Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke

Dear Colleagues,

Stroke is one of the leading causes of adult disability and mortality worldwide, and has a huge socioeconomic impact.

The clinical course of stroke patients varies based on factors such as the type of stroke (ischemic or haemorrhagic), the localization of the brain insult, how fast and which treatments they have access to in the hyperacute phase, the setting of the in-hospital care in the acute phase, the rehabilitation resources and facilities and of course their individual characteristics (age, comorbidities and baseline functional status and stroke severity).

Although stroke is far more prevalent in the elderly population, a significant increase in younger adults is noted. This is mainly due to the increase in the prevalence of common cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, obesity and lack of physical activity. However, stroke can also have other, more fascinating, aetiologies such as vasculitis, posterior reversible vasoconstriction syndrome, and genetic disorders (e.g. CADASIL).

Over the last few years, intra-arterial mechanical thrombectomy has been a game-changer in the management of patients with large vessel occlusion, the most severe form of acute ischaemic stroke. Although this has prevented a huge burden of residual disability, only a small proportion of ischemic stroke patients are eligible for the treatment. Consequently, there is a long list of key areas where we can still intervene in a patient’s long journey after a stroke to improve their outcomes.

Potential themes relevant to this Topic may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Pre-hospital stroke recognition, triaging and management;
  • Public education and awareness;
  • Hyperacute ischaemic stroke management: intravenous thrombolysis and mechanical thrombectomy;
  • Hyperacute spontaneous intracerebral haemorrhage management;
  • Transient ischaemic attacks;
  • Stroke mimics and stroke chameleons;
  • Stroke aetiology and rare cases of stroke;
  • Stroke imaging;
  • Secondary stroke prevention;
  • Stroke in the young population;
  • In-hospital treatment (acute care and complications) and rehabilitation pathways;
  • Novel working models in stroke (e.g. specialist nursing team involvement).

Currently, neurodegenerative disorders are one of the major public health problems that have become increasingly prevalent with an ageing population. Ageing itself is associated with changes in the Central Nervous System (CNS) that also appear in neurodegenerative diseases, but these changes are limited in healthy ageing. Despite advances in the research studies in the field, there are still many questions without answer. The first question relates to the major triggers that can cause accelerated brain ageing and promote neurodegenerative diseases, including age-related comorbidities. Many neurodegenerative diseases are discovered in the advanced stage; therefore, it is crucial to predict or identify the diseases onset/progression.  In this light, the second question to be addressed is focused on potential biomarkers that can predict or identify the diseases onset at an early stage. Only few therapeutic options are available to treat the neurodegenerative diseases. There is still an urgent need to establish multimodal therapeutic protocols that limit the progression of the disease and improve quality of life.

Dr. Vasileios Papavasileiou
Dr. Ana Maria Bugă
Topic Editors

Deadline for abstract submissions: 31 July 2022.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2022.

Topic Board

Dr. Vasileios Papavasileiou
E-Mail Website
Topic Editor-in-Chief
1. Department of Neurosciences, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds LS97TF, UK
2. University of Leeds School of Medicine, Worsley Building, University of Leeds, Woodhouse, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Interests: stroke; transient ischemic attack; intracerebral haemorrhage; stroke mimics; cardioembolism; atrial fibrillation; anticoagulants; antiplatelets; scores in stroke medicine; stroke prognosis; mechanical thrombectomy; thrombolysis
Dr. Ana Maria Bugă
E-Mail Website
Topic Editor-in-Chief
Department of Biochemistry, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, 200349 Craiova, Romania
Interests: oxidative stress; age-related diseases; immunosenescence; age-related nutrition and nutriceuticals; neurodegeneration
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Keywords

  • ischaemic stroke/TIA
  • intracerebral haemorrhage
  • stroke mimics & chameleons
  • cardiovascular risk factors
  • stroke treatment
  • stroke prognosis
  • stroke classification
  • cerebral amyloid angiopathy
  • carotid atherosclerosis
  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • neurorehabilitation
  • ageing
  • biomarkers
  • nutraceuticals
  • age-related nutrition

Relevant Journals List

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Journal of Clinical Medicine
jcm
4.242 - 2012 20.36 Days 2400 CHF Submit
Medicina
medicina
2.430 1.7 1920 22.08 Days 1800 CHF Submit
Brain Sciences
brainsci
3.394 3.0 2011 19.85 Days 2000 CHF Submit

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Article
Evolution of Hypodensity on Non-Contrast CT in Correlation with Collaterals in Anterior Circulation Stroke with Successful Endovascular Reperfusion
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(2), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11020446 - 16 Jan 2022
Abstract
Introduction: The aim of the study was to assess the impact of collaterals on the evolution of hypodensity on non-contrast CT (NCCT) in anterior circulation stroke with reperfusion by mechanical thrombectomy (MT). Methods: We retrospectively included stroke patients with middle cerebral artery occlusion [...] Read more.
Introduction: The aim of the study was to assess the impact of collaterals on the evolution of hypodensity on non-contrast CT (NCCT) in anterior circulation stroke with reperfusion by mechanical thrombectomy (MT). Methods: We retrospectively included stroke patients with middle cerebral artery occlusion who were reperfused by MT in early and late time window. Artificial intelligence (AI)-based software was used to calculate of hypodensity volumes at baseline NCCT (V1) and at follow-up NCCT 24 h after MT (V2), along with the difference between the two volumes (V2-V1) and the follow-up (V2)/baseline (V1) volume ratio (V2/V1). The same software was used to classify collateral status by using a 4-point scale where the score of zero indicated no collaterals and the score of three represented contrast filling of all collaterals. The volumetric values were correlated with the collateral scores. Results: Collateral scores had significant negative correlation with V1 (p = 0.035), V2, V2− V1 and V2/V1 (p < 0.001). In cases with collateral score = 3, V2 was significantly smaller or absent compared to V1; in those with collateral score 2, V2 was slightly larger than V1, and in those with scores 1 and 0 V2 was significantly larger than V1. These relationships were observed in both early and late time windows. Conclusions: The collateral status determined the evolution of the baseline hypodensity on NCCT in patients with anterior circulation stroke who had MT reperfusion. Damage can be stable or reversible in patients with good collaterals while in those with poor collaterals tissues that initially appear normal will frequently appear as necrotic after 24 h. With good collaterals, it is stable or can be reversible while with poor collaterals, normal looking tissue frequently appears as necrotic in follow-up exam. Hence, acute hypodensity represents different states of the ischemic brain parenchyma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Review
Cognitive Impairment in People with Epilepsy
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(1), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11010267 - 05 Jan 2022
Abstract
People with epilepsy frequently have cognitive impairment. The majority of cognitive problems is influenced by a variety of interlinked factors, including the early onset of epilepsy and the frequency, intensity and duration of seizures, along with the anti-epileptic drug treatment. With a systematic [...] Read more.
People with epilepsy frequently have cognitive impairment. The majority of cognitive problems is influenced by a variety of interlinked factors, including the early onset of epilepsy and the frequency, intensity and duration of seizures, along with the anti-epileptic drug treatment. With a systematic review, we investigate significant factors about the cognitive impairment in epilepsy. Most cognitive problems in adult people with epilepsy include memory, attention and executive function deficits. However, which cognitive area is mainly affected highly depends on the location of epileptic activity. Moreover, modifications in signalling pathways and neuronal networks have an essential role in both the pathophysiology of epilepsy and in the mechanism responsible for cognitive impairment. Additionally, studies have shown that the use of polytherapy in the treatment of epilepsy with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) heightens the risk for cognitive impairment. It can be challenging to distinguish the contribution of each factor, because they are often closely intertwined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Brief Report
Soluble Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor Levels Correlation with Other Inflammatory Factors in Prognosis of Disability and Death in Patients with Ischemic Stroke
Brain Sci. 2022, 12(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12010039 - 28 Dec 2021
Abstract
Soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) is an inflammatory biomarker elevated in cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this 3-year follow-up prospective study was to evaluate suPAR levels in patients with a first ischemic stroke in correlation with CRP, PCT, NT-proCNP and endothelin 1-21 [...] Read more.
Soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) is an inflammatory biomarker elevated in cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this 3-year follow-up prospective study was to evaluate suPAR levels in patients with a first ischemic stroke in correlation with CRP, PCT, NT-proCNP and endothelin 1-21 and to investigate the impact of suPAR on the outcome. Fifty-one patients (mean age 73.7+ = 11.9 years, 26 female and 25 male) were included. Samples were collected on the first (suPAR 1), third (suPAR 3) and seventh days after stroke onset (suPAR 7). Plasma samples were analyzed using ELISA. A phone interview was conducted to collect follow-up information after 24 and 36 months (modified Rankin Scale, mRS). A positive correlation between suPAR levels and other inflammatory biomarkers (except endothelin 3) was observed. A positive correlation between suPAR 3 and mRS score at 24 months was observed (p = 0.042). The logistic regression model revealed no significant effect of suPAR on death occurrence in the first 24 months: suPAR 1 (p = 0.8794), suPAR 3 (p = 0.2757), and suPAR 7 (p = 0.3652). The suPAR level is a potential inflammatory marker in ischemic stroke, and there is a correlation with other markers. There is no major impact on mortality. However, the suPAR level is associated with a degree of disability or dependence in daily activities 2 years after a stroke. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
Putting the Pieces Together: Mental Construction of Semantically Congruent and Incongruent Scenes in Dementia
Brain Sci. 2022, 12(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12010020 - 24 Dec 2021
Abstract
Scene construction refers to the process by which humans generate richly detailed and spatially cohesive scenes in the mind’s eye. The cognitive processes that underwrite this capacity remain unclear, particularly when the envisaged scene calls for the integration of various types of contextual [...] Read more.
Scene construction refers to the process by which humans generate richly detailed and spatially cohesive scenes in the mind’s eye. The cognitive processes that underwrite this capacity remain unclear, particularly when the envisaged scene calls for the integration of various types of contextual information. Here, we explored social and non-social forms of scene construction in Alzheimer’s disease (AD; n = 11) and the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD; n = 15) relative to healthy older control participants (n = 16) using a novel adaptation of the scene construction task. Participants mentally constructed detailed scenes in response to scene–object cues that varied in terms of their sociality (social; non-social) and congruence (congruent; incongruent). A significant group × sociality × congruence interaction was found whereby performance on the incongruent social scene condition was significantly disrupted in both patient groups relative to controls. Moreover, bvFTD patients produced significantly less contextual detail in social relative to non-social incongruent scenes. Construction of social and non-social incongruent scenes in the patient groups combined was significantly associated with independent measures of semantic processing and visuospatial memory. Our findings demonstrate the influence of schema-incongruency on scene construction performance and reinforce the importance of episodic–semantic interactions during novel event construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
Deterministic Tractography Analysis of Rat Brain Using SIGMA Atlas in 9.4T MRI
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(12), 1656; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11121656 - 18 Dec 2021
Abstract
Preclinical studies using rodents have been the choice for many neuroscience researchers due totheir close reflection of human biology. In particular, research involving rodents has utilized MRI to accurately identify brain regions and characteristics by acquiring high resolution cavity images with different contrasts [...] Read more.
Preclinical studies using rodents have been the choice for many neuroscience researchers due totheir close reflection of human biology. In particular, research involving rodents has utilized MRI to accurately identify brain regions and characteristics by acquiring high resolution cavity images with different contrasts non-invasively, and this has resulted in high reproducibility and throughput. In addition, tractographic analysis using diffusion tensor imaging to obtain information on the neural structure of white matter has emerged as a major methodology in the field of neuroscience due to its contribution in discovering significant correlations between altered neural connections and various neurological and psychiatric diseases. However, unlike image analysis studies with human subjects where a myriad of human image analysis programs and procedures have been thoroughly developed and validated, methods for analyzing rat image data using MRI in preclinical research settings have seen significantly less developed. Therefore, in this study, we present a deterministic tractographic analysis pipeline using the SIGMA atlas for a detailed structural segmentation and structural connectivity analysis of the rat brain’s structural connectivity. In addition, the structural connectivity analysis pipeline presented in this study was preliminarily tested on normal and stroke rat models for initial observation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
Sleep Quality Improvement Enhances Neuropsychological Recovery and Reduces Blood Aβ42/40 Ratio in Patients with Mild–Moderate Cognitive Impairment
Medicina 2021, 57(12), 1366; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57121366 - 15 Dec 2021
Abstract
Background and objectives: Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain degeneration and is associated with a high prevalence of sleep disorders. Amyloid β peptide-42/40 (Aβ42/40) and Tau-pT181 are the core biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid and blood. Accumulated data from studies in [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain degeneration and is associated with a high prevalence of sleep disorders. Amyloid β peptide-42/40 (Aβ42/40) and Tau-pT181 are the core biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid and blood. Accumulated data from studies in mouse models and humans demonstrated an aberrant elevation of these biomarkers due to sleep disturbance, especially sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). However, it is not clear if sleep quality improvement reduces the blood levels of Ab42/40 ratio and Tau-pT181 in Alzheimer’s disease patients. Materials and Methods: In this prospective study, a longitudinal analysis was conducted on 64 patients with mild–moderate cognition impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease accompanied by SDB. Another 33 MCI cases without sleep-disordered breathing were included as the control group. Sleep quality was assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score system. Neuropsychological assessments were conducted using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR), 24-h Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD-24), and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA) scoring systems. Aβ42, Aβ40, and Tau-pT181 protein levels in blood specimens were measured using ELISA assays. All patients received donepezil treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. SDB was managed with continuous pressure ventilation. Results: A significant correlation was found among PSQI, HRSD-24, HAMA, Aβ42/40 ratio, and Tau-pT181 level in all cases. In addition, a very strong and negative correlation was discovered between education level and dementia onset age. Compared to patients without SDB (33 non-SD cases), patients with SDB (64 SD cases) showed a significantly lower HRSD-24 score and a higher Aβ42/40 ratio Tau-pT181 level. Sleep treatment for patients with SDB significantly improved all neuropsychological scores, Aβ42/40 ratio, and Tau-pT181 levels. However, 11 patients did not completely recover from a sleep disorder (PSQI > 5 post-treatment). In this subgroup of patients, although HAMA score and Tau-pT181 levels were significantly reduced, MoCA and HRSD-24 scores, as well as Aβ42/40 ratio, were not significantly improved. ROC analysis found that the blood Aβ42/40 ratio held the highest significance in predicting sleep disorder occurrence. Conclusions: This is the first clinical study on sleep quality improvement in Alzheimer’s disease patients. Sleep quality score was associated with patient depression and anxiety scores, as well as Aβ42/40 ratio and Tau-pT181 levels. A complete recovery is critical for fully improving all neuropsychological assessments, Aβ42/40 ratio, and Tau-pT181 levels. Blood Aβ42/40 ratio is a feasible prognostic factor for predicting sleep quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Brief Report
Disparities in Care and Outcome of Stroke Patients from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities in Metropolitan Australia
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(24), 5870; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10245870 - 14 Dec 2021
Abstract
Background: Acute stroke is a time-critical emergency where diagnosis and acute management are highly dependent upon the accuracy of the patient’s history. We hypothesised that the language barrier is associated with delayed onset time to thrombolysis and poor clinical outcomes. This study aims [...] Read more.
Background: Acute stroke is a time-critical emergency where diagnosis and acute management are highly dependent upon the accuracy of the patient’s history. We hypothesised that the language barrier is associated with delayed onset time to thrombolysis and poor clinical outcomes. This study aims to evaluate the effect of language barriers on time to thrombolysis and clinical outcomes in acute ischemic stroke. Concerning the method, this is a retrospective study of all patients admitted to a metropolitan stroke unit (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) with an acute ischemic stroke treated with tissue plasminogen activator between 1/2013 and 9/2017. Baseline characteristics, thrombolysis time intervals, length of stay, discharge destination, and in-hospital mortality were compared among patients with and without a language barrier using multivariate analysis after adjustment for age, sex, stroke severity, premorbid modified Rankin Scale (mRS), and Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI). Language barriers were defined as a primary language other than English. A total of 374 patients were included. Our findings show that 76 patients (20.3%) had a language barrier. Mean age was five years older for patients with language barriers (76.7 vs. 71.8 years, p = 0.004). Less non-English speaking patients had premorbid mRS score of zero (p = 0.002), and more had premorbid mRS score of one or two (p = 0.04). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of stroke severity on presentation (p = 0.06). The onset to needle time was significantly longer in patients with a language barrier (188 min vs. 173 min, p = 0.04). Onset to arrival and door to imaging times were reassuringly similar between the two groups. However, imaging to needle time was 9 min delayed in non-English speaking patients with a marginal p value (65 vs. 56 min, p = 0.06). Patients with language barriers stayed longer in the stroke unit (six vs. four days, p = 0.02) and had higher discharge rates than residential aged care facilities in those admitted from home (9.2% vs. 2.3%, p = 0.02). In-hospital mortality was not different between the two groups (p = 0.8). In conclusion, language barriers were associated with almost 14 min delay in thrombolysis. The delay was primarily attributable to imaging to needle time. Language barriers were also associated with poorer clinical outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
Article
Risk Factors of Aggressive Clinical Presentation in Patients with Angiographically Aggressive Cranial Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(24), 5835; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10245835 - 13 Dec 2021
Abstract
Compared to nonaggressive cranial dural arteriovenous fistulae (cDAVF), aggressive cDAVF carries leptomeningeal venous drainage (LVD) and has approximately 15% annual risk of hemorrhagic and non-hemorrhagic aggressive neurological presentations. In terms of aggressive clinical presentations, the previous classification does not adequately differentiate the higher [...] Read more.
Compared to nonaggressive cranial dural arteriovenous fistulae (cDAVF), aggressive cDAVF carries leptomeningeal venous drainage (LVD) and has approximately 15% annual risk of hemorrhagic and non-hemorrhagic aggressive neurological presentations. In terms of aggressive clinical presentations, the previous classification does not adequately differentiate the higher risk group from the lower risk group. Herein, we retrospectively collected a series of patients with aggressive cDAVF and explored the risk factors for differentiating the higher-risk group from the lower-risk group with aggressive clinical presentations. We retrospectively collected patients with aggressive cDAVF from March 2011 to March 2019. The risk of aggressive clinical presentation was recorded. Risk factors were included in the analysis for aggressive clinical presentations. From March 2011 to March 2019, 37 patients had aggressive cDAVF. Among them, 24 presented with aggressive clinical presentation (20, hemorrhagic presentation; four, non-hemorrhagic presentation). In patients presenting with hemorrhage, four patients experienced early rebleeding after diagnosis. In the univariate analysis, risk location, directness of LVD, exclusiveness of LVD, and venous strain were significantly different in patients with aggressive clinical presentation. In the multivariate analysis, exclusiveness of LVD and venous strain were observed, with a significant difference between patients with aggressive clinical presentation and those with benign clinical presentation. Among patients with angiographically aggressive cDAVFs, approximately 65% presented with aggressive clinical presentations in our series. Among all potential risk factors, patients with exclusiveness of LVD and venous strain have even higher risk and should be treated aggressively and urgently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Communication
An Analysis of Characteristics of Post-Stroke Fatigue in Patients without Depression: A Retrospective Chart Review
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(12), 1642; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11121642 - 13 Dec 2021
Abstract
Post-stroke fatigue (PSF) is among the most common stroke sequelae and affects rehabilitation, resulting in poor recovery. A main influencing factor may be depression, which has been investigated with fatigue in several clinical trials. We aimed to evaluate the characteristics of fatigue in [...] Read more.
Post-stroke fatigue (PSF) is among the most common stroke sequelae and affects rehabilitation, resulting in poor recovery. A main influencing factor may be depression, which has been investigated with fatigue in several clinical trials. We aimed to evaluate the characteristics of fatigue in post-stroke patients without depression through a retrospective chart review. The medical records of stroke patients hospitalized in the Stroke and Brain Disease Center, Kyung Hee University Korean Medicine Hospital were reviewed. Stroke patients without depression were divided into a PSF group and control group (without fatigue). The demographic characteristics, type of stroke, medical history, laboratory examinations, clinical features, and pattern identification of each patient were recorded and compared between the study groups. The medical records of 216 patients were reviewed; 85 and 131 patients were assigned to the PSF and control group, respectively. Apolipoprotein A1 levels were significantly lower in the PSF than in the control group (105.6 ± 16.5 vs. 116.2 ± 21.8). We found a significantly higher occurrence of reversal cold of the extremities and a lower probability of fire-heat pattern in the PSF group than in the control group. This study suggests that apolipoprotein A1 levels are lower and cold manifestations are more common in PSF patients without depression than in those without fatigue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
The Effectiveness of Computer-Assisted Cognitive Rehabilitation and the Degree of Recovery in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(24), 5728; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10245728 - 07 Dec 2021
Abstract
Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation and compare the patterns of cognitive function recovery occurring in both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke. Methods: A total of 62 patients were finally enrolled, consisting of 30 with TBI and 32 [...] Read more.
Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation and compare the patterns of cognitive function recovery occurring in both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke. Methods: A total of 62 patients were finally enrolled, consisting of 30 with TBI and 32 with stroke. The patients received 30 sessions of computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation (Comcog) five times per week. Each session lasted for 30 min. Before and immediately after cognitive rehabilitation, all patients were evaluated by computerized neuropsychological test (CNT), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and modified Barthel index (MBI). Results: We analyzed the differences between pre- and post-cognitive rehabilitation in each TBI and stroke group. Significant differences were observed in MMSE, MBI, and some CNT contents, including digit span forward, verbal learning, verbal learning delayed recall, visual span forward, visual span backward, visual learning, trail making test A and B, and intelligence quotient (IQ) in the TBI group (p < 0.05). In the stroke group, in addition to significant differences that appeared in the TBI group, additional significant differences in the digit span backward, visual learning delayed recall, auditory continuous performance test (CPT), visual CPT, and card sorting test. We compared the difference values at pre- and post-cognitive rehabilitation for cognitive recovery between the TBI and stroke groups. All contents, except the digital span forward, visual learning, word-color test, and MMSE, had greater mean values in the stroke group; and thus, statistically significant higher values were observed in the visual span forward and card sorting test (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Most evaluation results showed improvement and the evaluation between the TBI and stroke groups also showed significant differences in cognitive functions in addition to more CNT contents, which significantly change in the stroke group. The stroke group showed a high difference value in most CNT contents. Therefore, those with stroke in the focal brain region tend to have better cognitive function recovery after a computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation than those with TBI, which could cause diffuse brain damage and post-injury inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
Stage 2: Who Are the Best Candidates for Robotic Gait Training Rehabilitation in Hemiparetic Stroke?
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(23), 5715; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10235715 - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
We aimed to compare the effects of robotic-assisted gait training (RAGT) in patients with FAC < 2 (low initial functional ambulation category [LFAC]) and FAC ≥ 2 (high initial functional ambulation category [HFAC]) on sensorimotor and spasticity, balance and trunk stability, the number [...] Read more.
We aimed to compare the effects of robotic-assisted gait training (RAGT) in patients with FAC < 2 (low initial functional ambulation category [LFAC]) and FAC ≥ 2 (high initial functional ambulation category [HFAC]) on sensorimotor and spasticity, balance and trunk stability, the number of steps and walking distance in subacute hemiparetic stroke. Fifty-seven patients with subacute hemiparetic stroke (mean age, 63.86 ± 12.72 years; 23 women) were assigned to two groups. All patients received a 30-min Walkbot-assisted gait training session, 3 times/week, for 6 weeks. Clinical outcomes included scores obtained on the Fugl–Meyer Assessment (FMA) scale, Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), trunk impairment scale (TIS), and the number of walking steps and walking distance. Analysis of covariance and analysis of variance were conducted at p < 0.05. Significant main effects of time in both groups on number of walking steps and distance (p < 0.05) were observed, but not in MAS (p> 0.05). Significant changes in FMA, BBS, and TIS scores between groups (p < 0.05) were observed. Significant main effects of time on BBS and TIS were demonstrated (p < 0.05). Our study shows that RAGT can maximize improvement in the functional score of FMA, BBS, TIS, steps, and distance during neurorehabilitation of subacute stroke patients regardless of their FAC level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
Differences in the Composition of Gut Microbiota between Patients with Parkinson’s Disease and Healthy Controls: A Cohort Study
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(23), 5698; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10235698 - 03 Dec 2021
Abstract
Gut microbiome and colonic inflammation can be associated with the predisposition and progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The presented study aimed to compare gastrointestinal microbiota composition between patients diagnosed with PD and treated only with Levodopa to healthy controls. In this prospective study, [...] Read more.
Gut microbiome and colonic inflammation can be associated with the predisposition and progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The presented study aimed to compare gastrointestinal microbiota composition between patients diagnosed with PD and treated only with Levodopa to healthy controls. In this prospective study, patients were recruited in 1 academic hospital from July 2019 to July 2020. The detailed demographic data and medical history were collected using a set of questionnaires. Fecal samples were obtained from all participants. Next-Generation Sequencing was used to assess the microbiota composition. The endpoint was the difference in composition of the gut microbiota. In this study, we enrolled 27 hospitalized PD patients with well-controlled symptoms. The control group included 44 healthy subjects matched for age. Among PD patients, our results presented a higher abundance of Bacteroides phylum, class Corynebacteria among phylum Actinobacteria, class Deltaproteobacteria among phylum Proteobacteria, and genera such as Butyricimonas, Robinsoniella, and Flavonifractor. The species Akkermansia muciniphila, Eubacterium biforme, and Parabacteroides merdae were identified as more common in the gut microbiota of PD patients. In conclusion, the patients diagnosed with PD have significantly different gut microbiota profiles in comparison with healthy controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
Assessment of the Kinematic Adaptations in Parkinson’s Disease Using the Gait Profile Score: Influences of Trunk Posture, a Pilot Study
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(12), 1605; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11121605 - 03 Dec 2021
Abstract
Introduction: Postural abnormalities are common in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and lead to gait abnormalities. Relationships between changes in the trunk posture of PD patients and gait profile score (GPS) and gait spatiotemporal parameters are poorly investigated. The aim of the current [...] Read more.
Introduction: Postural abnormalities are common in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and lead to gait abnormalities. Relationships between changes in the trunk posture of PD patients and gait profile score (GPS) and gait spatiotemporal parameters are poorly investigated. The aim of the current study was to investigate the relationships between trunk posture, GPS, and gait spatiotemporal parameters, in patients with PD. Materials and Methods: Twenty-three people with PD and nineteen age-matched healthy people participated in this study. A 3D gait kinematical analysis was applied to all participants using the Plug-In Gait Full BodyTM tool. Trunk and limb kinematics patterns and gait spatio-temporal parameters of patients with PD and the control group were compared. Additionally, correlations between trunk kinematics patterns, gait spatio-temporal parameters, and GPS of the PD group were tested. Results: Cadence, opposite foot off, step time, single support, double support, foot off, gait speed, trunk kinematics, and GPS showed significant differences between the two groups (p ≤ 0.05). Posture of the trunk during gait was not related to the spatio-temporal parameters and gait profile score in the PD group. The trunk flexor pattern influenced GPS domains, mainly of the ankle and the knee. Discussion and Conclusions: Flexed posture of the trunk in patients with PD seems to influence both ankle and knee movement patterns during the gait. The GPS analysis provided direct and simplified kinematic information for the PD group. These results may have implications for understanding the importance of considering the positioning of the trunk during gait. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
Article
Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of Social Communication Dysfunction in Primary Progressive Aphasia
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(12), 1600; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11121600 - 01 Dec 2021
Abstract
Mounting evidence suggests that, in parallel with well-defined changes in language, primary progressive aphasia (PPA) syndromes display co-occurring social cognitive impairments. Here, we explored multidimensional profiles of carer-rated social communication using the La Trobe Communication Questionnaire (LCQ) in 11 semantic dementia (SD), 12 [...] Read more.
Mounting evidence suggests that, in parallel with well-defined changes in language, primary progressive aphasia (PPA) syndromes display co-occurring social cognitive impairments. Here, we explored multidimensional profiles of carer-rated social communication using the La Trobe Communication Questionnaire (LCQ) in 11 semantic dementia (SD), 12 logopenic progressive aphasia (LPA) and 9 progressive non-fluent aphasia (PNFA) cases and contrasted their performance with 19 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cases, 26 behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) cases and 31 healthy older controls. Relative to the controls, the majority of patient groups displayed significant overall social communication difficulties, with common and unique profiles of impairment evident on the LCQ subscales. Correlation analyses revealed a differential impact of social communication disturbances on functional outcomes in patient and carer well-being, most pronounced for SD and bvFTD. Finally, voxel-based morphometry analyses based on a structural brain MRI pointed to the degradation of a distributed brain network in mediating social communication dysfunction in dementia. Our findings suggest that social communication difficulties are an important feature of PPA, with significant implications for patient function and carer well-being. The origins of these changes are likely to be multifactorial, reflecting the breakdown of fronto-thalamic brain circuits specialised in the integration of complex information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
Postural Difference between the Interventions Reflecting the Concept of Mirror Therapy in Healthy Subjects
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(12), 1567; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11121567 - 27 Nov 2021
Abstract
(1) Background: Mirror therapy is one of the promising interventions for the upper limb rehabilitation of stroke patients. Postural asymmetry during mirror therapy was pointed out as a possibility to influence stroke patients’ rehabilitation negatively. However, it is still difficult to find studies [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Mirror therapy is one of the promising interventions for the upper limb rehabilitation of stroke patients. Postural asymmetry during mirror therapy was pointed out as a possibility to influence stroke patients’ rehabilitation negatively. However, it is still difficult to find studies on the postural changes in mirror therapy concept interventions. This study compared three methods of postural differences as follows: traditional mirror therapy (mirror); displaying the real-time movement of the unaffected side on the screen above the affected side (screen); and playing a pre-recorded movement of the unaffected side on a tablet placed on a movable box where the affected hand is put inside (movable). (2) Methods: to observe a kinematic difference, we recruited 16 healthy volunteers to go through three different interventions (mirror, screen, movable). The motion capture system made observations on the postures before and during interventions, then compared and analyzed. (3) Results: while using the mirror, the sitting posture was observed to become asymmetric, and the following unique posture was observed where the target hand went further from the trunk while performing tasks. In addition, the shoulder of the target side came forward, and the difference between both elbow flexion angles was also observed. On the other hand, the screen or movable device did not cause a significant change in the sitting posture, and no additional postural differences were observed either. (4) Conclusions: mirror therapy showed a tendency to cause lateral flexion opposite the target hand, thus, creating additional postural change. However, developed methods controlled spine tilt, and enabled the keeping of the midline while sitting during the intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
Changes in Cortical Activity during Preferred and Fast Speed Walking under Single- and Dual-Tasks in the Young-Old and Old-Old Elderly
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(12), 1551; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11121551 - 23 Nov 2021
Abstract
In the elderly, walking while simultaneously engaging in other activities becomes more difficult. This study aimed to examine the changes in cortical activity during walking with aging. We try to reveal the effects of an additional task and increased walking speed on cortical [...] Read more.
In the elderly, walking while simultaneously engaging in other activities becomes more difficult. This study aimed to examine the changes in cortical activity during walking with aging. We try to reveal the effects of an additional task and increased walking speed on cortical activation in the young-old and the old-old elderly. Twenty-seven young-old (70.2 ± 3.0 years) and 23 old-old (78.0 ± 2.3 years) participated in this study. Each subject completed four walking tasks on the treadmill, a 2 × 2 design; two single-task (ST) walking conditions with self-selected walking speed (SSWS) and fast walking speed (FWS), and two dual-task (DT) walking conditions with SSWS and FWS. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy was applied for measurement of cerebral oxyhemoglobin (oxyHb) concentration during walking. Cortical activities were increased during DT conditions compared with ST conditions but decreased during the FWS compared with the SSWS on the primary leg motor cortex, supplementary motor area, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in both the young-old and the old-old. These oxyHb concentration changes were significantly less prominent in the old-old than in the young-old. This study demonstrated that changes in cortical activity during dual-task walking are lower in the old-old than in the young-old, reflecting the reduced adaptive plasticity with severe aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
A Novel Thromboplastin-Based Rat Model of Ischemic Stroke
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(11), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111475 - 07 Nov 2021
Abstract
The thromboembolic ischemia model is one of the most applicable for studying ischemic stroke in humans. The aim of this study was to develop a novel thromboembolic stroke model, allowing, by affordable tools, to reproduce cerebral infarction in rats. In the experimental group, [...] Read more.
The thromboembolic ischemia model is one of the most applicable for studying ischemic stroke in humans. The aim of this study was to develop a novel thromboembolic stroke model, allowing, by affordable tools, to reproduce cerebral infarction in rats. In the experimental group, the left common carotid artery, external carotid artery, and pterygopalatine branch of maxillary artery were ligated. A blood clot that was previously formed (during a 20 min period, in a catheter and syringe, by mixing with a thromboplastin solution and CaCl2) was injected into the left internal carotid artery. After 10 min, the catheter was removed, and the incision was sutured. The neurological status of the animals was evaluated using a 20-point scale. Histological examination of brain tissue was performed 6, 24, 72 h, and 6 days post-stroke. All groups showed motor and behavioral disturbances 24 h after surgery, which persisted throughout the study period. A histological examination revealed necrotic foci of varying severity in the cortex and subcortical regions of the ipsilateral hemisphere, for all experimental groups. A decrease in the density of hippocampal pyramidal neurons was revealed. Compared with existing models, the proposed ischemic stroke model significantly reduces surgical time, does not require an expensive operating microscope, and consistently reproduces brain infarction in the area of the middle cerebral artery supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Systematic Review
Effects of High-Frequency (HF) Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) on Upper Extremity Motor Function in Stroke Patients: A Systematic Review
Medicina 2021, 57(11), 1215; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57111215 - 07 Nov 2021
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is being widely used for treating upper extremity paresis after stroke, however, evidence of applying high-frequency rTMS (HF-rTMS) on the ipsilesional hemisphere for upper extremity motor recovery remains limited. This systematic review aimed to investigate [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is being widely used for treating upper extremity paresis after stroke, however, evidence of applying high-frequency rTMS (HF-rTMS) on the ipsilesional hemisphere for upper extremity motor recovery remains limited. This systematic review aimed to investigate the effect of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for upper extremity motor function recovery after a first-time ischaemic stroke. Materials and Methods: This systematic review was prepared according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A comprehensive literature search was performed to identify all studies published before 12 February 2021. The search was performed on the following databases: PubMed, Ovid, The Cochrane Library. Results: A total of 6440 studies were found in the databases and four trials were included in the review. Three of the studies were randomized control trials (RCT), and one was a pseudo-RCT. Three of the studies showed good methodological quality and one study was rated as excellent. Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA) was performed in three out of four studies and the score significantly increased in the HF-rTMS treatment group compared with sham stimulation in all trials. Other measures used in the studies were handgrip strength, shoulder abduction, Motricity Index, Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), and Box and Block, although these tests did not show unanimous results. Overall, all four studies conveyed significantly better results in at least one test that was performed for hand motor function evaluation in a 10 Hz stimulation group while none of the tests showed any advantage for sham stimulation groups. Two studies reported headache as an adverse event (six patients in total). Conclusion: The overall results showed that HF-rTMS may increase impaired upper extremity motor function better than sham stimulation in stroke patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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Article
The Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Combined with Visual Cueing Training on Motor Function, Balance, and Gait Ability of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease
Medicina 2021, 57(11), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57111146 - 22 Oct 2021
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on motor function, balance and gait ability in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Materials and Methods: For the experiment, 30 patients with [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on motor function, balance and gait ability in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Materials and Methods: For the experiment, 30 patients with PD were randomly assigned to the experimental group (n = 15) and the control group (n = 15). Visual cueing training was commonly applied to both groups, the experimental group applied tDCS simultaneously with visual training, and the control group applied sham tDCS simultaneously with visual training. All subjects were pre-tested before the first intervention, post-tested after completing all 4 weeks of intervention, and followed-up tested 2 weeks after the completing intervention. The tests used the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) for motor function assessment, Functional Gait Assessment (FGA) for balance assessment, Freezing of Gait Questionnaire (FOG-Q) and the GAITRite system for gait ability assessment. Among the data obtained through the GAITRite system, gait velocity, cadence, step time, double support time, and stride length were analyzed. Results: The experimental group showed a significant decrease in UPDRS and a significant increase in FGA and cadence after the intervention. In addition, UPDRS and cadence showed a significant difference in the follow-up test compared to the pre-intervention test. Conclusions: This study suggests that the application of tDCS to the supplementary motor area of PD patients is useful as an adjuvant therapy for rehabilitation training of PD patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
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