Tip sheet for the February 24, 2004 Neurology

February 23, 2004

Studies examine side effects of treating primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL)
One study led by Denise D. Correa, PhD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, found mild to moderate cognitive dysfunction in 28 survivors of PCNSL, a type of cancer where cells from the immune system grow out of control. The patients who were treated with methotrexate-based chemotherapy and whole brain radiotherapy had more impairment than those who had the chemotherapy alone.

In a separate study, researchers in the Netherlands and Belgium examined a group of 19 PCNSL patients in remission after combined treatment with intrathecal and IV methotrexate-based chemotherapy followed by whole brain radiotherapy. Most patients had cognitive impairment, and 14 had atrophy in the cerebral cortex.

An editorial by Brian Patrick O'Neill, MD, of Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., says the cognitive decline in PCNSL patients is the result of various factors, and brain irradiation alone is unlikely to be responsible. He noted the therapies used in these studies have a risk of neurotoxicity that increases with patient age.

Comparing the tests that measure brain atrophy and disease progression in Alzheimer's
Led by C.R. Jack, Jr., MD, researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., found that brain atrophy was detected on MRI more consistently than decline on cognitive tests or rating scales in a group of patients ranging from normal elderly to mild cognitive impairment to probable Alzheimer's disease. Watch for a news release from the Mayo Clinic, Lisa Copeland, copeland.lisa@mayo.edu, 507-538-0844.

Does triptan use in migraines increase the risk of stroke?
One large study says no. Researchers led by Gillian C. Hall, PhD, studied data for more than 63,000 migraine patients, including 13,664 who were prescribed a triptan for treatment. They found that triptan treatment prescribed in routine clinical practice did not increase the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction or death.

Patient Page and study examine interferon treatment in multiple sclerosis (MS)
The monthly Patient Page discusses the risks of liver abnormalities while on interferon therapy for MS. â-interferon drugs are injected to help reduce the frequency of attacks. A study led by Helen L. Tremlett, PhD, of the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Center, found nearly one-third of 835 MS patients treated with â-interferon drugs had higher alanine aminotransferases, which is associated with abnormal liver function. This is a higher incidence of elevated alanine aminotransferases than has been previously reported in interferon therapy for MS.

The Patient Page will be available for downloading from www.neurology.org after the embargo, or can be obtained in advance from AAN media relations staff.
-end-
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 19,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, autism and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its web site at www.aan.com.

American Academy of Neurology

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