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  • Choice of reference measurements affects quantification of long diffusion time behaviour using stimulated echoes.

    3 July 2018

    PURPOSE: To demonstrate how reference data affect the quantification of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in long diffusion time measurements with diffusion-weighted stimulated echo acquisition mode (DW-STEAM) measurements, and to present a modification to avoid contribution from crusher gradients in DW-STEAM. METHODS: For DW-STEAM, reference measurements at long diffusion times have significant b0 value, because b = 0 cannot be achieved in practice as a result of the need for signal spoiling. Two strategies for acquiring reference data over a range of diffusion times were considered: constant diffusion weighting (fixed-b0 ) and constant gradient area (fixed-q0 ). Fixed-b0 and fixed-q0 were compared using signal calculations for systems with one and two diffusion coefficients, and experimentally using data from postmortem human corpus callosum samples. RESULTS: Calculations of biexponential diffusion decay show that the ADC is underestimated for reference images with b > 0, which can induce an apparent time-dependence for fixed-q0 . Restricted systems were also found to be affected. Experimentally, the exaggeration of the diffusion time-dependent effect under fixed-q0 versus fixed-b0 was in a range predicted theoretically, accounting for 62% (longitudinal) and 35% (radial) of the time dependence observed in white matter. CONCLUSIONS: Variation in the b-value of reference measurements in DW-STEAM can induce artificial diffusion time dependence in ADC, even in the absence of restriction. Magn Reson Med 79:952-959, 2018. © 2017 The Authors Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

  • White Matter Imaging Correlates of Early Cognitive Impairment Detected by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment After Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Among screening tools for cognitive impairment in large cohorts, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) seems to be more sensitive to early cognitive impairment than the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), particularly after transient ischemic attack or minor stroke. We reasoned that if MoCA-detected early cognitive impairment is pathologically significant, then it should be specifically associated with the presence of white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) and reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) on magnetic resonance imaging. METHODS: Consecutive eligible patients with transient ischemic attack or minor stroke (Oxford Vascular Study) underwent magnetic resonance imaging and cognitive assessment. We correlated MoCA and MMSE scores with WMH and FA, then specifically studied patients with low MoCA and normal MMSE. RESULTS: Among 400 patients, MoCA and MMSE scores were significantly correlated (all P<0.001) with WMH volumes (rMoCA=-0.336; rMMSE=-0.297) and FA (rMoCA=0.409; rMMSE=0.369) and-on voxel-wise analyses-with WMH in frontal white matter and reduced FA in almost all white matter tracts. However, only the MoCA was independently correlated with WMH volumes (r=-0.183; P<0.001), average FA values (r=0.218; P<0.001), and voxel-wise reduced FA in anterior tracts after controlling for the MMSE. In addition, patients with low MoCA but normal MMSE (n=57) had higher WMH volumes (t=3.1; P=0.002), lower average FA (t=-4.0; P<0.001), and lower voxel-wise FA in almost all white matter tracts than those with normal MoCA and MMSE (n=238). CONCLUSIONS: In patients with transient ischemic attack or minor stroke, early cognitive impairment detected with the MoCA but not with the MMSE was independently associated with white matter damage on magnetic resonance imaging, particularly reduced FA.

  • Clinical Correlates, Ethnic Differences, and Prognostic Implications of Perivascular Spaces in Transient Ischemic Attack and Ischemic Stroke.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Perivascular spaces (PVSs) are considered markers of small vessel disease. However, their long-term prognostic implications in transient ischemic attack/ischemic stroke patients are unknown. Ethnic differences in PVS prevalence are also unknown. METHODS: Two independent prospective studies were conducted, 1 comprising predominantly whites with transient ischemic attack/ischemic stroke (OXVASC [Oxford Vascular] study) and 1 comprising predominantly Chinese with ischemic stroke (University of Hong Kong). Clinical and imaging correlates, prognostic implications for stroke and death, and ethnic differences in basal ganglia (BG) and centrum semiovale (CS) PVSs were studied with adjustment for age, sex, vascular risk factors, and scanner strength. RESULTS: Whites with transient ischemic attack/ischemic stroke (n=1028) had a higher prevalence of both BG and CS-PVSs compared with Chinese (n=974; >20 BG-PVSs: 22.4% versus 7.1%; >20 CS-PVSs: 45.8% versus 10.4%; P<0.0001). More than 20 BG or CS-PVSs were both associated with increasing age and white matter hyperintensity, although associations with BG-PVSs were stronger (all P<0.0001). During 6924 patient-years of follow-up, BG-PVSs were also independently associated with an increased risk of recurrent ischemic stroke (adjusted hazard ratio compared with <11 PVSs, 11-20 PVSs: HR, 1.15; 95% confidence interval, 0.78-1.68; >20 PVSs: HR, 1.82; 1.18-2.80; P=0.011) but not intracerebral hemorrhage (P=0.10) or all-cause mortality (P=0.16). CS-PVSs were not associated with recurrent stroke (P=0.57) or mortality (P=0.072). Prognostic associations were similar in both cohorts. CONCLUSIONS: Over and above ethnic differences in frequency of PVSs in transient ischemic attack/ischemic stroke patients, BG and CS-PVSs had similar risk factors, but although >20 BG-PVSs were associated with an increased risk of recurrent ischemic stroke, CS-PVSs were not.

  • Light and the laboratory mouse.

    2 July 2018

    Light exerts widespread effects on physiology and behaviour. As well as the widely-appreciated role of light in vision, light also plays a critical role in many non-visual responses, including regulating circadian rhythms, sleep, pupil constriction, heart rate, hormone release and learning and memory. In mammals, responses to light are all mediated via retinal photoreceptors, including the classical rods and cones involved in vision as well as the recently identified melanopsin-expressing photoreceptive retinal ganglion cells (pRGCs). Understanding the effects of light on the laboratory mouse therefore depends upon an appreciation of the physiology of these retinal photoreceptors, including their differing sens itivities to absolute light levels and wavelengths. The signals from these photoreceptors are often integrated, with different responses involving distinct retinal projections, making generalisations challenging. Furthermore, many commonly used laboratory mouse strains carry mutations that affect visual or non-visual physiology, ranging from inherited retinal degeneration to genetic differences in sleep and circadian rhythms. Here we provide an overview of the visual and non-visual systems before discussing practical considerations for the use of light for researchers and animal facility staff working with laboratory mice.

  • Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disruption in Psychosis

    23 July 2018

    © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Sleep is a complex physiological process involving the interaction of multiple neurotransmitter systems and a diverse network of both arousal and sleep-promoting brain nuclei. This chapter focuses primarily on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These disorders form part of a broader psychosis spectrum. Sleep and circadian rhythm disruption (SCRD) has been reported in 30-80% of patients with schizophrenia. In bipolar disorder, sleep disturbances have been shown to be triggers for manic episodes, including irregular sleep timing and reduced total sleep time. Further mechanistic evidence for a link between the circadian system and bipolar disorder comes from work on animal models. Another factor that should be considered in this context is that circadian rhythms and sleep are mechanistically different, albeit interacting, processes. A number of potential mechanisms that may account for SCRD in psychosis are summarized and discussed in more detail in the chapter.

  • A preliminary investigation of sleep quality in functional neurological disorders: Poor sleep appears common, and is associated with functional impairment.

    2 July 2018

    PURPOSE: Functional neurological disorders (FND) are disabling conditions for which there are few empirically-supported treatments. Disturbed sleep appears to be part of the FND context; however, the clinical importance of sleep disturbance (extent, characteristics and impact) remains largely unknown. We described sleep quality in two samples, and investigated the relationship between sleep and FND-related functional impairment. METHODS: We included a sample recruited online via patient charities (N=205) and a consecutive clinical sample (N=20). Participants completed validated measures of sleep quality and sleep characteristics (e.g. total sleep time, sleep efficiency), mood, and FND-related functional impairment. RESULTS: Poor sleep was common in both samples (89% in the clinical range), which was characterised by low sleep efficiency (M=65.40%) and low total sleep time (M=6.05h). In regression analysis, sleep quality was negatively associated with FND-related functional impairment, accounting for 16% of the variance and remaining significant after the introduction of mood variables. CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary analyses suggest that subjective sleep disturbance (low efficiency, short sleep) is common in FND. Sleep quality was negatively associated with the functional impairment attributed to FND, independent of depression. Therefore, sleep disturbance may be a clinically important feature of FND.

  • Individuals with clinically significant insomnia symptoms are characterised by a negative sleep-related expectancy bias: Results from a cognitive-experimental assessment.

    2 July 2018

    Cognitive models of insomnia consistently suggest that negative expectations regarding the consequences of poor sleep contribute to the maintenance of insomnia. To date, however, no research has sought to determine whether insomnia is indeed characterised by such a negative sleep-related expectancy bias, using objective cognitive assessment tasks which are more immune to response biases than questionnaire assessments. Therefore, the current study employed a reaction-time task assessing biased expectations among a group with clinically significant insomnia symptoms (n = 30) and a low insomnia symptoms group (n = 40). The task involved the presentation of scenarios describing the consequences of poor sleep, and non-sleep related activities, which could be resolved in a benign or a negative manner. The results demonstrated that the high insomnia symptoms group were disproportionately fast to resolve sleep-related scenarios in line with negative outcomes, as compared to benign outcomes, relative to the low insomnia symptoms group. The two groups did not differ in their pattern of resolving non-sleep related scenarios. This pattern of findings is entirely consistent with a sleep-specific expectancy bias operating in individuals with clinically significant insomnia symptoms, and highlights the potential of cognitive-experimental assessment tasks to objectively index patterns of biased cognition in insomnia.

  • Progression of Late-Onset Stargardt Disease.

    3 July 2018

    Purpose: Identification of sensitive biomarkers is essential to determine potential effects of emerging therapeutic trials for Stargardt disease. This study aimed to describe the natural history of late-onset Stargardt, and demonstrates the accuracy of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) atrophy progression as an outcome measure. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study collecting multicenter data from 47 patients (91 eyes) with late-onset Stargardt, defined by clinical phenotype, at least one ABCA4 mutation, and age at disease onset ≥ 45 years. We analyzed RPE atrophy progression on fundus autofluorescence and near-infrared reflectance imaging using semiautomated software and a linear mixed model. We performed sample size calculations to assess the power in a simulated 2-year interventional study and assessed visual endpoints using time-to-event analysis. Results: Over time, progression of RPE atrophy was observed (mean: 0.22 mm/year, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.19-0.27). By including only patients with bilateral RPE atrophy in a future trial, 32 patients are needed to reach a power of 83.9% (95% CI: 83.1-84.6), assuming a fixed therapeutic effect size of 30%. We found a median interval between disease onset and visual acuity decline to 20/32, 20/80, and 20/200 of 2.74 (95% CI: 0.54-4.41), 10.15 (95% CI: 6.13-11.38), and 11.38 (95% CI: 6.13-13.34) years, respectively. Conclusions: We show that RPE atrophy represents a robust biomarker to monitor disease progression in future therapeutic trials. In contrast, the variability in terms of the course of visual acuity was high.

  • Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study.

    3 July 2018

    Objectives To investigate whether moderate alcohol consumption has a favourable or adverse association or no association with brain structure and function.Design Observational cohort study with weekly alcohol intake and cognitive performance measured repeatedly over 30 years (1985-2015). Multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at study endpoint (2012-15).Setting Community dwelling adults enrolled in the Whitehall II cohort based in the UK (the Whitehall II imaging substudy).Participants 550 men and women with mean age 43.0 (SD 5.4) at study baseline, none were "alcohol dependent" according to the CAGE screening questionnaire, and all safe to undergo MRI of the brain at follow-up. Twenty three were excluded because of incomplete or poor quality imaging data or gross structural abnormality (such as a brain cyst) or incomplete alcohol use, sociodemographic, health, or cognitive data.Main outcome measures Structural brain measures included hippocampal atrophy, grey matter density, and white matter microstructure. Functional measures included cognitive decline over the study and cross sectional cognitive performance at the time of scanning.Results Higher alcohol consumption over the 30 year follow-up was associated with increased odds of hippocampal atrophy in a dose dependent fashion. While those consuming over 30 units a week were at the highest risk compared with abstainers (odds ratio 5.8, 95% confidence interval 1.8 to 18.6; P≤0.001), even those drinking moderately (14-21 units/week) had three times the odds of right sided hippocampal atrophy (3.4, 1.4 to 8.1; P=0.007). There was no protective effect of light drinking (1-<7 units/week) over abstinence. Higher alcohol use was also associated with differences in corpus callosum microstructure and faster decline in lexical fluency. No association was found with cross sectional cognitive performance or longitudinal changes in semantic fluency or word recall.Conclusions Alcohol consumption, even at moderate levels, is associated with adverse brain outcomes including hippocampal atrophy. These results support the recent reduction in alcohol guidance in the UK and question the current limits recommended in the US.