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Paul S. Page, Zhikui Wei and Nathaniel P. Brooks

OBJECTIVE

Motorcycle helmets have been shown to decrease the incidence and severity of traumatic brain injury due to motorcycle crashes. Despite this proven efficacy, some previous reports and speculation suggest that helmet use is associated with a higher likelihood of cervical spine injury (CSI). In this study, the authors examine 1061 cases of motorcycle crash victims who were treated during a 5-year period at a Level 1 trauma center to investigate the association of helmet use with the incidence and severity of CSI. The authors hypothesized that wearing a motorcycle helmet during a motorcycle crash is not associated with an increased risk of CSI and may provide some protective advantage to the wearer.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all cases in which the patient had been involved in a motorcycle crash and was evaluated at a single Level 1 trauma center in Wisconsin between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2015. Biometric, clinical, and imaging data were obtained from a trauma registry database. The patients were then divided into 2 distinct groups based on whether or not they were wearing helmets at the time of the accident. Baseline and functional characteristics were compared between the 2 groups. The Student t-test was used for continuous variables, and Pearson’s chi-square analysis was used for categorical variables.

RESULTS

In total, 1061 patient charts were examined containing data on 738 unhelmeted (69.6%) and 323 helmeted (30.4%) motorcycle riders. On average, helmeted riders had a much lower Injury Severity Score (p < 0.001). Cervical spine injury occurred in 114 unhelmeted riders (15.4%) compared with only 24 helmeted riders (7.4%) (p < 0.001), with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.3 (95% CI 1.44–3.61, p = 0.0005). In the unhelmeted group, 10.8% of patients were found to have a cervical spine fracture compared with only 4.6% of patients in the helmeted group (p = 0.001). Additionally, ligamentous injury occurred more frequently in unhelmeted riders (1.9% vs 0.3%, p = 0.04). No difference was found in the occurrence of cervical strain, cord contusion, or nerve root injury (all p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study demonstrate a statistically significant lower likelihood of suffering a CSI among helmeted motorcyclists. Unhelmeted riders sustained a statistically significant higher number of vertebral fractures and ligamentous injuries. The study findings reported here confirm the authors’ hypothesis that helmet use does not increase the risk of developing a cervical spine fracture and may provide some protective advantage.

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Robert B. Page, Paul V. Plourde, Douglas Coldwell, James I. Heald and Joel Weinstein

✓ The case of a 19-year-old male with a pluripotential teratoma arising in the pituitary gland is presented. The clinical, radiological, and pathological aspects of this case are discussed. This case demonstrates that intracranial germinal tumors can arise from the pituitary gland as well as from the infundibular and pineal regions.

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Robert F. James, Nicolas K. Khattar, Zaid S. Aljuboori, Paul S. Page, Elaine Y. Shao, Lacey M. Carter, Kimberly S. Meyer, Michael W. Daniels, John Craycroft, John R. Gaughen Jr., M. Imran Chaudry, Shesh N. Rai, D. Erik Everhart and J. Marc Simard

OBJECTIVE

Cognitive dysfunction occurs in up to 70% of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) survivors. Low-dose intravenous heparin (LDIVH) infusion using the Maryland protocol was recently shown to reduce clinical vasospasm and vasospasm-related infarction. In this study, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was used to evaluate cognitive changes in aSAH patients treated with the Maryland LDIVH protocol compared with controls.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of all patients treated for aSAH between July 2009 and April 2014 was conducted. Beginning in 2012, aSAH patients were treated with LDIVH in the postprocedural period. The MoCA was administered to all aSAH survivors prospectively during routine follow-up visits, at least 3 months after aSAH, by trained staff blinded to treatment status. Mean MoCA scores were compared between groups, and regression analyses were performed for relevant factors.

RESULTS

No significant differences in baseline characteristics were observed between groups. The mean MoCA score for the LDIVH group (n = 25) was 26.4 compared with 22.7 in controls (n = 22) (p = 0.013). Serious cognitive impairment (MoCA ≤ 20) was observed in 32% of controls compared with 0% in the LDIVH group (p = 0.008). Linear regression analysis demonstrated that only LDIVH was associated with a positive influence on MoCA scores (β = 3.68, p =0.019), whereas anterior communicating artery aneurysms and fevers were negatively associated with MoCA scores. Multivariable linear regression analysis resulted in all 3 factors maintaining significance. There were no treatment complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This preliminary study suggests that the Maryland LDIVH protocol may improve cognitive outcomes in aSAH patients. A randomized controlled trial is needed to determine the safety and potential benefit of unfractionated heparin in aSAH patients.

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Harry S. Greenberg, William F. Chandler, Richard F. Diaz, William D. Ensminger, Larry Junck, Michaelyn A. Page, Stephen S. Gebarski, Paul McKeever, Terry W. Hood, Philip L. Stetson, Allen S. Litchter and Roberta Tankanow

✓ Bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR), a nonhypoxic radiosensitizing drug, is a halogenated pyrimidine analog that is incorporated into the deoxyribonucleic acid of dividing cells in a competitive process with thymidine; BUdR also sensitizes these cells to radiation therapy. Neurons and glial cells have a very low mitotic rate. They will not incorporate BUdR and will not be sensitized. Bromodeoxyuridine is best delivered intra-arterially because of its regional advantage, calculated to be between 6 and 16. An 8-week BUdR infusion is delivered before and during radiation therapy through a permanently implanted pump with a catheter placed retrograde into the external carotid artery. Eighteen patients with malignant glioma (15 grade IV, and three grade III) were entered into a Phase I dose-escalation protocol with BUdR dosages ranging from 400 to 600 mg/sq m/day. The maximum dose that can be tolerated appears to be 400 mg/sq m/day for 8 weeks. The 18 patients entered in this study have a median Kaplan-Meier estimated survival time (± standard error of the mean) of 22 ± 5 months with 11 patients still alive. Three patients are alive at 30, 29, and 21 months after diagnosis with no evidence of tumor on computerized tomography. There have been no vascular complications. Side effects in all patients have included anorexia, fatigue, ipsilateral forehead dermatitis, blepharitis, iritis, and nail ridging. Myelosuppression requiring dose reduction occurred in one patient. One patient had a Stevens-Johnson syndrome requiring termination of BUdR. It is concluded that intra-arterial BUdR may improve survival times in patients with malignant gliomas.