Neural signature for fibromyalgia may aid diagnosis, treatment

An MRI image showing the multivariate brain pattern that predicts fibromyalgia status on the basis of brain activation during multisensory stimulation.

Press Release:

University of Colorado Boulder researchers have discovered a brain signature that identifies fibromyalgia sufferers with 93 percent accuracy, a potential breakthrough for future clinical diagnosis and treatment of the highly prevalent condition.

Fibromyalgia is commonly defined as chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety and mood disorders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that fibromyalgia affects more than five million adults annually in the U.S., with significantly higher occurrence rates in women than in men.

Continue reading “Neural signature for fibromyalgia may aid diagnosis, treatment”

New concussion laws result in big jump in concussion treatment

Press Release:

ANN ARBOR–New laws regulating concussion treatment, bolstered by heightened public awareness, have resulted in a large increase in the treatment of concussion-related injuries for school-age athletes.

Over the past decade, concerns over concussion injuries and media coverage of them have skyrocketed. Since 2009, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted concussion laws regulating concussion treatment–the first laws written to address a specific injury.

A University of Michigan study designed to evaluate the impact of new concussion laws found a 92 percent increase in children seeking medical assistance for concussions in states with the legislation in place. States without concussion laws showed a 75 percent increase in those seeking injury-related health care.

Continue reading “New concussion laws result in big jump in concussion treatment”

Restless legs syndrome study identifies 13 new genetic risk variants

Press Release:

A new study into the genetics underlying restless legs syndrome has identified 13 previously-unknown genetic risk variants, while helping inform potential new treatment options for the condition.

As many as one in ten people of European ancestry is affected by restless legs syndrome, in which sufferers feel an overwhelming urge to move, often in conjunction with unpleasant sensations, usually in the legs. Rest and inactivity provoke the symptoms, whereas movement can lead to temporary relief. The condition is chronic and can get progressively worse, with long-lasting effects on patients’ mental and physical health. People with restless legs syndrome have substantially impaired sleep, reduced overall quality of life, and increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders, hypertension, and, possibly, cardiovascular disease.

For around one in 50 people, the condition can be severe enough to require chronic medication, which may in turn have potentially serious side effects.

Continue reading “Restless legs syndrome study identifies 13 new genetic risk variants”

COVID-19 frequently causes neurological injuries

Press Release:

Without directly invading the brain or nerves, the virus responsible for COVID-19 causes potentially damaging neurological injuries in about one in seven infected, a new study shows. These injuries range from temporary confusion due to low body-oxygen levels, to stroke and seizures in the most serious cases, say the study authors.

Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the study showed no cases of brain or nerve inflammation (meningitis or encephalitis), indicating no immediate invasion of these organs by the pandemic virus, SARS-CoV-2.

While this should reassure patients, the neurological complications of COVID-19 should be taken seriously because they dramatically raise a patient’s risk of dying while still in hospital (by 38 percent), researchers say. Such adverse effects also raise a coronavirus patient’s likelihood (by 28 percent) of needing long-term or rehabilitation therapy immediately after their stay in hospital.

Continue reading “COVID-19 frequently causes neurological injuries”

Neurologic complications common even in moderate COVID-19 cases

Press Release:

MINNEAPOLISCOVID-19 can lead to a broad range of neurologic complications including stroke, seizures, movement disorders, inflammatory diseases and more, even in moderate cases, according to a new study published in the December 9, 2020, online issue of Neurology® Clinical Practice, an official journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“We looked at people with neurologic symptoms and COVID at a racially and socioeconomically diverse hospital and found a wide range of neurologic complications–spanning inflammatory complications, stroke and other vascular conditions, metabolic problems, exacerbation of underlying neurologic conditions and more,” said study author Pria Anand, M.D. of Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Yet the majority of these people did not require critical care, suggesting that neurologic complications may be common in people with moderate COVID-19 as well as those with severe disease.”

Continue reading “Neurologic complications common even in moderate COVID-19 cases”

Digging deep for differences in Duchenne muscular dystrophy Study identifies divergent gene activity between healthy and damaged skeletal muscle

Press Release:

DALLAS – Dec. 21, 2020 – A UT Southwestern research team has catalogued gene activity in the skeletal muscle of mice, comparing healthy animals to those carrying a genetic mutation that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in humans. The findings, published online recently in PNAS, could lead to new treatments for this devastating degenerative disease and insights into factors that affect muscle development.

Understanding the activity of genes can shed light on pathologies that affect different tissues in the body. However, says Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Ph.D., a professor of molecular biology at UTSW, studying skeletal muscle has been a challenge because of a key difference from other tissue types; rather than containing a single nucleus that controls the activity of the genes, a skeletal muscle fiber can contain hundreds of nuclei. And it was unknown which genes were activated in all these nuclei, making it unclear how gene expression differs between healthy skeletal muscle tissue and tissue affected by DMD.

Continue reading “Digging deep for differences in Duchenne muscular dystrophy Study identifies divergent gene activity between healthy and damaged skeletal muscle”