I was born in Ragusa on 23rd January 1988 where I also attended primary and secondary education. I graduated as M.D. in 2012 at the Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, with a thesis project on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in Parkinson’s Disease. In the summer of 2012, after the graduation, I went to the Queen Square National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London as honorary observer at the Movement disorder clinic directed by prof. K. Bhatia. From 2013 to 2018 I attended the Neurology residency program at the Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele (San Raffaele Hospital, Milan), directed by prof. G. Comi. During those years, I continued working on TMS as part of my research activity and focused on movement disorders on clinical ground. I was proclaimed Neurologist on September 2018; my thesis project was a double-blind placebo controlled study on rTMS in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Since November 2018, I’ve been working as a Neurologist at the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico “Carlo Besta” in the Neurogenetic Unit, under the guidance of Dr. C. Mariotti. My main area of research and clinical activity is the diagnosis and treatment of rare inherited neurological diseases, like hereditary ataxias and Huntington’s disease. Starting on November 2019 I am attending the Ph.D. course in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Milano-Bicocca. My research activity mainly focus on improving outcome measures for rare neurological diseases.
Outcome measures in hereditary ataxias: analysis of clinical scales and evaluation of new tools to assess disease progression.
- Curriculum: Clinical Neuroscience
- Tutor: Renato Mantegazza
The aims of this project are to evaluate sensitivity of the existing ataxia rating scales in monitoring disease progression and to assess additional clinical and neuroimaging tools enabling the detection of clinical changes in natural history studies and in interventional therapeutic trials. We plan to evaluate a large cohort of FRDA and SCAs patients at the ataxia reference center of the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico “Carlo Besta”. Both neurological and non-neurological clinical data will be collected. Standard scales will be administered to all subjects, while in a subset of patients, additional clinical evaluation will be performed. These will include: questionnaires to assess specific aspects of the disease; neurophysiological tests and brain imaging (MRI) for volumetric analyses of the cerebellum. Total clinical scores and single item scores will be evaluated in comparison with disease stage, disease duration, genetic characteristics. If possible, the results derived from the analysis in this cohort will be the validated in a second cohort of subjects.
- Frataxin deficiency in Friedreich’s ataxia is associated with reduced levels of HAX-1, a regulator of cardiomyocyte death and survival. Tiano, F., Amati, F., Cherubini, F., (…), Testi, R., Malisan, F. 2020, Human Molecular Genetics
- Bi-hemispheric repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for upper limb motor recovery in chronic stroke: A feasibility study. Chieffo, R., Scopelliti, G., Fichera, M., (…), Comi, G., Leocani, L. 2018, Brain Stimulation
- Weight gain after subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease is influenced by dyskinesias’ reduction and electrodes’ position. Balestrino, R., Baroncini, D., Fichera, M., (…), Comi, G., Volontè, M.A. 2017, Neurological Sciences
- Which patients discontinue? Issues on Levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel treatment: Italian multicentre survey of 905 patients with long-term follow-up. Sensi, M., Cossu, G., Mancini, F., (…), Vita, M.G., Volonté, M.A. 2017, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders
- Drawing in Alzheimer-Type dementia. Fichera, M., Bernasconi, M.P., Martinelli, V., Comi, G., Volonté, M.A. 2015, Neurology
- Secondary cervical dystonic tremor after Japanese encephalitis. Spagnolo, F., Scomazzoni, F., Fichera, M., Comi, G., Volontè, M.A. 2014, Neurological Sciences
- Excitatory deep repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation with H-coil as add-on treatment of motor symptoms in parkinson’s disease: An open label, pilot study. Spagnolo, F., Volonté, M.A., Fichera, M., (…), Zangen, A., Leocani, L. 2014, Brain Stimulation
- Striatal hand in Parkinson’s disease: The re-evaluation of an old clinical sign. Spagnolo, F., Fichera, M., Bucello, S., (…), Comi, G., Volonté, M.A. 2014, Journal of Neurology
- Interhemispheric balance in Parkinson’s disease: A transcranial magnetic stimulation study. Spagnolo, F., Coppi, E., Chieffo, R., (…), Volontè, M.A., Leocani, L. 2013, Brain Stimulation
- Deep magnetic stimulation in a progressive supranuclear palsy patient with speech involvement. Spagnolo, F., Coppi, E., Della Rosa, P.A., (…), Volontè, M.A., Leocani, L. 2013, Journal of Neurology