To identify factors associated with burnout among Japanese physician and to use them in future measures, the Japanese Society of Neurology conducted a survey of neurologists on burnout using a web-based questionnaire in October 2019. A total of 1,261 respondents, 15.0% of the 8,402 members, responded to the survey. The mean of the subscales of the Japanese Burnout Scale was 2.86/5 points for emotional exhaustion, 2.21/5 points for depersonalization, and 3.17/5 points for lack of personal accomplishment. In addition, the burnout of our country’s neurologists is not related to workloads such as working hours and the number of patients in charge, but also to a decreased meaningfulness and professional accomplishment. Therefore, it is necessary to take comprehensive measures to improve these issues at the individual, hospital, academic and national levels.
We retrospectively examined the differences between paramedic triage and final diagnosis in the cases that were transported to our hospital between May 2016 and March 2019. About 30% of the patients with suspected stroke were diagnosed other than stroke. Some of the patients without suspected stroke were diagnosed with large vessel occlusion and were treated with mechanical thrombectomy. The time from arrival at the hospital to treatment was significantly longer in the patients without suspected stroke than with suspected stroke. To achieve a better prehospital care, we need to accept a wide range of stroke mimics, and to continuously feedback the paramedics about the importance of paralysis, cortical symptoms in stroke.
SMON (subacute myelo-optico-neuropathy) is toxic neurological disease which had a profound impact on the population in Japan in 1960’s. The clinical characteristics of SMON includes an ascending sensory disturbance, spasticity, and visual impairment typically following abdominal symptoms. Infection was first suspected as an underlying cause of this epidemic. The disorder was ultimately attributed to the overuse of clioquinol, based on the analysis of green urine from affected patients and confirmed by the epidemiological surveys and experimental animal studies. The factors that contributed to the prevalence of SMON which remains the worst example of drug-associated toxicity in Japan to date include the conversion of clioquinol from a purely topical agent to an orally-administered drug, dogma associated with drug safety, relatively limited regulation of drug use, an increase in the number of prescriptions due to the availability of universal insurance, as well as the complexity of the associated abdominal symptoms. Periodical examination of the patients diagnosed with SMON continues to this day. As such, it is important to have a better understanding of clioquinol-induced neurotoxicity together with the mechanisms underlying drug susceptibility; we should not permit the memory of this severe and prominent drug-associated toxicity fade from view.
A 59-year-old woman presented with a 7-year history of facial numbness on the left side, and gradual worsening of symptoms. Over several years, facial muscle weakness, dysarthria, tongue atrophy and fasciculation had progressed. Then, she developed cerebellar ataxia affecting the left extremities, in addition to earlier symptoms. Brain MRI revealed cerebellar atrophy, and 99mTc-SPECT depicted cerebellar hypoperfusion. A repetitive nerve stimulation test (RNS) indicated abnormal decrement in the nasalis and trapezius muscles on the left side. Facial-onset sensory and motor neuronopathy (FOSMN) was diagnosed. Administration of intravenous immunoglobulin resulted in improvement of some symptoms. Although cerebellar ataxia is not a common symptom of FOSMN, a case showing TDP-43-positive glial cytoplasmic inclusions in cerebellar white matter has been reported. Therefore, it is possible that FOSMN may cause cerebellum impairment in some patients. Furthermore, RNS positive rate in the trapezius muscle is known to be high in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. It is speculated that RNS of the affected muscles in FOSMN may show abnormal decrement by the same mechanisms as ALS.
Hirayama disease is characterized by juvenile onset of unilateral muscular atrophy of a distal upper extremity. The pathogenic mechanism of Hirayama disease is cervical cord compression by the posterior dura with forward displacement in the neck flexion position. A few cases of ‘proximal-type Hirayama disease’ have been described as showing muscular weakness and atrophy of the proximal upper extremities caused by the pathogenic mechanism similar to that of Hirayama disease. We report herein the case of a 16-year-old boy with proximal-type Hirayama disease, who developed symptoms after he began kyudo (Japanese traditional archery). Neurological examination revealed bilateral weakness of the muscles innervated by C5 and C6 segments (the deltoid, biceps brachii, brachioradialis), bilateral mild sensory disturbance in the radial side of the forearm, absent tendon reflexes of the biceps brachii and brachioradialis with preserved triceps reflex, pyramidal signs of the bilateral lower extremities (pathologically brisk reflexes of lower extremities, Babinski’s signs). MR images in the neck flexion position showing expansion of the posterior extradural space and forward displacement of the spinal cord at the C3/4, C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7 disk levels. CT myelogram revealed spinal cord compression not only in neck flexion but also in neck left axial rotation. His symptoms improved after the restriction of neck flexion and axial rotation. Weakness of the upper extremities improved after 2 months. Pyramidal signs of the lower extremities disappeared after 18 months. The pathogenic mechanism in this case may be associated with not only neck flexion but also neck axial rotation.
We report a 60-year-old woman who developed spinal cord infarction (SCI) with anti-aquaporin (AQP) 4 antibody seropositive. She was admitted to our hospital with acute onset of flaccid paraparesis and urinary disturbances that completed within a few minutes after acute pain in her lower back. Neurological examination revealed flaccid paraparesis, bladder and bowel dysfunction and dissociated sensory loss below the level of Th11 spinal cord segment. Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) and T2-wighted imaging (T2WI) of thoracic spine MRI showed high signal intensity in the spinal cord between Th9 and Th12 vertebral levels with decreased apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC). We diagnosed her as having SCI. Thereafter the serum examination on admission was reported as positive for anti-aquaporin 4 (AQP4) antibody. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis revealed pleocytosis, and the spinal cord lesions became enlarged in MRI on 12 days after the onset. We, therefore, suspected that the pathophysiology of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) accompanied SCI. The patient underwent two courses of high dose intravenous methylprednisolone (IVMP) for three days (1 g/day). Her neurological symptoms did not improve significantly, but the size of T2WI MRI high signal lesion improved to that of the initial MRI scan. Anti-AQP4 antibody seropositivity may have modified the SCI pathology in the present patient.
Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) is a rare neurocutaneous disorder. Almost all cases of SWS are diagnosed in children, but some are diagnosed in adults. We describe a case of isolated leptomeningeal angiomatosis without intracranial calcification. A 33-year-old woman was admitted because of sudden-onset right homonymous hemianopia with headache and nausea. These symptoms disappeared by the next morning. She had no history of seizure or mental retardation. No facial angioma was found on physical examination. Brain CT showed no intracranial calcification or atrophic cortex. The blood and cerebrospinal fluid analyses yielded normal results. The findings in the electroencephalogram were unremarkable. MRI with susceptibility weighting (SWI) revealed dilated transmedullary veins in the left occipital lobe. Contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging (CE-T1WI) illustrated abnormal leptomeningeal enhancement in the left occipitoparietal cortex and enhancement and enlargement of the choroid plexus in the left lateral ventricle. Post-gadolinium contrast-enhanced f FLAIR imaging demonstrated more extensive enhancement of the leptomeningeal lesions than did CE-T1WI. The symptoms and the findings on these images were suggestive of a diagnosis of SWS type III. Clinicians should keep in mind that some cases of SWS manifest with only minor symptoms, such as migraine. If SWS is suspected, SWI and contrast-enhanced MRI should be performed.
A 66-year-old woman with a history of hypertension complained about sudden short-term memory loss. On arrival to our outpatient clinic, she was alert and oriented and did not have chest pain or shortness of breath. Neurological and neuropsychological examinations were within normal limits. In light of a transient anterograde amnestic attack and no neurological focal deficit, we clinically diagnosed transient global amnesia (TGA). To confirm whether there was an intracranial lesion or not, diffusion-weighted MRI of the brain was performed, and revealed hyper-intense lesions in the left hippocampus and right corpus callosum. Consequently, the patient was admitted to our hospital on follow-up for suspected cerebral infarction. On day 1, laboratory tests indicated an elevated troponin I level, and electrocardiogram revealed an inverted T wave in the inferior leads. Coronary angiography on day 9 of admission demonstrated severe stenosis of the right coronary artery, leading to a diagnosis of non-ST elevation myocardial infarction. Although TGA itself typically has a favorable prognosis, clinicians should consider potential concurrent painless myocardial infarction in patients with TGA.
Anosmia is a frequently experienced symptom in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Previous studies have suggested the potential use of olfactometry to identify infected individuals. We performed a sequential olfactometry using the odor stick identification test for Japanese (OSIT-J) in a COVID-19 patient without pneumonia. The test uses 12 odorants that are familiar to the Japanese population. Our patient was a 56-year-old man diagnosed with COVID-19 who was admitted to our hospital following the development of anosmia. He had no respiratory symptoms except pharyngeal pain. Chest CT findings did not reveal the presence of pneumonia. The patient underwent OSIT-J on the 1st hospital day, and his score was 1 out of 12. Following the olfactometry, ciclesonide was administered. The patient did not develop any new symptoms during hospitalization, and his anosmia was gradually improved. The OSIT-J scores were 9 and 11 on the 7th and 16th hospital day, respectively. The patient was discharged on the 25th hospital day after two negative PCR test results. In our case, OSIT-J could identify anosmia in a COVID-19 patient. Some COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic, expect for olfactory disturbances, and OSIT-J may help identify such patients in the Japanese population.