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Evangelia Liouta, George Stranjalis, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Christos Koutsarnakis, Stavroula Pantinaki, Faidon Liakos, Spyros Komaitis and Lampis C. Stavrinou

OBJECTIVE

Although the parietal lobe is a common site for glioma formation, current literature is scarce, consists of retrospective studies, and lacks consistency with regard to the incidence, nature, and severity of parietal association deficits (PADs). The aim of this study was to assess the characteristics and incidence of PADs in patients suffering from parietal lobe gliomas through a prospective study and a battery of comprehensive neuropsychological tests.

METHODS

Between 2012 and 2016 the authors recruited 38 patients with glioma confined in the parietal lobe. Patients were examined for primary and secondary association deficits with a dedicated battery of neuropsychological tests. The PADs were grouped into 5 categories: visuospatial attention, gnosis, praxis, upper-limb coordination, and language. For descriptive analysis tumors were divided into high- and low-grade gliomas and also according to patient age and tumor size.

RESULTS

Parietal association deficits were elicited in 80% of patients, thus being more common than primary deficits (50%). Apraxia was the most common PAD (47.4%), followed by anomic aphasia and subcomponents of Gerstmann’s syndrome (34.2% each). Other deficits such as hemineglect, stereoagnosia, extinction, and visuomotor ataxia were also detected, albeit at lower rates. There was a statistically nonsignificant difference between PADs and sex (72.2% males, 85% females) and age (77.8% at ≤ 60 years, 80% at age > 60 years), but a statistically significant difference between the > 4 cm and the ≤ 4 cm diameter group (p = 0.02, 94.7% vs 63.2%, respectively). There was a tendency (p = 0.094) for low-grade gliomas to present with fewer PADs (50%) than high-grade gliomas (85.7%). Tumor laterality showed a strong correlation with hemineglect (p = 0.004, predilection for right hemisphere), anomia (p = 0.001), and Gerstmann’s symptoms (p = 0.01); the last 2 deficits showed a left (dominant) hemispheric preponderance.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to prospectively evaluate the incidence and nature of PADs in patients with parietal gliomas. It could be that the current literature may have underestimated the true incidence of deficits. Dedicated neuropsychological examination detects a high frequency of PADs, the most common being apraxia, followed by anomia and subcomponents of Gerstmann’s syndrome. Nevertheless, a direct correlation between the clinical deficit and its anatomical substrate is only possible to a limited extent, highlighting the need for intraoperative cortical and subcortical functional mapping.

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Theodosis Kalamatianos, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Christos Koutsarnakis, Christina Psachoulia, Damianos E. Sakas and George Stranjalis

Object

A considerable body of evidence indicates that inflammation and angiogenesis play a significant role in the development and progression of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH). While various experimental and clinical studies have implicated placental growth factor (PlGF) in the processes that underpin pathological angiogenesis, no study has thus far investigated its expression in CSDH. The actions of PlGF and its related proangiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are antagonized by a high-affinity soluble receptor, namely soluble VEGF receptor–1 (sVEGFR-1), and thus the ratio between sVEGFR-1 and angiogenic factors provides an index of angiogenic capacity.

Methods

In the present study, using an automated electrochemiluminescence assay, levels of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 were quantified in serum and hematoma fluid obtained in 16 patients with CSDH.

Results

Levels of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 were significantly higher in hematoma fluid than in serum (p < 0.0001). In serum, levels of sVEGFR-1 were higher than those of PlGF (p < 0.0001), whereas in hematoma fluid this difference was not apparent. Furthermore, the ratio of sVEGFR-1 to PlGF was significantly lower in hematoma fluid than in serum (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Given previous evidence indicating a role for PlGF in promoting angiogenesis, inflammatory cell chemotaxis, and stimulation, as well as its ability to amplify VEGF-driven signaling under conditions favoring pathological angiogenesis, enhanced expression of PlGF in hematoma fluid suggests the involvement of this factor in the mechanisms of inflammation and angiogenesis in CSDH. Furthermore, a reduced ratio of sVEGFR-1 to PlGF in hematoma fluid is consistent with the proangiogenic capacity of CSDH. Future studies are warranted to clarify the precise role of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 in CSDH.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Ioannis G. Panourias, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Efstathios J. Boviatsis, Marios Themistocleous, Pantelis Stathis, George Tagaris, Elias Angelopoulos and Stylianos Gatzonis

The authors report on 2 young patients who developed drug-resistant idiopathic dystonic camptocormia (bent spine) and were treated successfully by deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the globus pallidus internus (GPi). The first patient, a 26-year-old woman, suffered for 3 years from such severe camptocormia that she became unable to walk and was confined to bed or a wheelchair. The second patient, a 21-year-old man, suffered for 6 months from less severe camptocormia; he was able to walk but only for short distances with a very bent spine, the arms in a parallel position to the legs, and the hands almost approaching the floor to potentially support him in case of a forward fall. Within a few days following DBS, both patients experienced marked clinical improvement. At most recent follow-up (44 months in one case and 42 in the other), the patients' ability to walk upright remained normal. Similar findings have only been reported recently in a few cases of camptocormia secondary to Parkinson disease or tardive dyskinesia. On the basis of the experience of these 2 idiopathic cases and the previously reported cases of secondary camptocormia with a favorable response to GPi DBS, the authors postulate that specific patterns of oscillatory activity in the GPi are vital for the maintenance of erect posture and the adoption of bipedal walking by humans.

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Triantafyllos Bouras, George Stranjalis, Maria Loufardaki, Ilias Sourtzis, Lampis C. Stavrinou and Damianos E. Sakas

Object

This is a retrospective long-term outcome study of results after laminectomy for lumbar spinal stenosis in an elderly group of patients. The study was designed to evaluate possible demographic, comorbidity, and clinical prognosticators for pain reduction and functional improvement in this population. Because the assessment of functional outcome in the elderly is complicated by several specific factors, the use of outcome measurement parameters should be revised and refined. Moreover, despite numerous relevant studies, the results of various techniques remain equivocal, particularly among the elderly, which renders the implementation of focused studies necessary. New data could be used to refine patient selection and choice of technique to improve prognosis.

Methods

During a 5-year period, lumbar laminectomies were performed in 182 elderly patients. Of these 182, 125 patients (68.8%) were followed up for a mean period of 60.8 months. The outcome was assessed by means of pain visual analog scale (VAS) pain score, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and patient satisfaction questionnaire, and results were correlated to demographic (age, sex), comorbidity (Charlson Comorbidity Index, diabetes, depression, and history of lumbar spine surgery), and clinical (main preoperative complaint, preoperative VAS score, and ODI) factors.

Results

In terms of the VAS score, 106 patients (84.8%) exhibited improvement at follow-up. The corresponding ODI improvement rate was 69.6% (87 patients). The mean VAS and ODI differences were 5.1 and 29.1, respectively. One hundred two patients (81.6%) were satisfied with the results of the operation. Univariate analysis for possible prognostic factors revealed the significant influence of low-back pain on VAS score (p = 0.024) and ODI (p < 0.001) not improving, while the ODI was also affected by sex (females had a poorer outcome [p = 0.019]). In contrast, patient satisfaction was not related to any of the preoperative parameters recorded; nevertheless, it was strongly related to all functional measurements on follow-up.

Conclusions

Considering the methodological issues of such studies, particularly in elderly patients, the authors conclude that the ODI is more sensitive than the VAS score in assessing prognostic value and that patient satisfaction is difficult to prognosticate, underscoring the particularities that this population presents regarding functionality assessment. Considering the prognostic value of preoperative factors, a negative influence of low-back pain and female sex is reported.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Efstathios J. Boviatsis, Pantelis Stathis, Marios Themistocleous and Stylianos Gatzonis

Dystonia is a movement disorder notoriously difficult to treat. While primary dystonia is classically considered to respond well to deep brain stimulation (DBS), treatment of secondary dystonia yields variable results. Patient selection should be done on a case-by-case basis. Clearly, there is a need to accumulate additional information with regard to prognostic factors that may aid neurosurgeons in selecting those patients in whom the disorder is most likely to respond favorably to pallidal DBS.

The authors report the case of a 29-year-old man with secondary dystonia due to perinatal hypoxia. The most prominent symptom was what we have termed ectatocormia—that is, severe, fixed truncal hyperextension and retrocollis, exacerbated by phasic, twisting movements of the trunk and head. This made it impossible for the patient to maintain a normal upright posture or to walk. The patient underwent bilateral DBS of the globus pallidus internus (GPi), and the authors observed impressive improvement in motor abilities and function. The patient's body adopted the normal upright posture and he became able to walk again, 4 months after the commencement of GPi stimulation.

This report, along with others, emphasizes that the GPi as an ideal target for alleviating axial tonic symptoms. The presence of normal MR imaging findings, a phenotypical purity of predominantly dystonic symptoms, and a younger age seem to favor a positive outcome.