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Diane C. McLaughlin, Rebecca L. Achey, Robert Geertman and Jonah Grossman

Herpes simplex encephalitis is a common viral encephalitis associated with significant morbidity and mortality if not diagnosed and treated early. Neurosurgery may be an impetus for viral reactivation, either from direct nerve manipulation or high-dose steroids often administered during cases. The authors present the 40th known case of herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis following neurosurgical intervention and review the previously reported cases. In their review, the authors observed positive HSV polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which had initially been negative in several cases. In cases in which there is high suspicion of HSV, it may be prudent to continue antiviral therapy and retest CSF for HSV PCR. Antiviral therapy significantly reduces mortality associated with HSV encephalitis.

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Rebecca L. Achey, Erin Yamamoto, Daniel Sexton, Christine Hammer, Bryan S. Lee, Robert S. Butler, Nicolas R. Thompson, Sean J. Nagel, Andre G. Machado and Darlene A. Lobel

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective therapy for movement disorders such as idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET). However, some patients who demonstrate benefit on objective motor function tests do not experience postoperative improvement in depression or anxiety, 2 important components of quality of life (QOL). Thus, to examine other possible explanations for the lack of a post-DBS correlation between improved objective motor function and decreased depression or anxiety, the authors investigated whether patient perceptions of motor symptom severity might contribute to disease-associated depression and anxiety.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of PD and ET patients who had undergone DBS at the Cleveland Clinic in the period from 2009 to 2013. Patient demographics, diagnosis (PD, ET), motor symptom severity, and QOL measures (Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire [PHQ-9] for depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item Scale [GAD-7], and patient-assessed tremor scores) were collected at 4 time points: preoperatively, postoperatively, 1-year follow-up, and 2-year follow-up. Multivariable prediction models with solutions for fixed effects were constructed to assess the correlation of predictor variables with PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores. Predictor variables included age, sex, visit time, diagnosis (PD vs ET), patient-assessed tremor, physician-reported tremor, Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part III (UPDRS-III) score, and patient-assessed tremor over time.

RESULTS

Seventy PD patients and 17 ET patients were included in this analysis. Mean postoperative and 1-year follow-up UPDRS-III and physician-reported tremor scores were significantly decreased compared with preoperative scores (p < 0.0001). Two-year follow-up physician-reported tremor was also significantly decreased from preoperative scores (p < 0.0001). Only a diagnosis of PD (p = 0.0047) and the patient-assessed tremor rating (p < 0.0001) were significantly predictive of depression. A greater time since surgery, in general, significantly decreased anxiety scores (p < 0.0001) except when a worsening of patient-assessed tremor was reported over the same time period (p < 0.0013).

CONCLUSIONS

Patient-assessed tremor severity alone was predictive of depression in PD and ET following DBS. This finding suggests that a patient’s perception of illness plays a greater role in depression than objective physical disability regardless of the time since surgical intervention. In addition, while anxiety may be attenuated by DBS, patient-assessed return of tremor over time can increase anxiety, highlighting the importance of long-term follow-up for behavioral health features in chronic neurological disorders. Together, these data suggest that the patient experience of motor symptoms plays a role in depression and anxiety—a finding that warrants consideration when evaluating, treating, and following movement disorder patients who are candidates for DBS.

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Bryan S. Lee, Jaes Jones, Min Lang, Rebecca Achey, Lu Dai, Darlene A. Lobel, Sean J. Nagel, Andre G. Machado and Francois Bethoux

OBJECTIVE

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes demyelination and axonal loss. Walking difficulties are a common and debilitating symptom of MS; they are usually caused by spastic paresis of the lower extremities. Although intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy has been reported to be an effective treatment for spasticity in MS, there is limited published evidence regarding its effects on ambulation. The goal of this study was to characterize ITB therapy outcomes in ambulatory patients with MS.

METHODS

Data from 47 ambulatory patients with MS who received ITB therapy were analyzed retrospectively. Outcome measures included Modified Ashworth Scale, Spasm Frequency Scale, Numeric Pain Rating Scale, and the Timed 25-Foot Walk. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used to test for changes in outcome measures between baseline and posttreatment (6 months and 1 year). Significance was set at p < 0.05. Descriptive data are expressed as the mean ± SD, and results of the repeated-measures ANOVA tests and the Wilcoxon rank-sum test are expressed as the mean ± SEM.

RESULTS

There was a statistically significant reduction in the following variables: 1) aggregate lower-extremity Modified Ashworth Scale scores (from 14.8 ± 1.0 before ITB therapy to 5.8 ± 0.8 at 6 months posttreatment and 6.4 ± 0.9 at 1 year [p < 0.05]); 2) Numeric Pain Rating Scale scores (4.4 ± 0.5 before ITB, 2.8 ± 0.5 at 6 months, and 2.4 ± 0.4 at 1 year [p < 0.05]); 3) spasm frequency (45.7% of the patients reported a spasm frequency of ≥ 1 event per hour before ITB therapy, whereas 15.6% and 4.3% of the patients reported the same at 6 months and 1 year posttreatment, respectively [p < 0.05]); and 4) the number of oral medications taken for spasticity (p < 0.05). Of the 47 patients, 34 remained ambulatory at 6 months, and 32 at 1 year posttreatment. There was no statistically significant change in performance on the Timed 25-Foot Walk test over time for those patients who remained ambulatory.

CONCLUSIONS

In this retrospective study, the authors found that ITB therapy is effective in reducing spasticity and related symptoms in ambulatory patients with MS. Because the use of ITB therapy is increasing in ambulatory patients with MS, randomized, prospective studies are important to help provide a more useful characterization of the effects of ITB therapy on ambulation.