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Duke Neurology Research Round Up, April 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

A randomized trial of a new treatment for myasthenia gravis, new insights into ALS reversals, and an in-depth discussion of how we remember facts and events are just a few highlights of new research by members of the Duke Department of Neurology. In April 2018, our faculty, residents and staff contributed to five new peer-reviewed journal articles and one textbook chapter. Here are brief synopses of that work.

Neuromuscular disease

  • Quantitatively comparing the results of jitter studies in patients with neuromuscular disease is difficult and poses many pitfalls. Senior author Don Sanders, MD, and colleagues discuss those pitfalls, as well as ways to get around them, in the latest issue of the Journal of Neuromuscular Disease. Read that article here.
  • Sanders also contributed to a randomized study of adjunctive belimumab as a treatment for patients with generalized myasthenia gravis. Read what that study found about the efficacy of that potential new treatment in the latest issue of Neurology.
  • Rare cases of “ALS reversals,” where ALS symptoms pause or regress for extended periods remain a mystery as to how and why they occur. A new article by lead authors Rick Bedlack, MD, PhD, and medical student Daniel Harrison, examines the demographic characteristics of this group, what symptoms changed, and what treatments they used, shedding some light on this unexplored subject. Read what they found here.


  • Mapping changes in tumor volume is important for determining how patients with brain tumors are responding to treatment. Annick Desjardins, MD, contributed to a study using T1 subtraction maps to investigate how tumors responded to cabozanitinib in a group of 108 glioblastoma patients. Read the study in Neuro-Oncology here.

Pediatric neurology

  • Clinical Neurophysiology Fellow Dmitry Tchapyjnikov, MD, co-wrote a case report about a pediatric patient with hemophilia whose bleeding symptoms were exacerbated by the vitamin B therapy he was taking as epilepsy treatment. Read that report in the latest issue of Pediatrics.

Memory and memory disorders

  • The ventral parietal cortex (VPC) plays a key role in declarative memory, or our ability to remember facts and events. Simon Davis, PhD, co-wrote a recently published chapter in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology that discusses how our understanding of this role has changed over the past two decades. Read that chapter here.