Last updated on May 2018

SOLFAMU Study of Nasal Brushing Collected OLFActory MUcosa Samples in the Diagnosis of Human Encephalopathies


Brief description of study

Encephalopathies are a group of central nervous system (CNS) affection with heterogeneous etiology. Several causes have been recognized including neurodegenerative, vascular, infectious, autoimmune, toxic or allergic affections or secondary to systemic disorders. While 30-50% of acute encephalitis remains without etiological definition, definitive criteria for neurodegenerative diseases are usually unavailable in vivo and possible or probable definitions are used. The Olfactory mucosa (OM) is the part of the nasal mucosa that carries the specialized sensory organ for the modality of smell; the olfactory epithelium is composed of five principal cell types including olfactory receptor neurons. A sample of OM may be collected through a rhinoscopy-guided brushing: it is well-accepted by patients, not-contraindicated in patients with raised intracranial pressure and associated with almost no side-effects. Nasal brushing has recently been proposed for the in vivo diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

Aims of the project are:

  1. Training of ear throat and nose (ETN), Infectious disease (ID) and neurology (NEU) specialists in the technique of nasal brushing;
  2. Conducting a prospective study comparing the use of nasal brushing with gold-standard criteria in the diagnosis of Encephalopathies;
  3. Increasing the diagnostic and prognostic power in the diagnosis of encephalopathies.

A prospective, case control, multicentric study enrolling 400 patients and 100 controls (patients with nasal stenosis undergoing rhinoscopy for clinical reasons). Patients will be diagnosed and followed according to international guidelines and local clinical practice. Cerebrospinal fluid and magnetic resonance imaging will be used, where indicated, for the diagnosis according to the clinical or radiological suspect.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02951559

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Giovanni Di Perri, MD, PhD

University of Torino
Torino, Italy
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Recruitment Status: Open


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