Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are devices that acquire and transform neural signals into actions intended by the user. These devices have been a rapidly developing area of research over the past 2 decades, and the military has made significant contributions to these efforts. Presently, BCIs can provide humans with rudimentary control over computer systems and robotic devices. Continued advances in BCI technology are especially pertinent in the military setting, given the potential for therapeutic applications to restore function after combat injury, and for the evolving use of BCI devices in military operations and performance enhancement. Neurosurgeons will play a central role in the further development and implementation of BCIs, but they will also have to navigate important ethical questions in the translation of this highly promising technology. In the following commentary the authors discuss realistic expectations for BCI use in the military and underscore the intersection of the neurosurgeon's civic and clinical duty to care for those who serve their country.
Ivan S. Kotchetkov, Brian Y. Hwang, Geoffrey Appelboom, Christopher P. Kellner and E. Sander Connolly Jr.
Amy A. Ishkanian, Margy E. McCullough-Hicks, Geoffrey Appelboom, Matthew A. Piazza, Brian Y. Hwang, Samuel S. Bruce, Lindsay M. Hannan, E. Sander Connolly, Sean D. Lavine and Philip M. Meyers
Outcome after intraarterial therapy (IAT) for acute ischemic stroke remains variable, suggesting that improved patient selection is needed to better identify patients likely to benefit from treatment. The authors evaluate the predictive accuracies of the Houston IAT (HIAT) and the Totaled Health Risks in Vascular Events (THRIVE) scores in an independent cohort and review the existing literature detailing additional predictive factors to be used in patient selection for IAT. They reviewed their center's endovascular records from January 2004 to July 2010 and identified patients who had acute ischemic stroke and underwent IAT. They calculated individual HIAT and THRIVE scores using patient age, admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, admission glucose level, and medical history. The scores' predictive accuracies for good outcome (discharge modified Rankin Scale score ≤ 3) were analyzed using receiver operating characteristics analysis. The THRIVE score predicts poor outcome after IAT with reasonable accuracy and may perform better than the HIAT score. Nevertheless, both measures may have significant clinical utility; further validation in larger cohorts that accounts for differences in patient demographic characteristics, variation in time-to-treatment, and center preferences with respect to IAT modalities is needed. Additional patient predictive factors have been reported but not yet incorporated into predictive scales; the authors suggest the need for additional data analysis to determine the independent predictive value of patient admission NIHSS score, age, admission hyperglycemia, patient comorbidities, thrombus burden, collateral flow, time to treatment, and baseline neuroimaging findings.
Brian Y. Hwang, Samuel S. Bruce, Geoffrey Appelboom, Matthew A. Piazza, Amanda M. Carpenter, Paul R. Gigante, Christopher P. Kellner, Andrew F. Ducruet, Michael A. Kellner, Rajeev Deb-Sen, Kerry A. Vaughan, Philip M. Meyers and E. Sander Connolly Jr.
Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) associated with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is an independent predictor of poor outcome. Clinical methods for evaluating IVH, however, are not well established. This study sought to determine the best IVH grading scale by evaluating the predictive accuracies of IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores in an independent cohort of ICH patients with IVH. Subacute IVH dynamics as well as the impact of external ventricular drain (EVD) placement on IVH and outcome were also investigated.
A consecutive cohort of 142 primary ICH patients with IVH was admitted to Columbia University Medical Center between February 2009 and February 2011. Baseline demographics, clinical presentation, and hospital course were prospectively recorded. Admission CT scans performed within 24 hours of onset were reviewed for ICH location, hematoma volume, and presence of IVH. Intraventricular hemorrhage was categorized according to IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores. For each patient, the last scan performed within 6 days of ictus was similarly evaluated. Outcomes at discharge were assessed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine the predictive accuracies of the grading scales for poor outcome (mRS score ≥ 3).
Seventy-three primary ICH patients (51%) had IVH. Median admission IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores were 13, 6, and 8, respectively. Median IVH, Graeb and LeRoux scores decreased to 9 (p = 0.005), 4 (p = 0.002), and 4 (p = 0.003), respectively, within 6 days of ictus. Poor outcome was noted in 55 patients (75%). Areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve were similar among the IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores (0.745, 0.743, and 0.744, respectively) and within 6 days postictus (0.765, 0.722, 0.723, respectively). Moreover, the IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores had similar maximum Youden Indices both at admission (0.515 vs 0.477 vs 0.440, respectively) and within 6 days postictus (0.515 vs 0.339 vs 0.365, respectively). Patients who received EVDs had higher mean IVH volumes (23 ± 26 ml vs 9 ± 11 ml, p = 0.003) and increased incidence of Glasgow Coma Scale scores < 8 (67% vs 38%, p = 0.015) and hydrocephalus (82% vs 50%, p = 0.004) at admission but had similar outcome as those who did not receive an EVD.
The IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores predict outcome well with similarly good accuracy in ICH patients with IVH when assessed at admission and within 6 days after hemorrhage. Therefore, any of one of the scores would be equally useful for assessing IVH severity and risk-stratifying ICH patients with regard to outcome. These results suggest that EVD placement may be beneficial for patients with severe IVH, who have particularly poor prognosis at admission, but a randomized clinical trial is needed to conclusively demonstrate its therapeutic value.