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See detailNeurostimulation therapies for primary headache disorders: present and future
MAGIS, Delphine ULg; JENSEN, Rigmor; Schoenen, Jean ULg

in Current Opinion in Neurology (2012), 25(3), 269-276

Purpose of review Most pharmacological treatments of primary headache disorders are partially effective and have cumbersome side effects. Therapies with better efficacy and tolerance are needed ... [more ▼]

Purpose of review Most pharmacological treatments of primary headache disorders are partially effective and have cumbersome side effects. Therapies with better efficacy and tolerance are needed. Neurostimulation techniques may have this potential. This is an attempt to summarize the latest clinical trial results published in the field. Recent findings Hypothalamic deep brain stimulation is effective in drug-resistant chronic cluster headache (drCCH) but not riskless. Recent anatomical MRI studies indicate that the effective stimulation sites are rather widespread. Occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) seems to be effective in up to 76% of drCCH patients and its benefit long-lasting. A minority of patients are able to abandon preventive drugs. Its mechanism of action appears nonspecific. In chronic migraine, randomized controlled trials of ONS showed recently encouraging results, but long-term studies are missing. An ongoing sham-controlled trial suggests sphenopalatine ganglion neurostimulation (SPGS) efficacy in drCCH acute treatment, but possibly also in preventive therapy. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modulate cortical excitability and connectivity. TMS could prevent headache when applied over the occipital cortex during the migraine aura. Repetitive TMS and tDCS have provided mixed results in a few small studies and warrant further trials. Summary Neurostimulation therapies inaugurate a new era in headache management and offer a promising alternative to medications. Future studies are necessary to provide evidence-based efficacy data, knowledge on their mode of action and information about their pharmaco-economic advantages. [less ▲]

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See detailTreatment of migraine: update on new therapies.
MAGIS, Delphine ULg; Schoenen, Jean ULg

in Current Opinion in Neurology (2011)

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review provides a comprehensive selection of the latest clinical trial results in antimigraine treatment. RECENT FINDINGS: The oral calcitonine gene-related peptide antagonist ... [more ▼]

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review provides a comprehensive selection of the latest clinical trial results in antimigraine treatment. RECENT FINDINGS: The oral calcitonine gene-related peptide antagonist telcagepant is efficacious in acute treatment. Compared to triptans, its efficacy is almost comparable but its tolerance is superior. The same is true for the 5HT-1F agonist lasmiditan, another agent devoid of vascular effects. Triptans, as other drugs, are more efficient if taken early but nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics remain useful for acute treatment, according to several meta-analyses. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation during the aura rendered more patients pain-free (39%) than sham stimulation (22%) in one study. Topiramate could be effective for migrainous vertigo, but it did not prevent transformation to chronic migraine in patients with high attack frequency. Onabotulinumtoxin A was effective for chronic migraine and well tolerated, but the therapeutic gain over placebo was modest; the clinical profile of responders remains to be determined before widespread use. Occipital nerve stimulation was effective in intractable chronic migraine with 39% of responders compared to 6% after sham stimulation. This and other neuromodulation techniques, such as sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation, are promising treatments for medically refractory patients but large controlled trials are necessary. One study suggests that outcome of patent foramen ovale closure in migraine might depend on anatomic and functional characteristics. SUMMARY: Drugs with a better efficacy or side-effect profile than triptans may soon become available for acute treatment. The future may also look brighter for some of the very disabled chronic migraineurs thanks to novel drug and neuromodulation therapies. [less ▲]

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See detailChronic tension-type headache: what is new?
Fernandez-de-las-Penas, Cesar; Schoenen, Jean ULg

in Current Opinion in Neurology (2009), 22(3), 254-61

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review discusses current data on nosological boundaries related to diagnosis, pathophysiology and therapeutic strategies in chronic tension-type headache (CTTH). RECENT FINDINGS ... [more ▼]

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review discusses current data on nosological boundaries related to diagnosis, pathophysiology and therapeutic strategies in chronic tension-type headache (CTTH). RECENT FINDINGS: Diagnostic criteria of CTTH should be adapted to improve its sensitivity against migraine. It seems that mechanical pain sensitivity is a consequence and not a causative factor of CTTH. Recent evidence is modifying previous knowledge about relationships between muscle tissues and CTTH, suggesting a potential role of muscle trigger points in the genesis of pain. An updated pain model suggests that headache perception can be explained by referred pain from trigger points in the craniocervical muscles, mediated through the spinal cord and the trigeminal nucleus caudalis rather than only tenderness of the muscles themselves. Different therapeutic strategies, pharmacological, physical therapy, psychological and acupuncture, are generally used. The therapeutic efficacy of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs remains incomplete. The tricyclic antidepressants are the most used first-line therapeutic agents for CTTH. Surprisingly, few controlled studies have been performed and not all of them have found an efficacy superior to placebo. Further, there is insufficient evidence to support/refute the efficacy of physical therapy in CTTH. SUMMARY: Although there is an increasing scientific interest in CTTH, future studies incorporating subgroups of patients who will likely to benefit from a specific treatment (clinical prediction rules) should be conducted. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat is it like to be vegetative or minimally conscious?
Laureys, Steven ULg; Boly, Mélanie ULg

in Current Opinion in Neurology (2007), 20(6), 609-613

Purpose of review Patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state continue to pose problems in terms of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Despite recent waves of international media attention ... [more ▼]

Purpose of review Patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state continue to pose problems in terms of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Despite recent waves of international media attention following Terri Schiavo's death and the 'miracle recovery' of Terry Wallis, research efforts aimed at increasing our knowledge about brain function in these conditions remain scarce and must address a series of difficulties, including financial and ethical barriers. Here we review current possibilities and limitations of clinical and para-clinical assessment of chronic disorders of consciousness. Recent findings During the past year the field has witnessed publication of significant, yet isolated, case reports in top-ranking journals, including Science and Nature. Such milestone reports and other impressive recent technological advances in the study of vegetative and minimally conscious patients reveal enthralling areas of science that must find their way to clinical medical reality. Summary Consciousness is a subjective experience whose study has remained within the purview of philosophy for millennia. That has finally changed, and empirical evidence from functional neuroimaging offers a genuine glimpse at a solution to the infamous mind-body conundrum. New technological and scientific advances offer the neurological community unique ways to improve our understanding and management of vegetative and minimally conscious patients. [less ▲]

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See detailHow should functional imaging of patients with disorders of consciousness contribute to their clinical rehabilitation needs?
Laureys, Steven ULg; Giacino, J. T.; Schiff, N. D. et al

in Current Opinion in Neurology (2006), 19(6), 520-527

Purpose of review We discuss the problems of evidence-based neurorehabilitation in disorders of consciousness, and recent functional neuroimaging data obtained in the vegetative state and minimally ... [more ▼]

Purpose of review We discuss the problems of evidence-based neurorehabilitation in disorders of consciousness, and recent functional neuroimaging data obtained in the vegetative state and minimally conscious state. Recent findings Published data are insufficient to make recommendations for or against any of the neurorehabilitative treatments in vegetative state and minimally conscious state patients. Electrophysiological and functional imaging studies have been shown to be useful in measuring residual brain function in noncommunicative brain-damaged patients. Despite the fact that such studies could in principle allow an objective quantification of the putative cerebral effect of rehabilitative treatment in the vegetative state and minimally conscious state, they have so far not been used in this context. Summary Without controlled studies and careful patient selection criteria it will not be possible to evaluate the potential of therapeutic interventions in disorders of consciousness. There also is a need to elucidate the neurophysiological effects of such treatments. Integration of multimodal neuroimaging techniques should eventually improve our ability to disentangle differences in outcome on the basis of underlying mechanisms and better guide our therapeutic options in the challenging patient populations encountered following severe acute brain damage. [less ▲]

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See detailResidual cognitive function in comatose, vegetative and minimally conscious states
Laureys, Steven ULg; Perrin, F.; Schnakers, Caroline ULg et al

in Current Opinion In Neurology (2005), 18(6), 726-733

Purpose of review The clinical evaluation of cognition in non-communicative severely brain-damaged patients is inherently difficult. In addition to novel behavioural 'consciousness-scales', the role of ... [more ▼]

Purpose of review The clinical evaluation of cognition in non-communicative severely brain-damaged patients is inherently difficult. In addition to novel behavioural 'consciousness-scales', the role of para-clinical markers of consciousness, such as event related potentials and functional neuroimaging is reviewed. Recent findings New behavioural scales for vegetative and minimally conscious patients have been shown to reduce diagnostic error but regrettably remain underused in clinical routine. Electrophysiological studies have confirmed their role in estimating outcome and possibly cognition. Several recent functional neuroimaging studies have shown residual cortical function in undeniably vegetative patients. This cortical activation, however, seems limited to primary 'low-level' areas and does not imply 'higher-order' integration, considered necessary for conscious perception. Minimally conscious patients show large-scale high-order cerebral activation, apparently dependent upon the emotional relevance of the stimulation. Summary Careful clinical assessment of putative 'conscious behaviour' in vegetative and minimally conscious patients is the first requirement for their proper diagnosis and management. Complementary functional neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies will have a major impact on future clinical decision making and may guide selective therapeutic options. At present, more experimental evidence and the elucidation of methodological and ethical controversies are awaited prior to their routine clinical use. [less ▲]

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See detailThe electrophysiology of migraine
Ambrosini, A.; Schoenen, Jean ULg

in Current Opinion in Neurology (2003), 16(3), 327-331

Purpose of review The pathophysiology of migraine is far from being understood. Electrophysiological methods are useful to investigate peripheral and central mechanisms underlying this disorder. The ... [more ▼]

Purpose of review The pathophysiology of migraine is far from being understood. Electrophysiological methods are useful to investigate peripheral and central mechanisms underlying this disorder. The purpose of this review is to highlight the results of electrophysiological studies published during the last year and to examine their added value to our previous knowledge. Recent findings Studies by visual and auditory evoked potentials and event-related responses suggested that lack of habituation is the principal interictal abnormality of sensory processing in migraineurs. Recently confirmed for somatosensory and laser-evoked cortical potentials and for brainstem responses, it is also responsible for the increased intensity dependence of auditory evoked potentials. This abnormality is possibly caused by a reduced cortical preactivation level due to hypofunctioning subcortico-cortical aminergic pathways. Although studies of cortical excitability by transcranial magnetic stimulation have yielded conflicting results, results obtained using habituation of pattern-reversal visual evoked potentials to explore cortical excitability changes induced by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation strongly favour the hypothesis that migraine is characterized by a decreased level of preactivation excitability. With regard to pain mechanisms in migraine, electrophysiological studies of trigeminal pathways using nociceptive blink and corneal reflexes have confirmed that sensitization of central trigeminal nociceptors occurs during the attack, and may even persist interictally. Summary Scientific publications over the last year confirmed that electrophysiological methods are particularly suited to unravelling some of the pathophysiological mechanisms of migraine. To improve their future contribution, they need to be better standardized and to be correlated with behavioural, metabolic and genetic studies. [less ▲]

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See detailFunctional brain imaging applications to differential diagnosis in the dementias
Salmon, Eric ULg

in Current Opinion in Neurology (2002), 15(4), 439-444

Purpose of review The diagnosis of dementia rests on an improved knowledge and a better detection of early impairments, to which functional imaging can certainly contribute. Recent findings Progress has ... [more ▼]

Purpose of review The diagnosis of dementia rests on an improved knowledge and a better detection of early impairments, to which functional imaging can certainly contribute. Recent findings Progress has been observed at different levels. First, the understanding of different dementias has benefited from explorations of the neural substrate of dementia symptoms and from research into new markers. Second, diverse variables (clinical, anatomical, biochemical) have been related to impaired cerebral activity in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and progress in image analysis and in multimodal data acquisition has allowed a better understanding of the significance of brain activity disturbances. Third, functional imaging has been applied in well-designed clinical studies, and has provided important arguments for the diagnosis of characteristic clinical syndromes in the dementias. Summary The functioning of neural networks responsible for clinical symptoms in dementia remains an important research topic for functional imaging. The development of new tracers and new techniques for image processing should also improve the usefulness of brain imaging as a diagnostic tool. [less ▲]

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See detailAcute Migraine Therapy: The Newer Drugs
Schoenen, Jean ULg

in Current Opinion in Neurology (1997), 10(3), 237-43

In 1996, our knowledge of acute antimigraine therapy expanded in three major areas. First, large surveys have confirmed the remarkable efficacy profile of sumatriptan in clinical practice. No satisfying ... [more ▼]

In 1996, our knowledge of acute antimigraine therapy expanded in three major areas. First, large surveys have confirmed the remarkable efficacy profile of sumatriptan in clinical practice. No satisfying clinical, pharmacokinetic or genetic explanations were found for its major shortcomings: nonresponders, headache recurrence and noncardiac chest symptoms. Second, the novel 5-HT1B/D agonists zolmitriptan (311C90), rizatriptan (MK-462), eletriptan (UK-116,044), avitriptan (BMS-180048) and alniditan (R091274) were all proved superior to placebo for attack treatment, but their advantages over sumatriptan are yet to be analysed in more detail. A higher lipophilicity explains (except for alniditan) their greater oral bioavailability and better central nervous system penetration. A central action now proved experimentally in animals and in humans for 5-HT1B/D agonists such as zolmitriptan may be advantageous for the antimigraine efficacy, but it could also increase sedation. Third, an endothelin (Ro470203, bosentan) and a neurokinin 1 (RPR100893) receptor antagonist were found to be ineffective in migraine. Both compounds are potent inhibitors of neurogenic plasma extravasation in rat dura mater, which might suggest that this pharmacological property does not necessarily predict efficacy in aborting migraine attacks. [less ▲]

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