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Franchignoni F.,Scientific Institute of Veruno | Mora G.,Scientific Institute of Milan | Giordano A.,Scientific Institute of Veruno | Volanti P.,Scientific Institute of Mistretta | Chio A.,University of Turin
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry | Year: 2013

Objective: To examine dimensionality, reliability and validity of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale-revised (ALSFRS-R) using traditional classical test theory methods and Rasch analysis in order to provide a rationale for possible improvement of its metric quality. Methods: Methodological research on ALSFRS-R collected in a consecutive sample of 485 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) attending three tertiary ALS centres. Results: The ALSFRS-R items showed good internal consistency but dimensionality analysis argues against the use of ALSFRS-R as a single score because the scale lacks unidimensionality. Parallel analysis and exploratory factor analysis revealed three factors representing the following domains: (1) bulbar function; (2) fine and gross motor function; and (3) respiratory function. Rasch analysis showed that all items in each domain fitted the respective constructs to measure, except for item No 9 'climbing stairs' and item No 12 'respiratory insufficiency'. Rating categories did not comply with the criteria for category functioning. Collapsing the scale's 5 level ratings into 3 levels improved its metric quality. Conclusions: The ALSFRS-R fails to satisfy rigorous measurement standards and should be, at least in part, revised. At present, ALSFRS-R should be considered as a profile of mean scores from three different domains (bulbar, motor and respiratory functions) more than a global total score. Further studies on ALSFRS-R using modern psychometric methods are warranted to confirm our findings and refine the metric quality of this scale, through a step by step process.

Frazzitta G.,Gravedona Ed Uniti | Frazzitta G.,Scientific Institute of Montescano | Balbi P.,Scientific Institute of Milan | Maestri R.,Scientific Institute of Montescano | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation | Year: 2013

In the last decade, a considerable number of articles has shown that exercise is effective in improving motor performance in Parkinson disease. In particular, recent studies have focused on the efficacy of intensive exercise in achieving optimal results in the rehabilitation of patients with Parkinson disease. The effects of intensive exercise in promoting cell proliferation and neuronal differentiation in animal models are reported in a large cohort of studies, and these neuroplastic effects are probably related to increased expression of a variety of neurotrophic factors. The authors outline the relation between intensive exercises and neuroplastic activity on animal models of Parkinson disease and discuss the clinical results of different intensive strategies on motor performance and disease progression in patients with Parkinson disease. Copyright © 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Chio A.,University of Turin | Chio A.,University of Genoa | Calvo A.,University of Turin | Calvo A.,University of Genoa | And 21 more authors.
Neurology | Year: 2015

Objective: To analyze the frequency and clinical characteristics of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with intermediate-length (CAG) expansion (encoding 27-33 glutamines, polyQ) in the ATXN2 gene, in a population-based cohort of Italian patients with ALS (discovery cohort), and to replicate the findings in an independent cohort of consecutive patients from an ALS tertiary center (validation cohort). Methods: PolyQ repeats were assessed in 672 patients with incident ALS in Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta regions, Italy, in the 2007-2012 period (discovery cohort); controls were 509 neurologically healthy age-and sex-matched subjects resident in the study area. The validation cohort included 661 patients with ALS consecutively seen between 2001 and 2013 in the ALS Clinic Center of the Catholic University in Rome, Italy. Results: In the discovery cohort, the frequency of ≥31 polyQ ATNX2 repeats was significantly more common in ALS cases (19 patients vs 1 control, p 5 0.0001; odds ratio 14.8, 95% confidence interval 1.9-110.8). Patients with an increased number of polyQ repeats had a shorter survival than those with <31 repeats (median survival, polyQ ≥31, 1.8 years, interquartile range [IQR] 1.3-2.2; polyQ <31, 2.7 years, IQR 1.6-5.1; p 5 0.001). An increased number of polyQ repeats remained independently significant at multivariable analysis. In the validation cohort, patients with ≥31 polyQ repeats had a shorter survival than those with <31 repeats (median survival, polyQ ≥31, 2.0 years, IQR 1.5-3.4; polyQ <31, 3.2 years, IQR 2.0-6.4; p 5 0.007). Conclusions: ATXN2 polyQ intermediate-length repeat is a modifier of ALS survival. Diseasemodifying therapies targeted to ATXN2 represent a promising therapeutic approach for ALS. © 2014 American Academy of Neurology.

Chio A.,University of Turin | Chio A.,Neuroscience Institute of Turin NIT | Calvo A.,University of Turin | Moglia C.,University of Turin | And 43 more authors.
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry | Year: 2011

Background: Different amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) phenotypes have been recognised, marked by a varying involvement of spinal and bulbar upper and lower motor neurons. However, the differential characteristics of these phenotypes are still largely unknown. Objective: To define the epidemiology and outcome of ALS phenotypes in a population based setting. Methods: All ALS cases incident in two Italian regions were prospectively collected from 1995 to 2004 in an epidemiological register. Cases were classified according to established ALS phenotypes: classic, bulbar, flail arm, flail leg, pyramidal, respiratory, pure lower motor neuron (PLMN) and pure upper motor neuron (PUMN). Results: ALS phenotype were determined in 1332 out of 1351 incident patients (98.6%). Classic and bulbar phenotypes had similar mean annual incidence rates. Gender specific incidence rates showed a male preponderance in respiratory, flail arm, classic and PLMN phenotypes; in all other phenotypes, men and women had similar incidence rates. Age at onset was significantly lower in pyramidal, PLMN and PUMN phenotypes and higher in the bulbar phenotype. The best outcomes were observed in PUMN, pyramidal, PLMN and flail arm phenotypes and the worst in respiratory and bulbar phenotypes. Conclusions: Our epidemiological findings suggest that ALS phenotypes carry distinctive and easily distinguishable clinical and prognostic characteristics, strongly related to a complex interplay between gender and age. The categorisation of ALS patients according to more homogenous clinical groups is relevant in identifying biological markers for ALS and should be considered for the design of clinical trials.

Chio A.,University of Turin | Chio A.,Neuroscience Institute of Turin | Calvo A.,University of Turin | Bovio G.,Scientific Institute of Pavia | And 18 more authors.
JAMA Neurology | Year: 2014

IMPORTANCE: There is an urgent need to identify reliable biomarkers of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) progression for clinical practice and pharmacological trials. OBJECTIVES: To correlate several hematological markers evaluated at diagnosis with ALS outcome in a population-based series of patients (discovery cohort) and replicate the findings in an independent validation cohort from an ALS tertiary center. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: The discovery cohort included 712 patients with ALS from the Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta Register for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2011. The validation cohort comprised 122 patients with ALS at different stages of disease consecutively seen at an ALS tertiary center between January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2009. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The following hematological factorswere investigated and correlated with survival: total leukocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, glucose, creatinine, uric acid, albumin, bilirubin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, creatine kinase, thyroid-stimulating hormones, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate; all analyses were performed separately by sex. The patient of the validation cohort also underwent bioelectrical impedance analysis for the calculation of fat-free mass. RESULT: Of the 712 patients in the examined period in Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta, 638 (89.6%) were included in the study. Only serum albumin (men: ≤4.3 vs >4.3mg/dL, P < .001; women: ≤4.3 vs >4.3mg/dL, P < .001) and creatinine levels (men: ≤0.82 vs >0.82mg/dL, P = .004; women: <0.65 vs >0.05mg/dL, P = .004) and lymphocyte count (men: <1700 vs >1700/μL, P = .04; women: ≤1700 vs >1700/μL, P = .02) were significantly associated with ALS outcome in both sexes with a dose-response effect (better survival with increasing levels). These findings were confirmed in the validation cohort. Multivariable analysis showed that serum albumin (men: hazard ratio [HR], 1.39; 95% CI, 1.05-1.90; P = .02; women: HR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.35-2.39; P = .001) and creatinine (men: HR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.11-1.95; P = .007; women: HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.07-2.05; P = .02) were independent predictors of survival in both sexes; no other hematological factor was retained in the model. In patients with ALS, serum albumin was correlated with markers of inflammatory state while serum creatinine was correlated with fat-free mass, which is a marker of muscle mass. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In ALS, serum albumin and creatinine are independent markers of outcome in both sexes. Creatinine reflects the muscle waste whereas albumin is connected with inflammatory state. Both creatinine and albumin are reliable markers of the severity of clinical status in patients with ALS and can be used in defining prognosis at the time of diagnosis. Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

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