American Academy of Neurology 2021 Conference Recap
Jun 10, 2021 1:30 PM
This April, we joined colleagues from across the country and around the world at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. We’d like to continue to share the innovative presentations, panels, and courses our faculty and trainees were involved in.
- Disease-Specific Validation of the Revised Utah Photophobia Symptom Impact Scale in Migraine Subjects
Migraine is the third most prevalent disease in the world and affects one in six Americans. A vast majority (up to 80%) of patients with migraine experience significant light sensitivity (aka photophobia) with their headaches—making photophobia a critical element of headache-related disability to measure.
In order to improve physicians’ understanding of a patient’s migraine pain as a whole—including the impact of photophobia—Drs. Kathleen Digre, Bradley Katz, and Melissa M. Cortez, along with Alexander Knudson (a current medical student) and Cecilia Martindale, from the University of Utah have taken steps to develop and validate a new tool capable of measuring the impact that photophobia has on daily life. In 2017, this same team developed and published the Utah Photophobia Symptom Impact Scale (UPSIS) and validated it against existing measures of light sensitivity. More recently, they have worked to revise the UPSIS—seeking to improve its consistency and usability, while further validating its effectiveness at measuring migraine-related light sensitivity.
Their most recent results using the revised UPSIS demonstrate a strong correlation between existing measures of headache severity and related disability, while demonstrating a robust disease gradient in light sensitivity across difference groups of migraine subjects. The new, revised UPSIS will thus serve as a much-needed tool to help doctors and future researchers better quantify the severity of light-sensitivity-related pain their patients are experiencing.
- Exploring the Role of Autonomic Dysfunction as a Contributor to Multiple Sclerosis-Related Fatigue
Fatigue is a common and disabling symptom in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and has been associated with a decrease in quality of life and employment, yet the cause of MS-related fatigue remains unknown.
The autonomic nervous system is responsible for changes in the eyes, skin, heart, blood pressure, and gut and allows for the body to adapt to the immediate environment without requiring the person to be aware. Previous literature has shown that both autonomic dysfunction (AD) and fatigue are common in patients with early MS. However, the relationship between AD and the symptom of fatigue is not clearly understood. Specifically, it is unclear if AD is simply a result of a similar disease process as fatigue, if AD can be an important biomarker for disease activity, or if AD is an important underlying mechanism of MS fatigue and inflammation propagation. Given that few studies have directly examined the influence of AD on MS-related fatigue, our aim was to compare cardiovascular autonomic measures in MS patients with and without significant fatigue.
We administered questionnaires to participants with MS and separated them into fatigued and nonfatigued groups. We then had further questionnaires targeting symptoms that relate to AD. We found that symptoms of AD as reported by participants with MS correlated with the degree of their fatigue. This pilot study supports the possibility that cardiovascular AD is associated with patient-reported fatigue in MS patients and could serve as a potential treatment target. The next step of our study will be extending autonomic testing to objective measures, rather than relying on self-reported data. We also are collecting standardized cardiovascular autonomic testing, including analyzing heart rate and blood pressure variability and using tilt table testing. We hope to find a difference between participants with significant fatigue versus minimal fatigue in these measures as well.
- Gene Therapy in a Rat Model of Christianson Syndrome, an Epileptic Encephalopathy with Ataxia
- Elevated Blood Pressure Variability During Transport for Endovascular Thrombectomy Is Associated with Worse Functional Outcome
- Association Between Transthoracic Echocardiogram Parameters and White Matter Hyperintensities
- Association Between Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Parameters and White Matter Hyperintensities
- The Correlation of High-Resolution Vessel Wall MRI Findings with MACE Outcomes
- Characteristics of Individuals with Post-Stroke Epilepsy Who Do Not Respond to Monotherapy
- “Neck Pain, Cervical Radiculopathy, Cervical Spinal Stenosis, and Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy” with Dr. Onofrei
- “Autoimmune Neurology” with Dr. Clardy
- “Neuro-Ophthalmology 1 Session” moderated by Dr. Digre
- “Autoimmune Neurology Science Session” moderated by Dr. Clardy
- “What Should Applicants Look for in a Program?” by Drs. Hannon and de Havenon
We’re grateful to AAN for aiding us in our commitment to conquer neurological diseases through research and education.