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Sant'Antonio Abate, Italy

Ghezzi A.,Centro Studi Sclerosi Multipla
Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders

Multiple sclerosis (MS) in children and adolescents accounts for 3-10% of the whole MS population, and is characterized by a relapsing course in almost all cases. The frequency of relapses is higher than in adult onset MS, at least in the first years of evolution. The objective of treatment is to speed the recovery after a relapse, to prevent the occurrence of relapses, and to prevent disease progression and neurodegeneration. The use of drugs for MS in children and adolescents has not been studied in clinical trials, so their use is mainly based on results from trials in adults and from observational studies. There is a consensus to treat acute relapses with intravenous high-dose corticosteroids. The possibility of preventing relapses and disease progression is based on the use of immunomodulatory agents. Interferon-beta (IFNB) and glatiramer acetate (GA) have been demonstrated to be safe and well tolerated in pediatric MS patients, and also to reduce relapse rate and disease progression. Cyclophosphamide and natalizumab could be offered as second-line treatment in patients with a poor response to IFNB or GA. New oral and injectable drugs will be available in the near future: if safe and well tolerated in the long-term follow up of adults with MS, they could be tested in the pediatric MS population. © The Author(s), 2010. Source

Tortorella C.,University of Bari | Ruggieri M.,University of Bari | Di Monte E.,University of Bari | Iaffaldano P.,University of Bari | And 15 more authors.
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

Background: The identification of biomarkers able to improve the differential diagnosis between multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is challenging because of a different prognosis and response to treatment. Growing evidence indicates that brain and CSF N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) concentration is a useful marker for characterising different phases of axonal pathology in demyelinating diseases, and preliminary studies suggest that increased serum NAA levels may be a telltale sign of acute neuronal damage or defective NAA metabolism in oligodendrocytes. Objective: To evaluate whether serum and CSF NAA concentration differs in patients with MS and NMO. Design: Observational, multicentre, prospective, cross sectional study. Methods: Serum samples were collected from 48 relapsingeremitting MS, 32 NMO and 76 age matched healthy controls. Coeval CSF samples were available for all MS and for 8/32 NMO patients. NAA was measured in serum and CSF by liquid chromatographyemass spectrometry. Results: MS patients showed higher serum and CSF NAA levels than NMO patients, and higher serum NAA levels than healthy controls (p<0.001). High serum NAA values, exceeding the 95th percentile of serum NAA values in healthy controls, were found in 100% of patients with MS and in no patient with NMO. No differences in serum NAA levels were found between NMO and healthy controls. In MS, serum and CSF NAA levels correlated with disability score. Conclusions: Determination of serum and CSF NAA levels may represent a suitable tool in the diagnostic laboratory workup to differentiate MS and NMO. Source

Gonzalez-Rosa J.J.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | Inuggi A.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | Blasi V.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | Cursi M.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Psychophysiology

We investigated the neural correlates underlying response inhibition and conflict detection processes using ERPs and source localization analyses simultaneously acquired during fMRI scanning. ERPs were elicited by a simple reaction time task (SRT), a Go/NoGo task, and a Stroop-like task (CST). The cognitive conflict was thus manipulated in order to probe the degree to which information processing is shared across cognitive systems. We proposed to dissociate inhibition and interference conflict effects on brain activity by using identical Stroop-like congruent/incongruent stimuli in all three task contexts and while varying the response required. NoGo-incongruent trials showed a larger N2 and enhanced activations of rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and pre-supplementary motor area, whereas Go-congruent trials showed a larger P3 and increased parietal activations. Congruent and incongruent conditions of the CST task also elicited similar N2, P3 and late negativity (LN) ERPs, though CST-incongruent trials revealed a larger LN and enhanced prefrontal and ACC activations. Considering the stimulus probability and experimental manipulation of our study, current findings suggest that NoGo N2 and frontal NoGo P3 appear to be more associated to response inhibition rather than a specific conflict monitoring, whereas occipito-parietal P3 of Go and CST conditions may be more linked to a planned response competition between the prepared and required response. LN, however, appears to be related to higher level conflict monitoring associated with response choice-discrimination but not when the presence of cognitive conflict is associated with response inhibition. © 2013. Source

Waldman A.,Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia | Ghezzi A.,Centro Studi Sclerosi Multipla | Bar-Or A.,Montreal Neurological Institute | Mikaeloff Y.,Unite de Reeducation Neurologique Infantile | And 2 more authors.
The Lancet Neurology

The clinical features, diagnostic challenges, neuroimaging appearance, therapeutic options, and pathobiological research progress in childhood-and adolescent-onset multiple sclerosis have been informed by many new insights in the past 7 years. National programmes in several countries, collaborative research efforts, and an established international paediatric multiple sclerosis study group have contributed to revised clinical diagnostic definitions, identified clinical features of multiple sclerosis that differ by age of onset, and made recommendations regarding the treatment of paediatric multiple sclerosis. The relative risks conveyed by genetic and environmental factors to paediatric multiple sclerosis have been the subject of several large cohort studies. MRI features have been characterised in terms of qualitative descriptions of lesion distribution and applicability of MRI aspects to multiple sclerosis diagnostic criteria, and quantitative studies have assessed total lesion burden and the effect of the disease on global and regional brain volume. Humoral-based and cell-based assays have identified antibodies against myelin, potassium-channel proteins, and T-cell profiles that support an adult-like T-cell repertoire and cellular reactivity against myelin in paediatric patients with multiple sclerosis. Finally, the safety and efficacy of standard first-line therapies in paediatric multiple sclerosis populations are now appreciated in more detail, and consensus views on the future conduct and feasibility of phase 3 trials for new drugs have been proposed. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Ghezzi A.,Centro Studi Sclerosi Multipla | Comi G.,Vita-Salute San Raffaele University
Neurological Sciences

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the CNS caused by the interplay of genetic and environmental factors. In the last years, it has been suggested that an abnormal venous drainage due to stenosis or malformation of the internal jugular and/or azygous veins may play a major pathogenetic role in MS. This abnormality called chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) could result in increased permeability of blood brain barrier, local iron deposition and secondary multifocal inflammation. In the present paper, literature data in favour and against this hypothesis are reported. A great variability of CCSVI has been found in both MS patients (ranging from 0 to 100%) and in control subjects (from 0 to 23%). This large variability is explained by methodological aspects, problems in assessing CCSVI, and differences among clinical series. It is urgent to perform appropriate epidemiological studies to define the possible relationship between CCSVI and MS. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

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