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Neurologist (brain, nervous system)
31 years of experience
Accepting new patients
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Education ?

Medical School Score Rankings
Baylor College of Medicine (1981)
Top 25%

Awards & Distinctions ?

Patients' Choice Award (2008 - 2009)
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Affiliations ?

Dr. Garbern is affiliated with 10 hospitals.

Hospital Affiliations

  • Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
  • Harper Hospital
  • Hutzel Hospital
  • Detroit Receiving Hospital
  • Grace Hospital
  • Hospital of University of PA
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sinai-Grace
  • Karmanos Cancer Institute
  • Detroit Receiving
  • Publications & Research

    Dr. Garbern has contributed to 23 publications.
    Title Deficits in Stepping Response Time Are Associated with Impairments in Balance and Mobility in People with Huntington Disease.
    Date January 2011
    Journal Journal of the Neurological Sciences

    Huntington disease (HD) is a disorder characterized by chorea, dystonia, bradykinesia, cognitive decline and psychiatric comorbidities. Balance and gait impairments, as well as falls, are common manifestations of the disease. The importance of compensatory rapid stepping to maintain equilibrium in older adults is established, yet little is known of the role of stepping response times (SRTs) in balance control in people with HD. SRTs and commonly-used clinical measures of balance and mobility were evaluated in fourteen symptomatic participants with HD, and nine controls at a university mobility research laboratory. Relative and absolute reliability, as well as minimal detectable change in SRT were quantified in the HD participants. HD participants exhibited slower SRTs and poorer dynamic balance, mobility and motor performance than controls. HD participants also reported lower balance confidence than controls. Deficits in SRT were associated with low balance confidence and impairments on clinical measures of balance, mobility, and motor performance in HD participants. Measures of relative and absolute reliability indicate that SRT is reliable and reproducible across trials in people with HD. A moderately low percent minimal detectable change suggests that SRT appears sensitive to detecting real change in people with HD. SRT is impaired in people with HD and may be a valid and objective marker of disease progression.

    Title A Mutation Affecting the Sodium/proton Exchanger, Slc9a6, Causes Mental Retardation with Tau Deposition.
    Date May 2010
    Journal Brain : a Journal of Neurology

    We have studied a family with severe mental retardation characterized by the virtual absence of speech, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, late-onset ataxia, weakness and dystonia. Post-mortem examination of two males revealed widespread neuronal loss, with the most striking finding being neuronal and glial tau deposition in a pattern reminiscent of corticobasal degeneration. Electron microscopic examination of isolated tau filaments demonstrated paired helical filaments and ribbon-like structures. Biochemical studies of tau demonstrated a preponderance of 4R tau isoforms. The phenotype was linked to Xq26.3, and further analysis identified an in-frame 9 base pair deletion in the solute carrier family 9, isoform A6 (SLC9A6 gene), which encodes sodium/hydrogen exchanger-6 localized to endosomal vesicles. Sodium/hydrogen exchanger-6 is thought to participate in the targeting of intracellular vesicles and may be involved in recycling synaptic vesicles. The striking tau deposition in our subjects reveals a probable interaction between sodium/proton exchangers and cytoskeletal elements involved in vesicular transport, and raises the possibility that abnormalities of vesicular targeting may play an important role in more common disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and autism spectrum disorders.

    Title Missense Mutations in the Copper Transporter Gene Atp7a Cause X-linked Distal Hereditary Motor Neuropathy.
    Date April 2010
    Journal American Journal of Human Genetics

    Distal hereditary motor neuropathies comprise a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of disorders. We recently mapped an X-linked form of this condition to chromosome Xq13.1-q21 in two large unrelated families. The region of genetic linkage included ATP7A, which encodes a copper-transporting P-type ATPase mutated in patients with Menkes disease, a severe infantile-onset neurodegenerative condition. We identified two unique ATP7A missense mutations (p.P1386S and p.T994I) in males with distal motor neuropathy in two families. These molecular alterations impact highly conserved amino acids in the carboxyl half of ATP7A and do not directly involve the copper transporter's known critical functional domains. Studies of p.P1386S revealed normal ATP7A mRNA and protein levels, a defect in ATP7A trafficking, and partial rescue of a S. cerevisiae copper transport knockout. Although ATP7A mutations are typically associated with severe Menkes disease or its milder allelic variant, occipital horn syndrome, we demonstrate here that certain missense mutations at this locus can cause a syndrome restricted to progressive distal motor neuropathy without overt signs of systemic copper deficiency. This previously unrecognized genotype-phenotype correlation suggests an important role of the ATP7A copper transporter in motor-neuron maintenance and function.

    Title Neuronal Loss in Pelizaeus-merzbacher Disease Differs in Various Mutations of the Proteolipid Protein 1.
    Date October 2009
    Journal Acta Neuropathologica

    Mutations affecting proteolipid protein 1 (PLP1), the major protein in central nervous system myelin, cause the X-linked leukodystrophy Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD). We describe the neuropathologic findings in a series of eight male PMD subjects with confirmed PLP1 mutations, including duplications, complete gene deletion, missense and exon-skipping. While PLP1 mutations have effects on oligodendrocytes that result in mutation-specific degrees of dysmyelination, our findings indicate that there are also unexpected effects in the central nervous system resulting in neuronal loss. Although length-dependent axonal degeneration has been described in PLP1 null mutations, there have been no reports on neuronal degeneration in PMD patients. We now demonstrate widespread neuronal loss in PMD. The patterns of neuronal loss appear to be dependent on the mutation type, suggesting selective vulnerability of neuronal populations that depends on the nature of the PLP1 disturbance. Nigral neurons, which were not affected in patients with either null or severe misfolding mutations, and thalamic neurons appear particularly vulnerable in PLP1 duplication and deletion patients, while hippocampal neuronal loss was prominent in a patient with complete PLP1 gene deletion. All subjects showed cerebellar neuronal loss. The patterns of neuronal involvement may explain some clinical findings, such as ataxia, being more prominent in PMD than in other leukodystrophies. While the precise pathogenetic mechanisms are not known, these observations suggest that defective glial functions contribute to neuronal pathology.

    Title Persistent Cns Dysfunction in a Boy with Cmt1x.
    Date July 2009
    Journal Journal of the Neurological Sciences

    X-linked Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT1X) is a hereditary demyelinating neuropathy caused by mutations in the GJB1 gene encoding the gap junction protein connexin 32 (Cx32). Some GJB1 mutations have been reported to cause transient clinical CNS dysfunction. We report a boy with persistent CNS abnormalities possibly caused by CMT1X.

    Title Cerebellar Leukoencephalopathy: Most Likely Histiocytosis-related.
    Date November 2008
    Journal Neurology

    Histiocytosis, both Langerhans and non-Langerhans cell type, can be associated with cerebellar white matter abnormalities, thought to be paraneoplastic. The associated clinical picture consists of ataxia, spasticity, and cognitive decline. Hormonal dysfunction is frequent. MRI shows cerebellar white matter abnormalities, as well as brainstem and basal ganglia abnormalities. This so-called "neurodegenerative syndrome" may occur years before or during manifest histiocytosis and also years after cure. We discovered similar MRI abnormalities in 13 patients and wondered whether they could have the same syndrome.

    Title 17p11.2p12 Triplication and Del(17)q11.2q12 in a Severely Affected Child with Dup(17)p11.2p12 Syndrome.
    Date August 2007
    Journal Clinical Genetics

    Multiple congenital anomalies/mental retardation syndromes due to genomic rearrangements involving chromosome 17p11.2 include deletion resulting in Smith-Magenis syndrome and a reciprocal duplication of the same region resulting in the 17p11.2 duplication syndrome. We present the clinical and molecular analysis of an 8-year-old male with a dup(17p11.2p12) who was evaluated for unusual severity of the phenotype. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis not only confirmed the 17p duplication but also identified an approximately 25% mosaicism for tetrasomy 17p11.2p12. Whole-genome array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) was performed to identify other genomic rearrangements possibly contributing to the severe phenotype and the unusual features in the patient. The 17p duplication was determined by FISH and aCGH to encompass approximately 7.5 Mb, from COX10 to KCNJ12. An approximately 830 Kb deletion of 17q11.2q12, including exon 1 of an amiloride-sensitive cation channel neuronal gene, ACCN1, was also identified by aCGH; breakpoints of the deletion were confirmed by FISH. Sequencing the non-deleted allele of ACCN1 did not show any mutations. Western analysis of human tissue-specific proteins revealed that ACCN1 is expressed not only in the brain as previously reported but also in all tissues examined, including heart, liver, kidneys, and spleen. The large-sized 17p11.2p12 duplication, partial triplication of the same region, and the 17q11.2q12 deletion create a complex chromosome 17 rearrangement that has not been previously identified. This is the first case of triplication reported for this chromosome. Our study emphasizes the utility of whole-genome analysis for known cases with deletion/duplication syndromes with unusual or severe phenotypes.

    Title Plexiform-like Neurofibromas Develop in the Mouse by Intraneural Xenograft of an Nf1 Tumor-derived Schwann Cell Line.
    Date July 2007
    Journal Journal of Neuroscience Research

    Plexiform neurofibromas are peripheral nerve sheath tumors that arise frequently in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and have a risk of malignant progression. Past efforts to establish xenograft models for neurofibroma involved the implantation of tumor fragments or heterogeneous primary cultures, which rarely achieved significant tumor growth. We report a practical and reproducible animal model of plexiform-like neurofibroma by xenograft of an immortal human NF1 tumor-derived Schwann cell line into the peripheral nerve of scid mice. The S100 and p75 positive sNF94.3 cell line was shown to possess a normal karyotype and have apparent full-length neurofibromin by Western blot. These cells were shown to have a constitutional NF1 microdeletion and elevated Ras-GTP activity, however, suggesting loss of normal neurofibromin function. Localized intraneural injection of the cell line sNF94.3 produced consistent and slow growing tumors that infiltrated and disrupted the host nerve. The xenograft tumors resembled plexiform neurofibromas with a low rate of proliferation, abundant extracellular matrix (hypocellularity), basal laminae, high vascularity, and mast cell infiltration. The histologic features of the developed tumors were particularly consistent with those of human plexiform neurofibroma as well. Intraneural xenograft of sNF94.3 cells enables the precise initiation of intraneural, plexiform-like tumors and provides a highly reproducible model for the study of plexiform neurofibroma tumorigenesis. This model facilitates testing of potential therapeutic interventions, including angiogenesis inhibitors, in a relevant cellular environment.

    Title Steroid-responsive Neurologic Relapses in a Child with a Proteolipid Protein-1 Mutation.
    Date May 2007
    Journal Neurology

    A 10-year-old boy developed corticosteroid-responsive relapsing neurologic signs, including nystagmus and ataxia. MRI revealed multifocal T2 white matter hyperintensities; several were gadolinium-enhancing. CSF contained oligoclonal bands. Although the patient met criteria for multiple sclerosis (MS), the proteolipid protein-1 gene (PLP1) contained a mutation in exon 3B (c.409C>T), predicting a tryptophan-for-arginine substitution. This case raises questions about the role of inflammation in PLP1-related disorders and, conversely, PLP1 mutations in MS.

    Title Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic Acid-mediated Excitotoxic Axonal Damage is Attenuated in the Absence of Myelin Proteolipid Protein.
    Date September 2006
    Journal Journal of Neuroscience Research

    In vivo and in vitro studies have shown that alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA)-receptor-mediated excitotoxicity causes cytoskeletal damage to axons. AMPA/kainate receptors are present on oligodendrocytes and myelin, but currently there is no evidence to suggest that axon cylinders contain AMPA receptors. Proteolipid protein (PLP) and DM20 are integral membrane proteins expressed by CNS oligodendrocytes and located in compact myelin. Humans and mice lacking normal PLP/DM20 develop axonal swellings and degeneration, suggesting that local interactions between axons and the oligodendrocyte/myelin unit are important for the normal functioning of axons and that PLP/DM20 is involved in this process. To determine whether perturbed glial-axonal interaction affects AMPA-receptor-mediated axonal damage, AMPA (1.5 nmol) was injected into the caudate nucleus of anesthetized Plp knockout and wild-type male mice (n = 13). Twenty-four hours later, axonal damage was detected by using neurofilament 200 (NF 200) immunohistochemistry and neuronal damage detected via histology. AMPA-induced axonal damage, assessed with NF 200 immunohistochemistry, was significantly reduced in Plp knockout mice compared with wild-type mice (P = 0.015). There was no significant difference in the levels of neuronal perikaryal damage between the Plp knockout and wild-type mice. In addition, there was no significant difference in the levels of glutamate receptor subunits GluR1-4 or KA2 in Plp knockout compared with wild-type littermates. The present study suggests that PLP-mediated interactions among oligodendrocytes, myelin, and axons may be involved in AMPA-mediated axonal damage.

    Title Neuronal Cell Injury Precedes Brain Atrophy in Multiple Sclerosis.
    Date September 2005
    Journal Neurology
    Title Intragenic Modifiers of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia Due to Spastin Gene Mutations.
    Date January 2005
    Journal Neurogenetics

    Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) is a genetically heterogeneous neurodegenerative disease characterized by wide variability in phenotypic expression, both within and among families. The most-common cause of autosomal dominant HSP is mutation of the gene encoding spastin, a protein of uncertain function. We report the existence of intragenic polymorphisms of spastin that modify the HSP phenotype. One (S44L) is a previously described recessively acting allele and the second is a novel allele affecting the adjacent amino acid residue (P45Q). In 4 HSP families in which either L44 or Q45 segregates independently of a missense or splicing mutation in the AAA domain of spastin, L44 and Q45 are each associated with a striking decrease in age at onset in the presence of the AAA domain mutations. Using a bioinformatics approach, we found that the highly conserved S44 is predicted to be phosphorylated by a number of family members of the proline-directed serine/threonine cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks). Cdk1 and Cdk5 showed no kinase activity toward synthetic spastin peptide in an in vitro kinase assay, suggesting that this serine residue may be phosphorylated by a different Cdk. Our identification of S44L and P45Q as modifiers of the HSP phenotype suggests a role for spastin phosphorylation by Cdks in the neurodegeneration of the most-common form of HSP.

    Title Phenotypic Clustering in Mpz Mutations.
    Date February 2004
    Journal Brain : a Journal of Neurology

    Myelin protein zero (MPZ) is a member of the immunoglobulin gene superfamily with single extracellular, transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains. Homotypic interactions between extracellular domains of MPZ adhere adjacent myelin wraps to each other. MPZ is also necessary for myelin compaction since mice which lack MPZ develop severe dysmyelinating neuropathies in which compaction is dramatically disrupted. MPZ mutations in humans cause the inherited demyelinating neuropathy CMT1B. Some mutations cause the severe neuropathies of infancy designated as Dejerine-Sottas disease, while others cause a 'classical' Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease Type 1B (CMT1B) phenotype with normal early milestones but development of disability during the first two decades of life. Still other mutations cause a neuropathy that presents in adults, with normal nerve conduction velocities, designated as a 'CMT2' form of CMT1B. To correlate the phenotype of patients with MPZ mutations with their genotype, we identified and evaluated 13 patients from 12 different families with eight different MPZ mutations. In addition, we re-analysed the clinical data from 64 cases of CMT1B from the literature. Contrary to our expectations, we found that most patients presented with either an early onset neuropathy with signs and symptoms prior to the onset of walking or a late onset neuropathy with signs and symptoms at around age 40 years. Only occasional patients presented with a 'classical' CMT phenotype. Correlation of specific MPZ mutations with their phenotypes demonstrated that addition of either a charged amino acid or altering a cysteine residue in the extracellular domain caused a severe early onset neuropathy. Severe neuropathy was also caused by truncation of the cytoplasmic domain or alteration of an evolutionarily conserved amino acid. Taken together, these data suggest that early onset neuropathy is caused by MPZ mutations that significantly disrupt the tertiary structure of MPZ and thus interfere with MPZ-mediated adhesion and myelin compaction. In contrast, late onset neuropathy is caused by mutations that more subtly alter myelin structure and which probably disrupt Schwann cell-axonal interactions.

    Title Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathies: a Biological Perspective.
    Date August 2003
    Journal Lancet Neurology

    Mutations in genes expressed in Schwann cells and the axons they ensheath cause the hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. At present, mutations in ten different genes have been identified, chromosomal localisation of many other distinct inherited neuropathies has been mapped, and new genetic causes for inherited neuropathies continue to be discovered. How to keep track of these mutations is a challenge for any neurologist, partly because the mutations are commonly presented as an expanding list to be memorised without a biological context of how the encoded proteins behave in the cell. A further challenge for investigators studying diseases of the peripheral nervous system is the increasing complexity of myelination, axonal function, and interactions between Schwann cells and axons. To address these concerns, we present the mutated genes causing these inherited neuropathies in the context of the cell biology of the Schwann cell and axon, and we begin to develop a model of how the various genes may interact in the pathogenesis of CMT disease.

    Title Transient Central Nervous System White Matter Abnormality in X-linked Charcot-marie-tooth Disease.
    Date October 2002
    Journal Annals of Neurology

    X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMTX) is a hereditary demyelinating neuropathy caused by mutations in the connexin 32 (Cx32) gene. Cx32 is widely expressed in brain and peripheral nerve, yet clinical manifestations of CMTX mainly arise from peripheral neuropathy. We have evaluated two male patients with CMTX who on separate occasions developed transient ataxia, dysarthria, and weakness within 3 days of returning from ski trips at altitudes above 8,000 feet. Magnetic resonance imaging studies in both patients showed nonenhancing, confluent, and symmetrical white matter abnormalities that were more pronounced posteriorly and that resolved over several months. Magnetic transfer images in one patient demonstrated increased magnetization transfer ratios distinct from that seen in demyelination or edema. Both patients returned to their normal baseline within 2 to 3 weeks. These cases suggest that CMTX patients are at risk for developing an acute, transient, neurological syndrome when they travel to places at high altitudes and return to sea level. Cx32 mutations may cause central nervous system dysfunction by reducing the number of functioning gap junctions between oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, making both cells more susceptible to abnormalities of intercellular exchange of ions and small molecules in situations of metabolic stress.

    Title A Prospective, Open-label Treatment Trial to Compare the Effect of Ifnbeta-1a (avonex), Ifnbeta-1b (betaseron), and Glatiramer Acetate (copaxone) on the Relapse Rate in Relapsing--remitting Multiple Sclerosis: Results After 18 Months of Therapy.
    Date June 2002
    Journal Multiple Sclerosis (houndmills, Basingstoke, England)

    We previously reported results of a 12 month prospective, non-randomized, open-label treatment trial of immunomodulatory therapy in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). We now report the results after 18 months of follow-up. Our primary objective was to compare the effect of IFNbeta-1a (Avonex), IFNbeta-1b (Betaseron), and Glatiramer Acetate (GA, Copaxone) to no treatment on the relapse rate in patients with RRMS. One hundred and fifty-six consecutive patients with clinically definite RRMS with a Kurtzke scale (EDSS) score of 4 or less were followed for 18 months. Prior 2-year relapse history and available chart information was carefully reviewed at the time of enrollment Thirty-three of 156 elected no treatment at enrollment; 40 elected IFNbeta-1a, 41 IFNbeta-1b, and 42 chose GA. There were no statistically significant differences among the four groups at enrollment. After 18 months of treatment 122 patients remained in their original treatment group. Compared to the untreated group (1.02), mean annualized number of relapses was significantly reduced only in the GA (0.49, P>0.0001) and IFNbeta-1b groups (0.55, P=0.001) in contrast to the IFNbeta-1a treated patients (0.81, P=0.106) who did not show a significant reduction. Despite limitations of the study design, the results provide helpful clinical information regarding the relative efficacy of each therapy in mildly affected treatment naive RRMS patients.

    Title Patients Lacking the Major Cns Myelin Protein, Proteolipid Protein 1, Develop Length-dependent Axonal Degeneration in the Absence of Demyelination and Inflammation.
    Date May 2002
    Journal Brain : a Journal of Neurology

    Axonal degeneration contributes to clinical disability in the acquired demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis. Axonal degeneration occurs during acute attacks, associated with inflammation, and during the chronic progressive phase of the disease in which inflammation is not prominent. To explore the importance of interactions between oligodendrocytes and axons in the CNS, we analysed the brains of rodents and humans with a null mutation in the gene encoding the major CNS myelin protein, proteolipid protein (PLP1, previously PLP). Histological analyses of the CNS of Plp1 null mice and of autopsy material from patients with null PLP1 mutations were performed to evaluate axonal and myelin integrity. In vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of PLP1 null patients was conducted to measure levels of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), a marker of axonal integrity. Length-dependent axonal degeneration without demyelination was identified in the CNS of Plp1 null mice. Proton MRS of PLP1-deficient patients showed reduced NAA levels, consistent with axonal loss. Analysis of patients' brain tissue also demonstrated a length-dependent pattern of axonal loss without significant demyelination. Therefore, axonal degeneration occurs in humans as well as mice lacking the major myelin protein PLP1. This degeneration is length-dependent, similar to that found in the PNS of patients with the inherited demyelinating neuropathy, CMT1A, but is not associated with significant demyelination. Disruption of PLP1-mediated axonal--glial interactions thus probably causes this axonal degeneration. A similar mechanism may be responsible for axonal degeneration and clinical disability that occur in patients with multiple sclerosis.

    Title Effect of Monthly Intravenous Cyclophosphamide in Rapidly Deteriorating Multiple Sclerosis Patients Resistant to Conventional Therapy.
    Date December 2001
    Journal Multiple Sclerosis (houndmills, Basingstoke, England)

    Fourteen consecutive clinically definite relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) patients were treated with monthly intravenous cyclophosphomide (CTX) for 6 months. All had experienced severe dinical deterioration during the 12 months prior to treatment with CTX despite treatment with conventional immunomodulating agents and intravenous methylprednisolone. Treatment with CTX led to improvement and neurologic stability within 6 months which was sustained for at least 18 months after the onset of treatment with CTX. Therapy with CTX was well tolerated. CTX may be of benefit in MS patients who experience rapid clinical worsening and are resistant to conventional therapy.

    Title A Prospective, Open-label Treatment Trial to Compare the Effect of Ifn Beta-1a (avonex), Ifnbeta-1b (betaseron), and Glatiramer Acetate (copaxone) on the Relapse Rate in Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis.
    Date August 2001
    Journal European Journal of Neurology : the Official Journal of the European Federation of Neurological Societies

    A prospective, non-randomized, open-label treatment trial was performed in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), with follow up for 12 months. Our primary objective was to prospectively compare the effect of IFNbeta-1a (Avonex), IFNbeta-1b (Betaseron), and glatiramer acetate (GA, Copaxone) on the relapse rate in patients with RRMS. Between August 1996 and September 1999, 156 consecutive patients with clinically definite RRMS with a Kurtzke scale (EDSS) score of 4 or less were followed for 12 months, from the time of initiating therapy or electing to remain untreated. Prior 2-year relapse history and available chart information was carefully reviewed at the time of enrolment. Thirty-three of 156 elected no treatment (mean age 32.5 years; mean EDSS 2.64) at enrolment; 40 elected IFNbeta-1a (mean age 32.4 years; mean EDSS 2.69), 41 IFNbeta-1b (mean age 32.1 years; mean EDSS 2.56), and 42 chose GA (mean age 31.5 years; mean EDSS 2.57). Annual relapse rate based upon the 2 years prior to enrolment was 1.08 in the untreated group, 1.20 in the AV group, 1.21 in the BE group, and 1.10 in the GA group. There were no statistically significant differences among the four groups at enrolment. After 12 months of treatment, patients in the untreated groups had a relapse rate of 0.97, whereas patients in the IFNbeta-1a, IFNbeta-1b, and GA groups had relapse rate of 0.85, 0.61, and 0.62, respectively. Compared to the untreated group, reduction in the relapse rate was statistically significant only in the GA (P=0.003) and IFNbeta-1b (P=0.002) groups, in contrast to the IFNbeta-1a treated patients, who did not show a significant reduction (P=0.309). Compared to the untreated patients, mean EDSS was significantly reduced only in the GA (P=0.001) and IFNbeta-1b (P=0.01), in contrast to IFNbeta-1a treated patients (P=0.51). In this prospective, controlled, open-label, non-randomized 12-month study, treatment with only GA and IFNbeta-1b significantly reduced the relapse rate compared to untreated patients, supporting early treatment in RRMS. Our results are similar to the observations made after 12 months of therapy in phase III studies of IFNbeta-1a, IFNbeta-1b, and GA. Despite some limitations of the study design, the results provide helpful clinical information regarding the relative efficacy of each therapy in mildly affected treatment-naïve RRMS patients.

    Title Proteolipid Protein is Necessary in Peripheral As Well As Central Myelin.
    Date October 1997
    Journal Neuron

    Alternative products of the proteolipid protein gene (PLP), proteolipid protein (PLP) and DM20, are major components of compact myelin in the central nervous system, but quantitatively minor constituents of Schwann cells. A family with a null allele of PLP has a less severe CNS phenotype than those with other types of PLP mutations. Moreover, individuals with PLP null mutations have a demyelinating peripheral neuropathy, not seen with other PLP mutations of humans or animals. Direct analysis of normal peripheral nerve demonstrates that PLP is localized to compact myelin. This and the clinical and pathologic observations of the PLP null phenotype indicate that PLP/DM20 is necessary for proper myelin function both in the central and peripheral nervous systems.

    Title Prion Disease (prp-a117v) Presenting with Ataxia Instead of Dementia.
    Date January 1996
    Journal Neurology

    Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease (GSS) is caused by several different point mutations of the prion protein (PrP) gene, each of which generally produces a distinct clinical phenotype. An ataxic form of GSS is genetically linked to a mutation at codon 102 (CCG-->CTG) leading to the substitution of leucine for proline, while a "telencephalic" variant of GSS, in which dementia is the predominant symptom and ataxia is minimal, has been described in two kindreds with a mutation at codon 117 (GCA-->GTG) resulting in the substitution of valine for alanine. In this report, we present a family with ataxic GSS that has, however, the same mutation at codon 117 as is present in the telencephalic variant of GSS. Other than an additional silent mutation (GCA-->GCG) at codon 117 on the normal allele, there were no other mutations detected. At the polymorphic codon 129, valine was encoded by both alleles in the proband that we studied. Why this family with prion disease (PrP-A117V) should present with ataxia instead of dementia, which was found in two previously identified families with the same PrP gene mutation, remains to be established.

    Title Stability of an Expanded Trinucleotide Repeat in the Androgen Receptor Gene in Transgenic Mice.
    Date May 1995
    Journal Nature Genetics

    The expansion of trinucleotide repeat sequences underlies a number of hereditary neurological disorders. To study the stability of a trinucleotide repeat and to develop an animal model of one of these disorders, spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), we have generated transgenic mice carrying either the normal or expanded repeat human androgen receptor (AR) gene. Unlike the disease allele in humans, the AR cDNA containing the expanded repeat in transgenic mice showed no change in repeat length with transmission. Expression of the SBMA AR was found in transgenic mice, but at a lower level than normal endogenous expression. The lack of a physiological pattern of expression may explain why no phenotypic effects of the transgene were observed.

    Title Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy Defect Identified.
    Date June 1993
    Journal Nature Genetics

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