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Josef Zentner, Helmut K. Wolf, Christof Helmstaedter, Thomas Grunwald, Ales F. Aliashkevich, Otmar D. Wiestler, Christian E. Elger and Johannes Schramm

Object. The goal of this study was to define the incidence and clinical significance of amygdala sclerosis (AS) in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).

Methods. Surgical specimens of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus and the hippocampus excised from 71 patients who were treated for medically intractable TLE were quantitatively evaluated using a computer-assisted image-analysis system and compared with 10 normal autopsy specimens. Densities of neurons and reactive astrocytes in the patients with TLE were correlated with clinical, neuropsychological, and depth-electroencephalography data. The neuron counts of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus did not correlate with various presumed etiological factors of TLE including hereditary seizures, birth complications, febrile convulsions, traumatic brain injury, infections, seizure semiology, and epileptological outcome. However, patient age at surgery was significantly higher (mean difference 10 years) when AS was present, as compared with patients without AS (p < 0.01). Seizure origin, as determined by using amygdalohippocampal depth electrodes, did not correlate with the presence or absence of AS. Neuropsychologically, there was a significant correlation between the neuronal densities of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus and both preoperative visual recognition and postoperative deterioration of short-term verbal memory performance (p < 0.05).

Conclusions. Except for the relatively long history of epilepsy, the presence of AS is not associated with specific clinical or electrocorticographic features of mesial TLE. However, patients without AS are particularly at risk for deterioration of short-term verbal memory following amygdalohippocampectomy.

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Matthias Simon, Tjoung-Won Park, Sven Leuenroth, Volkmar H. J. Hans, Thomas Löning and Johannes Schramm

Object. In recent reports, 6 to 19% of meningiomas have been classified as atypical or anaplastic/malignant. Some atypical and anaplastic meningiomas appear to arise from benign tumors by progression. Telomerase activation has recently been associated with malignant progression of human tumors. The authors have investigated a series of benign, atypical, and anaplastic/malignant meningiomas for telomerase activity and expression of the telomerase catalytic subunit human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT).

Methods. A quantitative telomeric repeat amplification protocol was used to detect telomerase enzyme activity in seven (21%) of 34 benign, but in nine (75%) of 12 atypical and in seven (100%) of seven anaplastic/malignant meningiomas. Very high levels of telomerase activity were observed only in highly aggressive tumors. Messenger (m)RNA expression of the catalytic subunit hTERT was found in 11 (33%) of 33 benign, 12 (92%) of 13 atypical, and all seven anaplastic/malignant tumors. All telomerase-positive lesions were also positive for hTERT mRNA, whereas no telomerase activity was detected in six (21%) of 29 hTERT-positive tumors. This indicates that upregulation of hTERT is the rate-limiting step for telomerase activation in the majority of meningiomas. Expression of telomerase and hTERT was seen in all four tumors with gross brain invasion. All recurrent tumors or meningiomas recurring during follow up expressed hTERT.

Conclusions. The results are consistent with a role for telomerase activation during the development of malignancy in meningiomas. Hence, expression of telomerase activity and hTERT might prove to be potentially useful markers for the evaluation of these tumors.

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Johannes Schramm, Thomas Kral, Thomas Grunwald and Ingmar Blümcke

Object. The goal of this paper was to describe the clinical and surgical aspects of a group of patients suffering from drug-resistant neocortical temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), as well as seizure outcomes and factors affecting seizure outcomes in these patients.

Methods. This study was based on data prospectively collected and retrospectively evaluated. Sixty-two patients with neocortical TLE constituted the study population. Only patients who underwent corticectomies, lesionectomies, lateral anterior lobe resections, and/or multiple subpial transections were included. The pathological areas resected in these patients could be separated into three groups composed of 35 neoplastic lesions, 23 nonneoplastic lesions, and three nonlesional areas. The mean duration of follow-up review in these patients was 21.9 ± 14 months.

Outcomes were categorized according to Engel classes. Class I was found in 79% of the patients and Class II in 11%. Invasive presurgical evaluation was performed in 43% of the patients. There were only temporary complications (3.3% surgical and 1.6% neurological) and no deaths. In summary, lesions confirmed on histological examination were rarely found in patients with neocortical TLE. Low-grade tumors were the most commonly found lesions in these patients and the most common tumor was ganglioglioma. Outcome was best for those patients with neoplastic lesions and was independent of the duration of their seizures. Outcome was little influenced by the type of resection performed and was found to be as good as that achieved in patients with mesial TLE.

Conclusions. These results demonstrate that the concept of lateral or neocortical TLE as a distinct entity is useful. Surgery for neocortical TLE can be considered a viable treatment option that is associated with a low morbidity rate and good outcomes.

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Bernhard Meyer, Horst Urbach, Carlo Schaller and Johannes Schramm

Object. The authors' goal in this study was to challenge the proposed mechanism of the occlusive hyperemia theory, in which it is asserted that stagnating flow in the former feeding arteries of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) leads to parenchymal hypoperfusion or ischemia, from which postoperative edema and hemorrhage originate.

Methods. Cortical oxygen saturation (SaO2) was measured in 52 patients by using microspectrophotometry in areas adjacent to AVMs before and after resection. The appearance of the former feeding arteries was categorized as normal (Group A); moderately stagnating (Group B); and excessively stagnating (Group C) on postoperative angiographic fast-film series. Patients and SaO2 values were pooled accordingly and compared using analysis of variance and Duncan tests (p < 0.05). Angiographic stagnation times in former feeding arteries were correlated in a linear regression/correlation analysis with SaO2 data (p < 0.05). All values are given as the mean ± standard deviation.

The average median postoperative SaO2 in Group C (15 patients) was significantly higher than in Groups B (17 patients) and A (20 patients) (Group C, 75.2 ± 8.5; Group B, 67.5 ± 10.8; Group A, 67.1 ± 12 %SaO2), as was the average postoperative increase in SaO2 (Group C, 25.9 ± 14.9; Group B, 14.6 ± 14; Group A, 11.1 ± 14 %SaO2). Angiographically confirmed stagnation times were also significantly longer in Group C than in Group B (Group C, 5.6 ± 2.5; Group B, 1.3 ± 0.6 seconds). A significant correlation/regression analysis showed a clear trend toward higher postoperative SaO2 levels with increasing stagnation time.

Conclusions. Stagnating flow in former feeding arteries does not cause cortical ischemia, but its presence on angiographic studies is usually indicative of hyperperfusion in the surrounding brain tissue after AVM resection. In the context of the pathophysiology of AVMs extrapolations made from angiographically visible shunt flow to blood flow in the surrounding brain tissue must be regarded with caution.

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Johannes Schramm, Ales F. Aliashkevich and Thomas Grunwald

Object. The authors describe patient characteristics, surgical methods, complications, and outcome over time in a cohort of patients who underwent multiple subpial transection (MST) without concomitant cortical resection.

Methods. Twenty consecutive patients in whom drug-resistant epilepsy had been diagnosed a mean of 16 ± 9 years earlier (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) were treated with MST without cortical resection. The mean follow-up period was 49.3 ± 18.3 months (mean ± SD, median 58 months). At 12 months of follow up, two of the 20 patients were Engel Class I, one was Class II, six were Class III, and 11 were Class IV. At latest follow up, one patient was Engel Class I, one was Class II, seven were Class III, and 11 were Class IV.

According to an alternative five-tiered classification system, two outcomes were excellent, seven were good, one was fair, nine were poor, and one was worse. Outcome was found to be better in patients with no lesions observed on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and worse in those with large MST areas. Outcome had a tendency to change (this occurred in 13 of 20 cases). Five patients (25%) improved and seven (35%) deteriorated in Engel outcome class, and in one (5%) both developments occurred over time. Most outcome class changes occurred before the end of the 2nd year (nine), and four were observed in the 5th year. There where seven transient neurological deficits and four surgical complications. There was no permanent significant morbidity, and there were no deaths.

Conclusions. Forty-five percent of patients achieved a worthwhile improvement after pure MST, if Engel outcome Class III is deemed a worthwhile improvement. The alternative five-tiered classification resulted in 50% with worthwhile improvement (excellent, good, or fair outcome), 45% with poor, and 5% with worse outcome. Lesions that are detectable on MR imaging, and large MST areas are predictive of worse results. Significant intraoperative problems may arise, but this happens infrequently. There is a notable rate of transient morbidity but the rate of permanent morbidity is not significant.

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Rudolf A. Kristof, Ales F. Aliashkevich, Michael Schuster, Bernhard Meyer, Horst Urbach and Johannes Schramm

Object. The authors conducted a study to determine the results of decompressive surgery without fusion in selected patients who presented with radicular compression syndromes caused by degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis and in whom there was no evidence of hypermobility on flexion—extension radiographs.

Methods. The medical records and radiographs obtained in 49 patients were reviewed retrospectively. Clinical status was quantified by summing self-assessed Prolo Scale scores. All 49 patients (55% female, mean age 68.7 years) presented with leg pain accompanied by lumbalgia in 85.7% of the cases. Preoperatively the median sum of Prolo Scale scores was 4. The mean preoperative degree of forward vertebral displacement was 13.5% and was located at L-4 in 67% of the cases. Osseous decompression alone was performed in 53%, and an additional discectomy at the level of displacement was undertaken in the remaining patients because of herniated discs. Major complications (deep wound infection) occurred in 2%. During a mean follow-up period of 3.73 years, 10.2% of the patients underwent instrumentation-assisted lumbar fusion when decompression alone failed to resolve symptoms. At last follow up the median overall Prolo Scale score was 8. Excellent and good results were demonstrated in 73.5% of the patients. Prolonged back pain (r = 0.381) as well as the preoperative degree of displacement (r = 0.81) and disc space height (r = 0.424) influenced outcome (p ≤ 0.05); additional discectomy for simultaneous disc herniation at the displaced level did not influence outcome (p > 0.05).

Conclusions. These results appear to support a less invasive approach in this subgroup of elderly patients with degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis—induced radicular compression syndromes and without radiographically documented hypermobility. Additional discectomy for simultaneous disc herniation of the spondylolisthetic level did not adversely influence the outcome. Complication rates are minimized and fusion can eventually be performed should decompression alone fail. A prospective controlled study is required to confirm these results.

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Hans Clusmann, Johannes Schramm, Thomas Kral, Christoph Helmstaedter, Burkhard Ostertun, Rolf Fimmers, Dorothee Haun and Christian E. Elger

Object. It is unknown whether different resection strategies for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) produce alterations in seizure control or neuropsychological performance.

Methods. A series of 321 patients who underwent surgery for TLE between 1989 and 1997 was submitted to a uniand multifactorial analysis of clinical, electrophysiological, neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and surgical factors to determine independent predictors of outcome. Until 1993, most patients with TLE underwent standard anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL); beginning in 1993, surgical procedures were increasingly restricted to lesions detected on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and the presumed epileptogenic foci: for example, amygdalohippocampectomy (AH) or lesionectomy/corticectomy began to be used more often.

The mean follow-up duration in this study was 38 months. Two hundred twenty-seven patients were classified as seizure free (70.7%), and 36 patients had rare and nondisabling seizures (11.2%); these groups were summarized as having good seizure control (81.9%). Twenty-four patients attained more than 75% improvement (7.5%), and no worthwhile improvement was seen in 34 cases (10.6%); these groups were summarized as having unsatisfactory seizure control (18.1%).

On unifactorial analysis the following preoperative factors were associated with good seizure control (p < 0.05): single and concordant lateralizing focus on electroencephalography studies, low seizure frequency, absence of status epilepticus, concordant lateralizing memory deficit, clear abnormality on MR images, suspected ganglioglioma or dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNT), and absence of dysplasia on MR images. Stepwise logistic regression revealed a model containing five factors that were predictive for good seizure control (p < 0.1): 1) clear abnormality on MR images; 2) absence of status epilepticus; 3) MR imaging—confirmed ganglioglioma or DNT; 4) concordant lateralizing memory deficit; and 5) absence of dysplasia on MR images. Seizure outcome was mainly correlated with diagnosis and clinical factors. No significant differences were found regarding different resection types performed for comparable tumors. Neuropsychological testing revealed better postoperative results after limited resections compared with standard ATL, especially with regard to attention level, verbal memory, and calculated total neuropsychological performance.

Conclusions. Different strategies for surgical approaches in TLE result in equally good outcomes. Seizure outcome is mainly dependent on the diagnosis and clinical factors, whereas the neuropsychological results are more beneficial after resections limited to an epileptogenic lesion and focus.