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Matthew W. Wood and Francis Murphey

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Howard Morgan, Matthew W. Wood and Francis Murphey

✓ The records of 88 patients with intraparenchymal brain abscess treated during 1946–1971 were reviewed. The incidence of brain abscess did not decline significantly during this period. The overall mortality rate was 36.4%, and the operative mortality rate 29.1%. The most frequent findings were alteration of consciousness, headache, and elevated peripheral white blood cell count; fever, hemiparesis, seizures, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, and papilledema were less common. Lumbar puncture was a definite threat to the patient with a brain abscess. Ventriculography appeared slightly superior to angiography in accurately localizing the site of the abscess. There was a close correlation between the preoperative level of consciousness and the operative mortality rate. With the aid of Thorotrast, simple aspiration or drainage was superior to excision; when Thorotrast was not used, excision produced better results. The rate of postoperative seizure disorder was similar regardless of the type of treatment. The operative mortality rate and the postoperative neurological sequelae were less for intracerebellar abscesses than for intracerebral abscesses.

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Ingrid Hoeritzauer, Matthew Wood, Phillip C. Copley, Andreas K. Demetriades and Julie Woodfield


Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a surgical emergency requiring timely operative intervention to prevent symptom progression. Accurately establishing the incidence of CES is required to inform healthcare service design and delivery, including out-of-hours imaging arrangements.


A systematic literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Scopus was undertaken to identify original studies stating the incidence of CES, and the estimates were combined in a meta-analysis as described in the protocol registered with PROSPERO (registration no. CRD42017065865) and reported using the PRISMA guidelines.


A total of 1281 studies were identified, and 26 studies were included in the review. Data about CES incidence were available from 3 different populations: asymptomatic community populations, patients with nontraumatic low-back pain, and patients presenting as an emergency with suspected CES. The incidence of CES was 0.3–0.5 per 100,000 per year in 2 asymptomatic community populations, 0.6 per 100,000 per year in an asymptomatic adult population, and 7 per 100,000 per year in an asymptomatic working-age population. CES occurred in 0.08% of those with low-back pain presenting to primary care in 1 study, and a combined estimate of 0.27% was calculated for 4 studies of those with low-back pain presenting to secondary care. Across 18 studies of adults with suspected CES, 19% had radiological and clinical CES. Difficulties in comparison between studies resulted from the heterogeneous definitions of CES and lack of separation of more advanced CES with retention, which is unlikely to be reversible. In the studies of patients with suspected CES, the small sample size, the high number of single-center studies (18/18), the high number of studies from the United Kingdom (17/18), the retrospective nature of the studies, and the high number of abstracts rather than full texts (9/18) reduced the quality of the data.


From current studies, it appears that CES occurs infrequently in asymptomatic community populations and in only 19% of those presenting with symptoms. Determining accurate incidence figures and designing a bespoke service for investigation of patients with suspected CES would require a consensus clinical and radiological definition of CES and international multisite studies of patient pathways of investigation and management.

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Martin J. Rutkowski, Harjus S. Birk, Matthew D. Wood, Arie Perry, Theodore Nicolaides, Christopher P. Ames and Nalin Gupta

The authors report the case of a 5-year-old boy in whom extraneural metastases developed 5 years after he underwent an occipitocervical fusion and transoral approach to treat a clival chordoma without local recurrence. Following primary resection, the patient's postoperative course was complicated by recurrent meningitis secondary to CSF leak, which responded to antibiotics, and communicating hydrocephalus, for which a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed. The patient then underwent postoperative proton beam radiotherapy. Five years following his initial presentation, surveillance imaging revealed a new asymptomatic lung mass for which the patient underwent thoracotomy and resection of the mass. Histological examination of the lung mass revealed findings consistent with a de-differentiated chordoma, confirming extraneural metastasis from the original tumor without evidence of local recurrence. Chest wall and scalp metastases subsequently developed, and the patient was started on an adjuvant chemotherapy regimen that included imatinib and rapamycin followed by subsequent nivolumab and an EZH2 inhibitor for recurrent, disseminated disease. Despite this patient's remote and distant metastases, primary gross-total resection for chordoma remains a critical treatment objective, followed by proton beam radiotherapy. This case illustrates the importance of interval posttreatment imaging and the emerging potential to treat chordoma with molecularly targeted therapies.

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Bornali Kundu, Amy Penwarden, Joel M. Wood, Thomas A. Gallagher, Matthew J. Andreoli, Jed Voss, Timothy Meier, Veena A. Nair, John S. Kuo, Aaron S. Field, Chad Moritz, M. Elizabeth Meyerand and Vivek Prabhakaran


Functional MRI (fMRI) has the potential to be a useful presurgical planning tool to treat patients with primary brain tumor. In this study the authors retrospectively explored relationships between language-related postoperative outcomes in such patients and multiple factors, including measures estimated from task fMRI maps (proximity of lesion to functional activation area, or lesion-to-activation distance [LAD], and activation-based language lateralization, or lateralization index [LI]) used in the clinical setting for presurgical planning, as well as other factors such as patient age, patient sex, tumor grade, and tumor volume.


Patient information was drawn from a database of patients with brain tumors who had undergone preoperative fMRI-based language mapping of the Broca and Wernicke areas. Patients had performed a battery of tasks, including word-generation tasks and a text-versus-symbols reading task, as part of a clinical fMRI protocol. Individually thresholded task fMRI activation maps had been provided for use in the clinical setting. These clinical imaging maps were used to retrospectively estimate LAD and LI for the Broca and Wernicke areas.


There was a relationship between postoperative language deficits and the proximity between tumor and Broca area activation (the LAD estimate), where shorter LADs were related to the presence of postoperative aphasia. Stratification by tumor location further showed that for posterior tumors within the temporal and parietal lobes, more bilaterally oriented Broca area activation (LI estimate close to 0) and a shorter Wernicke area LAD were associated with increased postoperative aphasia. Furthermore, decreasing LAD was related to decreasing LI for both Broca and Wernicke areas. Preoperative deficits were related to increasing patient age and a shorter Wernicke area LAD.


Overall, LAD and LI, as determined using fMRI in the context of these paradigms, may be useful indicators of postsurgical outcomes. Whereas tumor location may influence postoperative deficits, the results indicated that tumor proximity to an activation area might also interact with how the language network is affected as a whole by the lesion. Although the derivation of LI must be further validated in individual patients by using spatially specific statistical methods, the current results indicated that fMRI is a useful tool for predicting postoperative outcomes in patients with a single brain tumor.