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Carla Mora, Carlos Velásquez and Juan Martino

Throughout history, many scientists have wondered about the reason for neural pathway decussation in the CNS resulting in contralateral forebrain organization. Hitherto, one of the most accepted theories is the one described by the renowned Spanish physician, Santiago Rámon y Cajal at the end of the 19th century. This Nobel Prize winner, among his many contributions to science, gave us the answer to this question: the key lies in the optic chiasm. Based on the fact that the ocular lenses invert the image formed in the retina, Cajal explained how the decussation of the fibers in the optic chiasm is necessary to obtain a continuous image of the outside in the brain. The crossing of the tactile and motor pathways occurred posteriorly as a compensatory mechanism to allow the cortical integration of the sensory, motor, and visual functions. This theory had a great influence on the scientific community of his time, and maintains its importance today, in which none of the theories formulated to date has managed to entirely refute Cajal’s. In addition, the decussation of neural pathways plays a significant role in different diseases, especially in the recovery process after a hemispheric lesion and in several congenital pathologies. The advantages of cerebral lateralization have also recently been published, although the evolutionary connection between fiber decussation and cortical function lateralization remains a mystery to be solved. A better understanding of the molecular and genetic substrates of the midline crossing processes might result in significant clinical advances in brain plasticity and repair.

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Carlos Velásquez, Elsa Goméz and Juan Martino

Parietal lobe functions include somesthesia, language, calculation, self-motion perception, and visuospatial awareness. In this video, the authors show the intraoperative mapping of a left parietal lobe for a low-grade glioma resection. Standard sensory and language mapping were performed. Interestingly, by using the “Line Bisection” task, subcortical stimulation of the gyrus angularis was repeatedly associated with ipsilateral spatial neglect, often described in the right parietal lobe. In a similar way, subcortical stimulation in a more posterior point elicited episodes of vertigo, probably due to stimulation of the superior longitudinal fasciculus. Both findings were useful to define the functional limit of the resection.

The video can be found here:

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Nader Sanai, Juan Martino and Mitchel S. Berger


The impact of parietal lobe gliomas is typically studied in the context of parietal lobe syndromes. However, critical language pathways traverse the parietal lobe and are susceptible during tumor resection. The authors of this study reviewed their experience with parietal gliomas to characterize the impact of resection and the morbidity associated with language.


The study population included adults who had undergone resection of parietal gliomas of all grades. Tumor location was identified according to a proposed classification system for parietal region gliomas. Low- and high-grade tumors were volumetrically analyzed using FLAIR and T1-weighted contrast-enhanced MR imaging.


One hundred nineteen patients with parietal gliomas were identified—34 with low-grade gliomas and 85 with high-grade gliomas. The median patient age was 45 years, and most patients (53) presented with seizures, whereas only 4 patients had an appreciable parietal lobe syndrome. The median preoperative tumor volume was 31.3 cm3, the median extent of resection was 96%, and the median postoperative tumor volume was 0.9 cm3. Surprisingly, the most common early postoperative neurological deficit was dysphasia (16 patients), not weakness (12 patients), sensory deficits (14 patients), or parietal lobe syndrome (10 patients). A proposed parietal glioma classification system, based on surgical anatomy, was predictive of language deficits.


This is the largest reported experience with parietal lobe gliomas. The findings suggested that parietal language pathways are compromised at a surprisingly high rate. The proposed parietal glioma classification system is predictive of postoperative morbidity associated with language and can assist with preoperative planning. Taken together, these data emphasize the value of identifying language pathways when operating within the parietal lobe.

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Alejandro Fernández Coello, Andreu Gabarrós Canals, Juan Martino Gonzalez and Juan José Acebes Martín


There are no specific studies about cranial nerve (CN) injury following mild head trauma (Glasgow Coma Scale Score 14–15) in the literature. The aim of this analysis was to document the incidence of CN injury after mild head trauma and to correlate the initial CT findings with the final outcome 1 year after injury.


The authors studied 49 consecutive patients affected by minor head trauma and CN lesions between January 2000 and January 2006. Detailed clinical and neurological examinations as well as CT studies using brain and bone windows were performed in all patients. Based on the CT findings the authors distinguished 3 types of traumatic injury: no lesion, skull base fracture, and other CT abnormalities. Patients were followed up for 1 year after head injury. The authors distinguished 3 grades of clinical recovery from CN palsy: no recovery, partial recovery, and complete recovery.


Posttraumatic single nerve palsy was observed in 38 patients (77.6%), and multiple nerve injuries were observed in 11 (22.4%). Cranial nerves were affected in 62 cases. The most affected CN was the olfactory nerve (CN I), followed by the facial nerve (CN VII) and the oculomotor nerves (CNs III, IV, and VI). When more than 1 CN was involved, the most frequent association was between CNs VII and VIII. One year after head trauma, a CN deficit was present in 26 (81.2%) of the 32 cases with a skull base fracture, 12 (60%) of 20 cases with other CT abnormalities, and 3 (30%) of 10 cases without CT abnormalities.


Trivial head trauma that causes a minor head injury (Glasgow Coma Scale Score 14–15) can result in CN palsies with a similar distribution to moderate or severe head injuries. The CNs associated with the highest incidence of palsy in this study were the olfactory, facial, and oculomotor nerves. The trigeminal and lower CNs were rarely damaged. Oculomotor nerve injury can have a good prognosis, with a greater chance of recovery if no lesion is demonstrated on the initial CT scan.

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Juan Martino, David Mato, Enrique Marco de Lucas, Juan A. García-Porrero, Andreu Gabarrós, Alejandro Fernández-Coello and Alfonso Vázquez-Barquero


Little attention has been given to the functional challenges of the insular approach to the resection of gliomas, despite the potential damage of essential neural networks that underlie the insula. The object of this study is to analyze the subcortical anatomy of the insular region when infiltrated by gliomas, and compare it with the normal anatomy in nontumoral hemispheres.


Ten postmortem human hemispheres were dissected, with isolation of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) and the uncinate fasciculus. Probabilistic diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography was used to analyze the subcortical anatomy of the insular region in 10 healthy volunteers and in 22 patients with insular Grade II and Grade III gliomas. The subcortical anatomy of the insular region in these 22 insular gliomas was compared with the normal anatomy in 20 nontumoral hemispheres.


In tumoral hemispheres, the distances between the peri-insular sulci and the lateral surface of the IFOF and uncinate fasciculus were enlarged (p < 0.05). Also in tumoral hemispheres, the IFOF was identified in 10 (90.9%) of 11 patients with an extent of resection less than 80%, and in 4 (36.4%) of 11 patients with an extent of resection equal to or greater than 80% (multivariate analysis: p = 0.03).


Insular gliomas grow in the space between the lateral surface of the IFOF and uncinate fasciculus and the insular surface, displacing and compressing the tracts medially. Moreover, these tracts may be completely infiltrated by the tumor, with a total disruption of the bundles. In the current study, the identification of the IFOF with DTI tractography was significantly associated with the extent of tumor resection. If the IFOF is not identified preoperatively, there is a high probability of achieving a resection greater than 80%.

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Alejandro Fernández Coello, Sylvie Moritz-Gasser, Juan Martino, Matteo Martinoni, Ryosuke Matsuda and Hugues Duffau

Intraoperative electrical brain mapping is currently the most reliable method to identify eloquent cortical and subcortical structures at the individual level and to optimize the extent of resection of intrinsic brain tumors. The technique allows the preservation of quality of life, not only allowing avoidance of severe neurological deficits but also facilitating preservation of high neurocognitive functions. To accomplish this goal, however, it is crucial to optimize the selection of appropriate intraoperative tasks, given the limited intrasurgical awake time frame. In this review, the authors' aim was to propose specific parameters that could be used to build a personalized protocol for each patient. They have focused on lesion location and relationships with functional networks to guide selection of intrasurgical tasks in an effort to increase reproducibility among neurooncological centers.

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Juan Martino, Enrique Marco de Lucas, Francisco Javier Ibáñez-Plágaro, José Manuel Valle-Folgueral and Alfonso Vázquez-Barquero

Foix-Chavany-Marie syndrome (FCMS) is a rare type of suprabulbar palsy characterized by an automaticvoluntary dissociation of the orofacial musculature. Here, the authors report an original case of FCMS that occurred intraoperatively while resecting the pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus.

This 25-year-old right-handed man with an incidentally diagnosed right frontotemporoinsular tumor underwent surgery using an asleep-awake-asleep technique with direct cortical and subcortical electrical stimulation and a transopercular approach to the insula. While resecting the anterior part of the pars opercularis the patient suffered sudden anarthria and bilateral facial weakness. He was unable to speak or show his teeth on command, but he was able to voluntarily move his upper and lower limbs. This syndrome lasted for 8 days. Postoperative diffusion tensor imaging tractography revealed that connections of the pars opercularis of the right inferior frontal gyrus with the frontal aslant tract (FAT) and arcuate fasciculus (AF) were damaged.

This case supplies evidence for localizing the structural substrate of FCMS. It was possible, for the first time in the literature, to accurately correlate the occurrence of FCMS to the resection of connections between the FAT and AF, and the right pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus. The FAT has been recently described, but it may be an important connection to mediate supplementary motor area control of orofacial movement. The present case also contributes to our knowledge of complication avoidance in operculoinsular surgery. A transopercular approach to insuloopercular gliomas can generate FCMS, especially in cases of previous contralateral lesions. The prognosis is favorable, but the patient should be informed of this particular hazard, and the surgeon should anticipate the surgical strategy in case the syndrome occurs intraoperatively in an awake patient.