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Robert J. Plunkett, Agnieszka Lis, Tara A. Barone, Mary Duffy Fronckowiak and Steven J. Greenberg

Object. The authors studied the effect of gender and hormonal status on survival in nude rats implanted with human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cell lines.

Methods. Nude rats received intracerebral implants of either wild-type U87MG cells or U87MG cells transfected with the gene for endothelin-1 (U87/ET-1). In the initial study, survival was compared in males and females for each of the two cell lines. The six second-phase study groups were composed of: 1) males; 2) females; 3) ovariectomized females; 4) sham ovariectomized females; 5) ovariectomized rats given 10 µg/day estradiol benzoate for 21 days; and 6) ovariectomized rats given 20 mg/kg/day progesterone for 21 days. All rats in the second phase were implanted with U87/ET-1 cells. Animals were killed when they exhibited initial signs of neurological deterioration. Female nude rats survived longer than male rats implanted with either U87 or U87/ET-1 cells. In the second phase, ovariectomized, male, and progesterone-treated rats died at approximately 19 days, whereas the female, sham-treated, and estrogen-treated animals died 23 to 25 days after tumor cell implantation.

Conclusions. The authors demonstrate that female nude rats implanted with human GBM cells have a survival advantage over male rats and that estrogen provides the advantage.

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Soroush Niketeghad, Abirami Muralidharan, Uday Patel, Jessy D. Dorn, Laura Bonelli, Robert J. Greenberg and Nader Pouratian

Stimulation of primary visual cortices has the potential to restore some degree of vision to blind individuals. Developing safe and reliable visual cortical prostheses requires assessment of the long-term stability, feasibility, and safety of generating stimulation-evoked perceptions.

A NeuroPace responsive neurostimulation system was implanted in a blind individual with an 8-year history of bare light perception, and stimulation-evoked phosphenes were evaluated over 19 months (41 test sessions). Electrical stimulation was delivered via two four-contact subdural electrode strips implanted over the right medial occipital cortex. Current and charge thresholds for eliciting visual perception (phosphenes) were measured, as were the shape, size, location, and intensity of the phosphenes. Adverse events were also assessed.

Stimulation of all contacts resulted in phosphene perception. Phosphenes appeared completely or partially in the left hemifield. Stimulation of the electrodes below the calcarine sulcus elicited phosphenes in the superior hemifield and vice versa. Changing the stimulation parameters of frequency, pulse width, and burst duration affected current thresholds for eliciting phosphenes, and increasing the amplitude or frequency of stimulation resulted in brighter perceptions. While stimulation thresholds decreased between an average of 5% and 12% after 19 months, spatial mapping of phosphenes remained consistent over time. Although no serious adverse events were observed, the subject experienced mild headaches and dizziness in three instances, symptoms that did not persist for more than a few hours and for which no clinical intervention was required.

Using an off-the-shelf neurostimulator, the authors were able to reliably generate phosphenes in different areas of the visual field over 19 months with no serious adverse events, providing preliminary proof of feasibility and safety to proceed with visual epicortical prosthetic clinical trials. Moreover, they systematically explored the relationship between stimulation parameters and phosphene thresholds and discovered the direct relation of perception thresholds based on primary visual cortex (V1) neuronal population excitation thresholds.

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Local cerebral blood volume in head-injured patients

Determination by emission computed tomography of 99mTc-labeled red cells

David E. Kuhl, Abass Alavi, Edward J. Hoffman, Michael E. Phelps, Robert A. Zimmerman, Walter D. Obrist, Derek A. Bruce, Joel H. Greenberg and Barbara Uzzell

✓ Local cerebral blood volume (CBV) was mapped in 10 normal subjects and in 30 patients after head injury. In normal subjects, the mean CBV was 4.34 ml/100 gm. The coefficient of variation was 12% for the group mean, and 3% for values obtained in duplicate studies of individuals. Patients with head injuries were divided into three groups according to the stage of their illness: acute illness, early recovery, and later recovery. Averages of mean CBV were within one standard deviation of normal. In contrast, consistent changes were found in serial studies of the mean CBV in the same patient. Compared to recovery values, levels of mean CBV measured soon after injury were reduced, largely at the expense of the gray-matter compartment. In five adults with predominantly unilateral lesions, there was an average early reduction in mean CBV and cerebral blood flow of 15% and 36%, respectively. In three children with diffuse brain swelling, there was an average early mean CBV reduction of 12%; a single child had early increased mean CBV at a time when intracranial pressure was high. Greater changes were seen in local CBV on individual sections. There were mixed zones of hypervolemia and hypovolemia in regions of infarction and intracerebral hematoma. Subdural hematomas had consistent medial margins of increased local CBV, representing dilated blood vessels of the underlying cortex. The presence and displacement of this hypervolemic zone were sensitive indicators of persistent subdural collection and mass effect, even when the collection was lucent to x-ray computed tomography.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Donna B. Jeffe, Christopher R. Carpenter, Yan Yan, Jose A. Pineda, Angela Lumba-Brown, Martin S. Keller, Daniel Berger, Robert J. Bollo, Vijay M. Ravindra, Robert P. Naftel, Michael C. Dewan, Manish N. Shah, Erin C. Burns, Brent R. O’Neill, Todd C. Hankinson, William E. Whitehead, P. David Adelson, Mandeep S. Tamber, Patrick J. McDonald, Edward S. Ahn, William Titsworth, Alina N. West, Ross C. Brownson and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

There remains uncertainty regarding the appropriate level of care and need for repeating neuroimaging among children with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) complicated by intracranial injury (ICI). This study’s objective was to investigate physician practice patterns and decision-making processes for these patients in order to identify knowledge gaps and highlight avenues for future investigation.

METHODS

The authors surveyed residents, fellows, and attending physicians from the following pediatric specialties: emergency medicine; general surgery; neurosurgery; and critical care. Participants came from 10 institutions in the United States and an email list maintained by the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. The survey asked respondents to indicate management preferences for and experiences with children with mTBI complicated by ICI, focusing on an exemplar clinical vignette of a 7-year-old girl with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15 and a 5-mm subdural hematoma without midline shift after a fall down stairs.

RESULTS

The response rate was 52% (n = 536). Overall, 326 (61%) respondents indicated they would recommend ICU admission for the child in the vignette. However, only 62 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that this child was at high risk of neurological decline. Half of respondents (45%; n = 243) indicated they would order a planned follow-up CT (29%; n = 155) or MRI scan (19%; n = 102), though only 64 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that repeat neuroimaging would influence their management. Common factors that increased the likelihood of ICU admission included presence of a focal neurological deficit (95%; n = 508 endorsed), midline shift (90%; n = 480) or an epidural hematoma (88%; n = 471). However, 42% (n = 225) indicated they would admit all children with mTBI and ICI to the ICU. Notably, 27% (n = 143) of respondents indicated they had seen one or more children with mTBI and intracranial hemorrhage demonstrate a rapid neurological decline when admitted to a general ward in the last year, and 13% (n = 71) had witnessed this outcome at least twice in the past year.

CONCLUSIONS

Many physicians endorse ICU admission and repeat neuroimaging for pediatric mTBI with ICI, despite uncertainty regarding the clinical utility of those decisions. These results, combined with evidence that existing practice may provide insufficient monitoring to some high-risk children, emphasize the need for validated decision tools to aid the management of these patients.