Doctor of Medicine, Addis Ababa University (2007)
Robert Cowan, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Impact of Regular Lifestyle Behavior Modification in Migraine Burden
Global Clinico-epidemiologic Study on Measuring the Burden of Migraine Headache, Stanford University
For More Information:
Determining the Place of Corticosteroids in the Management of Migraine Attacks
For More Information:
Spontaneous Hemorrhagic Phenomena in Primary Headache Disorders - a 120-year Systematic Review and Pooled Analysis of Published Case Studies, Stanford University
The place of corticosteroids in migraine attack management: A 65-year systematic review with pooled analysis and critical appraisal.
Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Headaches recur in up to 87% of migraine patients visiting the emergency department (ED), making ED recidivism a management challenge. We aimed herein to determine the role of corticosteroids in the acute management of migraine in the ED and outpatient care.Advanced search strategies employing PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases inclusive of a relevant gray literature search was employed for Clinical Studies and Systematic Reviews by combining the terms "migraine" and "corticosteroids" spanning all previous years since the production of synthetic corticosteroids ca. 1950 until August 30, 2014. Methods were in accordance with MOOSE guidelines.Twenty-five studies (n = 3989, median age 37.5 years, interquartile range or IQR 35-41 years; median male:female ratio 1:4.23, IQR 1:2.1-6.14; 52% ED-based, 56% randomized-controlled) and four systematic reviews were included. International Classification of Headache Disorders criteria were applied in 64%. Nineteen studies (76%) indicated observed outcome differences favoring benefits of corticosteroids, while six (24%) studies indicated non-inferior outcomes for corticosteroids. Median absolute risk reduction was 30% (range 6%-48.2%), and 11% (6%-48.6%) for 24-, and 72-hour headache recurrence, respectively. Parenteral dexamethasone was the most commonly (56%) administered steroid, at a median single dose of 10 mg (range 4-24 mg). All meta-analyses revealed efficacy of adjuvant corticosteroids to various abortive medications-indicating generalizability. Adverse effects were tolerable. Higher disability, status migrainosus, incomplete pain relief, and previous history of headache recurrence predicted outcome favorability.Our literature review suggests that with corticosteroid treatment, recurrent headaches become milder than pretreated headaches and later respond to nonsteroidal therapy. Single-dose intravenous dexamethasone is a reasonable option for managing resistant, severe, or prolonged migraine attacks.
View details for DOI 10.1177/0333102414566200
View details for PubMedID 25576463
Prevalence of migraine headache and its weight on neurological burden in Africa: a 43-year systematic review and meta-analysis of community-based studies.
Journal of the neurological sciences
2014; 342 (1-2): 1-15
Headache burden is not adequately explored in Africa. Here, we measured weighted migraine prevalence from community-based studies in Africa.PubMed search was employed using terms 'headache in Africa' AND/OR 'migraine in Africa' for published literature from 1970 until January 31, 2014. PRISMA was applied for systematic review. Forest-plot meta-analysis, inter-study heterogeneity, and odds ratio were used to measure weighted prevalence, inter-gender, and urban-rural differences. Disability adjusted life years (DALYs) for migraine and other neurologic disorders in Africa were extracted from Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) 2000-2030.Among 21 community-based studies included (n=137,277), pooled migraine prevalence was 5.61% (95% CI 4.61, 6.70; random effects) among general population; while 14.89% (14.06, 15.74; fixed effects) among student cohorts. Female students had weighted OR of 2.13 (1.34, 3.37; p=0.0013). Prevalence of migraine was higher among urban population compared to rural settings. Migraine burden is bound to increase by more than 10% DALYs within the next decade.Africa has a crude estimate of 56 million people suffering from migraine. By virtue of mainly afflicting the younger working-age group, migraine disability has wider socioeconomic implications. Improving early headache management access points at community-level, training and research at facility-level, and healthy lifestyle modification among urban residents can help reduce this costly and disabling chronic progressive health problem.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jns.2014.04.019
View details for PubMedID 24814950
What is the evidence for the use of corticosteroids in migraine?
Current pain and headache reports
2014; 18 (12): 464
Corticosteroids are widely prescribed for the management of migraine attacks. The earliest clinical studies examining the efficacy of corticosteroid monotherapy for managing migraine attacks date back to 1952. Since then, 26 heterogeneous clinical studies and four meta-analyses have been conducted to assess the efficacy of corticosteroids in either aborting acute migraine attacks, prolonged migraine attacks or recurrent headaches. Most of these (86 %) studies employed different comparator arms with corticosteroids monotherapy administration while some studies (14 %) evaluated adjunctive corticosteroid therapy. The majority of these clinical studies revealed the superior efficacy of corticosteroids as mono- or adjunctive-therapy both for recurrent and acute migraine attacks, while the remaining showed non-inferior efficacy. Different forms of oral and parenteral corticosteroids in either single-dose or short-tapering schedules are prescribed; there are clinical studies supporting the efficacy of both methods. Corticosteroids can be administered safely up to six times annually. Corticosteroids are also useful in managing patients who frequent emergency departments with "medication-seeking behavior." Migraine patients with refractory headaches, history of recurrent headaches, severe baseline disability, and status migrainosus were found to have the most beneficial response from corticosteroid therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11916-014-0464-x
View details for PubMedID 25373608
Cancer in Ethiopia
2013; 14 (4): 289-290
Ethiopia has a population of more than 84 million people and is expected to become the ninth most populous country in the world by 2050. The growing population coupled with lifestyle changes will mean an increasing burden of cancer. However, oncology services are wholly inadequate--no cancer registry exists, and only one cancer centre, with a handful of doctors and nurses, struggles to serve the entire country.
View details for Web of Science ID 000317390300034
View details for PubMedID 23561741
Tetanus in Ethiopia: Unveiling the Blight of an Entirely Vaccine-Preventable Disease
CURRENT NEUROLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE REPORTS
2012; 12 (6): 655-665
Today, tetanus exacts its toll only in resource-poor countries like Ethiopia. Agrarian rural life with limited vaccine typifies tetanus risk in Ethiopia where current tetanus control trends on expanding infant immunization and eliminating highly prevalent maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). Protection by infant tetanus immunization primers disappears within an average of 3 years, if not followed by boosters. Second-year of life, school-based, and universal 10-yearly tetanus immunizations need to be supplemented. Facility-based reviews in Ethiopia reveal a continued burden of tetanus at tertiary-level hospitals where ICU care is suboptimal. Quality of medical care for tetanus is low - reflected by high case-fatality-rates. Opportunities at primary-health-care-units (antenatal-care, family planning, abortion, wound-care, tetanus-survivors) need to be fully-utilized to expand tetanus immunization. Prompt wound-care with post-exposure prophylaxis and proper footwear must be promoted. Standard ICU care needs to exist. Realization of cold-chain-flexible, needle-less and mono-dose vaccine programs allow avoiding boosters, vaccine-refrigeration, and improve compliance.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11910-012-0314-3
View details for Web of Science ID 000310393500005
View details for PubMedID 22996275
Neurolathyrism: two Ethiopian case reports and review of the literature
JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY
2012; 259 (7): 1263-1268
Neurolathyrism is a toxic myelopathy caused by ingestion of the Lathyrus sativus grasspea. An irreversible acute to subacute spastic paraparesis or quadriparesis ensues. Despite public education, new cases of this preventable disease still occur. Two Ethiopian cases of neurolathyrism are reported to illustrate the disease, followed by a literature review. Two teenage male farmers from the same village developed irreversible spastic myelopathy following L. sativus ingestion. There was no sensory, sphincter or bulbar dysfunction. Likely causative factors identified were increased consumption of L. sativus prior to and following disease onset, heavy physical exertion and male gender, similar to those reported in the literature. Neurolathyrism is an entirely preventable neurotoxic myelopathy with permanent disability accrued. Treatment is symptomatic. Because of personal disability and subsequent socioeconomic effects, this disease warrants further public health measures to prevent occurrence. Education, avoidance of the grasspea and measures to reduce toxin burden are possible methods.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00415-011-6306-4
View details for Web of Science ID 000306125700001
View details for PubMedID 22081101
Expression profile of neuropeptide Y, its receptors and its role in seizures on mouse models of toxoplasmosis and African trypanosomiasis
JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY
2012; 259: S54-S55
View details for Web of Science ID 000306083200145
- Case Study: Watch for Tuberculous Encephalopathy in Endemic Areas WORLD NEUROLOGY 2009; 24 (6): 12
Contributing towards the betterment of translational epilepsy research in Africa: needs, challenges, resources, and opportunities.
Current neurology and neuroscience reports
2014; 14 (8): 480-?
Epilepsy affects approximately 50 million people worldwide. Among them, at least 40 million people are currently living in the developing world, where resources and standards of care are suboptimal. Around 90 % of people with epilepsy in resource-poor countries do not currently receive appropriate treatments, at a time when two thirds of these patients could have achieved good control of their epileptic seizures had they had access to appropriate therapies. Scarcity of epilepsy specialists, poor availability or access to diagnostic facilities and treatments, poor community knowledge about epilepsy-related issues, stigma, and other societal and cultural barriers are only some of the issues contributing to this deficiency. These issues in epilepsy treatment have been well recognized, and ongoing concerted efforts to address them have been undertaken by both local authorities and international organizations. In many cases, patients resort to the use of traditional local and alternative medicines (herbs, religious practices, etc.) that are closer to indigenous cosmovision, are more holistic, and are more culture-friendly, preserving an optimum subtlety of Afrocentric character shading. Compared with imported Western medicines, patients find these approaches to be more relevant to their ways of thinking, their ways of being, and their belief systems, more accessible, and more acceptable methods of dealing with health and disease states. The impressive local wealth in these natural resources has established them as a preferred source of healing in these regions, but has also fueled interest in exploring their therapeutic potential in the very few existing local research centers. In this review, we discuss the known issues related to the epilepsy treatment gap in resource-poor regions, focusing in particular on African countries, introduce the role and issues related to the use and validation of alternative medical therapies in epilepsy, and comment on the importance and repercussions of initiatives to validate such therapies, primarily for local practices, but also for possible wider international applications.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11910-014-0480-6
View details for PubMedID 25005223
Sensory, psychological and metabolic dysfunction in HIV-Associated Peripheral Neuropathy. A cross sectional deep profiling study.
HIV-associated Sensory Neuropathy (HIV-SN) is a frequent complication of HIV infection and a major source of morbidity. A cross-sectional deep profiling study examining HIV-SN was conducted in people living with HIV in a high resource setting, using a battery of measures which included: parameters of pain and sensory symptoms (7 day pain diary, Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory (NPSI) and Brief Pain Inventory (BPI)), sensory innervation (structured neurological examination, quantitative sensory testing (QST) and intra-epidermal nerve fibre density (IENFD)), psychological state (Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale-20 (PASS-20), Depression Anxiety and Positive Outlook Scale (DAPOS), and Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), insomnia (Insomnia Severity Index (ISI)) and quality of life (Short-Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36)). The diagnostic utility of the Brief Peripheral Neuropathy Screen (BPNS), Utah Early Neuropathy Scale (UENS) and Toronto Clinical Scoring System (TCSS) were evaluated. Thirty-six healthy volunteers and 66 HIV infected participants were recruited. A novel triumvirate case definition for HIV-SN was used which required two out of three of the following: two or more abnormal QST findings, reduced IENFD and signs of a peripheral neuropathy on a structured neurological examination. Of those with HIV, 42% fulfilled the case definition for HIV-SN (n=28), of whom 75% (n=21) reported pain. The most frequent QST abnormalities in HIV-SN were loss of function in mechanical and vibration detection. Structured clinical examination was superior to QST or IENFD in HIV-SN diagnosis. HIV-SN participants had higher plasma triglyceride concentrations depression, anxiety and catastrophizing scores and prevalence of insomnia than HIV participants without HIV-SN.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pain.2014.06.014
View details for PubMedID 24973717
- The Socioeconomic and Neurological Burden of Neurolathyrism in Ethiopia - the saga continues Cassava Cyanide Diseases and Neurolathyrism Network News 2014: 3-6
A 43-year systematic review and meta-analysis: case-fatality and risk of death among adults with tuberculous meningitis in Africa.
Journal of neurology
Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is a preventable and curable common health problem among African adults. Poor nutrition, poverty, household crowding, drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) strains, AIDS, and malfunctioning TB control programs are important risk factors. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published literature reporting case-fatalities of TBM among adults in African countries from 1970 till date. A PubMed search identified relevant papers. Employed terms include 'adult tuberculous meningitis' AND 'tuberculosis Africa'. PRISMA review guidelines were applied. Adult TBM case-fatalities, odds ratio (OR), relative risk (RR), forest-plot meta-analysis for weighted OR and RR, funnel plots, L'Abbé plots, meta-regressed bubble plots, and inter-study homogeneity were computed. Among 15 studies included, adult TBM occurred in up to 28 % of all meningitis forms with case-fatality of 60 % (inverse-variance weighted 54 %). Fixed-effect meta-analysis revealed weighted OR and RR of adult TBM fatalities to be 4.37 (95 % CI 3.92, 4.88) and 2.53 (95 % CI 2.38, 2.69), respectively. Inter-study homogeneity was reliable, regional representativeness was adequate allowing generalizability, and funnel-plots behaved symmetrically with insignificant inconsistency. All cases were initiated with anti-TB medication, while some had 'breakthrough' TBM. In Africa, adult TBM has a significant public health importance with a very high fatality which has remained stagnant for the past half-century. This reflects ongoing low quality of medical care at facilities where lengthy referrals end up. Community-based studies can reveal higher unaccounted morbidity, accrued disability, and larger mortality. Improving access points for early TB management at community-level, developing health infra-structure for comprehensive case management at facility-level, and poverty reduction can help combat this multi-faceted problem-whose reduction can in return help fight poverty.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00415-013-7060-6
View details for PubMedID 23963469
- Tetanus Weighs on Neurological Burden in Ethiopia WORLD NEUROLOGY 2010; 25 (5): 14
Books and Book Chapters
A 22-year-old Male Farmer from Rural Ethiopia with Difficulty Walking
CLINICAL CASES IN TROPICAL MEDICINE. Manson's Tropical Diseases, 23rd Edition (ISBN: 978-0-7020-5101-2)
edited by Rothe, C.
Elsevier Science Health Science div. 2014; 1st Edition: 261-265
View details for DOI 10.1016/b978-0-7020-5824-0.00069-5
EHMTI-0318. The place of corticosteroids in migraine attack management: systematic review and critical appraisal
Abstracts from the 4th European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress: EHMTIC 2014
View details for DOI 10.1186/1129-2377-15-S1-G42