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Kullervo Hynynen, Nathan McDannold, Natalia Vykhodtseva, Scott Raymond, Ralph Weissleder, Ferenc A. Jolesz and Nickolai Sheikov

Object

The goal of this study was to explore the feasibility of using low-frequency magnetic resonance (MR) image–guided focused ultrasound as a noninvasive method for the temporary disruption of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) at targeted locations.

Methods

Rabbits were placed inside a clinical 1.5-tesla MR imaging unit, and sites in their brains were targeted for 20-second burst sonications (frequency 260 kHz). The peak pressure amplitude during the burst varied between 0.1 and 0.9 MPa. Each sonication was performed after an intravenous injection of an ultrasound contrast agent (Optison). The disruption of the BBB was evaluated with the aid of an injection of an MR imaging contrast agent (MAG-NEVIST). Additional tests involving the use of MION-47, a 20-nm magnetic nanoparticle contrast agent, were also performed. The animals were killed at different time points between 3 minutes and 5 weeks postsonication, after which light or electron microscopic evaluation was performed.

The threshold for BBB disruption was approximately 0.2 MPa. More than 80% of the brain sites sonicated showed BBB disruption when the pressure amplitude was 0.3 MPa; at 0.4 MPa, this percentage was greater than 90%. Tissue necrosis, ischemia, and apoptosis were not found in tissue in which the pressure amplitude was less than 0.4 MPa; however, in a few areas of brain tissue erythrocytes were identified outside blood vessels following exposures of 0.4 MPa or higher. Survival experiments did not show any long-term adverse events.

Conclusions

These results demonstrate that low-frequency ultrasound bursts can induce local, reversible disruption of the BBB without undesired long-term effects. This technique offers a potential noninvasive method for targeted drug delivery in the brain aided by a relatively simple low-frequency device.

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Dipankar Nandi, Simon Parkin, Richard Scott, Jonathan L. Winter, Carole Joint, Ralph Gregory, John Stein and Tipu Z. Aziz

✓ The authors report the neurological, neurophysiological, and neuropsychological effects of using long-term bilateral pallidal high-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a case of disabling camptocormia. Deep brain stimulation electrodes were implanted stereotactically to target the globus pallidus internus (GPi) bilaterally. Local field potentials (FPs) were recorded using the DBS electrodes and concurrent abdominal flexor electromyography (EMG) potentials during camptocormic episodes. Videotaped assessments of the movement disorder and neuropsychological evaluations of the patient before implantation and 6 months after initiation of pallidal stimulation were recorded.

There was significant functional improvement following long-term pallidal stimulation, and some improvement was noted in neuropsychological scores. A temporal correlation between the GPi FPs and EMG-recorded rectus abdominis potentials was evident. There were no treatment-related adverse effects. The authors have found that long-term pallidal stimulation was safe and offered functional benefit to a patient with this severely disabling condition. The physiological studies may help further the understanding of the pathophysiology of this rare entity.

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Dipankar Nandi, Simon Parkin, Richard Scott, Jonathan L. Winter, Carole Joint, Ralph Gregory, John Stein and Tipu Z. Aziz

The authors report the neurological, neurophysiological, and neuropsychological effects of using chronic bilateral pallidal high-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a case of disabling camptocormia.

Deep brain stimulation electrodes were implanted stereotactically to target the globus pallidus internus (GPi) bilaterally. Local field potentials (FPs) were recorded using the DBS electrodes and concurrent abdominal flexor elec-tromyography (EMG) potentials during camptocormic episodes. Videotaped assessments of the movement disorder and neuropsychological evaluation before implantation and at 6 months after initiation of pallidal stimulation were recorded.

There was significant functional improvement following chronic pallidal stimulation, and some improvement was noted in neuropsychological scores. The GPi FPs showed temporal correlation with EMG-recorded rectus abdominis potentials. There were no treatment-related adverse effects.

The authors have found that chronic pallidal stimulation was safe and offered functional benefit in this severely disabling condition. The physiological studies may help further the understanding of the pathophysiology of this rare entity.

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Robert Macfarlane, Atsushi Teramura, Christopher J. Owen, Scott Chase, Ralph de la Torre, Kenton W. Gregory, John W. Peterson, Reginald Birngruber, John A. Parrish and Nicholas T. Zervas

✓ Laser energy at a wavelength of 480 nm was applied in 1-µsec pulses of 3 to 10 mJ to two models of vasospasm. Rabbit common carotid arteries (CCA's) were constricted chronically by the application of human blood within a silicone sheath. Peak vasospasm developed 24 to 48 hours later, and persisted for up to 6 days. Endovascular laser treatment was delivered to 40 CCA's via a 200-µm diameter silica quartz fiber introduced through the femoral artery. The CCA caliber increased from 60% of the pre-vasospasm control diameter to a minimum post-laser diameter of 83% of control. No instances of laser-induced perforation or of arterial thrombosis were observed for up to 60 days after treatment. Prophylactic laser application to nine normal vessels was able to attenuate the development of vasospasm if blood was applied immediately thereafter (88% vs. 59% of control diameter, p < 0.02), but not if blood was applied 7 days later. Studies in 16 normal CCA's established that there was a considerable margin between the laser energy required to induce dilatation and that which caused perforation, providing that the fiber remained relatively central within the artery. Morphological examination demonstrated focal loss of endothelial cells immediately after laser application, followed approximately 7 days later by the development of areas of intimal hyperplasia. Only minimal changes were observed in the medial or adventitial layers.

In a second study, the basilar artery of seven dogs was constricted chronically by two intracisternal injections of autologous blood 3 days apart. Five dogs received endovascular laser treatment 7 or 10 days after the first injection, when basilar artery diameter was reduced to a mean of 61% and 77% of control, respectively. Immediately following treatment, basilar artery diameter increased to 104% and 102% of resting diameter, respectively. Both untreated and laser-treated arteries were smaller than the control diameter at 30 days (80% and 82%, respectively), but in each group the vasodilatory response to hypercapnia was preserved.

These findings indicate that 1-µsec laser pulses are well tolerated by systemic and cerebral arteries in two different animal models, and suggest that the 480-nm pulsed-dye laser may have an application for the treatment or prophylaxis of cerebral vasospasm.

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Jennifer M. Strahle, Rukayat Taiwo, Christine Averill, James Torner, Chevis N. Shannon, Christopher M. Bonfield, Gerald F. Tuite, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Jerrel Rutlin, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Francesco T. Mangano, James M. Johnston, Manish N. Shah, Bermans J. Iskandar, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, David J. Daniels, Eric M. Jackson, Gerald A. Grant, Daniel E. Couture, P. David Adelson, Tord D. Alden, Philipp R. Aldana, Richard C. E. Anderson, Nathan R. Selden, Lissa C. Baird, Karin Bierbrauer, Joshua J. Chern, William E. Whitehead, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Herbert E. Fuchs, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Mark R. Iantosca, W. Jerry Oakes, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus R. Khan, Michael S. Muhlbauer, J. Gordon McComb, Arnold H. Menezes, John Ragheb, Jodi L. Smith, Cormac O. Maher, Stephanie Greene, Michael Kelly, Brent R. O’Neill, Mark D. Krieger, Mandeep Tamber, Susan R. Durham, Greg Olavarria, Scellig S. D. Stone, Bruce A. Kaufman, Gregory G. Heuer, David F. Bauer, Gregory Albert, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Scott D. Wait, Mark D. Van Poppel, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy Mapstone, Joshua S. Shimony, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is frequently a presenting sign of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syrinx. The authors’ goal was to define scoliosis in this population and describe how radiological characteristics of CM-I and syrinx relate to the presence and severity of scoliosis.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for clinical and radiological characteristics of CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis (coronal curve ≥ 10°).

RESULTS

Based on available imaging of patients with CM-I and syrinx, 260 of 825 patients (31%) had a clear diagnosis of scoliosis based on radiographs or coronal MRI. Forty-nine patients (5.9%) did not have scoliosis, and in 516 (63%) patients, a clear determination of the presence or absence of scoliosis could not be made. Comparison of patients with and those without a definite scoliosis diagnosis indicated that scoliosis was associated with wider syrinxes (8.7 vs 6.3 mm, OR 1.25, p < 0.001), longer syrinxes (10.3 vs 6.2 levels, OR 1.18, p < 0.001), syrinxes with their rostral extent located in the cervical spine (94% vs 80%, OR 3.91, p = 0.001), and holocord syrinxes (50% vs 16%, OR 5.61, p < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis revealed syrinx length and the presence of holocord syrinx to be independent predictors of scoliosis in this patient cohort. Scoliosis was not associated with sex, age at CM-I diagnosis, tonsil position, pB–C2 distance (measured perpendicular distance from the ventral dura to a line drawn from the basion to the posterior-inferior aspect of C2), clivoaxial angle, or frontal-occipital horn ratio. Average curve magnitude was 29.9°, and 37.7% of patients had a left thoracic curve. Older age at CM-I or syrinx diagnosis (p < 0.0001) was associated with greater curve magnitude whereas there was no association between syrinx dimensions and curve magnitude.

CONCLUSIONS

Syrinx characteristics, but not tonsil position, were related to the presence of scoliosis in patients with CM-I, and there was an independent association of syrinx length and holocord syrinx with scoliosis. Further study is needed to evaluate the nature of the relationship between syrinx and scoliosis in patients with CM-I.