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N -Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated excitotoxicity has been proposed to play a role in the pathogenesis of Huntington disease (HD), an autosomal dominantly inherited disorder associated with defined expansions in a stretch of perfect CAG repeats in the 5' part of the IT15 gene. The number of CAG repeat units is highly predictive for the age at(More)
Dominance of the left hemisphere for many aspects of speech production and perception is one of the best known examples of functional hemispheric asymmetries in the human brain. Classic theories about its ontogenesis assume that it is determined by the same ontogenetic factors as handedness because the two traits are correlated to some extent. However, the(More)
Although the left and right human cerebral hemispheres differ both functionally and anatomically, the mechanisms that underlie the establishment of these hemispheric specializations, as well as their physiological and behavioral implications, remain largely unknown. Since cerebral asymmetry is strongly correlated with handedness, and handedness is assumed(More)
BACKGROUND Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by an abnormal expansion of a CAG repeat in the huntingtin HTT (HD) gene. The primary genetic determinant of the age at onset (AO) is the length of the HTT CAG repeat; however, the remaining genetic contribution to the AO of HD has largely not been elucidated. Recent studies(More)
BACKGROUND Recent evidence suggests that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an attractive candidate for modifying age at onset (AO) in Huntington disease (HD). In particular, the functional Val66Met polymorphism appeared to exert a significant effect. Here we evaluate BDNF variability with respect to AO of HD using markers that represent the entire(More)
Appropriate attention levels are pivotal for cognitive processes, and individual differences in attentional functioning are related to variations in the interplay of neurotransmitters. The attention network theory reflects attention as a non-homogenous set of separate neural networks: alerting, orienting and conflicting. In the present study, the role of(More)
Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2 (AOA2) is an autosomal recessive disease due to mutations in the senataxin gene, causing progressive cerebellar ataxia with peripheral neuropathy, cerebellar atrophy, occasional oculomotor apraxia and elevated alpha-feto-protein (AFP) serum level. We compiled a series of 67 previously reported and 58 novel ataxic(More)
The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a member of the neurotrophin family, is involved in nerve growth and survival. Especially, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the BDNF gene, Val66Met, has gained a lot of attention, because of its effect on activity-dependent BDNF secretion and its link to impaired memory processes. We hypothesize that(More)
Autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia with ocular apraxia type 2 (AOA2) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by early onset cerebellar ataxia, sensory-motor neuropathy and frequently increased levels of alpha-fetoprotein. We describe a male patient with a phenotype highly suggestive of AOA2, but only one point mutation found by sequencing of the(More)
Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominantly inherited progressive neurodegenerative disease. The exact sequel of events finally resulting in neurodegeneration is only partially understood and there is no established protective treatment so far. Some lines of evidence speak for the contribution of oxidative stress to neuronal tissue damage. The(More)