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Wen-Chao Liu, Liang Wen, Tao Xie, Hao Wang, Jiang-Biao Gong and Xiao-Feng Yang

OBJECTIVE

Erythropoietin (EPO) exerts a neuroprotective effect in animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, its effectiveness in human patients with TBI is unclear. In this study, the authors conducted the first meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness and safety of EPO in patients with TBI.

METHODS

In December 2015, a systematic search was performed of PubMed, Web of Science, MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Library databases, and Google Scholar. Only English-language publications of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using EPO in patients with TBI were selected for analysis. The assessed outcomes included mortality, favorable neurological outcome, hospital stay, and associated adverse effects. Continuous variables were presented as mean difference (MD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI). Dichotomous variables were presented as risk ratio (RR) or risk difference (RD) with a 95% CI. Statistical heterogeneity was examined using both I2 and chi-square tests.

RESULTS

Of the 346 studies identified in the search, 5 RCTs involving 915 patients met the inclusion criteria. The overall results demonstrated that EPO significantly reduced mortality (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.49–0.96, p = 0.03) and shortened the hospitalization time (MD −7.59, 95% CI −9.71 to −5.46, p < 0.0001) for patients with TBI. Pooled results of favorable outcome (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.88–1.15, p = 0.97) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT; RD 0.00, 95% CI −0.05 to 0.05, p = 1.00) did not show a significant difference.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors suggested that EPO is beneficial for patients with TBI in terms of reducing mortality and shortening hospitalization time without increasing the risk of DVT. However, its effect on improving favorable neurological outcomes did not reach statistical significance. Therefore, more well-designed RCTs are necessary to ascertain the optimum dosage and time window of EPO treatment for patients with TBI.

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Chuanbo Weng, Kebing Huang, Tao Jiang, Gege Zhou and Tingmiao Wu

A 45-year-old man was admitted with severe headache and left-sided weakness, which worsened over 1 week. Brain imaging revealed a small lesion close to the sagittal sinus in the right frontal lobe with severe perilesional edema and showed enhancement on both CT and MRI obtained with contrast. Serological findings were positive for toluidine red unheated serum test (TRUST) positivity and Treponema pallidum particle agglutination assay. The patient was first suspected of having a malignant brain tumor and subsequently received emergency craniotomy. Brain biopsy suggested a diagnosis of syphilitic cerebral gumma; meanwhile the postoperative CSF TRUST titer was positive, and the patient’s improvement with high-dose intravenous aqueous crystalline penicillin further supported this etiology. Finally, the lesion on the right frontal lobe had disappeared during the follow-up imaging examination and the myodynamia of the left limbs gradually improved. The authors recommend that diagnostic penicillin treatment should be first implemented. When a patient’s history, clinical manifestations, syphilis serology, CSF examination, and other physiological changes indicate a diagnosis of syphilitic cerebral gumma, there is no doubt that surgery should be performed in patients with acute intracranial hypertension, but unnecessary craniotomy should be avoided as far as possible.

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Yongheng Wang, Yinyan Wang, Xing Fan, Shaowu Li, Xing Liu, Jiangfei Wang and Tao Jiang

OBJECTIVE

Insular glioma has a unique origin and biological behavior; however, the associations between its anatomical features and prognosis have not been well established. The object of this study was to propose a classification system of insular low-grade gliomas based on preoperative MRI findings and to assess the system's association with survival outcome.

METHODS

A total of 211 consecutively collected patients diagnosed with low-grade insular gliomas was analyzed. All patients were classified according to whether tumor involved the putamen on MR images. The prognostic role of this novel putaminal classification, as well as that of Yaşargil's classification, was examined using multivariate analyses.

RESULTS

Ninety-nine cases (46.9%) of insular gliomas involved the putamen. Those tumors involving the putamen, as compared with nonputaminal tumors, were larger (p < 0.001), less likely to be associated with a history of seizures (p = 0.04), more likely to have wild-type IDH1 (p = 0.003), and less likely to be totally removed (p = 0.02). Significant favorable predictors of overall survival on univariate analysis included a high preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score (p = 0.02), a history of seizures (p = 0.04), gross-total resection (p = 0.006), nonputaminal tumors (p < 0.001), and an IDH1 mutation (p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, extent of resection (p = 0.035), putamen classification (p = 0.014), and IDH1 mutation (p = 0.026) were independent predictors of overall survival. No prognostic role was found for Yaşargil's classification.

CONCLUSIONS

The current study's findings suggest that the putamen classification is an independent predictor of survival outcome in patients with insular low-grade gliomas. This newly proposed classification allows preoperative survival prediction for patients with insular gliomas.

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Fengming Lan, Xiao Yue, Lei Han, Xubo Yuan, Zhendong Shi, Kai Huang, Yang Yang, Jian Zou, Junxia Zhang, Tao Jiang, Peiyu Pu and Chunsheng Kang

Object

The goal in this study was to investigate the antitumor effect of aspirin in glioblastoma cells and the molecular mechanism involved in its antineoplastic activities.

Methods

The authors used the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide method, flow cytometry, the annexin V method, and Transwell cell invasion test to detect the proliferation and invasive activity of U87 and A172 glioma cells before and after being treated with aspirin. To determine the effects of aspirin on β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF) transcription activity, reporter constructs containing 3 repeats of the wild-type (TOPflash) or mutant (FOPflash) TCF-binding sites were used. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analyses were used to detect the expression of multiple β-catenin/TCF target genes following aspirin treatment.

Results

The transcriptional activity of the β-catenin/TCF complex was strongly inhibited by aspirin. Increasing the concentration of aspirin resulted in decreased expression of c-myc, cyclin D1, and fra-1 mRNA and protein in U87 and A172 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Aspirin inhibited glioma cell proliferation and invasive ability, and induced apoptotic cell death.

Conclusions

The results suggest that aspirin is a potent antitumor agent, and that it exerts its antineoplastic action by inhibition of the β-catenin/TCF signaling pathway in glioma cells.

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Guo-Bao Wang, Ai-Ping Yu, Chye Yew Ng, Gao-Wei Lei, Xiao-Min Wang, Yan-Qun Qiu, Jun-Tao Feng, Tie Li, Qing-Zhong Chen, Qian-Ru He, Fei Ding, Shu-Sen Cui, Yu-Dong Gu, Jian-Guang Xu, Su Jiang and Wen-Dong Xu

OBJECTIVE

Contralateral C7 (CC7) nerve root has been used as a donor nerve for targeted neurotization in the treatment of total brachial plexus palsy (TBPP). The authors aimed to study the contribution of C7 to the innervation of specific upper-limb muscles and to explore the utility of C7 nerve root as a recipient nerve in the management of TBPP.

METHODS

This was a 2-part investigation. 1) Anatomical study: the C7 nerve root was dissected and its individual branches were traced to the muscles in 5 embalmed adult cadavers bilaterally. 2) Clinical series: 6 patients with TBPP underwent CC7 nerve transfer to the middle trunk of the injured side. Outcomes were evaluated with the modified Medical Research Council scale and electromyography studies.

RESULTS

In the anatomical study there were consistent and predominantly C7-derived nerve fibers in the lateral pectoral, thoracodorsal, and radial nerves. There was a minor contribution from C7 to the long thoracic nerve. The average distance from the C7 nerve root to the lateral pectoral nerve entry point of the pectoralis major was the shortest, at 10.3 ± 1.4 cm. In the clinical series the patients had been followed for a mean time of 30.8 ± 5.3 months postoperatively. At the latest follow-up, 5 of 6 patients regained M3 or higher power for shoulder adduction and elbow extension. Two patients regained M3 wrist extension. All regained some wrist and finger extension, but muscle strength was poor. Compound muscle action potentials were recorded from the pectoralis major at a mean follow-up of 6.7 ± 0.8 months; from the latissimus dorsi at 9.3 ± 1.4 months; from the triceps at 11.5 ± 1.4 months; from the wrist extensors at 17.2 ± 1.5 months; from the flexor carpi radialis at 17.0 ± 1.1 months; and from the digital extensors at 22.8 ± 2.0 months. The average sensory recovery of the index finger was S2. Transient paresthesia in the hand on the donor side, which resolved within 6 months postoperatively, was reported by all patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The C7 nerve root contributes consistently to the lateral pectoral nerve, the thoracodorsal nerve, and long head of the triceps branch of the radial nerve. CC7 to C7 nerve transfer is a reconstructive option in the overall management plan for TBPP. It was safe and effective in restoring shoulder adduction and elbow extension in this patient series. However, recoveries of wrist and finger extensions are poor.

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Yuan Wang, Bolin Liu, Tianzhi Zhao, Binfang Zhao, Daihua Yu, Xue Jiang, Lin Ye, Lanfu Zhao, Wenhai Lv, Yufu Zhang, Tao Zheng, Yafei Xue, Lei Chen, Eric Sankey, Long Chen, Yingxi Wu, Mingjuan Li, Lin Ma, Zhengmin Li, Ruigang Li, Juan Li, Jing Yan, Shasha Wang, Hui Zhao, Xude Sun, Guodong Gao, Yan Qu and Shiming He

OBJECTIVE

Although enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programs have gained acceptance in various surgical specialties, no established neurosurgical ERAS protocol for patients undergoing elective craniotomy has been reported in the literature. Here, the authors describe the design, implementation, safety, and efficacy of a novel neurosurgical ERAS protocol for elective craniotomy in a tertiary care medical center located in China.

METHODS

A multidisciplinary neurosurgical ERAS protocol for elective craniotomy was developed based on the best available evidence. A total of 140 patients undergoing elective craniotomy between October 2016 and May 2017 were enrolled in a randomized clinical trial comparing this novel protocol to conventional neurosurgical perioperative management. The primary endpoint of this study was the postoperative hospital length of stay (LOS). Postoperative morbidity, perioperative complications, postoperative pain scores, postoperative nausea and vomiting, duration of urinary catheterization, time to first solid meal, and patient satisfaction were secondary endpoints.

RESULTS

The median postoperative hospital LOS (4 days) was significantly shorter with the incorporation of the ERAS protocol than that with conventional perioperative management (7 days, p < 0.0001). No 30-day readmission or reoperation occurred in either group. More patients in the ERAS group reported mild pain (visual analog scale score 1–3) on postoperative day 1 than those in the control group (79% vs. 33%, OR 7.49, 95% CI 3.51–15.99, p < 0.0001). Similarly, more patients in the ERAS group had a shortened duration of pain (1–2 days; 53% vs. 17%, OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.29–1.37, p = 0.0001). The urinary catheter was removed within 6 hours after surgery in 74% patients in the ERAS group (OR 400.1, 95% CI 23.56–6796, p < 0.0001). The time to first oral liquid intake was a median of 8 hours in the ERAS group compared to 11 hours in the control group (p < 0.0001), and solid food intake occurred at a median of 24 hours in the ERAS group compared to 72 hours in the control group (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

This multidisciplinary, evidence-based, neurosurgical ERAS protocol for elective craniotomy appears to have significant benefits over conventional perioperative management. Implementation of ERAS is associated with a significant reduction in the postoperative hospital stay and an acceleration in recovery, without increasing complication rates related to elective craniotomy. Further evaluation of this protocol in large multicenter studies is warranted.

Clinical trial registration no.: ChiCTR-INR-16009662 (chictr.org.cn)