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Kyle A. Smith, Michael Salacz, and Paul J. Camarata

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Matthew R. MacEwan, Michael R. Talcott, Daniel W. Moran, and Eric C. Leuthardt


Instrumented spinal fusion continues to exhibit high failure rates in patients undergoing multilevel lumbar fusion or pseudarthrosis revision; with Grade II or higher spondylolisthesis; or in those possessing risk factors such as obesity, tobacco use, or metabolic disorders. Direct current (DC) electrical stimulation of bone growth represents a unique surgical adjunct in vertebral fusion procedures, yet existing spinal fusion stimulators are not optimized to enhance interbody fusion. To develop an advanced method of applying DC electrical stimulation to promote interbody fusion, a novel osteogenic spinal system capable of routing DC through rigid instrumentation and into the vertebral bodies was fabricated. A pilot study was designed to assess the feasibility of osteogenic instrumentation and compare the ability of osteogenic instrumentation to promote successful interbody fusion in vivo to standard spinal instrumentation with autograft.


Instrumented, single-level, posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) with autologous graft was performed at L4–5 in adult Toggenburg/Alpine goats, using both osteogenic spinal instrumentation (plus electrical stimulation) and standard spinal instrumentation (no electrical stimulation). At terminal time points (3 months, 6 months), animals were killed and lumbar spines were explanted for radiographic analysis using a SOMATOM Dual Source Definition CT Scanner and high-resolution Microcat II CT Scanner. Trabecular continuity, radiodensity within the fusion mass, and regional bone formation were examined to determine successful spinal fusion.


Quantitative analysis of average bone density in pedicle screw beds confirmed that electroactive pedicle screws used in the osteogenic spinal system focally enhanced bone density in instrumented vertebral bodies. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of high-resolution CT scans of explanted lumbar spines further demonstrated that the osteogenic spinal system induced solid bony fusion across the L4–5 disc space as early as 6 weeks postoperatively. In comparison, inactive spinal instrumentation with autograft was unable to promote successful interbody fusion by 6 months postoperatively.


Results of this study demonstrate that novel osteogenic spinal instrumentation supports interbody fusion through the focal delivery of DC electrical stimulation. With further technical development and scientific/clinical validation, osteogenic spinal instrumentation may offer a unique alternative to biological scaffolds and pharmaceutical adjuncts used in spinal fusion procedures.

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Donncha F. O'Brien, Tae Sung Park, Joan A. Puglisi, David R. Collins, and Eric C. Leuthardt

Object. The authors performed a long-term evaluation of gait status to determine the frequency with which orthopedic operations for cerebral palsy are conducted before and after selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) and the relation between pre- and post-SDR orthopedic surgery and age.

Methods. Fifty-two patients with spastic quadriplegia were prospectively followed for 5 to 9 years. All children were evaluated and underwent SDR at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Preoperative scores for gait function and details of previous orthopedic procedures were recorded for two age groups: those 2 to 5 (Group 1) and those 6 to 14 years of age (Group 2). Data were collected from parents who completed a questionnaire a mean of 7.5 years after SDR. Relations between gait status and the number/type of pre- and post-SDR orthopedic procedures, rate of improvement after SDR, benefit of operation according to parents, and return of spasticity were analyzed.

Forty-nine percent of patients in Group 1 and 25% of those in Group 2 had improved gait scores. The interaction between pre- or post-SDR time frame and walking mode was statistically significant (p = 0.004). Among those children who had not undergone orthopedic surgery before SDR, the incidence of surgery post-SDR was higher in the older children (Group 2) than the younger children (Group 1 [70% compared with 34%]). Parents of 75% of the Group 1 patients and 88% of the Group 2 patients felt that their children benefited from SDR.

Conclusions. The results of this study highlight the effect of SDR on gait status in children with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The percentage of patients needing orthopedic operations was not as high as reported previously. Parents indicated that SDR was beneficial to their children.

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Carl D. Hacker, Jarod L. Roland, Albert H. Kim, Joshua S. Shimony, and Eric C. Leuthardt

Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) is a well-established method for studying intrinsic connectivity and mapping the topography of functional networks in the human brain. In the clinical setting, rs-fMRI has been used to define functional topography, typically language and motor systems, in the context of preoperative planning for neurosurgery. Intraoperative mapping of critical speech and motor areas with electrocortical stimulation (ECS) remains standard practice, but preoperative noninvasive mapping has the potential to reduce operative time and provide functional localization when awake mapping is not feasible. Task-based fMRI has historically been used for this purpose, but it can be limited by the young age of the patient, cognitive impairment, poor cooperation, and need for sedation. Resting-state fMRI allows reliable analysis of all functional networks with a single study and is inherently independent of factors affecting task performance. In this review, the authors provide a summary of the theory and methods for resting-state network mapping. They provide case examples illustrating clinical implementation and discuss limitations of rs-fMRI and review available data regarding performance in comparison to ECS. Finally, they discuss novel opportunities for future clinical applications and prospects for rs-fMRI beyond mapping of regions to avoid during surgery but, instead, as a tool to guide novel network-based therapies.

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Eric C. Leuthardt, Zac Freudenberg, David Bundy, and Jarod Roland


There is a growing interest in the use of recording from the surface of the brain, known as electrocorticography (ECoG), as a practical signal platform for brain-computer interface application. The signal has a combination of high signal quality and long-term stability that may be the ideal intermediate modality for future application. The research paradigm for studying ECoG signals uses patients requiring invasive monitoring for seizure localization. The implanted arrays span cortex areas on the order of centimeters. Currently, it is unknown what level of motor information can be discerned from small regions of human cortex with microscale ECoG recording.


In this study, a patient requiring invasive monitoring for seizure localization underwent concurrent implantation with a 16-microwire array (1-mm electrode spacing) placed over primary motor cortex. Microscale activity was recorded while the patient performed simple contra- and ipsilateral wrist movements that were monitored in parallel with electromyography. Using various statistical methods, linear and nonlinear relationships between these microcortical changes and recorded electromyography activity were defined.


Small regions of primary motor cortex (< 5 mm) carry sufficient information to separate multiple aspects of motor movements (that is, wrist flexion/extension and ipsilateral/contralateral movements).


These findings support the conclusion that small regions of cortex investigated by ECoG recording may provide sufficient information about motor intentions to support brain-computer interface operations in the future. Given the small scale of the cortical region required, the requisite implanted array would be minimally invasive in terms of surgical placement of the electrode array.

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David Y. A. Dadey, Ashwin A. Kamath, Eric C. Leuthardt, and Matthew D. Smyth

Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) is a rare tumor occurring almost exclusively in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex. Although open resection remains the standard therapy, complication rates remain high. To minimize morbidity, less invasive approaches, such as endoscope-assisted resection, radiosurgery, and chemotherapy with mTOR pathway inhibitors, are also used to treat these lesions. Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a relatively new modality that is increasingly used to treat a variety of intracranial lesions. In this report, the authors describe two pediatric cases of SEGA that were treated with LITT. In both patients the lesion responded well to this treatment modality, with tumor shrinkage observed on follow-up MRI. These cases highlight the potential of LITT to serve as a viable minimally invasive therapeutic approach to the management of SEGAs in the pediatric population.

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Alexandra J. Golby, Eric C. Leuthardt, Hugues Duffau, and Mitchel S. Berger

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Eric C. Leuthardt, Gerwin Schalk, Jarod Roland, Adam Rouse, and Daniel W. Moran

The notion that a computer can decode brain signals to infer the intentions of a human and then enact those intentions directly through a machine is becoming a realistic technical possibility. These types of devices are known as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). The evolution of these neuroprosthetic technologies could have significant implications for patients with motor disabilities by enhancing their ability to interact and communicate with their environment. The cortical physiology most investigated and used for device control has been brain signals from the primary motor cortex. To date, this classic motor physiology has been an effective substrate for demonstrating the potential efficacy of BCI-based control. However, emerging research now stands to further enhance our understanding of the cortical physiology underpinning human intent and provide further signals for more complex brain-derived control. In this review, the authors report the current status of BCIs and detail the emerging research trends that stand to augment clinical applications in the future.

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David Y. A. Dadey, Ashwin A. Kamath, Matthew D. Smyth, Michael R. Chicoine, Eric C. Leuthardt, and Albert H. Kim


The precision of laser probe insertion for interstitial thermal therapy of deep-seated lesions is limited by the method of stereotactic guidance. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of customized STarFix 3D-printed stereotactic platforms to guide laser probe insertion into mesiotemporal and posterior fossa targets.


The authors conducted a retrospective review of 5 patients (12–55 years of age) treated with laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) in which STarFix platforms were used for probe insertion. Bone fiducials were implanted in each patient's skull, and subsequent CT scans were used to guide the design of each platform and incorporate desired treatment trajectories. Once generated, the platforms were mounted on the patients' craniums and used to position the laser probe during surgery. Placement of the laser probe and the LITT procedure were monitored with intraoperative MRI. Perioperative and follow-up MRI were performed to identify and monitor changes in target lesions.


Accurate placement of the laser probe was observed in all cases. For all patients, thermal ablation was accomplished without intraoperative complications. Of the 4 patients with symptomatic lesions, 2 experienced complete resolution of symptoms, and 1 reported improved symptoms compared with baseline.


Customized stereotactic platforms were seamlessly incorporated into the authors' previously established LITT workflow and allowed for accurate treatment delivery.

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Jarod L. Roland, Richard L. Price, Ashwin A. Kamath, S. Hassan Akbari, Eric C. Leuthardt, Brandon A. Miller, and Matthew D. Smyth

The authors describe 2 cases of triventricular hydrocephalus initially presenting as aqueductal stenosis that subsequently developed tumors of the pineal and tectal region. The first case resembled late-onset idiopathic aqueductal stenosis on serial imaging. Subsequent imaging revealed a new tumor in the pineal region causing mass effect on the midbrain. The second case presented in a more typical pattern of aqueductal stenosis during infancy. On delayed follow-up imaging, an enlarging tectal mass was discovered. In both cases hydrocephalus was successfully treated by cerebrospinal fluid diversion prior to tumor presentation. The differential diagnoses, diagnostic testing, and treatment course for these unusual cases are discussed. The importance of follow-up MRI in cases of idiopathic aqueductal stenosis is emphasized by these exemplar cases.