A great, open access review article about the use of rituximab in NMO spectrum disorders.

Abstract

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSDs) is a new concept which includes classical neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and partial forms of NMO such as recurrent optic neuritis with positive aquaporin-4 antibodies (AQP4) or brainstem symptoms (intractable hiccups or vomiting). This disease is clearly distinguished from multiple sclerosis (MS) and the therapeutic approach is clearly different. Rituximab is actually considered to be one of the most efficient treatments of NMOSD, even if class I studies are clearly lacking. In the present review, we describe the state of the art about rituximab treatment in NMOSD, including adults and children, plus its efficacy and tolerance and we also underline the questions that should be addressed in the near future

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A new version of Medcal Calc for Apple Watch has been released!

It contains a new feature called "Smart Search", that allows you to find a score by simply asking a question! Discover a short video preview here!

A "Favourites" section has also been added, where you can save the scores you use the most.

The version 3.0 is available on the AppStore here. Price remains unchanged!

This article has been published in the latest isuue of the New England Journal of Medicine. It confirms the predictive value of ABCD2 score and brain imaging.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Previous studies conducted between 1997 and 2003 estimated that the risk of stroke or an acute coronary syndrome was 12 to 20% during the first 3 months after a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke. The TIAregistry.org project was designed to describe the contemporary profile, etiologic factors, and outcomes in patients with a TIA or minor ischemic stroke who receive care in health systems that now offer urgent evaluation by stroke specialists.

METHODS
We recruited patients who had had a TIA or minor stroke within the previous 7 days. Sites were selected if they had systems dedicated to urgent evaluation of patients with TIA. We estimated the 1-year risk of stroke and of the composite outcome of stroke, an acute coronary syndrome, or death from cardiovascular causes. We also examined the association of the ABCD2 score for the risk of stroke (range, 0 [lowest risk] to 7 [highest risk]), findings on brain imaging, and cause of TIA or minor stroke with the risk of recurrent stroke over a period of 1 year.

RESULTS
From 2009 through 2011, we enrolled 4789 patients at 61 sites in 21 countries. A total of 78.4% of the patients were evaluated by stroke specialists within 24 hours after symptom onset. A total of 33.4% of the patients had an acute brain infarction, 23.2% had at least one extracranial or intracranial stenosis of 50% or more, and 10.4% had atrial fibrillation. The Kaplan–Meier estimate of the 1-year event rate of the composite cardiovascular outcome was 6.2% (95% confidence interval, 5.5 to 7.0). Kaplan–Meier estimates of the stroke rate at days 2, 7, 30, 90, and 365 were 1.5%, 2.1%, 2.8%, 3.7%, and 5.1%, respectively. In multivariable analyses, multiple infarctions on brain imaging, large-artery atherosclerosis, and an ABCD2 score of 6 or 7 were each associated with more than a doubling of the risk of stroke.

CONCLUSIONS
We observed a lower risk of cardiovascular events after TIA than previously reported. The ABCD2 score, findings on brain imaging, and status with respect to large-artery atherosclerosis helped stratify the risk of recurrent stroke within 1 year after a TIA or minor stroke. (Funded by Sanofi and Bristol-Myers Squibb.)

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Background
Basilar artery occlusion (BAO) remains one of the most devastating subtypes of stroke with high mortality and poor outcome. Early recanalisation is the most powerful predictor of favourable outcome in patients with stroke, and may be improved with mechanical thrombectomy using stent retriever devices. However, the benefit in functional outcome and safety of stent retrievers are not yet well known. The aim of this study was to assess efficacy and safety profiles of stent retriever thrombectomy in BAO patients with stroke.

Methods
We analysed data retrospectively from our consecutive clinical series and conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all previous studies of stent retriever thrombectomy in BAO patients with stroke between November 2010 and April 2014.

Results
From March 2010 to March 2013, 22 patients with acute BAO were treated with a Solitaire stent retriever in our series. Favourable outcome was significantly associated with younger age and distal BAO. The literature search identified 15 previous studies involving a total of 312 subjects. In the meta-analysis, including our series data, the recanalisation rate (Thrombolysis In Cerebral Infarction (TICI) score ≥2b) reached 81% (95% CI 73% to 87%). The rate of symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage was 4% (95% CI 2% to 8%), favourable outcome (modified Rankin Scale (mRS) ≤2 at 3 months) was found in 42% (95% CI 36% to 48%) and mortality rate was 30% (95% CI 25% to 36%).

Conclusions
Stent retriever thrombectomy is a safe treatment modality for patients with stroke presenting with BAO. Although the stent retrievers showed a good recanalisation rate, there are currently no randomised clinical trials to assess its clinical efficacy in comparison with the reference treatment.

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Background

This is an update of the Cochrane review ‘Memory rehabilitation for people with multiple sclerosis’ (first published in the Cochrane Library 14 March 2012, Issue 3). Impairments in cognitive function, particularly memory, are common in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and can potentially affect their ability to complete functional activities. There is evidence from single-case or small group studies that memory rehabilitation can be beneficial for people with MS, but findings from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews have been inconclusive.

Objectives

To determine whether people with MS who received memory rehabilitation showed: 1. better outcomes in their memory functions compared to those given no treatment or receiving a placebo control; and 2. better functional abilities, in terms of activities of daily living, mood, and quality of life, than those who received no treatment or a placebo.

Search methods

We searched the Trials Specialised Register of the Cochrane Multiple Sclerosis and Rare Diseases of the CNS Group (2 June 2015) and the following electronic databases: The NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio database (NIHR CRN) (from 2010 to June 2015), The Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED) (2010 to June 2015), British Nursing Index (BNI) (2010 to June 2015), PsycINFO (2011 to June 2015), and CAB Abstracts (2010 to June 2015). Start dates for the electronic databases coincided with the last search for the previous review. We handsearched relevant journals and reference lists.

Selection criteria

We selected RCTs or quasi-randomised trials of memory rehabilitation or cognitive rehabilitation for people with MS in which a memory rehabilitation treatment group was compared to a control group. Selection was conducted independently first and then confirmed through group discussion. We excluded studies that included participants whose memory deficits were the result of conditions other than MS unless we could identify a subgroup of participants with MS with separate results.

Data collection and analysis

Three review authors were involved in this update in terms of study selection, quality assessment, and data extraction. We contacted investigators of primary studies for further information where required. We conducted data analysis and synthesis in accordance with the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (Higgins 2011). We performed a 'best evidence' synthesis based on the methodological quality of the primary studies included.

Main results

We added seven studies during this update, bringing the total to 15 studies, involving 989 participants. The interventions involved various memory retraining techniques, such as computerised programmes and training on internal and external memory aids. Control groups varied in format from assessment-only groups, discussion and games, non-specific cognitive retraining, and attention or visuospatial training. The risk of bias of the included studies was generally low, but we found eight studies to have high risk of bias related to certain aspects of their methodology.

We found significant effect of intervention on objective assessments of memory in both the immediate and long-term follow-ups: standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.23 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.05 to 0.41) and SMD 0.26 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.49), respectively. We also found significant effect of intervention for quality of life in the immediate follow-up (SMD 0.23 (95% CI 0.05 to 0.41)). These findings showed that the intervention group performed significantly better than the control group. We also found a significant difference for activities of daily living (ADL) in the long-term follow-up (SMD -0.33 (95% CI -0.63 to -0.03)), showing that the control groups had significantly less difficulty completing ADLs than the intervention groups. We found no significant effects, either immediate or long-term, on subjective reports of memory problems (SMD 0.04 (95% CI -0.19 to 0.27) and SMD 0.04 (95% CI -0.19 to 0.27)); on mood (SMD 0.02 (95% CI -0.16 to 0.20) and SMD -0.01 (95% CI -0.21 to 0.20)); and on immediate follow-up for ADL (SMD -0.13 (95% CI -0.60 to 0.33)) and in the long term for quality of life (SMD 0.16 (95% CI -0.03 to 0.36)). We could not complete a sensitivity analysis of intention-to-treat in comparison with per-protocol analysis, due to insufficient information from the included papers. However, a sensitivity analysis of high- versus low-risk studies suggested that while quality of the trials did not affect most outcomes, differences were seen in the objective memory outcomes (both at immediate and long term) and quality of life (immediate) outcome, with studies with higher risk of bias inflating the overall effect size estimates for these outcomes, and the test of overall effect changing from being statistically significant to not significant when studies at high risk of bias were excluded. This suggests that lower-quality studies may have positively influenced the outcomes.

Authors' conclusions

There is some evidence to support the effectiveness of memory rehabilitation on memory function, as well as on quality of life. However, the evidence is limited and does not extend to subjective reports of memory functioning or mood. Furthermore, the objective measures used are not ecologically valid measures, and thus potentially limit generalisability of these findings into daily life. Further robust RCTs of high methodological quality and better quality of reporting, using ecologically valid outcome assessments, are still needed.

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