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Fatigue: let's talk about it

Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a debilitating condition characterised by intense long-lasting fatigue and affects 0.2-2% UK population. In addition, a more significant burden to UK health is the fatigue is commonly associated with many chronic diseases. Over 17.5 million people within the UK currently suffer with a chronic disease (1), a figure which is set to rise with the aging population. Those with an attributable cause for their fatigue, such as chronic diseases, are unable to access NHS CFS services. Despite this, NHS services dedicated to the fatigue occurring outside CFS/ME are lacking. This leaves many people without the support and access to the multidisciplinary team that they need.

Optogenetics: A vision of the future of Neurology?

In 1979, Nobel laureate Francis Crick published a paper discussing progress in neuroscience. Describing the subject as “profoundly mysterious”, he speculated on new methods of investigating the brain, including the ability to inactivate one type of neuron whilst leaving the others “more or less unaltered” [1]. Crick is not alone; for years the mammalian brain has dumbfounded researchers [1,2]. In the human, a hundred billion neuronal parts and myriad connections lead to an interconnected system of a level of unparalleled complexity [3]. This system is responsible for poetry, music and art and gives rise to consciousness, memory and countless other phenomena. It is also the victim of a vast array of devastating pathologies [4].

Polygeia: students shaping global health

On 15th November a new Cambridge-based organisation, Polygeia, held their inaugural conference on global health policy. Polygeia’s mission is to empower students to participate in global health discussions through policy research and discussion. Already, work has been produced on neglected tropical diseases, mental health, global health partnerships, sexual and reproductive health and pharmaceuticals. The type of work done ranges from literature reviews to opinion pieces to project evaluations. Through undertaking a wide range of work with support from academics and professionals from around the world, the second aspect to Polygeia’s mission is to develop the skills of those students involved.

3rd EUNS National Conference 2015; From Neuroscience to Neurology

Image credit: aboutmodafinil.com

We are happy to once again be supporting the Edinburgh University Neurological Society (EUNS) for their 3rd Annual conference, to be held on Saturday 7th February, 2015. The conference will involve keynote speakers specialising in ageing, CJD and paediatric neurosurgery, along with workshops on Surgery and Neurotrauma, Careers in Neurology and Neurosurgery, Neuroscience Lab Skills and Science Communication. There is also a poster and oral presentation session

Bilateral spontaneous rectus sheath haematoma complicating dengue haemorrhagic fever. A case report.

The clinical course of dengue haemorrhagic fever in the elderly is rather atypical and it is imperative to be aware of the protean manifestations and complications of dengue febrile illness in this age group. Rectus sheath haematoma in the context of acute emergency presentations is an uncommon presentation, especially in the patients on anti-coagulation therapy. Bilateral  rectus sheath haematoma is rarely seen.

We present the first case of spontaneous and bilateral rectus sheath haematoma complicating dengue haemorrhagic fever in an elderly male. This case emphasizes the fact that serious complications can occur during the defervescence phase, especially in the elderly, and that a high index of supervision and suspicion should be maintained by the clincians.

Key words: Spontaneous rectus sheath haematoma, dengue haemorrhagic fever, defervescence

The Future of Neurology: Announcing the winning essay of the 2014 “Neuroscience to Neurology” essay competition

Image credit: ZEISS Microscopy

The World Health Organization estimates that neurological disorders currently affect one billion people worldwide, a number which is predicted to increase considerably as a result of an ageing population. The need to further understand the brain and make progress in the field of neurology has therefore never been greater. However, with over 100 million neurons each making over 1000 synapses, the human brain is undoubtedly the most complex organ in the human body, and it is this complexity that has meant that advances in neuroscience have been comparatively slow.

An Anaesthetic Muse(um)

Image credit: Garrett Coakley

Proclaiming it possesses the historical magnitude of the ‘Natural History Museum’ or the g-forces created by the Typhoon Jet simulator in the ‘Science Museum’ is perhaps overstepping the mark. However, the Anaesthesia Museum in London is certainly worth an hour of your time if you ever find yourself shimmying the droves of wide-eyed cash-flashers on Oxford Street. Equidistant between Oxford Circus and Regent’s Park tube stations, the museum boasts over 3000 anaesthetic items from throughout the anaesthetic ages. It is a must-visit for those curious about the origins of a speciality that was conceived by plucky medics taking turns at inhaling mystical concoctions of unidentified gases that lined their 19th century labs in a quest to eliminate pain [1]

The Unconsidered Differential Diagnosis of Recurrent Acute Abdomen

A 32-year-old from Turkey (Kurdistan province) presented with a 4-year history of recurrent, severe, vague abdominal pain requiring numerous hospitalizations. The pain was non-radiating, dull and constricting in nature with acute onset. There were no associated symptoms apart from constipation. His C-reactive protein and white cell count were always raised during these acute episodes. The pain resolved spontaneously without any specific treatment. He was completely well in between these acute episodes. Investigations including diagnostic laparoscopy, endoscopy and colonoscopy, CT scans and porphyria and infection screens were performed and were found to be negative / normal. Subsequent analysis of the MEFV gene detected two pathogenic variants (Met680IGC and Glu148Gln) on exon 2 and 10 and a diagnosis of familial Mediterranean fever was made. He had no further acute episodes after colchicine treatment was initiated.

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