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Controversies in lupus: nervous system involvement.
  1. G A Bruyn
  1. Department of Rheumatology, Medisch Centrum Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.


    What have we learned about CNS lupus in recent years? An enormous amount of knowledge on pathophysiology of antiphospholipid antibodies, in particular, has been gathered. Although hard evidence of a direct pathogenetic role of these antibodies in cerebral lupus is still lacking, it is generally felt that the multiple microinfarctions found in the brains of lupus patients are related to their presence. Better understanding of the pathogenesis of cerebral lupus will come from the study of experimental models, as it has been possible to develop an antiphospholipid antibody syndrome in mice. Because no specific laboratory test for CNS lupus is yet available, diagnosing the condition remains a challenge to every clinician. Techniques including neuropsychometric testing, quantitative EEG, and SPECT scans have taught us more about cognitive dysfunction and psychosis in patients with SLE. These categories remain the most difficult to define. The concept of hypercoagulability in SLE patients has diverted the direction of therapy from immunosuppression towards anticoagulation. It is of utmost importance that randomised trials are commenced in order to determine the optimal mode of anticoagulation for various groups of lupus patients. It will be necessary to conduct such trials under strict inclusion criteria, based on well defined patient categories. Such an enterprise will require international co-operation of investigators.

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