Tremulous voice is a characteristic feature of a multitude of movement disorders, but when it occurs in individuals diagnosed with essential tremor, it is referred to as essential vocal tremor (EVT). For individuals with EVT, their tremulous voice is associated with significant social embarrassment and in severe cases may result in the discontinuation of employment and hobbies. Management of EVT is extremely difficult, and current behavioral and medical interventions for vocal tremor result in suboptimal outcomes. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been proposed as a potential therapeutic avenue for EVT, but few studies can be identified that have systematically examined improvements in EVT following DBS. The authors describe a case of awake bilateral DBS targeting the ventral intermediate nucleus for a patient suffering from severe voice and arm tremor. They also present their comprehensive, multidisciplinary methodology for definitive treatment of EVT via DBS. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time comprehensive intraoperative voice evaluation has been used to guide microelectrode/stimulator placement, as well as the first time that standard pre- and post-DBS assessments have been conducted, demonstrating the efficacy of this tailored DBS approach.
Allen L. Ho, Elizabeth Erickson-Direnzo, Arjun V. Pendharkar, Chih-Kwang Sung and Casey H. Halpern
Allen L. Ho, Anne-Mary N. Salib, Arjun V. Pendharkar, Eric S. Sussman, William J. Giardino and Casey H. Halpern
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a difficult to treat condition with a significant global public health and cost burden. The nucleus accumbens (NAc) has been implicated in AUD and identified as an ideal target for deep brain stimulation (DBS). There are promising preclinical animal studies of DBS for alcohol consumption as well as some initial human clinical studies that have shown some promise at reducing alcohol-related cravings and, in some instances, achieving long-term abstinence. In this review, the authors discuss the evidence and concepts supporting the role of the NAc in AUD, summarize the findings from published NAc DBS studies in animal models and humans, and consider the challenges and propose future directions for neuromodulation of the NAc for the treatment of AUD.
Allen L. Ho, Eric S. Sussman, Arjun V. Pendharkar, Dan E. Azagury, Cara Bohon and Casey H. Halpern
Obesity is one of the most serious public health concerns in the US. While bariatric surgery has been shown to be successful for treatment of morbid obesity for those who have undergone unsuccessful behavioral modification, its associated risks and rates of relapse are not insignificant. There exists a neurological basis for the binge-like feeding behavior observed in morbid obesity that is believed to be due to dysregulation of the reward circuitry. The authors present a review of the evidence of the neuroanatomical basis for obesity, the potential neural targets for deep brain stimulation (DBS), as well as a rationale for DBS and future trial design. Identification of an appropriate patient population that would most likely benefit from this type of therapy is essential. There are also significant cost and ethical considerations for such a neuromodulatory intervention designed to alter maladaptive behavior. Finally, the authors present a consolidated set of inclusion criteria and study end points that should serve as the basis for any trial of DBS for obesity.
Allen L. Ho, Yagmur Muftuoglu, Arjun V. Pendharkar, Eric S. Sussman, Brenda E. Porter, Casey H. Halpern and Gerald A. Grant
Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) has increased in popularity for localization of epileptogenic zones in drug-resistant epilepsy because safety, accuracy, and efficacy have been well established in both adult and pediatric populations. Development of robot-guidance technology has greatly enhanced the efficiency of this procedure, without sacrificing safety or precision. To date there have been very limited reports of the use of this new technology in children. The authors present their initial experience using the ROSA platform for robot-guided SEEG in a pediatric population.
Between February 2016 and October 2017, 20 consecutive patients underwent robot-guided SEEG with the ROSA robotic guidance platform as part of ongoing seizure localization and workup for medically refractory epilepsy of several different etiologies. Medical and surgical history, imaging and trajectory plans, as well as operative records were analyzed retrospectively for surgical accuracy, efficiency, safety, and epilepsy outcomes.
A total of 222 leads were placed in 20 patients, with an average of 11.1 leads per patient. The mean total case time (± SD) was 297.95 (± 52.96) minutes and the mean operating time per lead was 10.98 minutes/lead, with improvements in total (33.36 minutes/lead vs 21.76 minutes/lead) and operative (13.84 minutes/lead vs 7.06 minutes/lead) case times/lead over the course of the study. The mean radial error was 1.75 (± 0.94 mm). Clinically useful data were obtained from SEEG in 95% of cases, and epilepsy surgery was indicated and performed in 95% of patients. In patients who underwent definitive epilepsy surgery with at least a 3-month follow-up, 50% achieved an Engel class I result (seizure freedom). There were no postoperative complications associated with SEEG placement and monitoring.
In this study, the authors demonstrate that rapid adoption of robot-guided SEEG is possible even at a SEEG-naïve institution, with minimal learning curve. Use of robot guidance for SEEG can lead to significantly decreased operating times while maintaining safety, the overall goals of identification of epileptogenic zones, and improved epilepsy outcomes.
Allen L. Ho, Austin Y. Feng, Lily H. Kim, Arjun V. Pendharkar, Eric S. Sussman, Casey H. Halpern and Gerald A. Grant
Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) is an intracranial diagnostic measure that has grown in popularity in the United States as outcomes data have demonstrated its benefits and safety. The main uses of SEEG include 1) exploration of deep cortical/sulcal structures; 2) bilateral recordings; and 3) 3D mapping of epileptogenic zones. While SEEG has gradually been accepted for treatment in adults, there is less consensus on its utility in children. In this literature review, the authors seek to describe the current state of SEEG with a focus on the more recent technology-enabled surgical techniques and demonstrate its efficacy in the pediatric epilepsy population.
Allen L. Ho, Eric S. Sussman, Arjun V. Pendharkar, Scheherazade Le, Alessandra Mantovani, Alaine C. Keebaugh, David R. Drover, Gerald A. Grant, Max Wintermark and Casey H. Halpern
MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) is a minimally invasive method for thermal destruction of benign or malignant tissue that has been used for selective amygdalohippocampal ablation for the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy. The authors report their initial experience adopting a real-time MRI-guided stereotactic platform that allows for completion of the entire procedure in the MRI suite.
Between October 2014 and May 2016, 17 patients with mesial temporal sclerosis were selected by a multidisciplinary epilepsy board to undergo a selective amygdalohippocampal ablation for temporal lobe epilepsy using MRgLITT. The first 9 patients underwent standard laser ablation in 2 phases (operating room [OR] and MRI suite), whereas the next 8 patients underwent laser ablation entirely in the MRI suite with the ClearPoint platform. A checklist specific to the real-time MRI-guided laser amydalohippocampal ablation was developed and used for each case. For both cohorts, clinical and operative information, including average case times and accuracy data, was collected and analyzed.
There was a learning curve associated with using this real-time MRI-guided system. However, operative times decreased in a linear fashion, as did total anesthesia time. In fact, the total mean patient procedure time was less in the MRI cohort (362.8 ± 86.6 minutes) than in the OR cohort (456.9 ± 80.7 minutes). The mean anesthesia time was significantly shorter in the MRI cohort (327.2 ± 79.9 minutes) than in the OR cohort (435.8 ± 78.4 minutes, p = 0.02).
The real-time MRI platform for MRgLITT can be adopted in an expedient manner. Completion of MRgLITT entirely in the MRI suite may lead to significant advantages in procedural times.