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Russell R. Lonser, Luke G. F. Smith, Michael Tennekoon, Kavon P. Rezai-Zadeh, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, and Stephen J. Korn

OBJECTIVE

To increase the number of independent National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded neurosurgeons and to enhance neurosurgery research, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) developed two national comprehensive programs (R25 [established 2009] for residents/fellows and K12 [2013] for early-career neurosurgical faculty) in consultation with neurosurgical leaders and academic departments to support in-training and early-career neurosurgeons. The authors assessed the effectiveness of these NINDS-initiated programs to increase the number of independent NIH-funded neurosurgeon-scientists and grow NIH neurosurgery research funding.

METHODS

NIH funding data for faculty and clinical department funding were derived from the NIH, academic departments, and Blue Ridge Institute of Medical Research databases from 2006 to 2019.

RESULTS

Between 2009 and 2019, the NINDS R25 funded 87 neurosurgical residents. Fifty-three (61%) have completed the award and training, and 39 (74%) are in academic practice. Compared to neurosurgeons who did not receive R25 funding, R25 awardees were twice as successful (64% vs 31%) in obtaining K-series awards and received the K-series award in a significantly shorter period of time after training (25.2 ± 10.1 months vs 53.9 ± 23.0 months; p < 0.004). Between 2013 and 2019, the NINDS K12 has supported 19 neurosurgeons. Thirteen (68%) have finished their K12 support and all (100%) have applied for federal funding. Eleven (85%) have obtained major individual NIH grant support. Since the establishment of these two programs, the number of unique neurosurgeons supported by either individual (R01 or DP-series) or collaborative (U- or P-series) NIH grants increased from 36 to 82 (a 2.3-fold increase). Overall, NIH funding to clinical neurological surgery departments between 2006 and 2019 increased from $66.9 million to $157.3 million (a 2.2-fold increase).

CONCLUSIONS

Targeted research education and career development programs initiated by the NINDS led to a rapid and dramatic increase in the number of NIH-funded neurosurgeon-scientists and total NIH neurosurgery department funding.

Free access

Christopher C. Young, John R. Williams, Abdullah H. Feroze, Margaret McGrath, Ali C. Ravanpay, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, and Jason S. Hauptman

Functional hemispherectomy/hemispherotomy is a disconnection procedure for severe medically refractory epilepsy where the seizure foci diffusely localize to one hemisphere. It is an improvement on anatomical hemispherectomy and was first performed by Rasmussen in 1974. Less invasive surgical approaches and refinements have been made to improve seizure freedom and minimize surgical morbidity and complications. Key anatomical structures that are disconnected include the 1) internal capsule and corona radiata, 2) mesial temporal structures, 3) insula, 4) corpus callosum, 5) parietooccipital connection, and 6) frontobasal connection. A stepwise approach is indicated to ensure adequate disconnection and prevent seizure persistence or recurrence. In young pediatric patients, careful patient selection and modern surgical techniques have resulted in > 80% seizure freedom and very good functional outcome. In this report, the authors summarize the history of hemispherectomy and its development and present a graphical guide for this anatomically challenging procedure. The use of the osteoplastic flap to improve outcome and the management of hydrocephalus are discussed.

Free access

Abdullah H. Feroze, Margaret McGrath, John R. Williams, Christopher C. Young, Chibawanye I. Ene, Robert T. Buckley, Bonnie L. Cole, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, and Jason S. Hauptman

Herein, the authors describe the successful use of laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) for management of metastatic craniospinal disease for biopsy-proven atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor in a 16-month-old boy presenting to their care. Specifically, LITT was administered to lesions of the right insula and left caudate. The patient tolerated 2 stages of LITT to the aforementioned lesions without complication and with evidence of radiographic improvement of lesions at the 2- and 6-month follow-up appointments. To the authors’ knowledge, this represents the first such published report of LITT for management of atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor.

Restricted access

Chao-Hung Kuo, Timothy M. Blakely, Jeremiah D. Wander, Devapratim Sarma, Jing Wu, Kaitlyn Casimo, Kurt E. Weaver, and Jeffrey G. Ojemann

OBJECTIVE

The activation of the sensorimotor cortex as measured by electrocorticographic (ECoG) signals has been correlated with contralateral hand movements in humans, as precisely as the level of individual digits. However, the relationship between individual and multiple synergistic finger movements and the neural signal as detected by ECoG has not been fully explored. The authors used intraoperative high-resolution micro-ECoG (µECoG) on the sensorimotor cortex to link neural signals to finger movements across several context-specific motor tasks.

METHODS

Three neurosurgical patients with cortical lesions over eloquent regions participated. During awake craniotomy, a sensorimotor cortex area of hand movement was localized by high-frequency responses measured by an 8 × 8 µECoG grid of 3-mm interelectrode spacing. Patients performed a flexion movement of the thumb or index finger, or a pinch movement of both, based on a visual cue. High-gamma (HG; 70–230 Hz) filtered µECoG was used to identify dominant electrodes associated with thumb and index movement. Hand movements were recorded by a dataglove simultaneously with µECoG recording.

RESULTS

In all 3 patients, the electrodes controlling thumb and index finger movements were identifiable approximately 3–6-mm apart by the HG-filtered µECoG signal. For HG power of cortical activation measured with µECoG, the thumb and index signals in the pinch movement were similar to those observed during thumb-only and index-only movement, respectively (all p > 0.05). Index finger movements, measured by the dataglove joint angles, were similar in both the index-only and pinch movements (p > 0.05). However, despite similar activation across the conditions, markedly decreased thumb movement was observed in pinch relative to independent thumb-only movement (all p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

HG-filtered µECoG signals effectively identify dominant regions associated with thumb and index finger movement. For pinch, the µECoG signal comprises a combination of the signals from individual thumb and index movements. However, while the relationship between the index finger joint angle and HG-filtered signal remains consistent between conditions, there is not a fixed relationship for thumb movement. Although the HG-filtered µECoG signal is similar in both thumb-only and pinch conditions, the actual thumb movement is markedly smaller in the pinch condition than in the thumb-only condition. This implies a nonlinear relationship between the cortical signal and the motor output for some, but importantly not all, movement types. This analysis provides insight into the tuning of the motor cortex toward specific types of motor behaviors.

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Fabio Grassia, Andrew V. Poliakov, Sandra L. Poliachik, Kaitlyn Casimo, Seth D. Friedman, Hillary Shurtleff, Carlo Giussani, Edward J. Novotny Jr., Jeffrey G. Ojemann, and Jason S. Hauptman

OBJECTIVE

Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) is a form of fMRI that allows for analysis of blood oxygen level–dependent signal changes within a task-free, resting paradigm. This technique has been shown to have efficacy in evaluating network connectivity changes with epilepsy. Presurgical data from patients with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy were evaluated using the fcMRI technique to define connectivity changes within and between the diseased and healthy temporal lobes using a within-subjects design.

METHODS

Using presurgical fcMRI data from pediatric patients with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy, the authors performed seed-based analyses within the diseased and healthy temporal lobes. Connectivity within and between temporal lobe seeds was measured and compared.

RESULTS

In the cohort studied, local ipsilateral temporal lobe connectivity was significantly increased on the diseased side compared to the healthy temporal lobe. Connectivity of the diseased side to the healthy side, on the other hand, was significantly reduced when compared to connectivity of the healthy side to the diseased temporal lobe. A statistically significant regression was observed when comparing the changes in local ipsilateral temporal lobe connectivity to the changes in inter–temporal lobe connectivity. A statistically significant difference was also noted in ipsilateral connectivity changes between patients with and those without mesial temporal sclerosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Using fcMRI, significant changes in ipsilateral temporal lobe and inter–temporal lobe connectivity can be appreciated in unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy. Furthermore, fcMRI may have a role in the presurgical evaluation of patients with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Kaitlyn Casimo, Fabio Grassia, Sandra L. Poliachik, Edward Novotny, Andrew Poliakov, and Jeffrey G. Ojemann

Prior studies of functional connectivity following callosotomy have disagreed in the observed effects on interhemispheric functional connectivity. These connectivity studies, in multiple electrophysiological methods and functional MRI, have found conflicting reductions in connectivity or patterns resembling typical individuals. The authors examined a case of partial anterior corpus callosum connection, where pairs of bilateral electrocorticographic electrodes had been placed over homologous regions in the left and right hemispheres. They sorted electrode pairs by whether their direct corpus callosum connection had been disconnected or preserved using diffusion tensor imaging and native anatomical MRI, and they estimated functional connectivity between pairs of electrodes over homologous regions using phase-locking value. They found no significant differences in any frequency band between pairs of electrodes that had their corpus callosum connection disconnected and those that had an intact connection. The authors’ results may imply that the corpus callosum is not an obligatory mediator of connectivity between homologous sites in opposite hemispheres. This interhemispheric synchronization may also be linked to disruption of seizure activity.

Free access

Anthony C. Wang, George M. Ibrahim, Andrew V. Poliakov, Page I. Wang, Aria Fallah, Gary W. Mathern, Robert T. Buckley, Kelly Collins, Alexander G. Weil, Hillary A. Shurtleff, Molly H. Warner, Francisco A. Perez, Dennis W. Shaw, Jason N. Wright, Russell P. Saneto, Edward J. Novotny, Amy Lee, Samuel R. Browd, and Jeffrey G. Ojemann

OBJECTIVE

The potential loss of motor function after cerebral hemispherectomy is a common cause of anguish for patients, their families, and their physicians. The deficits these patients face are individually unique, but as a whole they provide a framework to understand the mechanisms underlying cortical reorganization of motor function. This study investigated whether preoperative functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) could predict the postoperative preservation of hand motor function.

METHODS

Thirteen independent reviewers analyzed sensorimotor fMRI and colored fractional anisotropy (CoFA)–DTI maps in 25 patients undergoing functional hemispherectomy for treatment of intractable seizures. Pre- and postoperative gross hand motor function were categorized and correlated with fMRI and DTI findings, specifically, abnormally located motor activation on fMRI and corticospinal tract atrophy on DTI.

RESULTS

Normal sensorimotor cortical activation on preoperative fMRI was significantly associated with severe decline in postoperative motor function, demonstrating 92.9% sensitivity (95% CI 0.661–0.998) and 100% specificity (95% CI 0.715–1.00). Bilaterally robust, symmetric corticospinal tracts on CoFA-DTI maps were significantly associated with severe postoperative motor decline, demonstrating 85.7% sensitivity (95% CI 0.572–0.982) and 100% specificity (95% CI 0.715–1.00). Interpreting the fMR images, the reviewers achieved a Fleiss’ kappa coefficient (κ) for interrater agreement of κ = 0.69, indicating good agreement (p < 0.01). When interpreting the CoFA-DTI maps, the reviewers achieved κ = 0.64, again indicating good agreement (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Functional hemispherectomy offers a high potential for seizure freedom without debilitating functional deficits in certain instances. Patients likely to retain preoperative motor function can be identified prior to hemispherectomy, where fMRI or DTI suggests that cortical reorganization of motor function has occurred prior to the operation.

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Kurt E. Weaver, Andrew Poliakov, Edward J. Novotny, Jared D. Olson, Thomas J. Grabowski, and Jeffrey G. Ojemann

OBJECTIVE

The acquisition and refinement of cognitive and behavioral skills during development is associated with the maturation of various brain oscillatory activities. Most developmental investigations have identified distinct patterns of low-frequency electrophysiological activity that are characteristic of various behavioral milestones. In this investigation, the authors focused on the cross-sectional developmental properties of high-frequency spectral power from the brain’s default mode network (DMN) during goal-directed behavior.

METHODS

The authors contrasted regionally specific, time-evolving high gamma power (HGP) in the lateral DMN cortex between 3 young children (age range 3–6 years) and 3 adults by use of electrocorticography (ECoG) recordings over the left perisylvian cortex during a picture-naming task.

RESULTS

Across all participants, a nearly identical and consistent response suppression of HGP, which is a functional signature of the DMN, was observed during task performance recordings acquired from ECoG electrodes placed over the lateral DMN cortex. This finding provides evidence of relatively early maturation of the DMN. Furthermore, only HGP relative to evoked alpha and beta band power showed this level of consistency across all participants.

CONCLUSIONS

Regionally specific, task-evoked suppression of the high-frequency components of the cortical power spectrum is established early in brain development, and this response may reflect the early maturation of specific cognitive and/or computational mechanisms.

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Jeffrey G. Ojemann

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Jeffrey A. Herron, Margaret C. Thompson, Timothy Brown, Howard J. Chizeck, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, and Andrew L. Ko

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become a widespread and valuable treatment for patients with movement disorders such as essential tremor (ET). However, current DBS treatment constantly delivers stimulation in an open loop, which can be inefficient. Closing the loop with sensors to provide feedback may increase power efficiency and reduce side effects for patients. New implantable neuromodulation platforms, such as the Medtronic Activa PC+S DBS system, offer important data sources by providing chronic neural sensing capabilities and a means of investigating dynamic stimulation based on symptom measurements. The authors implanted in a single patient with ET an Activa PC+S system, a cortical strip of electrodes on the hand sensorimotor cortex, and therapeutic electrodes in the ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus. In this paper they describe the effectiveness of the platform when sensing cortical movement intentions while the patient actually performed and imagined performing movements. Additionally, they demonstrate dynamic closed-loop DBS based on several wearable sensor measurements of tremor intensity.