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Volume 12 Issue 6, June 2016

Cover image supplied by Arnulf H. Koeppen and Joseph E. Mazurkiewicz, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Albany Medical College, Albany, New York, USA. The dorsal root ganglion in Friedreich ataxia. In this condition, IBA1-positive monocytes breach the S100α-positive satellite cell barrier and penetrate into neurons. These observations support the conclusion that the dorsal root ganglia lesion in Friedreich ataxia includes an inflammatory component.

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In Brief

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News & Views

  • The ongoing Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic in the Americas raises urgent questions about the risks of microcephaly in the children of ZIKV-infected mothers. New research into the 2013–2014 ZIKV outbreak in French Polynesia supports a link between maternal ZIKV infection during the first trimester of pregnancy and microcephaly.

    • Zoltán Molnár
    • Stephen Kennedy
    News & Views
  • A new study reports that the incidence of dementia in one population has declined by over 40% between the 1970s and 2010s. The finding could have implications for the future prevalence of dementia, and illustrates the importance of environmental factors in the risk of dementia disorders.

    • Ingmar Skoog
    News & Views
  • Two new studies report on the potential of a number of antioxidants and a cholesterol-lowering drug to prevent neurodegeneration in a Drosophila genetic model of parkinsonism. This research shines a spotlight on the power of invertebrate models as an in vivo screening tool.

    • Ian Martin
    • Vinita G. Chittoor
    News & Views
  • Classification of migraine into different endophenotypes could aid diagnosis and treatment, but requires detailed characterization of different phenotypes. A new study provides insight into the clinical features of migraine with unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms, but raises questions about the value of such classifications.

    • Jes Olesen
    News & Views
  • A recent study of clinical and genetic characteristics in patients with hereditary spastic paraplegia highlights the difficulties of making clinicogenetic correlations in a heterogeneous group of diseases. Genetic analysis beyond the causative variants, and independent of the core clinical symptoms (pyramidal signs versus ataxia), might offer a more pertinent way to approach phenotypic variability.

    • Alexandra Durr
    News & Views
  • Two new studies highlight the potential of neuroimaging to aid the differential diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease, for both clinical practice and emerging trials. Although this approach holds great promise, meaningful implementation of neuroimaging as part of a tailored precision medicine strategy may require additional imaging and non-imaging biomarkers.

    • Corey T. McMillan
    News & Views
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Review Article

  • Diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) in living patients is challenging, but distinguishing this untreatable disease from treatable rapidly progressive dementias is essential, and will also help prevent iatrogenic transmission of CJD. In this Review, Zanusso et al. discuss novel techniques, such as ultrasensitive protein seeding assays and nasal brushings, that can aid antemortem diagnosis of CJD.

    • Gianluigi Zanusso
    • Salvatore Monaco
    • Byron Caughey
    Review Article
  • In modern X-ray therapy, healthy brain tissue that surrounds a CNS tumour receives low to medium dose irradiation, which has important long-term adverse effects such as cognitive toxicity, endocrinopathy, hearing loss and vasculopathic effects. Prolonged long-term survival in certain paediatric CNS tumours call for more attention in avoiding the long-term sequelae of radiotherapy. This Review discusses how proton therapy improves dose distribution and can help reduce long-term toxicities.

    • Vinai Gondi
    • Torunn I. Yock
    • Minesh P. Mehta
    Review Article
  • Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are released by most cell types, and they carry a cargo of protein and nucleic acid that reflects the cell of origin. Thompson and colleagues review current knowledge of the biology and function of EVs, including evidence for their involvement in neurodegenerative disease pathogenesis, and their potential as CNS-specific biomarkers.

    • Alexander G. Thompson
    • Elizabeth Gray
    • Martin R. Turner
    Review Article
  • MRI-based visualization of demyelinated CNS lesions is pivotal to the diagnosis and monitoring of multiple sclerosis (MS). The authors describe how advanced multimodal neuroimaging techniques are providing valuable insights into lesion structure and blood–brain barrier dynamics, thereby narrowing the gap between the macroscopic view of the radiologist and the microscopic view of the pathologist. The findings in humans are compared with data from a primate model of MS — experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in the common marmoset.

    • Martina Absinta
    • Pascal Sati
    • Daniel S. Reich

    Nature Outlook:

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