Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a significant cause of death in young and middle-aged individuals and causes tremendous morbidity in affected patients. Despite the identification of various risk factors, the series of events leading to the formation, growth, and rupture of intracranial aneurysms is poorly understood. Cerebral aneurysm rupture has been associated with sexual intercourse and other forms of physical exercise. In fact, multiple case series reported that coitus was the immediate preceding activity in 3.8–14.5% of patients suffering from aneurysmal SAH. This may be related to the large elevations in mean arterial blood pressure that occur in both males and females during sexual intercourse (130–175 and 125–160 mm Hg, respectively). While coitus and physical exercise share important physiological similarities, each may differentially affect the probability that a preformed aneurysm will rupture. In this literature review and synthesis, the authors analyze the physiological human response to sexual intercourse in an effort to delineate those factors that may precipitate aneurysmal rupture. The authors' analysis is based on the original data collected by Masters and Johnson. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first review to address the link between sexual intercourse and intracranial aneurysmal rupture. While actual measurements of the physiological variables relevant to SAH were not performed in this article, the authors make reasonable assumptions based on the available data to help elucidate the mechanism of sexually induced aneurysmal rupture.
Matthew R. Reynolds, Jon T. Willie, Gregory J. Zipfel and Ralph G. Dacey Jr.
Abhijeet Gummadavelli, Adam J. Kundishora, Jon T. Willie, John P. Andrews, Jason L. Gerrard, Dennis D. Spencer and Hal Blumenfeld
When drug-resistant epilepsy is poorly localized or surgical resection is contraindicated, current neurostimulation strategies such as deep brain stimulation and vagal nerve stimulation can palliate the frequency or severity of seizures. However, despite medical and neuromodulatory therapy, a significant proportion of patients continue to experience disabling seizures that impair awareness, causing disability and risking injury or sudden unexplained death. We propose a novel strategy in which neuromodulation is used not only to reduce seizures but also to ameliorate impaired consciousness when the patient is in the ictal and postictal states. Improving or preventing alterations in level of consciousness may have an effect on morbidity (e.g., accidents, drownings, falls), risk for death, and quality of life. Recent studies may have elucidated underlying networks and mechanisms of impaired consciousness and yield potential novel targets for neuromodulation. The feasibility, benefits, and pitfalls of potential deep brain stimulation targets are illustrated in human and animal studies involving minimally conscious/vegetative states, movement disorders, depth of anesthesia, sleep-wake regulation, and epilepsy. We review evidence that viable therapeutic targets for impaired consciousness associated with seizures may be provided by key nodes of the consciousness system in the brainstem reticular activating system, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, thalamus, and basal forebrain.
David D. Limbrick Jr., Stephen Lake, Michael Talcott, Benjamin Alexander, Samuel Wight, Jon T. Willie, William D. Richard, Guy M. Genin and Eric C. Leuthardt
Prompt diagnosis of shunt malfunction is critical in preventing neurological morbidity and death in individuals with hydrocephalus; however, diagnostic methods for this condition remain limited. For several decades, investigators have sought a long-term, implantable intracranial pressure (ICP) monitor to assist in the diagnosis of shunt malfunction, but efforts have been impeded by device complexity, marked measurement drift, and limited instrumentation lifespan. In the current report, the authors introduce an entirely novel, simple, compressible gas design that addresses each of these problems.
The device described herein, termed the “baric probe,” consists of a subdural fluid bladder and multichannel indicator that monitors the position of an air-fluid interface (AFI). A handheld ultrasound probe is used to interrogate the baric probe in vivo, permitting noninvasive ICP determination. To assess the function of device prototypes, ex vivo experiments were conducted using a water column, and short- and long-term in vivo experiments were performed using a porcine model with concurrent measurements of ICP via a fiberoptic monitor.
Following a toe region of approximately 2 cm H2O, the baric probe's AFI demonstrated a predictable linear relationship to ICP in both ex vivo and in vivo models. After a 2-week implantation of the device, this linear relationship remained robust and reproducible. Further, changes in ICP were observed with the baric probe, on average, 3 seconds in advance of the fiberoptic ICP monitor reading.
The authors demonstrate “proof-of-concept” and feasibility for the baric probe, a long-term implantable ICP monitor designed to facilitate the prompt and accurate diagnosis of shunt malfunction. The baric probe showed a consistent linear relationship between ICP and the device's AFI in ex vivo and short- and long-term in vivo models. With a low per-unit cost, a reduced need for radiography or CT, and an indicator that can be read with a handheld ultrasound probe that interfaces with any smart phone, the baric probe promises to simplify the care of patients with shunt-treated hydrocephalus throughout both the developed and the developing world.