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Tingting Ying, Parthasarathy Thirumala, Aalap Shah, Tara Nikonow, Kelley Wichman, Maura Holmes, Barry Hirsch, Yuefang Chang, Paul Gardner, Miguel Habeych, Donald J. Crammond, Lois Burkhart, Michael Horowitz and Jeffrey Balzer

Object

The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and discuss the pathogenesis of high-frequency hearing loss (HFHL) after microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS).

Methods

Preoperative and postoperative audiogram data and brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) from 94 patients who underwent MVD for HFS were analyzed. Pure tone audiometry at 0.25–2 kHz, 4 kHz, and 8 kHz was calculated for all individuals pre- and postoperatively ipsilateral and contralaterally. Intraoperative neurophysiological data were reviewed independently. An HFHL was defined as a change in pure tone audiometry of more than 10 dB at frequencies of 4 and 8 kHz.

Results

The incidence of HFHL was 50.00% and 25.53% ipsilateral and contralateral to the side of surgery, respectively. The incidence of HFHL adjusted for conductive and nonserviceable hearing loss was 26.6% ipsilaterally. The incidence of HFHL at 4 and 8 kHz on the ipsilateral side was 37.23% and 45.74%, respectively, and it was 10.64% and 25.53%, respectively, on the contralateral side. Maximal change in interpeak latency Waves I–V compared with baseline was the only variable significantly different between groups (p < 0.05). Sex, age, and side did not increase the risk of HFHL. Stepwise logistic regression analysis did not find any changes in intraoperative BAEPs to increase the risk of HFHL.

Conclusions

High-frequency hearing loss occurs in a significant number of patients following MVD surgery for HFS. Drill-induced noise and transient loss of CSF during surgery may impair hearing in the high-frequency ranges on both the ipsilateral and contralateral sides, with the ipsilateral side being more affected. Changes in intraoperative BAEPs during MVD for HFS were not useful in predicting HFHL. Follow-up studies and repeat audiological examinations may be helpful in evaluating the time course and prognosis of HFHL. Prospective studies focusing on decreasing intraoperative noise exposure, as well as auditory shielding devices, will establish causation and allow the team to intervene appropriately to decrease the risk of HFHL.

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Patricia L. Robertson, Karin M. Muraszko, Emiko J. Holmes, Richard Sposto, Roger J. Packer, Amar Gajjar, Mark S. Dias and Jeffrey C. Allen

Object

Cerebellar mutism syndrome (CMS) is a unique postoperative syndrome typically arising 1 to 2 days after resection of a midline posterior fossa tumor; it consists of diminished speech progressing to mutism, emotional lability, hypotonia, and ataxia. Most descriptions have been limited to small institutional series using a retrospective chart review methodology.

Methods

The authors incorporated a CMS questionnaire in two large clinical trials (Children’s Cancer Group [CCG] 9931, treatment for high-risk medulloblastoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor; and CCG/Pediatric Oncology Group [POG] A9961, treatment for average-risk medulloblastoma) to prospectively survey for incidence, severity, and possible causes of CMS in children with newly diagnosed medulloblastoma. Information pertaining to 450 of the 463 patients enrolled in the studies was available for review (82 patients in CCG 9931, and 368 patients in CCG/POG A9961).

Cerebellar mutism syndrome occurred in 107 (24%) of 450 children. Symptom intensity was judged to have been severe in 43%, moderate in 49%, and mild in 8% of these 107 patients. Mutism and ataxia were the features most frequently judged as severe. In both cohorts, preoperative brainstem invasion was the only feature that correlated with risk of CMS. One year after diagnosis, nonmotor speech/language deficits, neurocognitive deficits, and/or ataxia persisted in a significant fraction of patients.

Conclusions

Nearly one quarter of patients who underwent resection of a medulloblastoma developed symptoms of CMS, of which 92% were judged to be of moderate or severe intensity. Brainstem invasion by tumor was the only risk factor that correlated positively with CMS occurrence; there was a negative correlation with cerebellar hemisphere tumor location. As more radical resections are attempted for medulloblastoma, the potential for increased morbidity must be carefully weighed against prognostic factors, especially in patients with brainstem invasion.

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Ofer Pasternak, Inga K. Koerte, Sylvain Bouix, Eli Fredman, Takeshi Sasaki, Michael Mayinger, Karl G. Helmer, Andrew M. Johnson, Jeffrey D. Holmes, Lorie A. Forwell, Elaine N. Skopelja, Martha E. Shenton and Paul S. Echlin

Object

Concussion is a common injury in ice hockey and a health problem for the general population. Traumatic axonal injury has been associated with concussions (also referred to as mild traumatic brain injuries), yet the pathological course that leads from injury to recovery or to long-term sequelae is still not known. This study investigated the longitudinal course of concussion by comparing diffusion MRI (dMRI) scans of the brains of ice hockey players before and after a concussion.

Methods

The 2011–2012 Hockey Concussion Education Project followed 45 university-level ice hockey players (both male and female) during a single Canadian Interuniversity Sports season. Of these, 38 players had usable dMRI scans obtained in the preseason. During the season, 11 players suffered a concussion, and 7 of these 11 players had usable dMRI scans that were taken within 72 hours of injury. To analyze the data, the authors performed free-water imaging, which reflects an increase in specificity over other dMRI analysis methods by identifying alterations that occur in the extracellular space compared with those that occur in proximity to cellular tissue in the white matter. They used an individualized approach to identify alterations that are spatially heterogeneous, as is expected in concussions.

Results

Paired comparison of the concussed players before and after injury revealed a statistically significant (p < 0.05) common pattern of reduced free-water volume and reduced axial diffusivity and fractional anisotropy following elimination of freewater. These free-water–corrected measures are less affected by partial volumes containing extracellular water and are therefore more specific to processes that occur within the brain tissue. Fractional anisotropy was significantly increased, but this change was no longer significant following the free-water elimination.

Conclusions

Concussion during ice hockey games results in microstructural alterations that are detectable using dMRI. The alterations that the authors found suggest decreased extracellular space and decreased diffusivities in white matter tissue. This finding might be explained by axonal injury and/or by increased cellularity of glia cells. Even though these findings in and of themselves cannot determine whether the observed microstructural alterations are related to long-term pathology or persistent symptoms, they are important nonetheless because they establish a clearer picture of how the brain responds to concussion.

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Karl G. Helmer, Ofer Pasternak, Eli Fredman, Ronny I. Preciado, Inga K. Koerte, Takeshi Sasaki, Michael Mayinger, Andrew M. Johnson, Jeffrey D. Holmes, Lorie A. Forwell, Elaine N. Skopelja, Martha E. Shenton and Paul S. Echlin

Object

Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is a commonly occurring sports-related injury, especially in contact sports such as hockey. Cerebral microbleeds (CMBs), which appear as small, hypointense lesions on T2*-weighted images, can result from TBI. The authors use susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) to automatically detect small hypointensities that may be subtle signs of chronic and acute damage due to both subconcussive and concussive injury. The goal was to investigate how the burden of these hypointensities changes over time, over a playing season, and postconcussion, in comparison with subjects who did not suffer a medically observed and diagnosed concussion.

Methods

Images were obtained in 45 university-level adult male and female ice hockey players before and after a single Canadian Interuniversity Sports season. In addition, 11 subjects (5 men and 6 women) underwent imaging at 72 hours, 2 weeks, and 2 months after concussion. To identify subtle changes in brain tissue and potential CMBs, nonvessel clusters of hypointensities on SWI were automatically identified, and a hypointensity burden index was calculated for all subjects at the beginning of the season (BOS), the end of the season (EOS), and at postconcussion time points (where applicable).

Results

A statistically significant increase in the hypointensity burden, relative to the BOS, was observed for male subjects with concussions at the 2-week postconcussion time point. A smaller, nonsignificant rise in the burden for female subjects with concussions was also observed within the same time period. There were no significant changes in burden for nonconcussed subjects of either sex between the BOS and EOS time points. However, there was a statistically significant difference in the burden between male and female subjects in the nonconcussed group at both the BOS and EOS time points, with males having a higher burden.

Conclusions

This method extends the utility of SWI from the enhancement and detection of larger (> 5 mm) CMBs, which are often observed in more severe cases of TBI, to cases involving smaller lesions in which visual detection of injury is difficult. The hypointensity burden metric proposed here shows statistically significant changes over time in the male subjects. A smaller, nonsignificant increase in the burden metric was observed in the female subjects.

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Takeshi Sasaki, Ofer Pasternak, Michael Mayinger, Marc Muehlmann, Peter Savadjiev, Sylvain Bouix, Marek Kubicki, Eli Fredman, Brian Dahlben, Karl G. Helmer, Andrew M. Johnson, Jeffrey D. Holmes, Lorie A. Forwell, Elaine N. Skopelja, Martha E. Shenton, Paul S. Echlin and Inga K. Koerte

Object

The aim of this study was to examine the brain's white matter microstructure by using MR diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in ice hockey players with a history of clinically symptomatic concussion compared with players without a history of concussion.

Methods

Sixteen players with a history of concussion (concussed group; mean age 21.7 ± 1.5 years; 6 female) and 18 players without a history of concussion (nonconcussed group; mean age 21.3 ± 1.8 years, 10 female) underwent 3-T DTI at the end of the 2011–2012 Canadian Interuniversity Sports ice hockey season. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) was used to test for group differences in fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD), radial diffusivity (RD), and the measure “trace,” or mean diffusivity. Cognitive evaluation was performed using the Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT) and the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool–2 (SCAT2).

Results

TBSS revealed a significant increase in FA and AD, and a significant decrease in RD and trace in several brain regions in the concussed group, compared with the nonconcussed group (p < 0.05). The regions with increased FA and decreased RD and trace included the right posterior limb of the internal capsule, the right corona radiata, and the right temporal lobe. Increased AD was observed in a small area in the left corona radiata. The DTI measures correlated with neither the ImPACT nor the SCAT2 scores.

Conclusions

The results of the current study indicate that a history of concussion may result in alterations of the brain's white matter microstructure in ice hockey players. Increased FA based on decreased RD may reflect neuroinflammatory or neuroplastic processes of the brain responding to brain trauma. Future studies are needed that include a longitudinal analysis of the brain's structure and function following a concussion to elucidate further the complex time course of DTI changes and their clinical meaning.

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Paul S. Echlin, Andrew M. Johnson, Jeffrey D. Holmes, Annalise Tichenoff, Sarah Gray, Heather Gatavackas, Joanne Walsh, Tim Middlebro, Angelique Blignaut, Martin MacIntyre, Chris Anderson, Eli Fredman, Michael Mayinger, Elaine N. Skopelja, Takeshi Sasaki, Sylvain Bouix, Ofer Pasternak, Karl G. Helmer, Inga K. Koerte, Martha E. Shenton and Lorie A. Forwell

Current research on concussion is primarily focused on injury identification and treatment. Prevention initiatives are, however, important for reducing the incidence of brain injury. This report examines the development and implementation of an interactive electronic teaching program (an e-module) that is designed specifically for concussion education within an adolescent population. This learning tool and the accompanying consolidation rubric demonstrate that significant engagement occurs in addition to the knowledge gained among participants when it is used in a school curriculum setting.