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David R. Hallan, Alyssa M. Nguyen, Menglu Liang, Sarah McNutt, Madison Goss, Erin Bell, Shreela Natarajan, Andrea Nichol, Christopher Messner, Elizabeth Bracken, and Michael Glantz

OBJECTIVE

Abstracts act as short, efficient sources of new information. This intentional brevity potentially diminishes scientific reliability of described findings. The authors’ objective was to 1) determine the proportion of abstracts submitted to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) annual meeting that subsequently are published in peer-reviewed journals, 2) assess AANS abstract publications for publication bias, and 3) assess AANS abstract publications for differing results.

METHODS

The authors screened all abstracts from the annual 2012 AANS meeting and identified their corresponding full-text publication, if applicable, by searching PubMed/MEDLINE. The abstract and subsequent publication were analyzed for result type (positive or negative) and differences in results.

RESULTS

Overall, 49.3% of abstracts were published as papers. Many (18.1%) of these published papers differed in message from their original abstract. Publication bias exists, with positive abstracts being 40% more likely to be published than negative abstracts. The top journals in which the full-text articles were published were Journal of Neurosurgery (13.1%), Neurosurgery (7.3%), and World Neurosurgery (5.4%).

CONCLUSIONS

Here, the authors demonstrate that alone, abstracts are not reliable sources of information. Many abstracts ultimately remain unpublished; therefore, they do not attain a level of scientific scrutiny that merits alteration of clinical care. Furthermore, many that are published have differing results or conclusions. In addition, positive publication bias exists, as positive abstracts are more likely to be published than negative abstracts.

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M. Benjamin Larkin, Erin K. M. Graves, Jason H. Boulter, Nicholas S. Szuflita, R. Michael Meyer, Michael E. Porambo, John J. Delaney, and Randy S. Bell

OBJECTIVE

There are limited data concerning the long-term functional outcomes of patients with penetrating brain injury. Reports from civilian cohorts are small because of the high reported mortality rates (as high as 90%). Data from military populations suggest a better prognosis for penetrating brain injury, but previous reports are hampered by analyses that exclude the point of injury. The purpose of this study was to provide a description of the long-term functional outcomes of those who sustain a combat-related penetrating brain injury (from the initial point of injury to 24 months afterward).

METHODS

This study is a retrospective review of cases of penetrating brain injury in patients who presented to the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, from January 2010 to March 2013. The primary outcome of interest was Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score at 6, 12, and 24 months from date of injury.

RESULTS

A total of 908 cases required neurosurgical consultation during the study period, and 80 of these cases involved US service members with penetrating brain injury. The mean admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 8.5 (SD 5.56), and the mean admission Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 26.6 (SD 10.2). The GOS score for the cohort trended toward improvement at each time point (3.6 at 6 months, 3.96 at 24 months, p > 0.05). In subgroup analysis, admission GCS score ≤ 5, gunshot wound as the injury mechanism, admission ISS ≥ 26, and brain herniation on admission CT head were all associated with worse GOS scores at all time points. Excluding those who died, functional improvement occurred regardless of admission GCS score (p < 0.05). The overall mortality rate for the cohort was 21%.

CONCLUSIONS

Good functional outcomes were achieved in this population of severe penetrating brain injury in those who survived their initial resuscitation. The mortality rate was lower than observed in civilian cohorts.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010