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Massimo Scerrati, Alessandro Fiorentino, Massimo Fiorentino and Pietro Pola

✓ A special stereotaxic device is described which was conceived and built to integrate the peculiar orthogonal approach of the well known Talairach apparatus with a polar approach. The device is useful to reach small and deep-seated brain targets, particularly those located on or close to the midline. Its use in several different stereotaxic operations, such as thalamotomy, brain-tumor biopsy, or radiotherapy, proved its flexibility, safety, and reliability.

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Maurizio Iacoangeli, Lucia Giovanna Maria di Somma, Alessandro Di Rienzo, Lorenzo Alvaro, Davide Nasi and Massimo Scerrati

Colloid cysts are histologically benign lesions whose primary goal of treatment should be complete resection to avoid recurrence and sudden death. Open surgery is traditionally considered the standard approach, but, recently, the endoscopic technique has been recognized as a viable and safe alternative to microsurgery. The endoscopic approach to colloid cysts of the third ventricle is usually performed through the foramen of Monro. However, this route does not provide adequate visualization of the cyst attachment on the tela choroidea. The combined endoscopic transforaminal-transchoroidal approach (ETTA), providing exposure of the entire cyst and a better visualization of the tela choroidea, could increase the chances of achieving a complete cyst resection. Between April 2005 and February 2011, 19 patients with symptomatic colloid cyst of the third ventricle underwent an endoscopic transfrontal-transforaminal approach. Five of these patients, harboring a cyst firmly adherent to the tela choroidea or attached to the middle/posterior roof of the third ventricle, required a combined ETTA. Postoperative MRI documented a gross-total resection in all 5 cases. There were no major complications and only 1 patient experienced a transient worsening of the memory deficit. To date, no cyst recurrence has been observed. An ETTA is a minimally invasive procedure that can allow for a safe and complete resection of third ventricle colloid cysts, even in cases in which the lesions are firmly attached to the tela choroidea or located in the middle/posterior roof of the third ventricle.

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Romeo Roselli, Angelo Pompucci, Francesco Formica, Domenico Restuccia, Vincenzo Di Lazzaro, Massimiliano Valeriani and Massimo Scerrati

Object. A modified technique of open-door laminoplasty for cervical stenotic myelopathy (CSM) is described, and the role of evoked potential monitoring in selecting patients for surgery and evaluating results is discussed.

Methods. Between October 1992 and October 1996, 33 patients with CSM underwent open-door laminoplasty. After surgery, in 27 patients (81.8%) different levels of clinical improvement were demonstrated, and in five of them (15%) full recovery was observed. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association score increased from 5 to 12 (mean 9.8) preoperatively to 8 to 14 (mean 11.6) postoperatively. At 1-year follow up, the N13 cervical response was restored in nine (75%) of 12 patients with isolated presurgical abnormality and in 57.1% of those with combined abnormalities of both N13 and P14 response. Although significant clinical improvement was observed in 82% of the cases, in 24 of 33 patients MEP abnormalities persisted at least at one explored level.

Conclusions. Of several laminoplasty techniques, the one described here offers some advantages: preservation of biomechanical function of posterior muscular—ligamentous complex, prevention of laminar collapse, smaller degrees in reduction of range of cervical motion, stabilization of the spine with no postoperative malalignment, and maintenance of decompressive effect that avoids recurrent stenosis. Neurophysiological studies sometimes clarified neurological disorders that were only suspected on the basis of history and/or clinical examination, leading to early diagnosis.

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Pietro Paoletti, Giorgio Butti, Carlo Zibera, Massimo Scerrati, Nadia Gibelli, Romeo Roselli, Lorenzo Magrassi, Gigliola Sica, Gianfranco Rossi and Gioacchino Robustelli della Cuna

✓ Tissue samples from 57 patients with neuroepithelial tumors (25 glioblastomas, 18 anaplastic astrocytomas, and 14 astrocytomas) were analyzed in order to evaluate the presence of estrogen, progesterone, glucocorticoid, and androgen receptors. Glucocorticoid- and androgen-specific binding proteins were present in 38.6% and 21.6% of the cases, respectively. Only a few tumors showed estrogen or progesterone receptors. A correlation was found between grade of anaplasia, patient's sex and age, and presence of glucocorticoid and androgen receptors. The biological role of these two receptors was investigated in 10 primary cell cultures derived from neuroepithelial tumors. For this purpose, dexamethasone and testosterone were added to culture medium at different concentrations (from 50 to 0.016 µg/ml). A significant stimulation of the cell growth was observed in four of five glucocorticoid receptor-positive cultures when dexamethasone in doses ranging from 2 to 0.016 µg/ml was added to the culture. No modulation of the growth was observed in glucocorticoid receptor-negative cultures at the same doses. Higher dexamethasone doses induced a significant decrease of the growth index independently from the glucocorticoid receptor status. All of the cultures tested for testosterone activity were negative for androgen receptors. This hormone induced an inhibition of the growth index at doses ranging from 50 to 0.4 µg/ml. The data suggest that neuroepithelial tumors contain specific glucocorticoid and androgen binding proteins. Glucocorticoid receptors modulate the growth of cultured neuroepithelial tumors in the presence of different concentrations of dexamethasone.