Metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) is one of the genetically conditioned diseases of autosomal recessive inheritance, and is characterized by arylsulphatase A deficiency (ARSA) and the accumulation of metachromatic deposits (sulphatides) in the nervous system and internal organs. As a consequence, defuse demyelinisation in the brain and peripheral nerves take place. There are 4 clinical forms that vary by the age at onset: early infantile form, late infantile form, juvenile form and late-onset form. Reduction of the activity of ARSA is the result of the disorder of the gene placed on the long arm of chromosome 22.13. The disturbances can have the character of mutation, deletion or nonsense mutation. Neurochemical research has enabled the isolation of sulphatase from the insufficiency of ARSA activity, being the result of the insufficiency of several kinds of sulphatase and the consequence of the ARSA protein activator insufficiency. The basic diagnostic criteria are the revealing of the presence of metachromatic deposits or increased content of sulphatides in cells and in systemic fluids, and also proving a significant decrease of ARSA activity in leukocytes (of the culture of fibroblasts and in urine). In the clinical picture, polyneuropathy, muscular weakness, muscle hypotomy, astigmatism, speech impairment of the type dysartia, bulbar signs, optic nerve atrophy, intellectual function impairment and epileptic fits usually are dominant symptoms. There are no known effective treatment methods. One can only hope that therapeutic progress will be achieved in the field of gene therapy.
Status epilepticus (SE) is a life-threatening emergency in which continuous or recurrent seizures, lasting more than 30 minutes without full recovery of consciousness between seizures occur. Seizures activity lasts more than 60 minutes and fails to respond to appropriate first-line drug treatment in refractory SE. SE is divided into convulsive and non-convulsive. It may occur in the patients with epilepsy (with low antiepileptic drug serum level), or it may be a symptom of acute (organic or metabolic) lesion of CNS. Management in SE should provide: regular functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, suppressing seizure activity, compensating metabolic disturbance and then diagnosis and casual treatment. The benzodiazepines followed by phenytoin are the first-line drug. Next, other drugs and finally general anesthesia with using barbiturate or unbarbiturate anesthetic agents. EEG performs an important part in diagnosis and monitoring of SE, especially in refractory SE, where medications are administered to achieve a burst suppression pattern on EEG. Every epileptic seizure, lasting more than 10 minutes, should be considered as a potential status epilepticus.
Physiologic role of homocysteine, one of sulfur-containing amino acids, is fairly well understood. During the last few years we are witnessing a trend to correlate hyperhomocysteinemia with blood vessel damage and pathogenesis of atheromatosis. Its role as a risk factor in cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) has been highlighted. In 100 patients with ischemic brain stroke, confirmed by neuroimaging studies (CT and/or MRI) and Doppler sonography of cerebral arteries, we have determined serum levels of homocysteine, vitamin B12 and folic acid. The same tests were performed in 40 controls with no pyramidal signs. Our results show a significant elevation of homocysteine level in CVA patients. In 28% of patients, the difference as compared with the control group was significant, thus indicating that hyperhomocysteinemia may constitute an independent risk factor for stroke. Sonography revealed the presence of vascular lesions and the number of vessels involved, while CT and/or MRI studies visualized areas of brain ischemia. High level of homocysteine did not correlate directly with the number of vessels involved. Noteworthy is that elevated homocysteine level may be controlled by supplementation with group B vitamins and folic acid. The level of homocysteine may be elevated in such neurologic diseases as dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Another noteworthy issue is hyperhomocysteinemia associated with prolonged administration of antiepileptic drugs in persons with epilepsy.
Stroke prevalence, mortality and disability rates are connected with stroke recurrence. Recurrent stroke occurs in 10-12% of patients during first 12 month after stroke onset and in 5-8% of patient each next year. The risk of death and higher degree of disability is higher among the patients with recurrent stroke that in patient with first ever stroke. Prophylactic treatment is the most important management in stroke patients. Risk factors may directly influence incidence or indirectly the natural course of disease. Among reversible risk factors the most important are: hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, diet and low physical activity. In the last years the results of experimental and clinical studies indicate that high level of homocysteine may be the new modificable risk of vasogenic brain injury. Modification of stroke risk factors together with antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy had major influence on decrease of stroke mortality in Western Europe and USA, where not only stroke incidence dropped down, but also strokes become less severe. In Poland prevalence of stroke risk factors is high and proper preventive treatment is definitively not enough prescribed. The article presents the principles of secondary prevention stroke in ischaemic stroke.
Embryonal tumours, the most common group of malignant solid tumours in children consist about 12-25% of all brain tumours of childhood. The most frequent types are: medulloblastoma (MB), supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumour (sPNET) and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumour (AT/RT). The loss of genetic material in embryonal tumours is the most often described abnormality, which may be confirmed by loss of heterozygosity analysis (LOH). This method is used to identifying regions harboring putative suppressor genes. 35 children (18 male and 17 female), aged from one year to 13 years were included in this study. There were 26 MB, six sPNETs and three AT/RTs. DNA isolated from tumour tissues and blood samples (control) was amplified in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with polymorphic markers. Molecular analyses were performed for 35 primary and 12 recurrent tumours. LOH was found in 21 primary tumours (60%). In 14 cases no alteration for all analysed region was confirmed. LOH was detected most often on chromosomes 17p, 22q and 10q. There was no alterations on chromosomes 1p, 1q and 5q. Progression of the molecular changes occurred in one case of recurrent medulloblastoma. LOH on 10q and 17p was found in both primary and recurrent tumour, while losses on 16p and 16q occurred only in the recurrent tumour. The occurrence of LOH in the particular types of tumours is quite different and not specific. Progression of molecular changes in recurrent tumors is rare event and could be connected with radiotherapy.