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Novelty preference assessed by eye tracking: A sensitive measure of impaired recognition memory in epilepsy

Leeman-Markowski, Beth A; Martin, Samantha P; Hardstone, Richard; Tam, Danny M; Devinsky, Orrin; Meador, Kimford J
OBJECTIVE:Epilepsy patients often report memory deficits despite normal objective testing, suggesting that available measures are insensitive or that non-mnemonic factors are involved. The Visual Paired Comparison Task (VPCT) assesses novelty preference, the tendency to fixate on novel images rather than previously viewed items, requiring recognition memory for the "old" images. As novelty preference is a sensitive measure of hippocampal-dependent memory function, we predicted impaired VPCT performance in epilepsy patients compared to healthy controls. METHODS:We assessed 26 healthy adult controls and 31 epilepsy patients (16 focal-onset, 13 generalized-onset, 2 unknown-onset) with the VPCT using delays of 2 or 30 s between encoding and recognition. Fifteen healthy controls and 17 epilepsy patients (10 focal-onset, 5 generalized-onset, 2 unknown-onset) completed the task at 2-, 5-, and 30-minute delays. Subjects also performed standard memory measures, including the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) Paragraph Test, California Verbal Learning Test-Second Edition (CVLT-II), and Brief Visual Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R). RESULTS:The epilepsy group was high functioning, with greater estimated IQ (p = 0.041), greater years of education (p = 0.034), and higher BVMT-R scores (p = 0.024) compared to controls. Both the control group and epilepsy cohort, as well as focal- and generalized-onset subgroups, had intact novelty preference at the 2- and 30-second delays (p-values ≤ 0.001) and declined at 30 min (p-values > 0.05). Only the epilepsy patients had early declines at 2- and 5-minute delays (controls with intact novelty preference at p = 0.003 and p ≤ 0.001, respectively; epilepsy groups' p-values > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS:Memory for the "old" items decayed more rapidly in overall, focal-onset, and generalized-onset epilepsy groups. The VPCT detected deficits while standard memory measures were largely intact, suggesting that the VPCT may be a more sensitive measure of temporal lobe memory function than standard neuropsychological batteries.
PMID: 38636142
ISSN: 1525-5069
CID: 5646602

Cannabinoid treatments in epilepsy and seizure disorders

Devinsky, Orrin; Jones, Nicholas A; Cunningham, Mark O; Jayasekera, B Ashan P; Devore, Sasha; Whalley, Benjamin J
Cannabis has been used to treat convulsions and other disorders since ancient times. In the last few decades, preclinical animal studies and clinical investigations have established the role of cannabidiol (CBD) in treating epilepsy and seizures and support potential therapeutic benefits for cannabinoids in other neurological and psychiatric disorders. Here, we comprehensively review the role of cannabinoids in epilepsy. We briefly review the diverse physiological processes mediating the central nervous system response to cannabinoids, including Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), cannabidiol, and terpenes. Next, we characterize the anti- and proconvulsive effects of cannabinoids from animal studies of acute seizures and chronic epileptogenesis. We then review the clinical literature on using cannabinoids to treat epilepsy, including anecdotal evidence and case studies as well as the more recent randomized controlled clinical trials that led to US Food and Drug Administration approval of CBD for some types of epilepsy. Overall, we seek to evaluate our current understanding of cannabinoids in epilepsy and focus future research on unanswered questions.
PMID: 37882730
ISSN: 1522-1210
CID: 5628142

An iPSC line (FINi003-A) from a male with late-onset developmental and epileptic encephalopathy caused by a heterozygous p.E1211K variant in the SCN2A gene encoding the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.2

Ovchinnikov, Dmitry A; Jong, Sharon; Cuddy, Claire; Dalby, Kelly; Devinsky, Orrin; Mullen, Saul; Maljevic, Snezana; Petrou, Steve
Many developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) result from variants in cation channel genes. Using mRNA transfection, we generated and characterised an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line from the fibroblasts of a male late-onset DEE patient carrying a heterozygous missense variant (E1211K) in Nav1.2(SCN2A) protein. The iPSC line displays features characteristic of the human iPSCs, colony morphology and expression of pluripotency-associated marker genes, ability to produce derivatives of all three embryonic germ layers, and normal karyotype without SNP array-detectable abnormalities. We anticipate that this iPSC line will aid in the modelling and development of precision therapies for this debilitating condition.
PMID: 38479087
ISSN: 1876-7753
CID: 5644322

Alignment of brain embeddings and artificial contextual embeddings in natural language points to common geometric patterns

Goldstein, Ariel; Grinstein-Dabush, Avigail; Schain, Mariano; Wang, Haocheng; Hong, Zhuoqiao; Aubrey, Bobbi; Schain, Mariano; Nastase, Samuel A; Zada, Zaid; Ham, Eric; Feder, Amir; Gazula, Harshvardhan; Buchnik, Eliav; Doyle, Werner; Devore, Sasha; Dugan, Patricia; Reichart, Roi; Friedman, Daniel; Brenner, Michael; Hassidim, Avinatan; Devinsky, Orrin; Flinker, Adeen; Hasson, Uri
Contextual embeddings, derived from deep language models (DLMs), provide a continuous vectorial representation of language. This embedding space differs fundamentally from the symbolic representations posited by traditional psycholinguistics. We hypothesize that language areas in the human brain, similar to DLMs, rely on a continuous embedding space to represent language. To test this hypothesis, we densely record the neural activity patterns in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) of three participants using dense intracranial arrays while they listened to a 30-minute podcast. From these fine-grained spatiotemporal neural recordings, we derive a continuous vectorial representation for each word (i.e., a brain embedding) in each patient. Using stringent zero-shot mapping we demonstrate that brain embeddings in the IFG and the DLM contextual embedding space have common geometric patterns. The common geometric patterns allow us to predict the brain embedding in IFG of a given left-out word based solely on its geometrical relationship to other non-overlapping words in the podcast. Furthermore, we show that contextual embeddings capture the geometry of IFG embeddings better than static word embeddings. The continuous brain embedding space exposes a vector-based neural code for natural language processing in the human brain.
PMID: 38553456
ISSN: 2041-1723
CID: 5645352

Clinical outcomes among initial survivors of cryptogenic new-onset refractory status epilepsy (NORSE)

Costello, Daniel J; Matthews, Elizabeth; Aurangzeb, Sidra; Doran, Elisabeth; Stack, Jessica; Wesselingh, Robb; Dugan, Patricia; Choi, Hyunmi; Depondt, Chantal; Devinsky, Orrin; Doherty, Colin; Kwan, Patrick; Monif, Mastura; O'Brien, Terence J; Sen, Arjune; Gaspard, Nicolas
OBJECTIVE:New-onset refractory status epilepticus (NORSE) is a rare but severe clinical syndrome. Despite rigorous evaluation, the underlying cause is unknown in 30%-50% of patients and treatment strategies are largely empirical. The aim of this study was to describe clinical outcomes in a cohort of well-phenotyped, thoroughly investigated patients who survived the initial phase of cryptogenic NORSE managed in specialist centers. METHODS:Well-characterized cases of cryptogenic NORSE were identified through the EPIGEN and Critical Care EEG Monitoring Research Consortia (CCEMRC) during the period 2005-2019. Treating epileptologists reported on post-NORSE survival rates and sequelae in patients after discharge from hospital. Among survivors >6 months post-discharge, we report the rates and severity of active epilepsy, global disability, vocational, and global cognitive and mental health outcomes. We attempt to identify determinants of outcome. RESULTS:Among 48 patients who survived the acute phase of NORSE to the point of discharge from hospital, 9 had died at last follow-up, of whom 7 died within 6 months of discharge from the tertiary care center. The remaining 39 patients had high rates of active epilepsy as well as vocational, cognitive, and psychiatric comorbidities. The epilepsy was usually multifocal and typically drug resistant. Only a minority of patients had a good functional outcome. Therapeutic interventions were heterogenous during the acute phase of the illness. There was no clear relationship between the nature of treatment and clinical outcomes. SIGNIFICANCE/CONCLUSIONS:Among survivors of cryptogenic NORSE, longer-term outcomes in most patients were life altering and often catastrophic. Treatment remains empirical and variable. There is a pressing need to understand the etiology of cryptogenic NORSE and to develop tailored treatment strategies.
PMID: 38498313
ISSN: 1528-1167
CID: 5640142

Wearable Digital Health Technology for Epilepsy

Donner, Elizabeth; Devinsky, Orrin; Friedman, Daniel
PMID: 38381676
ISSN: 1533-4406
CID: 5634332

Video Analyses of Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Toddlers

Gould, Laura; Reid, Codi-Ann; Rodriguez, Alcibiades J; Devinsky, Orrin; ,
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:More than 2,900 US children aged younger than 4 years die from unknown causes each year, accounting for more than 219,000 life years lost annually. They are mostly sleep-related and unwitnessed with unremarkable autopsies, limiting our understanding of death mechanisms. We sought to understand potential mechanisms of death by evaluating videos of sudden deaths in toddlers. METHODS:In our registry of 301 sudden unexplained child deaths, a series of 7 consecutively enrolled cases with home video recordings of the child's last sleep period were independently assessed by 8 physicians for video quality, movement, and sound. RESULTS:Four boys and 3 girls (13-27 months at death) with terminal videos shared similar demographic features to the 293 other registry cases without video recordings. Five video recordings were continuous and 2 were triggered by sound or motion. Two lacked audio. All continuous recordings included a terminal convulsive event lasting 8-50 seconds; 4 children survived for >2.5 minutes postconvulsion. Among discontinuous videos, time lapses limited review; 1 suggested a convulsive event. Six were prone with face down, and 1 had autopsy evidence of airway obstruction. Primary cardiac arrhythmias were not supported; all 7 children had normal cardiac pathology and whole-exome sequencing identified no known cardiac disease variants. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:Audio-visual recordings in 7 toddlers with unexplained sudden deaths strongly implicate that deaths were related to convulsive seizures, suggesting that many unexplained sleep-related deaths may result from seizures.
PMID: 38175965
ISSN: 1526-632x
CID: 5628382

Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy: Misunderstandings, Challenges, and Opportunities

Devinsky, Orrin; Elder, Christopher; Sivathamboo, Shobi; Scheffer, Ingrid E; Koepp, Matthias J
The idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGE) make up a fifth of all epilepsies, but <1% of epilepsy research. This skew reflects misperceptions: diagnosis is straightforward, pathophysiology is understood, seizures are easily controlled, epilepsy is outgrown, morbidity and mortality are low, and surgical interventions are impossible. Emerging evidence reveals that patients with IGE may go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with focal epilepsy if EEG or semiology have asymmetric or focal features. Genetic, electrophysiologic, and neuroimaging studies provide insights into pathophysiology, including overlaps and differences from focal epilepsies. IGE can begin in adulthood and patients have chronic and drug-resistant seizures. Neuromodulatory interventions for drug-resistant IGE are emerging. Rates of psychiatric and other comorbidities, including sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, parallel those in focal epilepsy. IGE is an understudied spectrum for which our diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, scientific understanding, and therapies remain inadequate.
PMID: 38165295
ISSN: 1526-632x
CID: 5625962

Similar brain proteomic signatures in Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy

Leitner, Dominique; Pires, Geoffrey; Kavanagh, Tomas; Kanshin, Evgeny; Askenazi, Manor; Ueberheide, Beatrix; Devinsky, Orrin; Wisniewski, Thomas; Drummond, Eleanor
The prevalence of epilepsy is increased among Alzheimer's Disease (AD) patients and cognitive impairment is common among people with epilepsy. Epilepsy and AD are linked but the shared pathophysiological changes remain poorly defined. We aim to identify protein differences associated with epilepsy and AD using published proteomics datasets. We observed a highly significant overlap in protein differences in epilepsy and AD: 89% (689/777) of proteins altered in the hippocampus of epilepsy patients were significantly altered in advanced AD. Of the proteins altered in both epilepsy and AD, 340 were altered in the same direction, while 216 proteins were altered in the opposite direction. Synapse and mitochondrial proteins were markedly decreased in epilepsy and AD, suggesting common disease mechanisms. In contrast, ribosome proteins were increased in epilepsy but decreased in AD. Notably, many of the proteins altered in epilepsy interact with tau or are regulated by tau expression. This suggests that tau likely mediates common protein changes in epilepsy and AD. Immunohistochemistry for Aβ and multiple phosphorylated tau species (pTau396/404, pTau217, pTau231) showed a trend for increased intraneuronal pTau217 and pTau231 but no phosphorylated tau aggregates or amyloid plaques in epilepsy hippocampal sections. Our results provide insights into common mechanisms in epilepsy and AD and highlights the potential role of tau in mediating common pathological protein changes in epilepsy and AD.
PMID: 38289539
ISSN: 1432-0533
CID: 5627492

Long-term treatment with ganaxolone for seizures associated with cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 deficiency disorder: Two-year open-label extension follow-up

Olson, Heather E; Amin, Sam; Bahi-Buisson, Nadia; Devinsky, Orrin; Marsh, Eric D; Pestana-Knight, Elia; Rajaraman, Rajsekar R; Aimetti, Alex A; Rybak, Eva; Kong, Fanhui; Miller, Ian; Hulihan, Joseph; Demarest, Scott
OBJECTIVE:In the placebo-controlled, double-blind phase of the Marigold study (NCT03572933), ganaxolone significantly reduced major motor seizure frequency (MMSF) in patients with cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 deficiency disorder (CDD). We report 2-year safety and clinical outcomes data from the open-label extension (OLE) phase of Marigold. METHODS:Patients with CDD who completed the double-blind phase were eligible to continue in the OLE. Efficacy assessments included MMSF reduction from prerandomization baseline, responder rates, and Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scores, including assessment of seizure intensity and duration (CGI-CSID). Safety assessments included treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) and TEAEs leading to discontinuation. RESULTS:Of 101 patients who enrolled in Marigold, 88 (87.1%) entered the OLE (median age = 5 years, 79.5% female). Median 28-day MMSF at baseline was 50.6. At 2 years in the OLE (months 22-24), MMSF was reduced by a median of 48.2% (n = 50); when missing data were imputed, median reduction in MMSF was 43.8% using a mixed effects model and 27.4% using a last observation carried forward model. During months 22-24, 23 of 50 (46.0%) patients experienced reductions in MMSF of ≥50%; 12 of 50 (24.0%) patients experienced MMSF reductions of ≥75%. During months 22-24, 40 of 49 (81.6%) patients were rated by caregivers as having improvement in seizure-related outcomes based on CGI-CSID scores. Thirty-seven patients discontinued ganaxolone due to lack of efficacy (n = 13), withdrawal by caregiver (n = 12), adverse event (n = 10), physician decision (n = 1), or death (n = 1; unrelated to study drug). The most common treatment-related TEAEs were somnolence (17.0%), seizure (11.4%), and decreased appetite (5.7%). Patients reported serious TEAEs (n = 28, 31.8%); those reported in ≥3% of patients were seizure (n = 6), pneumonia (n = 5), acute respiratory failure (n = 3), aspiration pneumonia (n = 3), and dehydration (n = 3). SIGNIFICANCE/CONCLUSIONS:Sustained reductions in MMSF at 2 years in the OLE support the efficacy of ganaxolone in seizures associated with CDD. Safety findings in the OLE were consistent with the double-blind phase.
PMID: 37950390
ISSN: 1528-1167
CID: 5620332