis registries, MSBase (multinational) and OFSEP (French), were used. Patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, minimum 1-year exposure to treatment, minimum 3-year pretreatment follow-up and yearly review were included in the analysis. For analysis of disability progression, all events in the subsequent 5-year period were included. Density curves, representing incidence of relapses and 6-month confirmed progression events, were separately constructed for each sufficiently represented therapy. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to identify the first local minimum of the first derivative after treatment start; this point represented the point of stabilization of treatment effect, after the maximum treatment effect was observed. The method was developed in a discovery cohort (MSBase), and externally validated in a separate, non-overlapping cohort (OFSEP). A merged MSBase-OFSEP cohort was used for all subsequent analyses. Annualized relapse rates were compared in the time before treatment start and after the stabilization of treatment effect following commencement of each therapy. We identified 11 180 eligible treatment epochs for analysis of relapses and 4088 treatment epochs for disability progression. External validation was performed in four therapies, with no significant difference in the bootstrapped mean differences in therapeutic lag duration between registries. The duration of therapeutic lag for relapses was calculated for 10 therapies and ranged between 12 and 30 weeks. The duration of therapeutic lag for disability progression was calculated for seven therapies and ranged between 30 and 70 weeks. Significant differences in the pre- versus post-treatment annualized relapse rate were present for all therapies apart from intramuscular interferon beta-1a. In conclusion we have developed, and externally validated, a method to objectively quantify the duration of therapeutic lag on relapses and disability progression in different therapies in patients more than 3 years from multiple sclerosis onset. Objectively defined periods of expected therapeutic lag allows insights into the evaluation of treatment response in randomized clinical trials and may guide clinical decision-making in patients who experience early on-treatment disease activity. This method will subsequently be applied in studies that evaluate the effect of patient and disease characteristics on therapeutic lag.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa231DOI Listing
September 2020

Paramagnetic Rim Lesions are Specific to Multiple Sclerosis: An International Multicenter 3T MRI Study.

Ann Neurol 2020 11 9;88(5):1034-1042. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

In multiple sclerosis (MS), a subset of chronic active white matter lesions are identifiable on magnetic resonance imaging by their paramagnetic rims, and increasing evidence supports their association with severity of clinical disease. We studied their potential role in differential diagnosis, screening an international multicenter clinical research-based sample of 438 individuals affected by different neurological conditions (MS, other inflammatory, infectious, and non-inflammatory conditions). Paramagnetic rim lesions, rare in other neurological conditions (52% of MS vs 7% of non-MS cases), yielded high specificity (93%) in differentiating MS from non-MS. Future prospective multicenter studies should validate their role as a diagnostic biomarker. ANN NEUROL 2020;88:1034-1042.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25877DOI Listing
November 2020

The central vein sign in multiple sclerosis patients with vascular comorbidities.

Mult Scler 2020 Aug 4:1352458520943785. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

Department of Neurology, Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium/Department of Neurology, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Lausanne University Hospital and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland/Department of Neurology, Cliniques universitaires Saint Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: The central vein sign (CVS) is an imaging biomarker able to differentiate multiple sclerosis (MS) from other conditions causing similar appearance lesions on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD). However, the impact of vascular risk factors (VRFs) for CSVD on the percentage of CVS positive (CVS) lesions in MS has never been evaluated.

Objective: To investigate the association between different VRFs and the percentage of CVS lesions in MS.

Methods: In 50 MS patients, 3T brain MRIs (including high-resolution 3-dimensional T2*-weighted images) were analyzed for the presence of the CVS and MRI markers of CSVD. A backward stepwise regression model was used to predict the combined predictive effect of VRF (i.e. age, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, ever-smoking, and hypercholesterolemia) and MRI markers of CSVD on the CVS.

Results: The median frequency of CVS lesions was 71% (range: 35%-100%). In univariate analysis, age ( < 0.0001), hypertension ( < 0.001), diabetes ( < 0.01), obesity ( < 0.01), smoking ( < 0.05), and the presence of enlarged-perivascular-spaces on MRI ( < 0.005) were all associated with a lower percentage of CVS lesions. The stepwise regression model showed that age and arterial hypertension were both associated with the percentage of CVS lesions in MS (adjusted  = 0.46;  < 0.0001 and  = 0.01, respectively).

Conclusion: The proportion of CVS lesions significantly decreases in older and hypertensive MS patients. Although this study was conducted in patients with an already established MS diagnosis, the diagnostic yield of the previously proposed 35% CVS proportion-based diagnostic threshold appears to be not affected. Overall these results suggest that the presence of VRF for CSVD should be taken into account during the CVS assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520943785DOI Listing
August 2020

Immune-mediated neurological syndromes in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients.

J Neurol 2021 Mar 30;268(3):751-757. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Department of Neurology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Hippocrate 10, 1200, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: Evidence of immune-mediated neurological syndromes associated with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection is limited. We therefore investigated clinical, serological and CSF features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with neurological manifestations.

Methods: Consecutive COVID-19 patients with neurological manifestations other than isolated anosmia and/or non-severe headache, and with no previous neurological or psychiatric disorders were prospectively included. Neurological examination was performed in all patients and lumbar puncture with CSF examination was performed when not contraindicated. Serum anti-gangliosides antibodies were tested when clinically indicated.

Results: Of the 349 COVID-19 admitted to our center between March 23rd and April 24th 2020, 15 patients (4.3%) had neurological manifestations and fulfilled the study inclusion/exclusion criteria. CSF examination was available in 13 patients and showed lymphocytic pleocytosis in 2 patients: 1 with anti-contactin-associated protein 2 (anti-Caspr2) antibody encephalitis and 1 with meningo-polyradiculitis. Increased serum titer of anti-GD1b antibodies was found in three patients and was associated with variable clinical presentations, including cranial neuropathy with meningo-polyradiculitis, brainstem encephalitis and delirium. CSF PCR for SARS-CoV-2 was negative in all patients.

Conclusions: In SARS-Cov-2 infected patients with neurological manifestations, CSF pleocytosis is associated with para- or post-infectious encephalitis and polyradiculitis. Anti-GD1b and anti-Caspr2 autoantibodies can be identified in certain cases, raising the question of SARS-CoV-2-induced secondary autoimmunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-10108-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391231PMC
March 2021

Association of Sustained Immunotherapy With Disability Outcomes in Patients With Active Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

JAMA Neurol 2020 Jul 27. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Clinical Outcomes Research Unit (CORe), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Importance: It is unclear whether relapses and disease-modifying therapies are associated with the rate of disability accumulation in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).

Objective: To examine the association of relapses with the rate of disability accumulation in patients with SPMS and to assess whether treatment before or during the secondary progressive phase can slow the progression of disability accumulation.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this observational cohort study, patient data were prospectively collected from the MSBase international registry between January 1, 1995, and February 1, 2018. Among 53 680 patients in the MSBase registry, 4997 patients with SPMS (using the Lorscheider definition) were identified. Of those, 1621 patients were eligible for study inclusion based on sufficient follow-up before and after the onset of SPMS. Data were analyzed from November 15, 2017, to January 13, 2020.

Exposures: The association between disability accumulation and several clinical and demographic variables, including relapses and exposure to immunotherapy, was evaluated.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Two outcomes were analyzed as measures of disability accumulation during SPMS: the rate of disability accumulation during the secondary progressive phase (change relative to the reference population of patients with MS and absolute change) and the risk of becoming wheelchair dependent. A third outcome, the cumulative risk of experiencing confirmed disability progression events, was used for a secondary analysis. Outcomes were evaluated using multivariable mixed models (ie, linear and Cox models).

Results: Of 1621 patients eligible for inclusion, 1103 patients (68.0%) were female, with a mean (SD) age at MS onset of 33.9 (10.6) years. A total of 661 patients (40.8%) experienced superimposed relapses during SPMS. Therapy receipt and relapses during early relapsing-remitting MS were not associated with disability accumulation during the secondary progressive phase. Higher relapse rates during the secondary progressive disease stage were associated with an increased risk of becoming wheelchair dependent (hazard ratio [HR], 1.87; 95% CI, 1.17-3.00; P = .009). Among patients who experienced superimposed relapses during SPMS, greater receipt of disease-modifying therapies was significantly associated with a reduced rate of disability progression and a lower risk of becoming wheelchair dependent.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this study, the rate of disability progression after the onset of SPMS was not associated with the early disease course and treatment decisions. Relapses during SPMS were associated with accelerated disability progression and represent an accessible treatment target. Disease-modifying therapy was associated with improvements in disability outcomes among patients with active relapses during SPMS. The study's results suggest that inflammatory disease activity remains a substantial yet modifiable component of SPMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.2453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7385679PMC
July 2020

Paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis revealing burned-out seminoma.

Acta Neurol Belg 2020 Jul 25. Epub 2020 Jul 25.

Department of Neurology, Clinique Saint-Pierre d'Ottignies, Avenue Reine Fabiola 9, 1340, Ottignies, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13760-020-01447-7DOI Listing
July 2020

Disability outcomes of early cerebellar and brainstem symptoms in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2021 Apr 15;27(5):755-766. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

CORe, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Department of Neurology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background: Cerebellar and brainstem symptoms are common in early stages of multiple sclerosis (MS) yet their prognostic values remain unclear.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate long-term disability outcomes in patients with early cerebellar and brainstem symptoms.

Methods: This study used data from MSBase registry. Patients with early cerebellar/brainstem presentations were identified as those with cerebellar/brainstem relapse(s) or functional system score ⩾ 2 in the initial 2 years. Early pyramidal presentation was chosen as a comparator. Andersen-Gill models were used to compare cumulative hazards of (1) disability progression events and (2) relapses between patients with and without early cerebellar/brainstem symptoms. Mixed effect models were used to estimate the associations between early cerebellar/brainstem presentations and expanded disability status scale (EDSS) scores.

Results: The study cohort consisted of 10,513 eligible patients, including 2723 and 3915 patients with early cerebellar and brainstem symptoms, respectively. Early cerebellar presentation was associated with greater hazard of progression events (HR = 1.37,  < 0.001) and EDSS (β = 0.16,  < 0.001). Patients with early brainstem symptoms had lower hazard of progression events (HR = 0.89,  = 0.01) and EDSS (β = -0.06,  < 0.001). Neither presentation was associated with changes in relapse risk.

Conclusion: Early cerebellar presentation is associated with unfavourable outcomes, while early brainstem presentation is associated with favourable prognosis. These presentations may be used as MS prognostic markers and guide therapeutic approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520926955DOI Listing
April 2021

Intravenous immunoglobulin-induced aseptic meningitis in a patient with Miller Fisher syndrome.

Acta Neurol Belg 2020 Aug 24;120(4):1015-1016. Epub 2020 May 24.

Department of Neurology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Avenue Hippocrate 10, 1200, Brussels, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13760-020-01389-0DOI Listing
August 2020

Early clinical markers of aggressive multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2020 05;143(5):1400-1413

CORe Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Patients with the 'aggressive' form of multiple sclerosis accrue disability at an accelerated rate, typically reaching Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS) ≥ 6 within 10 years of symptom onset. Several clinicodemographic factors have been associated with aggressive multiple sclerosis, but less research has focused on clinical markers that are present in the first year of disease. The development of early predictive models of aggressive multiple sclerosis is essential to optimize treatment in this multiple sclerosis subtype. We evaluated whether patients who will develop aggressive multiple sclerosis can be identified based on early clinical markers. We then replicated this analysis in an independent cohort. Patient data were obtained from the MSBase observational study. Inclusion criteria were (i) first recorded disability score (EDSS) within 12 months of symptom onset; (ii) at least two recorded EDSS scores; and (iii) at least 10 years of observation time, based on time of last recorded EDSS score. Patients were classified as having 'aggressive multiple sclerosis' if all of the following criteria were met: (i) EDSS ≥ 6 reached within 10 years of symptom onset; (ii) EDSS ≥ 6 confirmed and sustained over ≥6 months; and (iii) EDSS ≥ 6 sustained until the end of follow-up. Clinical predictors included patient variables (sex, age at onset, baseline EDSS, disease duration at first visit) and recorded relapses in the first 12 months since disease onset (count, pyramidal signs, bowel-bladder symptoms, cerebellar signs, incomplete relapse recovery, steroid administration, hospitalization). Predictors were evaluated using Bayesian model averaging. Independent validation was performed using data from the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Registry. Of the 2403 patients identified, 145 were classified as having aggressive multiple sclerosis (6%). Bayesian model averaging identified three statistical predictors: age > 35 at symptom onset, EDSS ≥ 3 in the first year, and the presence of pyramidal signs in the first year. This model significantly predicted aggressive multiple sclerosis [area under the curve (AUC) = 0.80, 95% confidence intervals (CIs): 0.75, 0.84, positive predictive value = 0.15, negative predictive value = 0.98]. The presence of all three signs was strongly predictive, with 32% of such patients meeting aggressive disease criteria. The absence of all three signs was associated with a 1.4% risk. Of the 556 eligible patients in the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Registry cohort, 34 (6%) met criteria for aggressive multiple sclerosis. The combination of all three signs was also predictive in this cohort (AUC = 0.75, 95% CIs: 0.66, 0.84, positive predictive value = 0.15, negative predictive value = 0.97). Taken together, these findings suggest that older age at symptom onset, greater disability during the first year, and pyramidal signs in the first year are early indicators of aggressive multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa081DOI Listing
May 2020

Telecommunication and rehabilitation for patients with multiple sclerosis: access and willingness to use. A cross-sectional study.

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2020 Aug 15;56(4):403-411. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Service of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Clinic University of Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium -

Background: Telerehabilitation is a promising approach for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), but uncertainties regarding patients' access and preferences remain.

Aim: To investigate the access to telecommunication technologies and rehabilitation services of patients with MS, and their willingness to use these technologies for rehabilitation.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Outpatient neurological facility.

Population: Patients with MS.

Methods: Patients with MS attending consultations in the Neurology department were asked to fill in a paper questionnaire. This anonymous z was designed to gain information about needs and access to rehabilitation and telecommunication technologies, as well as interests and perspectives of telerehabilitation among these patients. Descriptive statistics, Chi-squared tests and logistic regressions were used to describe the sample and survey answers.

Results: Two hundred patients completed the questionnaire. Mean age was 44.41(±12.52) years. Seventy-one percent were women, and 49% were unemployed. Ninety-one percent of the patients regularly used internet and 73% used apps. Most patients were interested in using telecommunication technologies to receive a program of physical exercises (62%), for information and personalized advice about physical activity and MS (69%), and to communicate with caregivers (75%). Patients with EDSS>4 were less interested than patients with EDSS≤4 in communicating with the caregivers via apps (33% vs. 52%,Δ19%[CI-36%;-2%],P=0.04) but expressed greater interest in receiving information and personal advice about physical activity and MS via the internet (70% vs. 51%,Δ19%[CI+2%;+36%],P=0.03). One third of the patients was not interested in receiving telerehabilitation interventions (32%), notably patients with EDSS>4 and non-workers.

Conclusions: Patients with MS are mainly interested in using telecommunication technologies for rehabilitation services, and most of these patients have access to the required technology. Being mildly disabled and having a professional activity are associated with a greater interest in telerehabilitation. In contrary, patients with moderate-to-severe disability and non-workers have reportedly less access and ease in using the required technologies.

Clinical Rehabilitation Impact: Telerehabilitation is feasible and wished by patients with MS, specifically in patients with low EDSS scores and workers. Given the strong need for rehabilitation in more disabled patients, the barriers to its access, the lower access and ease of use of telecommunication technologies, a special effort is needed to facilitate their use in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S1973-9087.20.06061-XDOI Listing
August 2020

Acute Susac Syndrome in a Recent User of Adulterated Cocaine: Levamisole as a Triggering Factor?

Case Rep Neurol 2020 Jan-Apr;12(1):78-83. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

Department of Neurology, Cliniques St-Luc, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

Susac syndrome (SS) is a central nervous system vasculitis characterized by the clinical triad of encephalopathy, sensorineural hearing loss, and visual disturbance caused by branch retinal artery occlusion. It is considered as an inflammatory disorder, and an autoimmune etiology is suggested. A 29-year-old man with a history of recent cocaine abuse developed the clinical features of SS. Toxicological analysis including hair testing revealed that cocaine had been adulterated with levamisole. After an initial clinical improvement following corticosteroid therapy, the introduction of mycophenolate mofetil was justified a few weeks later by the progression (or relapse) of the retinal injury, followed by complete recovery. The presence of levamisole has been documented in patients with multifocal inflammatory leukoencephalopathy (MIL). Further investigations are needed to determine if levamisole as an adulterant of cocaine could also play a role in the development of rapidly progressive leukoencephalopathy in young men, with Susac or Susac-like syndromes as possible variants of MIL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000506043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7098328PMC
February 2020

Timing of high-efficacy therapy for multiple sclerosis: a retrospective observational cohort study.

Lancet Neurol 2020 04 18;19(4):307-316. Epub 2020 Mar 18.

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: High-efficacy therapies in multiple sclerosis are traditionally used after unsuccessful treatment with first-line disease modifying therapies. We hypothesised that early commencement of high-efficacy therapy would be associated with reduced long-term disability. We therefore aimed to compare long-term disability outcomes between patients who started high-efficacy therapies within 2 years of disease onset with those who started 4-6 years after disease onset.

Methods: In this retrospective international observational study, we obtained data from the MSBase registry and the Swedish MS registry, which prospectively collect patient data that are specific to multiple sclerosis as part of routine clinical care. We identified adult patients (aged ≥18 years) with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, with at least 6 years of follow-up since disease onset, and who started the high-efficacy therapy (rituximab, ocrelizumab, mitoxantrone, alemtuzumab, or natalizumab) either 0-2 years (early) or 4-6 years (late) after clinical disease onset. We matched patients in the early and late groups using propensity scores calculated on the basis of their baseline clinical and demographic data. The primary outcome was disability, measured with the Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS; an ordinal scale of 0-10, with higher scores indicating increased disability), at 6-10 years after disease onset, assessed with a linear mixed-effects model.

Findings: We identified 6149 patients in the MSBase registry who had been given high-efficacy therapy, with data collected between Jan 1, 1975, and April 13, 2017, and 2626 patients in the Swedish MS Registry, with data collected between Dec 10, 1997, and Sept 16, 2019. Of whom, 308 in the MSBase registry and 236 in the Swedish MS registry were eligible for inclusion. 277 (51%) of 544 patients commenced therapy early and 267 (49%) commenced therapy late. For the primary analysis, we matched 213 patients in the early treatment group with 253 in the late treatment group. At baseline, the mean EDSS score was 2·2 (SD 1·2) in the early group and 2·1 (SD 1·2) in the late group. Median follow-up time for matched patients was 7·8 years (IQR 6·7-8·9). In the sixth year after disease onset, the mean EDSS score was 2·2 (SD 1·6) in the early group compared with 2·9 (SD 1·8) in the late group (p<0·0001). This difference persisted throughout each year of follow-up until the tenth year after disease onset (mean EDSS score 2·3 [SD 1·8] vs 3·5 [SD 2·1]; p<0·0001), with a difference between groups of -0·98 (95% CI -1·51 to -0·45; p<0·0001, adjusted for proportion of time on any disease-modifying therapy) across the 6-10 year follow-up period.

Interpretation: High-efficacy therapy commenced within 2 years of disease onset is associated with less disability after 6-10 years than when commenced later in the disease course. This finding can inform decisions regarding optimal sequence and timing of multiple sclerosis therapy.

Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council Australia and MS Society UK.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30067-3DOI Listing
April 2020

CSF microRNAs discriminate MS activity and share similarity to other neuroinflammatory disorders.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2020 03 7;7(2). Epub 2020 Feb 7.

From the Neurochemistry Group (O.P, H.A.D., L.D., V.v.P.), Institute of NeuroScience (IoNS), Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain); and Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (V.v.P.), Brussels, Belgium.

Objective: To perform a comprehensive multicompartment analysis of microRNA (miRNA) expression in multiple sclerosis (MS) linked to disease activity and compared with other neuroinflammatory diseases through a retrospective cross-sectional study.

Methods: One hundred twenty-seven miRNAs were measured by PCR arrays on pooled CSF, serum, and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples of 10 patients with relapsing MS and 10 controls. Sixty-four miRNAs were then measured by quantitative PCR on individual CSF samples of patients with relapsing or remitting MS and controls (n = 68). Fifty-seven miRNAs were analyzed in the CSF from a second cohort (n = 75), including patients with MS, neuroinfectious, or neuroinflammatory diseases and controls. MiRNAs significantly dysregulated in the CSF were analyzed on individual serum/PBMC samples (n = 59/48) of patients with relapsing or remitting MS and controls. Post hoc analysis consisted of principal component analysis (PCA), gene set, and pathway enrichment analysis.

Results: Twenty-one miRNAs were differentially expressed, mainly upregulated in the CSF during MS relapses. Relapsing MS and neuroinfectious/inflammatory diseases exhibited a partially overlapping CSF miRNA expression profile. Besides confirming the association of miR-146a-5p/150-5p/155-5p with MS, 7 miRNAs uncharacterized for MS emerged (miR-15a-3p/124-5p/149-3p/29c-3p/33a-3p/34c-5p/297). PCA showed that distinct miRNA sets segregated MS from controls and relapse from remission. In silico analysis predicted the involvement of these miRNAs in cell cycle, immunoregulation, and neurogenesis, but also revealed that the signaling pathway pattern of remitting MS is more akin to controls rather than patients with relapsing MS.

Conclusions: This study highlights the CSF-predominant dysregulation of miRNAs in MS by identifying a signature of disease activity and intrathecal inflammation among neuroinflammatory disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000673DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7051201PMC
March 2020

Premotor dorsal white matter integrity for the prediction of upper limb motor impairment after stroke.

Sci Rep 2019 12 23;9(1):19712. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

KU Leuven - University of Leuven, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Leuven, Belgium.

Corticospinal tract integrity after stroke has been widely investigated through the evaluation of fibres descending from the primary motor cortex. However, about half of the corticospinal tract is composed by sub-pathways descending from premotor and parietal areas, to which damage may play a more specific role in motor impairment and recovery, particularly post-stroke. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to investigate lesion load within corticospinal tract sub-pathways as predictors of upper limb motor impairment after stroke. Motor impairment (Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity score) was evaluated in 27 participants at one week and six months after stroke, together with other clinical and demographic data. Neuroimaging data were obtained within the first week after stroke. Univariate regression analysis indicated that among all neural correlates, lesion load within premotor fibres explained the most variance in motor impairment at six months (R = 0.44, p < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis resulted in three independent, significant variables explaining motor impairment at six months; Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity score at one week, premotor dorsal fibre lesion load at one week, and age below or above 70 years (total R = 0.81; p < 0.001). Early examination of premotor dorsal fibre integrity may be a promising biomarker of upper limb motor impairment after stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-56334-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6928144PMC
December 2019

Effects of Fampridine in People with Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

CNS Drugs 2019 11;33(11):1087-1099

Neuromusculoskeletal Lab (NMSK), Secteur des Sciences de la Santé, Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique, Université catholique de Louvain, Avenue Mounier 53, 1200, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: Prolonged-release (PR) fampridine is a potassium channel blocker used as a symptomatic treatment for walking disability in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Its clinical effects in such patients have not been systematically reviewed, and may be more wide-ranging than expected.

Objectives: To summarize the evidence on the effects of PR fampridine in patients with MS.

Methods: A systematic search of Pubmed, Scopus (including EMBASE), and PsycINFO (completed in 01/2019) was carried out to identify randomized controlled trials (RCT) that compared PR fampridine to placebo. When appropriate, data were pooled using a random-effects model, and standardized mean differences (SMD) were computed. Study quality was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. PRISMA guidelines were followed. All retrieved functional outcomes were categorized according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

Results: A total of 706 articles were screened for inclusion. Twenty RCTs involving 2616 patients met the eligibility criteria. Most studies were of good-to-excellent quality. PR fampridine administration resulted in significant benefits in relation to walking short distances (SMD: 1.23 (95% IC 0.65-1.81)) and perceived walking capacity (0.64 (0.27-1.02)). Its effects on muscle strength and middle-distance walking were not significant (0.53 (- 0.04 to 1.10) and 0.31 (- 0.18 to 0.80), respectively). No effect on higher-level cognitive functions (- 0.07 (- 0.58 to 0.45)) or hand and arm use (0.16 (- 0.33 to 0.64)) was observed. Individual studies reported effects on other outcomes across the ICF domains.

Conclusions: There is strong evidence that PR fampridine exerts strong effects on the ability to walk short distances and on perceived walking capacity. Other effects of PR fampridine according to the ICF are possible but still unclear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40263-019-00671-xDOI Listing
November 2019

MOG antibody-related isolated rhombencephalitis revealed by paroxysmal dysarthria.

J Neurol Sci 2019 Oct 5;405:116417. Epub 2019 Aug 5.

Department of Neurology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Avenue Hippocrate,10, 1200 Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2019.08.002DOI Listing
October 2019

Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: A longitudinal study.

Mult Scler 2020 01 9;26(1):79-90. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

CORe, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/L4 Centre, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Background: The risk factors for conversion from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis remain highly contested.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the demographic, clinical and paraclinical features that influence the risk of conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Patients with adult-onset relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and at least four recorded disability scores were selected from MSBase, a global observational cohort. The risk of conversion to objectively defined secondary progressive multiple sclerosis was evaluated at multiple time points per patient using multivariable marginal Cox regression models. Sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: A total of 15,717 patients were included in the primary analysis. Older age (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.02,  < 0.001), longer disease duration (HR = 1.01,  = 0.038), a higher Expanded Disability Status Scale score (HR = 1.30,  < 0.001), more rapid disability trajectory (HR = 2.82,  < 0.001) and greater number of relapses in the previous year (HR = 1.07,  = 0.010) were independently associated with an increased risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Improving disability (HR = 0.62,  = 0.039) and disease-modifying therapy exposure (HR = 0.71,  = 0.007) were associated with a lower risk. Recent cerebral magnetic resonance imaging activity, evidence of spinal cord lesions and oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid were not associated with the risk of conversion.

Conclusion: Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis increases with age, duration of illness and worsening disability and decreases with improving disability. Therapy may delay the onset of secondary progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458519868990DOI Listing
January 2020

Anti-Ma2/Ta paraneoplastic rhombencephalitis in a patient with lung cancer responsive to anti-PD1 therapy.

Acta Neurol Belg 2020 Apr 1;120(2):451-452. Epub 2019 Jul 1.

Department of Neurology, Cliniques de l'Europe, Brussels, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13760-019-01179-3DOI Listing
April 2020

Analytical and clinical performances of the automated Lumipulse cerebrospinal fluid Aβ and T-Tau assays for Alzheimer's disease diagnosis.

J Neurol 2019 Sep 10;266(9):2304-2311. Epub 2019 Jun 10.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Avenue Hippocrate, 10, 1200, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers are increasingly used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, important methodological and technical remain regarding measurement variability between kit providers and users. We compared the Lumipulse fully automated assays with the manual INNOTEST assays (both from Fujirebio Europe NV, Gent, Belgium) on a clinically representative sample of patients and controls.

Methods: CSF samples of 156 patients were used to quantify Amyloïd Aβ peptide (Aβ) and Total-Tau (T-Tau) protein by chemiluminescent enzyme-immunoassay (Lumipulse). Patients were divided into several subgroups: Alzheimer (AD = 44), mild-cognitive impairment (MCI = 23), other dementias (OD = 36), non-dementing neurological conditions (ND = 11), and controls (CTRL = 42). Clinical cut-offs were determined by comparing AD and CTRL with ROC curves for the two markers and their related ratio (T-Tau/Aβ). Subgroups of 58 (for phosphorylated-Tau) and 115 samples (for Aβ and T-Tau) were used to evaluate the concordance of this analyzer with the INNOTEST assays.

Results: Lumipulse and INNOTEST assays showed good concordance for all markers, but systematic bias was observed justifying the need to redefine new clinical cut-offs. To discriminate AD from CTRL subjects, T-Tau/Aβ ratio was the best biomarker, with a cut-off value of 1.12 (sensitivity 81.8% and specificity 92.9%). Similar clinical performances were observed for the Lumipulse and Innotests assays on the subsample of 115 subjects.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the Lumipulse Aβ and T-Tau assays show good analytical and clinical performances in the context of patient evaluation referred to a memory clinic. Automated analyzers should be preferred for the measurement of CSF AD biomarkers to reduce inter- and intra-laboratory variability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-019-09418-6DOI Listing
September 2019

Response to correspondence: "Interferon alpha might be an alternative therapeutic choice for refractory neuro-Behçet's disease" - Authors reply.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2019 04 19;29:154. Epub 2018 Dec 19.

Department of Neurology, Cliniques Universitaires St-Luc, Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), 10 avenue Hippocrate, Brussels 1200, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2018.12.027DOI Listing
April 2019

Association of Initial Disease-Modifying Therapy With Later Conversion to Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

JAMA 2019 01;321(2):175-187

Institute for Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University, Wales.

Importance: Within 2 decades of onset, 80% of untreated patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) convert to a phase of irreversible disability accrual termed secondary progressive MS. The association between disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), and this conversion has rarely been studied and never using a validated definition.

Objective: To determine the association between the use, the type of, and the timing of DMTs with the risk of conversion to secondary progressive MS diagnosed with a validated definition.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Cohort study with prospective data from 68 neurology centers in 21 countries examining patients with relapsing-remitting MS commencing DMTs (or clinical monitoring) between 1988-2012 with minimum 4 years' follow-up.

Exposures: The use, type, and timing of the following DMTs: interferon beta, glatiramer acetate, fingolimod, natalizumab, or alemtuzumab. After propensity-score matching, 1555 patients were included (last follow-up, February 14, 2017).

Main Outcome And Measure: Conversion to objectively defined secondary progressive MS.

Results: Of the 1555 patients, 1123 were female (mean baseline age, 35 years [SD, 10]). Patients initially treated with glatiramer acetate or interferon beta had a lower hazard of conversion to secondary progressive MS than matched untreated patients (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.61-0.81; P < .001; 5-year absolute risk, 12% [49 of 407] vs 27% [58 of 213]; median follow-up, 7.6 years [IQR, 5.8-9.6]), as did fingolimod (HR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.22-0.62; P < .001; 5-year absolute risk, 7% [6 of 85] vs 32% [56 of 174]; median follow-up, 4.5 years [IQR, 4.3-5.1]); natalizumab (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.43-0.86; P = .005; 5-year absolute risk, 19% [16 of 82] vs 38% [62 of 164]; median follow-up, 4.9 years [IQR, 4.4-5.8]); and alemtuzumab (HR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.85; P = .009; 5-year absolute risk, 10% [4 of 44] vs 25% [23 of 92]; median follow-up, 7.4 years [IQR, 6.0-8.6]). Initial treatment with fingolimod, alemtuzumab, or natalizumab was associated with a lower risk of conversion than initial treatment with glatiramer acetate or interferon beta (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.44-0.99; P = .046); 5-year absolute risk, 7% [16 of 235] vs 12% [46 of 380]; median follow-up, 5.8 years [IQR, 4.7-8.0]). The probability of conversion was lower when glatiramer acetate or interferon beta was started within 5 years of disease onset vs later (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.61-0.98; P = .03; 5-year absolute risk, 3% [4 of 120] vs 6% [2 of 38]; median follow-up, 13.4 years [IQR, 11-18.1]). When glatiramer acetate or interferon beta were escalated to fingolimod, alemtuzumab, or natalizumab within 5 years vs later, the HR was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.66-0.88; P < .001; 5-year absolute risk, 8% [25 of 307] vs 14% [46 of 331], median follow-up, 5.3 years [IQR], 4.6-6.1).

Conclusions And Relevance: Among patients with relapsing-remitting MS, initial treatment with fingolimod, alemtuzumab, or natalizumab was associated with a lower risk of conversion to secondary progressive MS vs initial treatment with glatiramer acetate or interferon beta. These findings, considered along with these therapies' risks, may help inform decisions about DMT selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.20588DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6439772PMC
January 2019

Comparison of fingolimod, dimethyl fumarate and teriflunomide for multiple sclerosis.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2019 04 13;90(4):458-468. Epub 2019 Jan 13.

Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Objective: Oral immunotherapies have become a standard treatment in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Direct comparison of their effect on relapse and disability is needed.

Methods: We identified all patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis treated with teriflunomide, dimethyl fumarate or fingolimod, with minimum 3-month treatment persistence and disability follow-up in the global MSBase cohort study. Patients were matched using propensity scores. Three pairwise analyses compared annualised relapse rates and hazards of disability accumulation, disability improvement and treatment discontinuation (analysed with negative binomial models and weighted conditional survival models, with pairwise censoring).

Results: The eligible cohorts consisted of 614 (teriflunomide), 782 (dimethyl fumarate) or 2332 (fingolimod) patients, followed over the median of 2.5 years. Annualised relapse rates were lower on fingolimod compared with teriflunomide (0.18 vs 0.24; p=0.05) and dimethyl fumarate (0.20 vs 0.26; p=0.01) and similar on dimethyl fumarate and teriflunomide (0.19 vs 0.22; p=0.55). No differences in disability accumulation (p≥0.59) or improvement (p≥0.14) were found between the therapies. In patients with ≥3-month treatment persistence, subsequent discontinuations were less likely on fingolimod than teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate (p<0.001). Discontinuation rates on teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate were similar (p=0.68).

Conclusion: The effect of fingolimod on relapse frequency was superior to teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate. The effect of the three oral therapies on disability outcomes was similar during the initial 2.5 years on treatment. Persistence on fingolimod was superior to the two comparator drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2018-319831DOI Listing
April 2019

Incidence of pregnancy and disease-modifying therapy exposure trends in women with multiple sclerosis: A contemporary cohort study.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2019 Feb 3;28:235-243. Epub 2019 Jan 3.

Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Exposure to disease-modifying therapy (DMT) during early pregnancy in women with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) may be increasing.

Objective: To retrospectively determine incidence of pregnancy, DMT exposure and pregnancy outcomes in women with RRMS.

Methods: We identified all women with RRMS aged 15-45 years in the MSBase Registry between 2005-2016. Annualised pregnancy incidence rates were calculated using Poisson regression models. DMT exposures and pregnancy outcomes were assessed.

Results: Of 9,098 women meeting inclusion criteria, 1,178 (13%) women recorded 1,521 pregnancies. The annualised incidence rate of pregnancy was 0.042 (95% CI 0.040, 0.045). A total of 635 (42%) reported pregnancies were conceived on DMT, increasing from 27% in 2006 to 62% in 2016. The median duration of DMT exposure during pregnancy was 30 days (IQR: 9, 50). There were a higher number of induced abortions on FDA pregnancy class C/D drugs compared with pregnancy class B and no DMT (p = 0.010); but no differences in spontaneous abortions, term or preterm births.

Conclusions: We report low pregnancy incidence rates, with increasing number of pregnancies conceived on DMT over the past 12-years. The median duration of DMT exposure in pregnancy was relatively short at one month.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2019.01.003DOI Listing
February 2019

Which treatment strategies for polyrefractory Neuro-Behçet disease?

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2019 01 1;27:203-205. Epub 2018 Nov 1.

Department of Neurology, Cliniques Universitaires St-Luc, Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), 10 avenue Hippocrate, 1200 Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2018.10.117DOI Listing
January 2019

International consensus on quality standards for brain health-focused care in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2019 11 1;25(13):1809-1818. Epub 2018 Nov 1.

Queen Mary University of London, Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK.

Background: Time matters in multiple sclerosis (MS). Irreversible neural damage and cell loss occur from disease onset. The MS community has endorsed a management strategy of prompt diagnosis, timely intervention and regular proactive monitoring of treatment effectiveness and disease activity to improve outcomes in people with MS.

Objectives: We sought to develop internationally applicable quality standards for timely, brain health-focused MS care.

Methods: A panel of MS specialist neurologists participated in an iterative, online, modified Delphi process to define 'core', 'achievable' and 'aspirational' time frames reflecting minimum, good and high care standards, respectively. A multidisciplinary Reviewing Group (MS nurses, people with MS, allied healthcare professionals) provided insights ensuring recommendations reflected perspectives from multiple stakeholders.

Results: Twenty-one MS neurologists from 19 countries reached consensus on most core (25/27), achievable (25/27) and aspirational (22/27) time frames at the end of five rounds. Agreed standards cover six aspects of the care pathway: symptom onset, referral and diagnosis, treatment decisions, lifestyle, disease monitoring and managing new symptoms.

Conclusion: These quality standards for core, achievable and aspirational care provide MS teams with a three-level framework for service evaluation, benchmarking and improvement. They have the potential to produce a profound change in the care of people with MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458518809326DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826858PMC
November 2019

Timed Up-and-Go and 2-Minute Walk Test in patients with multiple sclerosis with mild disability: reliability, responsiveness and link with perceived fatigue.

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2019 Aug 4;55(4):450-455. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

Department of Health Sciences, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research, Neuromusculoskeletal Lab (NMSK), Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: Mobility limitations are frequent in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and could already be present in patients with so-called mild neurological disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale≤4). Assessing mobility in these patients is therefore of paramount importance. Timed Up-and-Go Test (TUG) and 2-Minute Walk Test (2MWT) are two clinically feasible tests which reliability and responsiveness are unknown among these patients. Whether fatigue, which is the number one symptom among these patients, is linked to these limitations remains unknown.

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the intrarater reliability and minimal detectable change (MDC95), as an index of responsiveness, of TUG and 2MWT. To explore their link with perceived fatigue among patients with MS.

Design: Cross-sectional observational study, including two measures.

Setting: Two university hospital outpatient centers.

Population: Patients (N.=63, 49 seen twice) with MS with mild disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale≤4).

Methods: 2MWT and TUG were performed twice in one occasion, and repeated 2 weeks later. Modified fatigue impact scale (MFIS) was used to assess fatigue. Intraclass coefficient correlations were calculated for immediate and 2-week reliability. MDC95 were computed. Correlations between mobility indices and fatigue were explored using Spearman's ρ.

Results: Mobility was impaired in comparison to normative values (2MWT: -4.9% from normative distance; TUG: +32% from normative time). The immediate reliability was excellent for both the 2MWT (ICC=0.98) and TUG (ICC=0.98). Reliability at 2 weeks was excellent for 2MWT (ICC=0.95) and very good for TUG (ICC=0.90). MDC95 were respectively 20m (2MWT) and 1.3s (TUG). Both measures were significantly weakly correlated to total MFIS (ρ=-0.37 and 0.39, respectively; P<0.01).

Conclusions: The 2MWT and TUG are highly reliable and responsive in the assessment of respectively the walking capacity and general mobility of patients with MS with mild disability. Mobility impairments are linked to perceived fatigue among these patients.

Clinical Rehabilitation Impact: TUG and 2MWT are easy to administer and could be reliably used in so called mildly disabled patients with MS to assess mobility limitation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S1973-9087.18.05366-2DOI Listing
August 2019