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Steven G. Ojemann, Mitchel S. Berger, Ettore Lettich and George A. Ojemann

Object. The authors examined the localization of language sites and the frequency of naming errors at these sites in a population of children undergoing electrical stimulation mapping during surgeries in which epileptic foci and dominant hemisphere neoplasms were resected. The frequency with which essential language sites were found (that is, “the frequency of language sites”) in children was compared with that of a population of adults who had undergone this procedure, to assess the relationship of age to the distribution of essential areas for language.

Methods. The results of electrical stimulation mapping to determine sites of naming and speech arrest in 26 children ranging in ages from 4 to 16 years are presented in this report. Mapping was performed in the intraoperative setting in eight patients and in the extraoperative setting, by stimulation across a subdural grid, in 18 patients. The frequency and distribution of essential language areas were analyzed in populations of different ages and according to the method used to obtain the map.

Considerable variability was found in the localization of language sites. When the language site distribution in pediatric patients was compared with the language site distribution found previously in a population of patients older than 16 years of age, a relative paucity of language sites was found in all perisylvian cortices in the younger age group. This relationship was also found within the group of patients 16 years of age and younger, when segregated into two groups: those patients 8 years of age or younger, and those patients between 9 and 16 years of age. These findings are relevant to theories of the intrahemispheric organization of the cortex devoted to language function.

Conclusions. The differences found between groups of younger and older patients in the frequencies of sites where stimulation produces naming errors was identified suggests the possibility that, with advancing age, maturational processes contribute new foci of cortex essential for language.

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Anthony M. Avellino, Mitchel S. Berger, Robert C. Rostomily, C. M. Shaw and George A. Ojemann

✓ The authors report the results obtained in 11 patients with tuberous sclerosis (TS) who underwent cortical resection surgery for medically intractable epilepsy. Patients' ages at time of surgery ranged from 3 to 46 years (mean 19.6 years). Preoperative epileptiform electroencephalographic abnormalities were focal spike wave discharges in six patients (55%), multifocal in four patients (36%), and generalized in one patient (9%). In the multifocal and generalized groups, all patients (45%) were evaluated by means of subdural grid and strip electrode recordings, whereas electrophysiological localization in the remaining patients was derived from ictal and interictal scalp recordings. The seizure foci were found to be extratemporal in six patients (55%) and temporal in five patients (45%). Surgical intervention consisted of craniotomy and seizure foci resection guided by electrocorticographic monitoring and functional mapping in five awake (45%) and six asleep (55%) patients. Neuropathological examination of the resected seizure foci revealed cortical tubers in eight patients and diffuse gliosis in three patients. Follow up ranged from 8 to 127 months (mean 35 months). Six patients (55%) were seizure free, half of whom were not receiving antiepileptic drugs (AEDs); three patients (27%) had a greater than 70% reduction in seizure frequency, although they required AEDs; one patient (9%) had a 50% temporary reduction in seizure frequency during the initial 6-month postoperative period; and one patient (9%) was lost to follow-up study. From this small but adequately followed patient population with TS, the authors conclude that cortical resection of seizure foci tailored to electrocorticographic findings and functional mapping is encouraging for this difficult to manage patient population with medically intractable epilepsy.

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Mitchel S. Berger, Saadi Ghatan, Michael M. Haglund, Jill Dobbins and George A. Ojemann

✓ Adults and children with low-grade gliomas often present with medically refractory epilepsy. Currently, controversy exists regarding the need for intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG) to identify and, separately, resect seizure foci versus tumor removal alone to yield maximum seizure control in this patient population. Forty-five patients with low-grade gliomas and intractable epilepsy were retrospectively analyzed with respect to preoperative seizure frequency and duration, number of antiepileptic drugs, intraoperative ECoG data (single versus multiple foci), histology of resected seizure foci, and postoperative control of seizures with or without antiepileptic drugs.

Multiple versus single seizure foci were more likely to be associated with a longer preoperative duration of epilepsy. Of the 45 patients studied, 24 were no longer taking antiepileptic drugs and were seizure-free (mean follow-up interval 54 months). Seventeen patients, who all had complete control of their seizures, remained on antiepileptic drugs at lower doses (mean follow-up interval 44 months); seven of these patients were seizure-free postoperatively, yet the referring physician was reluctant to taper the antiepileptic drugs. Four patients continued to have seizures while receiving antiepileptic drugs, although at a reduced frequency and severity. In this series 41% of the adults versus 85% of the children were seizure-free while no longer receiving antiepileptic drugs, with mean postoperative follow-up periods of 50 and 56 months, respectively. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.016). Therefore, based on this experience and in comparison with numerous retrospective studies involving similar patients, ECoG is advocated, especially in children and in any patient with a long-standing seizure disorder, to maximize seizure control while minimizing or abolishing the need for postoperative antiepileptic drugs.

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Webster H. Pilcher, Daniel L. Silbergeld, Mitchel S. Berger and George A. Ojemann

✓ Gangliogliomas are indolent neoplasms that are often associated with long-standing intractable seizures. The seizure-free outcome following ganglioglioma resection alone (or “lesionectomy”) has been generally favorable, ranging in most series from 50% to 65%. Thus, the value of resection of epileptogenic cortex in addition to tumor with regard to seizure outcome has been the subject of controversy. The authors describe a series of 12 patients with frontal or temporal lobe gangliogliomas associated with long-standing intractable seizures. In these patients, intraoperative electrocorticography was used to guide the resection of epileptogenic cortex along with tumor. Functional brain mapping, interictal and ictal monitoring of seizures, as well as thorough neuropsychological assessments were performed prior to resection in all cases. Outcome with regard to seizures, tumor recurrence, and neurological deficits was assessed with a mean follow-up period of 3.1 years. There was universal freedom from seizures postoperatively in 11 patients in whom complete or near-complete resection of epileptogenic cortex was achieved. In one patient in whom complete tumor resection and subtotal removal of epileptogenic cortex was achieved, a 95% reduction in seizure frequency was identified. No tumor recurrence or neurological deficits were observed. In a subset of four patients, neuropsychological and cognitive function were evaluated pre- and postoperatively. In these four, a clear trend toward improvement was noted in most functions. Thus, resection of epileptogenic cortex along with tumor may improve seizure outcome in selected patients with tumor-associated epilepsy without engendering identifiable neurological or cognitive deficits attributable to the incremental resection.

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Michael M. Haglund, Mitchel S. Berger, Dennis D. Kunkel, JoAnn E. Franck, Saadi Ghatan and George A. Ojemann

✓ The role of specific neuronal populations in epileptic foci was studied by comparing epileptic and nonepileptic cortex removed from patients with low-grade gliomas. Epileptic and nearby (within 1 to 2 cm) nonepileptic temporal lobe neocortex was identified using electrocorticography. Cortical specimens taken from four patients identified as epileptic and nonepileptic were all void of tumor infiltration. Somatostatin- and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABAergic)-immunoreactive neurons were identified and counted. Although there was no significant difference in the overall cell count, the authors found a significant decrease in both somatostatin- and GABAergic-immunoreactive neurons (74% and 51 %, respectively) in the epileptic cortex compared to that in nonepileptic cortex from the same patient. It is suggested that these findings demonstrate changes in neuronal subpopulations that may account for the onset and propagation of epileptiform activity in patients with low-grade gliomas.

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Robert C. Rostomily, Mitchel S. Berger, George A. Ojemann and Ettore Lettich

✓ The supplementary motor area (SMA) is a region located within each cerebral hemisphere at the posterior mesial border of the frontal lobe adjacent to the falx. The functional significance of this area has been somewhat unclear, and information regarding its influence on motor output has largely been based on evoked responses to direct stimulation in primates and humans. In this series of patients with primary and metastatic tumors involving the dominant hemisphere SMA, a distinct pattern of postoperative deficits and recovery has emerged which emphasizes the role of this critical area in the initiation of motor activity, including speech. Based upon this analysis, ablation of this region after first identifying the primary motor cortex may be accomplished without risk of permanent loss of motor activity or speech function, despite the initial severe deficits.

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Mitchel S. Berger, Wendy A. Cohen and George A. Ojemann

✓ Brain maps derived intraoperatively from patients undergoing tumor resection were correlated retrospectively with magnetic resonance (MR) images with respect to the precise localization of the motor cortex in an attempt to identify useful preoperative MR imaging landmarks that correspond to functional brain regions. Superior axial T2-weighted MR images consistently localized the central sulcus, whereas parasagittal and far-lateral sagittal images readily identified the rolandic (sensorimotor) cortex, as a functional unit, based on the cingulate-marginal sulcus and insula, respectively. It is therefore concluded that multiplanar MR images may serve as a useful preoperative planning aid prior to removing intrinsic brain tumors within or adjacent to the motor cortex.

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Peter D. LeRoux, Mitchel S. Berger, George A. Ojemann, Keith Wang and Laurence A. Mack

✓ Twenty-two patients with primary or metastatic brain tumors were evaluated with computerized tomography (CT) and intraoperative ultrasound. Tumor volume was estimated using a geometric formula based on CT and intraoperative ultrasound measurements. In most cases, tumor margins were marked with indigo carmine injected by ventricular cannula or with Silastic ventricular catheters placed under ultrasonographic control. Nine tumors had previously been operated on and irradiated (Group A). In this group, intraoperative ultrasound tended to overestimate the tumor volume compared to CT (intraoperative ultrasound findings 141.39% ± 37.73% of CT findings (mean ± standard deviation)). Sixteen patients were operated on for the first time (Group B), and in this group the volume estimates were comparable (intraoperative ultrasound findings 101.69% ± 24.65% of CT findings). The difference between the means was statistically significant (p < 0.01). Ultrasonography improved intraoperative delineation of tumor margins, as depicted by CT, thus maximizing the extent of resection; however, with recurrent tumors, intraoperative ultrasound tended to overestimate the tumor volume. Gliosis may account for this difference.