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Jason S. Hauptman, Daniel S. Chow, Neil A. Martin and Michael W. Itagaki

Object

While research is important for the survival, growth, and expansion of neurosurgery, little work has been done to quantify the status and trends of neurosurgical publications. The purpose of this bibliometric study was to quantitatively analyze trends in neurosurgical publications, including changes in worldwide productivity, study methodology, subspecialty topic, and funding.

Methods

This was a retrospective bibliometric study using MEDLINE to record all publications between 1996 and 2009 by first authors affiliated with neurosurgical departments. Country of origin, MEDLINE-defined methodology, study topic, and funding sources (for US articles) were recorded. Linear regression was used to derive growth rates.

Results

Total articles numbered 53,425 during the study period, with leading global contributors including the US with 16,943 articles (31.7%) and Japan with 10,802 articles (20.2%). Countries demonstrating rapid growth in productivity included China (121.9 ± 9.98%/year, p < 0.001), South Korea (50.5 ± 4.7%/year, p < 0.001), India (19.4 ± 1.8%/year, p < 0.001), and Turkey (25.3 ± 2.8%/year, p < 0.001). While general research articles, case reports, and review articles have shown steady growth since 1996, clinical trials and randomized controlled trials have declined to 2004 levels. The greatest overall subspecialty growth was seen in spine surgery. Regarding funding, relative contribution of National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded publications decreased from 30.2% (290 of 959) to 22.5% (356 of 1229) between 1996 and 2009.

Conclusions

Neurosurgical publications demonstrate continued increases in productivity as well as in global expansion, although US contributions remain dominant. Two challenges that the neurosurgical community is facing include the preponderance of case reports and review articles and the relative decline in NIH funding for US neurosurgical publications, as productivity has outpaced government financial support.

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Justin A. Neira, Timothy H. Ung, Jennifer S. Sims, Hani R. Malone, Daniel S. Chow, Jorge L. Samanamud, George J. Zanazzi, Xiaotao Guo, Stephen G. Bowden, Binsheng Zhao, Sameer A. Sheth, Guy M. McKhann II, Michael B. Sisti, Peter Canoll, Randy S. D'Amico and Jeffrey N. Bruce

OBJECTIVE

Extent of resection is an important prognostic factor in patients undergoing surgery for glioblastoma (GBM). Recent evidence suggests that intravenously administered fluorescein sodium associates with tumor tissue, facilitating safe maximal resection of GBM. In this study, the authors evaluate the safety and utility of intraoperative fluorescein guidance for the prediction of histopathological alteration both in the contrast-enhancing (CE) regions, where this relationship has been established, and into the non-CE (NCE), diffusely infiltrated margins.

METHODS

Thirty-two patients received fluorescein sodium (3 mg/kg) intravenously prior to resection. Fluorescence was intraoperatively visualized using a Zeiss Pentero surgical microscope equipped with a YELLOW 560 filter. Stereotactically localized biopsy specimens were acquired from CE and NCE regions based on preoperative MRI in conjunction with neuronavigation. The fluorescence intensity of these specimens was subjectively classified in real time with subsequent quantitative image analysis, histopathological evaluation of localized biopsy specimens, and radiological volumetric assessment of the extent of resection.

RESULTS

Bright fluorescence was observed in all GBMs and localized to the CE regions and portions of the NCE margins of the tumors, thus serving as a visual guide during resection. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 84% of the patients with an average resected volume of 95%, and this rate was higher among patients for whom GTR was the surgical goal (GTR achieved in 93.1% of patients, average resected volume of 99.7%). Intraoperative fluorescein staining correlated with histopathological alteration in both CE and NCE regions, with positive predictive values by subjective fluorescence evaluation greater than 96% in NCE regions.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative administration of fluorescein provides an easily visualized marker for glioma pathology in both CE and NCE regions of GBM. These findings support the use of fluorescein as a microsurgical adjunct for guiding GBM resection to facilitate safe maximal removal.

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Tim E. Darsaut, Robert Fahed, R. Loch Macdonald, Adam S. Arthur, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Fuat Arikan, Daniel Roy, Alain Weill, Alain Bilocq, Jeremy L. Rempel, Michael M. Chow, Robert A. Ashforth, J. Max Findlay, Luis H. Castro-Afonso, Miguel Chagnon, Guylaine Gevry and Jean Raymond

OBJECTIVE

Ruptured intracranial aneurysms (RIAs) can be managed surgically or endovascularly. In this study, the authors aimed to measure the interobserver agreement in selecting the best management option for various patients with an RIA.

METHODS

The authors constructed an electronic portfolio of 42 cases of RIA in which an angiographic image along with a brief clinical vignette for each patient were displayed. Undisclosed to the responders was that the RIAs had been categorized as International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial (ISAT) (small, anterior-circulation, non–middle cerebral artery location, n = 18) and non-ISAT (n = 22) aneurysms; the non-ISAT group also included 2 basilar apex aneurysms for which a high number of endovascular choices was expected. The portfolio was sent to 132 clinicians who manage patients with RIAs and circulated to members of an American surgical association. Judges were asked to choose between surgical and endovascular management, to indicate their level of confidence in the choice of treatment on a quantitative 0–10 scale, and to determine whether they would include the patient in a randomized trial in which both treatments are compared. Eleven clinicians were asked to respond twice at least 1 month apart. Responses were analyzed using kappa statistics.

RESULTS

Eighty-five clinicians (58 cerebrovascular surgeons, 21 interventional neuroradiologists, and 6 interventional neurologists) answered the questionnaire. Overall, endovascular management was chosen more frequently (n = 2136 [59.8%] of 3570 answers). The proportions of decisions to clip were significantly higher for non-ISAT (50.8%) than for ISAT (26.2%) aneurysms (p = 0.0003). Interjudge agreement was only fair (kappa 0.210, 95% CI 0.158–0.276) for all cases and judges, despite high confidence levels (mean score > 8 for all cases). Agreement was no better within subgroups of clinicians with the same specialty, years of experience, or location of practice or across capability groups (ability to clip or coil, or both). When agreement was defined as > 80% of responders choosing the same option, agreement occurred for only 7 of 40 cases, all of which were ISAT aneurysms, for which coiling was preferred.

CONCLUSIONS

Agreement between clinicians regarding the best management option was infrequent but centered around coiling for some ISAT aneurysms. Surgical clipping was chosen more frequently for non-ISAT aneurysms than for ISAT aneurysms. Patients with such an aneurysm might be candidates for inclusion in randomized trials.