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J. Timothy Stuntz, George A. Ojemann and Ellsworth C. Alvord Jr.

✓ In this case an aneurysm of the posterior communicating artery developed 9 years after an infundibular dilatation of this posterior communicating artery, without aneurysm formation, had been radiographically demonstrated. Histological examination, after a fatal subarachnoid hemorrhage from the aneurysm, demonstrated that it arose exactly at the site of narrowing of the funnel-shaped infundibulum.

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John C. Liu, Joseph D. Ciacci and Timothy M. George

✓ Treatment of the Dandy—Walker syndrome has included placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt alone or in combination with a posterior fossa cystoperitoneal shunt. Complications in shunting are common and are usually related to malfunction or infection. The authors present a case in which the patient developed headaches and focal cranial nerve deficits following infection caused by a cystoperitoneal shunt. Magnetic resonance imaging showed tethering of the brainstem. A posterior fossa craniotomy with microsurgical untethering and cyst fenestration achieved two goals: improvement of the focal cranial nerve deficits and elimination of the cystoperitoneal shunt.

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Albert Moghrabi, Henry S. Friedman, David M. Ashley, Krystal S. Bottom, Tracy Kerby, Elizabeth Stewart, Carol Bruggers, James M. Provenzale, Martin Champagne, Linda Hershon, Melody Watral, Janis Ryan, Karima Rasheed, Shelley Lovell, David Korones, Herbert Fuchs, Timothy George, Roger E. McLendon, Allan H. Friedman, Edward Buckley and Darryl C. Longee

In this study, the authors sought to investigate the response rate and toxicity of carboplatin in patients with progressive low-grade glioma (LGG). Thirty-two patients with progressive LGG were treated with carboplatin at a dosage of 560 mg/m2. Treatment was given at 4-week intervals and continued until the disease progressed, unacceptable toxicity supervened, or for 12 additional courses after achieving maximal response. Patients with stable disease were treated with a total of 12 cycles. All patients were treated as outpatients. Patients were evaluated for response to treatment and toxicity.

All patients received a minimum of two cycles of carboplatin, and were examined for response. A partial response was achieved in nine patients (28%) and a minimal response in two (6%), for an overall response rate of 34% (11 of 32 patients). Eighteen patients (56%) had stable disease. A partial response was achieved in the nine patients after a median of six cycles (range 4-11 cycles), a minimal response was achieved in the two patients after five cycles. Glioma progression was noted in three patients after three, five, and five cycles, respectively. The 11 patients in whom some response was achieved had either an optic pathway tumor or a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma. Twenty-six of the 32 patients had those characteristics, making the response rate in that group 42% (11 of 26 patients). Thirty-two patients received a total of 387 cycles of chemotherapy. Hematological toxicity was moderate. Twenty-one patients developed thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 50,000/μl); three patients required one platelet transfusion each. Nine patients developed neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count < 500/μl); one developed fever and required administration of antibiotic agents. One dose adjustment in each of the patients prevented further thrombocytopenia and neutropenia. Two patients with stable disease died of respiratory complications. One patient developed Grade III ototoxicity after receiving five cycles, one patient developed hypersensitivity to carboplatin, and none developed nephrotoxicity.

Carboplatin given at a dosage of 560 mg/m2 every 4 weeks has activity in patients with progressive LGG. This drug regimen is relatively simple and well tolerated. Further investigation and longer follow-up study are warranted.

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Joseph L. Koen, Roger E. McLendon and Timothy M. George

✓ Intradural spinal teratoma is a rare tumor that can be associated with dysraphic defects. Although the origin of these tumors is traditionally thought to be secondary to primordial germ cells misplaced early in embryogenesis, the pathogenesis of intraspinal teratoma remains unclear. The authors present a series of patients in whom an intradural teratoma arose at the same site as a developmental spinal cord abnormality, including a split cord malformation, myelomeningocele, and lipomyelomeningocele. It is postulated that these lesions were the result of a dysembryogenic mechanism and were not neoplastic.

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Marcy C. Speer, Timothy M. George, David S. Enterline, Amy Franklin, Chantelle M. Wolpert and Thomas H. Milhorat

In several reports the authors have suggested occasional familial aggregation of syringomyelia and/or Chiari 1 malformation (CM1). Familial aggregation is one characteristic of traits that have an underlying genetic basis. The authors provide evidence for familial aggregation of CM1 and syringomyelia (CM1/S) in a large series of families, establishing that there may be a genetic component to CM1/S in at least a subset of families. The authors observed no cases of isolated familial syringomyelia in their family studies, suggesting that familial syringomyelia is more accurately classified as familial CM1 with associated syringomyelia.

These data, together with the cosegregation of the trait with known genetic syndromes, support the authors' hypothesis of a genetic basis for some CM1/S cases.

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Timothy H. Lucas II, Guy M. McKhann II and George A. Ojemann

Object. The aim of this investigation was to address three questions in bilingualism research: 1) are multiple languages functionally separated within the bilingual brain; 2) are these languages similarly organized; and 3) does language organization in bilinguals mirror that in monolinguals?

Methods. During awake dominant-hemisphere craniotomy in each of 25 bilingual patients, the authors mapped both languages by using identical object-naming stimuli. Essential sites for primary (L1) and secondary (L2) languages were compared. Sites were photographically recorded and plotted onto an anatomically referenced grid system. Language organization in bilinguals was then compared with that in 117 monolinguals and 11 monolingual children.

Conclusions. The authors found distinct language-specific sites as well as shared sites that support both languages. The L1 and L2 representations were similar in total cortical extent but significantly different in anatomical distribution. The L2-specific sites were located exclusively in the posterior temporal and parietal regions, whereas the L1 and shared sites could be found throughout the mapped regions. Bilinguals possessed seven perisylvian language zones, in which L2 sites were significantly underrepresented when compared with the distribution of language sites in monolinguals. These L2-restricted zones overlapped the primary language areas found in monolingual children, indicating that these zones become dedicated to L1 processing. These findings support three conclusions. First, it is necessary to map both languages in bilinguals because L1 and L2 sites are functionally distinct. Second, differences exist in the organization of L1 and L2 sites, with L2-specific sites located exclusively in the posterior temporal and parietal lobes. Third, language organization comparisons in bilingual and monolingual brains demonstrate the presence of L2-restricted zones, which are dedicated to L1.

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Timothy M. George and Lisa H. Fagan

Object. As patients with myelomeningocele age, tethered cord syndrome (TCS) in adults with postrepair myelomeningocele has become more common. The authors have structured an evidence-based review of the literature for the purpose of addressing the following questions. 1) How is the diagnosis made? 2) What is the natural history that occurs in adults with postrepair myelomeningocele and TCS? 3) What are the criteria for operative intervention? 4) What is the functional outcome for patients with postrepair myelomeningocele?

Methods. A computerized search of the National Library of Medicine of the English-language literature published from 1966 to 2003 was performed. Articles pertaining to the clinical aspects and management of postrepair myelomeningocele in adults, TCS in adults resulting from closed defects, and pediatric patients with postrepair myelomeningocele were reviewed.

No Level 1 or 2 data were located; however, the search yielded Level 3 and 4 evidence in the literature in which the clinical syndrome, underlying pathology, and the imaging and electrophysiological evaluation for TCS in adults are discussed.

Conclusions. Analysis of the available data indicates the following. 1) A lower lesion level predisposes patients to symptomatic tethering; moreover, orthopedic and urological deterioration will occur in the majority of these patients. 2) Tethered cord release should be considered for adult patients with postrepair myelomeningocele when clinical symptoms, imaging studies, urodynamics, and somatosensory evoked potentials are consistent with TCS. 3) Prompt, aggressive untethering surgery within 5 years of symptom onset, along with long-term follow up to check for delayed retethering, is recommended. The overall outcome for patients with postrepair myelomeningocele may not be as good as the outcome for adults with closed dysraphism.

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Timothy M. George and Lisa H. Fagan

Object

As patients with myelomeningocele age, tethered cord syndrome (TCS) in adults with postrepair myelomeningocele has become more common. The authors have structured an evidence-based review of the literature for the purpose of addressing the following questions. 1) How is the diagnosis made? 2) What is the natural history that occurs in adults with postrepair myelomeningocele and TCS? 3) What are the criteria for operative intervention? 4) What is the functional outcome for patients with postrepair myelomeningocele?

Methods

A computerized search of the National Library of Medicine of the English-language literature published from 1966 to 2003 was performed. Articles pertaining to the clinical aspects and management of postrepair myelomeningocele in adults, TCS in adults resulting from closed defects, and pediatric patients with postrepair myelomeningocele were reviewed.

No Level 1 or 2 data were located; however, the search yielded Level 3 and 4 evidence in the literature in which the clinical syndrome, underlying pathology, and the imaging and electrophysiological evaluation for TCS in adults are discussed.

Conclusions

Analysis of the available data indicates the following. 1) A lower lesion level predisposes patients to symptomatic tethering; moreover, orthopedic and urological deterioration will occur in the majority of these patients. 2) Tethered cord release should be considered for adult patients with postrepair myelomeningocele when clinical symptoms, imaging studies, urodynamics, and somatosensory evoked potentials are consistent with TCS. 3) Prompt, aggressive untethering surgery within 5 years of symptom onset, along with long-term follow up to check for delayed retethering, is recommended. The overall outcome for patients with postrepair myelomeningocele may not be as good as the outcome for adults with closed dysraphism.

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Capillary hemangioma of the fourth ventricle in an infant

Case report and review of the literature

Isaac O. Karikari, Lee A. Selznick, Thomas J. Cummings and Timothy M. George

✓A 3-month-old boy presented to the pediatric neurosurgery service with central hypotonia. Magnetic resonance images of the brain revealed a homogeneously enhancing dumbbell-shaped mass located in the fourth ventricle and extending into the left cerebellopontine angle (CPA). A suboccipital craniotomy was performed and a gross-total resection of the mass was achieved. Pathological examination of the resected tissue confirmed the diagnosis of capillary hemangioma. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of a capillary hemangioma occurring in this location. The authors provide a review of the current literature on intracranial capillary hemangiomas and conclude that, despite the rarity of these lesions, they should be considered in the differential diagnosis of lesions in the fourth ventricle and/or the CPA in children.

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Ciaran J. Powers, Timothy George and Herbert E. Fuchs

✓Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt failure is a common problem encountered by pediatric neurosurgeons. The majority of such failures are due to obstruction of the device. Conditions in which intraabdominal pressure is chronically elevated, such as pregnancy, have been associated with shunt failure. Chronic constipation may also result in abnormally elevated intraabdominal pressure and may be an underrecognized cause of distal VP shunt failure. The authors describe the cases of two children who presented with clinical and imaging evidence of VP shunt failure and who were also severely constipated. Treatment of their constipation resulted in both clinical and imaging-documented resolution of their shunt failure.