Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences

Published by Edizioni Minerva Medica
Online ISSN: 1827-1855
Publications
Article
Overall results of management in patients admitted to the 8 Italian centers participating in the International Cooperative Study on Timing of Aneurysm Surgery were rather unsatisfactory, with good recovery in only 42% of patients, and death in 45% of patients. As compared to the other centers included in the Study, Italian centers exhibited a significantly lower recovery rate and a significantly higher mortality rate. There were significant differences also between the individual Italian centers; independently of admission neurological status and timing of surgery, the outcome was better in centers 2 and 6 (a mortality rate under 20%) and worse in centers 1 and 8 (a mortality rate around 60%). Using prognostic factor models, higher than expected mortality rates were observed in 4 centers, and lower than expected good recovery rates in 3 centers. In Italian centers vasospasm accounted for the highest morbidity and mortality rate; the difference in mortality rate from vasospasm between Italian and other centers was very significant. Other important causes of death and disability were constituted by direct effect of the initial bleed and by recurrent hemorrhage. Patients operated on in Italian centers exhibited a good recovery in 57% of cases; the mortality was 27%. Differences from the other centers were less marked than for the overall management results. Mortality rates from vasospasm and from surgical complications were significantly higher in Italian than in the other study centers. Between the individual Italian centers, vasospasm accounted for the highest mortality rate in centers 7 and 8 (17% and 28% respectively). Postoperative pneumonia was significantly more frequent in Italian than in the other centers. In regard to timing of surgery, the differences in results between Italian and other centers were less marked when surgery was performed after 10 days from hemorrhage. In Italian centers as a whole, a delayed operation was linked with a better outcome than an early or subacute operation. The lowest recovery rate was observed in drowsy patients operated on between 4 and 10 days from the hemorrhage. Focal ischemic deficits and pneumonia were prevalent after an operation within 3 days of hemorrhage, while postoperative brain swelling was most frequent in patients operated on between 4 and 10 days from hemorrhage. The differences in results between Italian and other centers and among the individual Italian centers are widely discussed; possible explanations include inadequate modalities of treatment (especially inadequate management of vasospasm) and structural deficiencies of intensive care management in seriously ill patients.
 
-a 1 ) axial, a 2 ) coronal and a 3 ) sagittal gadolinium-enhanced MRI showing a left suprasylvian anteroinferior parietal lesion with an enhancing nodule located at the posterosuperior margin of the hypointense tumoral zone; b) intraoperative picture oriented as the sagittal MRI. Open arrow indicates the sylvian fissure. Stimulation at the level of tag n° 9 triggered right hemifacial and tongue movements, while stimulation at 7 and 6 generated paraphasias and anomia. Tags 8 and 10 mark cortical areas whose stimulation provoked naming and semantic errors, while tag W marks an area whose stimulation caused comprehension troubles; etiquettes 1 to 5 delineate primary somatosensory area, infiltrated by the tumor, whose stimulation elicited paresthesias; c) postresection picture showing the removal of tumor with respect of the language sites. Tags "S" indicate 2 intrasulcal areas, in continuity with face and tongue PMA, not included in the resection, whose stimulation induced speech arrests. Tag "H" marks Henschl's gyrus, whose electrical stimulation remained negative. Tag "R" corresponds to an area located at the middle third of the superior temporal gyrus whose post-resection stimulation evoked lexical-semantic errors; d1) axial, d2) coronal and d3) sagittal early (24 h) postoperative gadolinium-enhanced MRI showing the macroscopically complete tumor removal. 
Article
Here we report our recent experience in supratentorial cortico-subcortical stimulation mapping during surgery for cerebral lesions closely related to sensorimotor and language areas. We retrospectively analyzed clinical data of 101 consecutive patients operated on with the aid of electrical stimulation mapping (ESM). Patients harbored a mass lesion situated in or near language (Group A, 30 patients) and sensorimotor (Group B, 71 patients) areas. A macroscopically complete removal of the tumor was carried out in 22 cases out of 28 of group A and in 57 out of 73 of group B. In the first group there was one postoperative death due to a pulmonary embolism. At a mean follow-up of 24.3 months, 15 patients are still alive, 12 out of them are recurrence free and hold a useful language function, while the other 12 patients had a mean survival time of 19.3 months, with a mean high quality survival period (KPS?70) of 17.8 months. In the second group there was no postoperative death. At a mean follow-up of 24.8 months, 55 patients are alive and 47 maintain a useful motor function. Eighteen patients died for tumor progression, with a mean survival time of 18.7 months. Their median high-quality survival period (KPS ? 70), with preservation of a useful motor function, was 16.5 months. When properly indicated and correctly carried out, ESM for language and motor functions allows to enhance resection of lesions in eloquent areas with a surgical permanent morbidity comparable to that for lesion in non eloquent areas.
 
Article
The Authors report their experience in using water-soluble contrast medium in ventriculographies having carried out 102 ventriculographies partly with Dimer X and partly with "Uromiro 300". Their conclusions are practically similar to those already reported by the many Authors who have written on this subject: 1) facility of examination particularly in urgent cases; 2) excellent neuroradiological definition of the cases; 3) possibility of obtaining a selective ventriculography; 4) indication especially in space-occupying lesions of the posterior cranial contrast medium; 6) possibility of reducing complication rate by carefully carrying out the examination and by avoiding the use of excessive quantities of contrast. In particular the Authors describe some useful methods for obtaining better technical results from the examination and reducing the complication rate.
 
Article
Mortality and morbidity due to brain injury in the elderly population is a growing clinical problem: among older patients, those >70 years have a considerably higher risk both in terms of mortality and morbidity. Thereafter, the reasons influencing outcome have not been clearly examined: in the present study we addressed these questions considering the main clinical characteristics exerting a significant impact on the outcome of patients aged > 70, with emphasis for the severity of brain injury and anticoagulant (CAW) treatments. We performed a retrospective analysis of 103 consecutive isolated head injury patients older than 70, admitted at our Department in the period November 2004-November 2009. The clinical variables considered were as follow: age, sex, type of TBI, GCS, pre-TBI use of anti-coagulants (aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel), INR at admission (INR values were subdivided in values >1.25 as at risk for hemorrhagic events and <1.25 as normal), initial CT scan classification looking at the presence of subarachnoid hemorrhage (t-SAH) or mass lesions; the main outcome measure was the Glasgow Outcome Scale. The most frequent cause of TBI was accidental fall (65%): 39 were in CAW therapies and in 36 cases the cause of falling down injury was recorded due to a sincopal event (arterial hypotension, atrial fibrillation); in the older patients an accidental fall is significantly related to the TBI, while in the patients aged 70-75 years, TBI is related to a traffic accident (P=0.002). Moreover the cause of TBI correlates with the CAW treatment, the accidental fall being significantly more frequent in patients in CAW treatment (P=0.003). Overall mortality rate is significantly related to an elevated INR class, to presence of t-SAH (16/50 patients) and subdural hematoma (26/46). The results of the present study show that in a population of patients aged > 70, TBI is a high risk event if patient has concurrent treatment with CAW therapies and if an accidental fall is the cause of TBI. In these cases the finding of t-SAH represents a high-risk parameter for mortality but not for morbidity.
 
Article
Target of this study was to investigate outcomes after pure surgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms. Patients with intracranial supratentorial circle aneurysms were retrospectively reviewed between July 1994 and October 1998. Studied cases were admitted at the Department of Neurosurgery of S. Maria-Hospital, Terni, a Government supported General Hospital. One hundred and nine Hunt and Hess Grade 0 to III patients with supratentorial circle aneurysms was studied in order to determine whether advances in the surgical management of intracranial aneurysms have improved surgical outcomes and which factors may predict outcome. All patients were managed only with standard neurosurgical aneurysms clipping procedures. Outcomes evaluation was made at patients' discharge and classified on the base of the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). Surgical timing, SAH grading, pre and post surgical symptomatic vasospasm, temporary clipping, and intraoperative aneurysm rupture were correlated with outcomes. Surgical results showed a 75% excellent outcome. Mortality rate was 3%. Hunt and Hess grade 0 highly influenced outcome. Differences in outcomes among grades I to III were not significant. No differences in outcomes related to temporary clipping were noted. A low rate of intraoperative aneurysm rupture is reported: 5 out of 109 cases. In all these cases outcome was good, with neither mortality or morbidity. Results indicate a progressive improvement in surgical outcomes, suggesting that there still exist margins for improvements in pure surgical management of intracranial aneurysms.
 
Article
A group of 112 patients affected by cerebral arteriovenous malformations is reviewed. Sixty-six per cent of the cases presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. Epilepsy was the main clinical feature in 20% of the cases. In 45 cases an intracerebral or intraventricular hematoma was diagnosed by CT-scan, angiography or was found during surgery. Seventy cases (62.5%) were operated upon and 42 cases were treated conservatively. In 57 operated cases, total excision of the AVM was confirmed by postoperative angiography. In this group there was no rebleeding during the follow-up period. Other 13 cases were submitted to partial excision of the AVM or clipping of the feeding vessels. In this latter group, 2 patients had later subarachnoidal rebleeding. Operative mortality was 11% in this series. Mortality caused by the AVM in the non-operated group was 20%. Comparing the morbidity in both groups, the operated group had a much better clinical evolution than the non-operated one. Regarding the final clinically results, an abnormal state of consciousness before surgery, a large size of the AVM and the presence of intracerebral hematoma appear to have a bad prognosis significance.
 
Article
Early hyperglycemia is a feature of traumatic brain injured (TBI) patients. The aim of our study was to analyze the impact of early hyperglycemia on in-ICU mortality in isolated TBI and its correlations with other factors responsible for secondary injury. We studied admission values (AV) and worse values in the first 48 hours (WV 48 h) of 112 ICU TBI patients (mortality 29.6%) of blood glucose (BG), base excess (BE), mean arterial pressure (MAP), PaO2/FiO2 ratio and serum hemoglobin (Hb). Predictive strength as the area under the receiver operating curves (AUROC) and correlation between all variables were calculated. Data are expressed as median, 1st-3rd quartile. Both BG AV (147.5, 126-182 mg/dL; AUROC 0.716, P=0.0002) and WV 48 h (156.5, 132-192 mg/dL; AUROC 0.721, P=0.0001) are predictive of mortality. AV and WV 48 h are respectively: PaO2/FiO2 (366.8, 237.2-477.6 vs. 320, 214.4-426; P=0.05), MAP (90, 80-100.5 vs. 75, 66-83 mmHg; P<0.0001) and Hb (11.4, 9.7-13.1 vs. 10.6, 9-12.2 g/dL; P<0.02). BG AV and WV 48 h correlates with: age (r=0.419, P<0.0001 and r=0.489, P<0.0001), PaO2/FiO2 AV (r -0.223, P<0.03 and r -0.236, P<0.02), PaO2/FiO2 WV 48 h (r -0.215, P<0.03 and r -0.279, P<0.005) and MAP WV 48 h (r -0.216, P<0.03 and r -0.261, P<0.007). Early hyperglycemia is a major predictor of mortality and correlates with other factors responsible for secondary injury. Early hyperglycemia seems to be a marker of inflammatory reaction responsible for early cardiovascular and respiratory impairment.
 
Article
The authors report on 153 patients operated on for medulloblastoma from 1951 to 1976. Particular interest is focused on post-surgical treatment and survival.
 
Article
During the 4-year period (1991-1994) there were 127 consecutive patients with missile brain wound treated at the Division of Neurosurgery. They sustained brain injury in the region of east Slavonia, Baranya and north Bosnia, and were admitted mostly during the homeland defensive war in Croatia (1991-1992). Analysing the wounded, we divided them in two groups: "succumbed" (59 wounded) and "survivors" (68 wounded). We applied "less radical type of surgery", i.e. the patients were never re-operated only because of the retained single bone fragment. However, a retained cluster of bone fragments should be reoperated. The higher percentage of retained bone fragments (76.8%) is the result of precise visualization on the postoperative computed tomography (CT) scan. The last few cases have convinced us that the problem of the retained fragments could be solved by using an intraoprative ultrasonography. An intracranial (i.c.) infection (meningitis, abscess) occurred in 10 patients (10%), mostly among the patients who, besides the retained fragments, had cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak on the dehiscenced scalp wound. These cases should be reoperated soon after the CSF leak is visible on the dehiscenced wound. The overall mortality rate of 46.4% can be explained since our hospital was located close to the front-line, and some of severely wounded reached our hospital just in time to die. Excluding moribunds and those who died on the operating table (operated immediately after the admission), the mortality was 31.7%.
 
Article
Cavernous angiomas of the orbit are benign vascular growths, commonly occurring in adults and usually causing a slowly progressive proptosis from their mass effect. These lesions have behavioural and radiological findings different from those of brain cavernous angiomas, probably due to their particular origin and structure. The authors present a surgical series of 13 patients with orbital cavernous angiomas. Complete excision of lesions, with histological diagnosis, was obtained in all the 13 cases. Results were good in 10 patients, while 2 remained clinically unchanged and another one showed acute visual deterioration after a period of postoperative clinical stabilization. The main clinical and radiological characteristics of orbital cavernous angiomas are analyzed, together with their surgical management.
 
Article
Authors report a case of growing skull fracture, unusual complication of linear skull fracture in infancy and childhood. A review of 132 cases reported in literature is done with an analysis of general characteristics of this lesion. The most common localization is parietal (50%); clinical presentation is represented by development of seizures (54 cases), focal neurological deficit (57 cases) or loss of consciousness (50 cases). In 50% of cases interval time between head injury and first symptom varies between 1 day and 1 year. After the first year of age the 34.4% of patients develop seizures and 59% present loss of consciousness. Among patients from 1 day to 6 months of age, 46% develop seizures, 38% focal neurological deficit and 21% loss of consciousness. Asymptomatic presentation is more common in fronto-parietal or fronto-parieto-occipital localizations. In parieto-occipital and occipital localization (30 cases), 13 patients (43.3%) have seizures, 36.7% a focal neurological deficit and 60% loss of consciousness. In parieto-temporal localization there is a higher probability of seizures (62.5%) and loss of consciousness (62.5%). The long-term follow-up and the functional recovery in patients which undergo surgery is linked to the clinical presentation and early diagnosis.
 
Article
Aim: The prevalence of pituitary adenomas (PAs) is increasing as the development of imaging techniques. Few studies systematically documented the profile of these tumors in Chinese population. Our study is aimed to investigate the clinical features of PAs including the clinicopathologies, manifestations, and tumor recurrence. Methods: A retrospective analysis of clinic records of patients (median age, 39 years) with PAs was performed. A total of 1385 patients diagnosed and treated surgically at Tongji hospital, Hubei Province, China during the years 1987 through 2009 were identified that met our inclusion criteria and formed the study group. Results: The distribution of each PA subtype was nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA) occupying 40.0% of the total subjects, pure prolactin-secreting (PRL+) adenomas 18.6%, mixed adenomas 14.4%, growth hormone-secreting (GH+) adenomas 6.0%, follicle-stimulating hormone/luteinizing hormone-secreting (FSH/LH+) adenomas 5.9%, adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting (ACTH+) adenomas 4.6%, and thyroid-stimulating hormone-secreting (TSH+) adenomas 0.6%. The most common initial symptoms were visual disturbances (N.=664), endocrine disturbances (N.=645), and headaches (N.=532). Patients who complained of endocrine disturbances mostly presented menstrual dysfunction in females whereas acromegaly in males. A total of 45 cases developed to recurrence, most of which occurred within 3 years after surgery. PRL+ adenoma showed the lowest frequency of recurrence (0.8%). Conclusion: Most adenomas were secretory PAs, with prolactinomas being the most common subtype. Visual defects, endocrine disorders, and headaches were the most common symptoms. Patients with PRL+ adenoma had the lowest chance to undertake recurrence. More clinical care and research activities are needed to improve the outcome of these patients.
 
Article
Basal meningiomas represent a significant group of intracranial tumours. Their surgical treatment presents still today several difficulties since these tumours, as it is well known, may involve critical neurovascular structures. This is a retrospective study of 139 consecutive cases of basal meningioma operated on in our institution during the last two decades. Meningiomas location: olfactory groove 20 cases; suprasellar region 22; anterior cranial fossa 6; sphenoid wing 37; cerebellopontine angle/clivus 21; tentorium 26. In most cases the meningioma was larger than 5 cm. The tumour was completely removed (grade I-II of Simpson classification) in 111 cases (79.9%). The authors dwell upon some clinical and surgical aspects of prevailing groups (olfactory, suprasellar, sphenoidal, petroclival and tentorial meningiomas); regarding to operative procedures, the authors in particular emphasise the usefulness of the pterional approach to remove olfactory groove meningiomas and of the combined supra- and infratentorial approach, with preservation of transverse and sigmoid sinuses, to remove petroclival meningiomas. The surgery was followed by excellent or good results in 115 cases (82.7%): patients having a normal life with a score 80-100 of Karnofsky scale; poor outcome occurred in 5.8% of cases, postoperatively died 16 patients (mortality rate 11.5%). Tumour recurrence occurred in 7 cases. Based on their experience and on analysis of the reviewed literature, the authors conclude that advances in microsurgical techniques and in neuroradiological imaging have radically improved the outcome so that today basal meningiomas can be successfully treated in most cases.
 
Article
We review 139 consecutive cases of primary non-traumatic intracranial hemorrhage observed at the Neurosurgical Division of Pellegrini Hospitals, Naples. We excluded 20 similar cases which were not thoroughly studied. In the region Campania, which has almost five and a half million inhabitants, there are four emergency centres for neurosurgical patients one of which is at the Pellegrini Hospitals in Naples. In our series of 139 patients, 68 (48.92%) had an intracerebral hematoma (CH); while 71 (51.07%) patients had a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Thirteen cases out of 68 were added to the 71 cases with SAH because they had an arterial aneurysm or an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which had ruptured both in the subarachnoid space and in the brain. The most frequent cause of CH was arterial hypertension. Out of 84 patients with SAH, 57 (67.85%) had a vascular malformation. Age, sex, presence of vasospasm, gravity of hemorrhage and interval between hemorrhage and neurosurgical observation were studied. Out of 139 cases, 68 (48.92%) were surgically treated. In conclusion, out of 68 operated patients, 48 (70.58%) survived and 20 died; while, out of 71 non-operated patients, 24 (23.80%) survived and 47 died. The survival rate of patients with aneurysms operated on after 14 days from the hemorrhage is 90.47%. The survival rate in patients with CH operated on after the fifth day is 89.47%.
 
(A) Components: a) cephalad, b) caudad, c) central cylinder, d) anti-rotational guide bolt, and e) fixation screw and elements: 1) horizontal, 2) central, and 3) vertical of the JR prosthesis. On the right side of panel (A) a thoracolumbar JR device diagram is shown. (B) Cervical JR device. (C) L5 JR device. (D) The case of a 46-year-old female with plasmacytoma affecting T12 (left). Postoperative radiograph showing the application of the JR prosthesis (right). (A color figure can be found in the online version of this article.) 
General characteristics of the patients who received vertebral body replacement with the JR prosthesis
Article
The aim of this paper was to test the hypothesis that an expandable prosthesis with dual cage-and-plate function can provide immediate and durable spine stabilization after corpectomy. We designed an expandable vertebral body prosthesis with dual cage-and-plate function in a single device (JR-prosthesis). Anatomical studies were performed to design a titanium-made prosthesis. Cadaver assays were done with a stainless steal device to test fixation and adequacy to the human spine anatomy. Then, 14 patients with vertebral tumors (8 metastatic) underwent corpectomy and vertebral body replacement with the JR-prosthesis. All patients had neurological deficit, severe pain and spine instability (mean follow-up: 25.4 months). Mean pain score before surgery in a visual analog scale improved from 7.6 to 3.0 points after operation (P=0.002). All patients achieved at least one grade of improvement in the Frankel score (P=0.003), excepting the 3 patients with Frankel grade A presurgery. Two patients with renal cell carcinoma died during the following 4 days after surgery (renal failure and massive bleeding), the rest attained a painless and stable spine immediately and maintained for long periods. No significant infections or implant failures were registered. A non-fatal case of inferior vena cava surgical injury was observed (repaired during surgery without further complications). The JR-prosthesis stabilizes the spine immediately after surgery and for the rest of the patients' life. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the clinical experience of any expandable vertebral body prosthesis with dual cage-and-plate function in a single device. These observations await confirmation in different scenarios.
 
Article
We reviewed the neuroimaging studies of 150 patients with cavernous sinus tumors operated on during an 8-year period. Meningiomas (66 cases), chordomas (18 cases), trigeminal neurolemmomas (12 cases), and chondrosarcomas (11 cases) were the most common diagnosed neoplasms. Neuroradiological findings are briefly described for each different kind of tumor encountered. The surgical impact of these findings is discussed.
 
Article
This study deals with the morphology of 150 cases of cerebral metastases. They are, for the most part, associated to other cases of metastases elsewhere in the body (96.7%). A histological study shows that the nervous parenchyma is more frequently invaded by expansion than infiltration; the majority of metastases settle in the grey matter or where the white matter meets the cortex. There is no predominance for one of the two hemispheres. The frequency of metastases in the various lobes is proportionate to their respective volumes. In 30% of the cases, there is only one single metastasis; these are then, very often, tumours from the digestive tract and from the breast. Usually they are large, and especially if they originate from the digestive tract. Single metastases are three times more frequent in the brain than in the cerebellum. In 10% of the cases, only the cerebellum is affected by metastases. Breast tumours are by far the most frequent kind of tumor to invade the dura. The widely accepted principle that the brain is invaded by means of the arteries is confirmed by our series, where no document shows an illustration in support of the venous theory. In most cases, the metastases are of the same histological type as the primary tumour. More or less deep necroses are found quite often. These disorders of vascular permeability explain fairly clearly the varying responses of the environing nervous tissue to the tumours invasion, particularly in the presence of hemorrhages. When they are voluminous, they may clinically have appeared in the form of an ictus. These hemorrhages occur preferably in the white matter. Necroses are sometimes cavitary, their centre being taken up by a necrosis of liquefaction, surrounded by a more or less continuous neoplastic border. The most frequent inflammatory reaction is lymphoplasmocytarian, particularly accentuated on the periphery of the metastasis and in the neighbouring meninges. Oedema predominates in the white matter. They nearly always lead to demyelinization, with its aftermath of granulofatty bodies or astrocytarian reactions. Fibrosis is also frequent, it is intra-metastatic and in direct relationship with the tumour's histological type; it is more rarely perimetastatic, developing from the vascular mesenchyma. The vascular changes constitute one of the most constant peri-metastatic parenchymatous alterations. They may appear in the form of vascular ectasia or neoformations of vessels, the most characteristic aspect of which is the formation of vascular glomerules. These undergo a very quick evolution and are indubitably linked to the degree of malignancy.
 
Article
During the last three decades, the anterior approach to the cervical spine with interbody fusion has been increasingly preferred in the operative treatment of herniated cervical disc. Most studies on surgical procedure without interbody fusion are retrospective and reported that the bone graft is not important for the success of this technique. Between 1983 and 1993, 153 patients underwent surgery for the treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease: in 139 cases the technique without fusion was applied. This retrospective study analyze clinical and radiological parameters in order to verify any possible prognostic factor. 108 patients with radiculopathy and 31 patients with myelopathy were followed up clinically for at least 12 months up to 10 years. An excellent or good long-term result was achieved in 90.9% of patients with radiculopathy and 58.1% of those with myelopathy. The age of the patients, the duration of symptoms before diagnosis and the pathogenesis of disc herniation did not represent significant parameters influencing the outcome of patients. The results of the present study show that anterior discectomy without fusion lead to good clinical long-term results, either in patients with pure radicular syndrome, or in cases with myelopathy. The presentation with pure radicular signs is the most important factor in predicting a good overall outcome.
 
Article
The aim of this study was to evaluate the results of a consecutive series of 16 patients affected by degenerative cervical spondylosis and operated on by anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACFD) by means of anterior bioresorbable plate and screws. Further, the authors compared the results in these patients with a series of 13 patients also affected by degenerative cervical spondylosis in whom arthrodesis was obtained by means of cages without plates.\ The series included 8 males and 8 females aging from 37 to 69 years, operated from June 2003 to September 2004. They showed signs of cervical myelopathy, radiculopathy or both. The ACDF was performed with the insertion of dense cancellous allograft and application of anterior bioresorbable plate and screws (group A). The group B series included 9 males and 4 females aging from 50 to 77 years, all affected by the same pathology of group A patients and operated on in the same period of time. In these cases the ACDF was followed by the insertion of cages without anterior plates. The retrospective analysis of our series showed lack of soft tissue reaction, with safeguarding of the vertebral body and disc space height. The degree of alignment of the cervical spine was also preserved, with a good rate of fusion and a good clinical outcome in both series of patients. The use of a cervical plate increase stability and rate of fusion when added to the interbody device; while the use of a metallic plate may be responsible for several shortcomings, a resorbable plate may overcome these problems.
 
Article
Contrary to classical cytogenetics non-radioactive chromosomal in situ hybridization (CISH) may be performed within 24 hours while the morphological structure of paraffin-embedded tumor material is preserved. Slides of 34 formalin fixed and paraffin-embedded meningiomas were hybridized with a biotinylate alpha-satellite DNA-probe for chromosome 10 and 17. According to the distribution of hybridization signals per nucleus we found five meningiomas with signs of trisomy 17 whereby all of them exhibited intratumorous heterogeneity. Trisomy 10 was found in five tumors. Monosomy 17 was assumed in two cases and monosomy 10 in one meningioma. As a control six meningiomas were karyotyped by G-banding. Formalin fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue of the same tumors was hybridized against chromosome X and Y. In five of six cases the result of conventional karyotyping could be confirmed by in situ hybridization. CISH of paraffin-embedded tissue is new tool for the analysis of intratumorous cytogenetical heterogeneity with potential prognostic significance.
 
Article
Infection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts is a common occurrence and can often be difficult to diagnose using standard analysis of shunt fluid. This article presents the first case report on the diagnosis of a CSF shunt infection on FDG PET scan. A 26-year-old female underwent ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement after developing a pseudomeningocele subsequent to a suboccipital craniectomy for Chiari malformation. Two months later, the patient presented with abdominal pain and non-specific symptoms and was found to have a perisplenic abscess for which she was adequately treated. Failure of her symptoms to solve and an initial negative shunt CSF analysis prompted the search for other sources of infection. An FDG PET scan performed a week later found evidence of increase tracer uptake around the distal tip of the catheter and a repeat shunt CSF analysis showed evidence of CSF infection. FDG PET may be useful in diagnosing shunt related infections in case of high clinical suspicion when standard diagnostic modalities fail to diagnose hardware infection.
 
Article
The improved knowledge of clinical and emodynamical aspects of extracranial arteriovenous malformations in the 18 th century provided a foundation for the understanding and treatment of cerebrovascular pathology. It was not until the late 19 th century that detailed clinicopathological reports of intracranial arteriovenous malformations were published. In this historical context, a seminal report written by the Italian surgeon Francesco Rizzoli is worthy of notice, the Giulia case. A 9-year-old girl presenting with seizures and an occipital pulsanting swelling was examined in 1873 by Rizzoli. He was able to use Giulia's signs and symptoms to predict the complex angioarchitecture of her ''arteriovenous aneurysm passing through the wall of skull''. The postmortem dissection completely confirmed the supposed diagnosis, disclosing a direct communication between the hypertrophic branches of the ocipital artery and the transverse sinus. The clinical course of that case is briefly reviewed in this article and the diagnosis of this unusual arteriovenous shunt is discussed in light of the current neurosurgical knowledge.
 
Article
Methods: During the period from January 1986 to December 1994, 187 consecutive patients (102 males and 85 females, between the ages of 24 and 63 years) with soft disc herniations of the cervical spine were operated on by anterior approach. Results: One hundred and twenty-seven (67.9%) patients presented pure radicular syndrome, 17 (9.1%) with pure medullary syndrome, and 43 (23%) with myeloradiculopathy. Disc herniation was at the C3/4 level in 8 (4.3%) cases, at the C4/5 level in 17 (9.1%) cases, at the C5/6 level in 101 (54%) cases, and at the C6/7 level in 87 (46.6%) cases. In 18 (30%) patients suffering from myelopathy (with or without radiculopathy) an area of high MR signal intensity was observed within the cervical cord on T2-weighted images; such area corresponded at the level of cord compression by the herniated disc and was not demonstrated on T1-weighted images. All patients underwent microdiscectomy without bone grafting. Complete or almost complete relief of preoperative symptomatology was observed in 95.6% of patients with radiculopathy and in 83.3% of those with myelopathy.
 
Article
Percutaneous retrogasserian glycerol rhizolysis (PRGR) became a diffuse and valuable method for treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, following its introduction by Hakanson in 1981. Its main advantages are: a) mild postoperative facial sensory loss, b) simplification of the technique, c) reduction of costs. Our results in a series of 191 patients treated between September 1983 and September 1990 are reported. The procedure was performed according to Hakanson's method with minor modifications. In 11 cases (5.7%) we failed to pierce the foramen ovale; the procedure was successfully repeated a week or two later. In 17 cases it was impossible to obtain CSF from the needle. Complete relief of pain was achieved in 177 patients (92.7%), in 124 (64.9%) immediately, in 53 (27.8%) within 6 days; the operation was unsuccessful in 14 (7.3%). Postoperative sensory evaluation showed: no sensory loss in 33 cases (17.3%); hypalgesia in 8 (4.2%); mild hypesthesia in 88 cases (46.1%), confined to the affected divisions in 45 (23.6%), exceeding it in 43 (22.5%); moderate hypesthesia in 62 cases (32.4%), restricted to the target divisions in 36 (18.8%), exceeding them in 26 (13.6%). No case of anesthesia occurred. Complications of PRGR were: circum-oral ipsilateral herpetic eruption (herpes simplex type), spontaneously and completely regressing: 63 cases (33%); minor dysesthesia, seldom reported as painful: 33 cases (17.3%); impairment of corneal reflex: 19 cases (9.9%), the first branch being the target of the treatment in 11; regressive masticatory weakness; 11 patients (5.7%); aseptic meningitis, promptly regressed: 2 cases (1.0%). Follow-up ranges from 1 to 7 years (Sept. 1983-Sept. 1990). A recurrence was observed in 44 cases (23%): in 15 patients (7.8%) a partial relapse occurred, well controlled by drug therapy and not requiring further surgical treatment; in 29 cases (15.2%) a new percutaneous procedure was required. The mean time of recurrence was 30.5 months. The recurrence rate in the patients of our series at the end of the follow-up period was 23%. Glycerol produces a weak neurolytic lesion, that generates minor post-operative facial deafferentation; it is the best technique, in our opinion, for treatment of tic douloreux.
 
Article
Meningiomas of the tuberculum sellae are lesions with well-defined characteristics in terms of both site of origin and clinical evolution which require differential diagnosis with lesions of the supra- and para-sellar region. The aim of this study is to point out the importance of the size of the lesion and early identification of symptoms for prompt diagnosis, crucially important for evaluating the reversibility of functional damage, especially of the optic nerves. Between 1953 and 1993, 110 cases of tuberculum sellae meningioma were operated at the Neurosurgical Institute, Department of Neurosciences, of Rome "La Sapienza" University; only 69 cases of these cases were operated on after 1973, the year in which microsurgical techniques were introduced into routine surgical practice. Tumor diameter ranged from 3 to 9 cm. Most of the patients presented severe visual loss. Removal was total in 63 cases (91.3%), sub-total in 6 (8.7%). Besides the surgeons firsthand impression, the grade of removal was evaluated by early CT and/or MRI (24-36 hours after surgery). A minimum follow-up of 3 years was taken into consideration for assessment of late functional results. Five patients died in the postoperative period (7.2%). This study clearly demonstrated that a tumor diameter greater than 4 cm is a critical factor for visual function. The size of the lesion was also found to be extremely important, in that it influences the amount of tumor resection possible. Therefore, in our opinion, alternative types of treatment such as radiosurgery should be confined to the tumor residue.
 
Article
Serous sheets are currently used in Neurosurgery as dural substitute. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that the horse pericardium, which has the essential charasteristics of reabsorbable membranes and moreover is BSE-free, is an excellent dural substitute. 200 patients, 53 suffering from cranial traumatic conditions and 97 from cranial and craniospinal neoplastic pathologies, underwent a surgical procedure with the application of horse pericardium as a dural prosthesis. The follow-up controls of the patients included a neurosurgical visit and advanced diagnostic imaging (CT or MR). In the first 3 cases, an accumulation of CSF occurred under the surgical edge. Lumbar 7-days drainage was required in just one case. The use of Zero 5 suture seems to have obviated this problem, as it was never observed again in subsequent cases. The diagnostic imaging showed no alterated images and no clinical-neurological sequelae regarding the prosthesis in question were recorded. The Audiomesh Neuro prosthesis has all the characteristics of reabsorbable membranes: they are free from antigenic effects and do not produce any toxic catabolites. The membrane proved to be resistant to surgical suture, impermeable to CSF and is transparent. Yet the suture must be carried out carefully through a small non-traumatic needle. Audiomesh Neuro does not adhere to the underlying cerebral cortex and does not cause any clinical evidence or radiological artifacts.
 
Article
Two hundred patients presenting lumbo-sacral radicular pain were treated with automated percutaneous discectomy and were divided into two groups, on the ground of their symptomatology: group A included those patients that, otherwise, would undergo conservative therapy, because of their moderate pain; group B gathered patients whose severe pain needed undelayed surgery. The success rate that we reported in group A was 85%, while, in group B, it was 64%. Recurrences needing open surgery occurred in 15% of group B. Although characterized by delayed recovery, this technique seems to have good results even in so called surgical patients, in comparison with open surgery.
 
Article
We performed cerebral 201Tl SPECT study on 38 presurgical patients with equivocal neuroradiological supratentorial lesions to detect differences in 201Tl uptake index between tumor/non-tumor and high-grade/low-grade samples. Authors identified 38 cases with presurgical equivocal neuroradiological supratentorial mass lesions. All cases were submitted to histological confirmation of the lesion by biopsy, sub-total or gross-total removal of the tumor. Between 23 patients suffering from gliomas, 13 were histologically classified as being of low-grade malignant tumors and 10 were classified as being of high-grade malignancy. Fifteen non-tumor histopathological specimens were also detected. The 201Tl index was defined as the ratio of average counts per pixel in the lesion to these in the opposite region. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and unpaired Student's OtO-test statistical methods were applied. Actuarial survival time from the date of diagnosis was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Follow-up evaluation and survival time were obtained through referring physicians. Cerebral CT or MR images were obtained every three months after discharged, or more often if indicated. Results showed that the 201Tl uptake index ranged from 1.10 to 3.00 in the tumors lesions (mean+/-SD: 1.68+/-0.51) and from 0.80 to 1.40 in the non-tumors lesions (mean+/-SD: 1.07+/-0.17), (alpha < 0.0006 percent;). The 201Tl uptake index ranged from 1.10 to 2.30 in 13 patients with low-grade tumors (mean+/-SD: 1.45+/-0.34) and from 1.30 to 3.00 in 10 patients with high-grade tumors (mean+/-SD: 1.98+/-0.55), (alpha < 0.5 percent;). Our results demonstrate the clinical utility of 201Tl brain SPECT to differentiate equivocal neuroradiological supratentorial lesions and to correlate relationship between preoperative diagnosis, histological tumor grade and prognosis.
 
Article
Nineteen patients with histologically diagnosed supratentorial cerebral neoplasms carried out CT and/or MRI, 201T1 SPECT and 99mTc-HM-PAO studies preoperatively. 99mTc-HM-PAO SPECT images revealed information about both tumoral perfusion and intracellular concentration of mediators converting 99mTc-HM-PAO to hydrophilic derivates (glutathione and other yet unknown factors) within viable tumoral cells while 201T1 SPECT images about permeability, extension of tumoral capillary network and viable tumoral cells presence. Basing on the different mechanisms of the tracer uptake, cerebral supratentorial tumors could be distinguished in three groups: 1) cerebral tumors presenting 201T1 very high uptake (201T1 index > 1.5) and homogeneous and high retention of 99mTc-HM-PAO (CBI > or = 1.05) (meningiomas, PRL adenoma); histologically these neoplasms presented very rich neoformed capillary network; 2) cerebral neoplasms with 201T1 high uptake (201T1 index > 1.5) and with inhomogeneous retention of 99Tc-HM-PAO (high grade gliomas amd metastasis); microscopically these tumors presented vascular proliferation, necrosis and high cellularity; 3) cerebral neoplasms characterized by 201T1 low uptake (201T1 index < 1.5) and lower retention of 99Tc-HM-PAO than cerebellum (low grade gliomas); at microscopic examination these neoplasms were characterized by absence of vascular proliferation and necrosis. These results suggest coupled 201T1/99Tc-HM-PAO SPECT is necessary to discriminate intra-axial from extra-axial tumor localization (lacking CT or MRI) and to detect the grade of malignancy of gliomas and tumor cell presence within necrotic areas.
 
Article
Widespread use of mannitol to reduce brain edema and lower elevated ICP in brain tumor patients continues to be afflicted by the so-called rebound phenomenon. Leakage of mannitol into the brain parenchyma through an altered BBB and secondary reversal of osmotic gradient is considered the major cause of rebound . This has only been demonstrated experimentally in animals. As a contribution to this issue we decided to research the possible passage of mannitol into the brain after administration to 21 brain tumor patients. Mannitol (18% solution; 1 g/kg) was administered as a bolus to patients (ten had malignant glioma, seven brain metastases and four meningioma) about 30 minutes before craniotomy. During resection, a sample of the surrounding edematous white matter was taken at the same time as a 10 ml venous blood sample. Mannitol concentrations were measured in plasma and white matter by a modified version of the enzyme assay of Blonquist et al. In most glioma patients, mannitol concentrations in white matter were 2 to 6 times higher than in plasma (mean 3.5 times). In meningioma and metastases patients plasma concentrations of mannitol were higher than white matter concentrations except in three cases with infiltration by neoplastic cells. The results of our study show that even after a single bolus, mannitol may leak through the altered BBB near gliomas, reversing the initial plasma-to-blood osmotic gradient, aggravating peritumoral edema and promoting rebound of ICP.
 
Article
Late cerebral radiation necrosis (LCR) is a serious complication of radiation treatment for brain tumors. This study investigates the diagnosis and management of patients with late clinical and neuroradiological cerebral radionecrosis after primary removal of brain neoplasm. The authors discuss the clinical features and long-term outcome of 21 patients with late cerebral radionecrosis and emphasize the importance of surgical and medical therapy. Twenty-one patients with brain tumor treated by surgical resection or brain biopsy alone after radiotherapy during follow-up developed radionecrosis. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), surgical and clinical findings of these patients with radionecrosis are reviewed. MRI showed radionecrosis in 21 patients, 9 of which had undergone craniotomy for lesion removal. Late radionecrosis is infrequent following radiation therapy and may simulate tumor recurrence on MRI scans. From the authors' experience it is evident that, once begun, radiation treatment of neoplastic lesions can lead to complications such as late cerebral radionecrosis which often require surgical treatment. As correct diagnosis is necessary for appropriate treatment, a fair balance needs to be struck when considering ionizing radiation, medical therapy, surgery and diagnostic imaging.
 
Article
Twenty-three consecutive cases of traumatic C1-C2 fractures treated at the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Milano, are reported. Of these there were 13 cases of odontoid fractures, 6 hangman fractures, 2 anterior inferior corner fractures, 2 atlas-axis combination fractures and 2 Jefferson fractures. Almost all the patients were young people involved in motor vehicle accidents. Nineteen patients were treated with external immobilization (halo vest, Minerva) for 3-6 months while 4 odontoid fractures underwent early surgical posterior stabilization. At follow-up, 20 patients had a good fusion while 3, aged over 75 years, died due to cardiopulmonary or septic complications. The appropriate management of this type of lesion is still a matter of discussion. In our opinion the Halo device allows good stabilization after correct fracture reduction.
 
Article
The aim of this retrospective study was to demonstrate the difference in patient outcomes after treatment for bleeding endocranial aneurysms when evaluated with methods based on different assessment criteria. The outcome of 237 patients, 141 of which were operated on for anterior communicating artery aneurysm and 96 embolized, was assessed by a new method developed by De Santis. The patients operated on were assessed by the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) and Rank Disability Scale (RDS) and the results of the latter were compared with the new method, the De Santis-CESE (Clinical Emotional Social Evaluation) method, which consists of a clinical evaluation and a numeric scoring system based on seven standard points. Comparison between the three methods showed significantly different outcomes. Patients who underwent surgical operation showed changes in character and behaviour, whereas the others showed cognitive, emotional and sexual habit changes. Compared with the GOS and RDS instruments, the CESE method showed significant differences in patient outcome assessment, particularly regarding best outcomes. These differences may be due to the greater sensitivity of the CESE method over the other two scales. Furthermore, surgical patients seemed to achieve a better outcome than endovascular patients. The authors intend to conduct a prospective study to test the results obtained in this retrospective study.
 
Article
No epidemiological data about central nervous system tumors in Morroco have been published. The objective of the present study is to assess topographic and demographic patterns of a large series of histologically confirmed tumors of central nervous system (CNS), skull and vertebral column, examined in the main neuropathology laboratory of the country. No. 2363 tumors have been collected in the department of Neuropathology in Hôpital des spécialités oto-neuro-ophtalmiques, Rabat, between 1988 and 1997. Data concerning age, sex, tumor location and histological type were retrieved from the laboratory files. Histological typing was based on the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of central nervous system tumors and grading on the Kernohan and Mayo Clinic-St. Anne systems. No. 1454 intraparenchymatous and 904 extraparenchymatous tumors were studied. The topographic repartition of these tumors presented no differences when compared to the literature data. The main differences were noted for malignant astrocytomas and glioblastomas which were less frequent than in Western countries and occurred in younger people. The young age of Morrocan population probably explains these findings. Childhood tumors repartition was similar to Western series. These results emphazise the need for a population based registry in order to verify our findings and adapt efficient health intervention.
 
Article
The results of a retrospective study of 24 adult patients with occult dysraphism are described. There were 15 males and 9 females, with an average age of 31.1 years. Specific circumstances precipitated symptomatic onset in 67% of patients. Pain, often referred to the anorectal region, was the most common presenting symptom. Bladder and bowel dysfunction were also common findings. The most common tethering lesions were intradural lipoma and a short thickened filum terminale. Myelography revealed the diagnosis of tethered conus in most cases, but the addition of CT and MRI images provided valuable structural details. The surgical outcome was gratifying in relation to pain and sensory-motor deficits but disappointing in the resolution of sphincter disorders. Our conclusion is that symptoms and/or signs of TCS with onset in adult life are not invariably irreversible.
 
Article
26 patients harbouring a CSF shunt for non-tumoral aqueductal stenosis hydrocephalus underwent Brainstem Acoustic Evoked Potentials (BAEPs) recording, to evaluate brainstem function. Only 6 patients presented with normal responses both at standard and at sensitized tests. In the remaining 19 patients, BAEPs were abnormal, bilaterally in 10 cases, monolaterally in 9. Four out of the 6 normal responses belonged to the group recognized of congenital origin. As refers to ventricular size BAEPs were abnormal in 62% of patients with normal ventricle and in 92% of patients with enlarged ventricles. The most significant BAEPs abnormalities were found in patients with maximal ventricular dilation. It appears that BAEPs abnormalities are to the ascribed to both primary and secondary brainstem dysfunction: no reliable criterion to differentiate between these two possibilities is evident. In the individual patient, serial BAEPs recording may contribute to recognize the early phase of supratentorial hypertension due to shunt dysfunction.
 
Article
This is a study of 2,600 cases of acute head injury, particularly in relation to lesions of the brain stem. These 2,600 cases were observed during two years (1973 and 1974). Of these 240 were judged on the basis of clinical manifestations to have had either a direct injury to the brain stem (25%) or a secondary involvement of the brain stem (75%). The overall mortality in this entire group of cases was 15%. The mortality for those with major head injuries was 45.7% and for those with involvement of the brain stem was 85.4%. Other statistical data are supplied. (Bucy - Tryon, N.C.)
 
Article
Pseudoaneurysm formation is a rare complication following carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Arterial pseudoaneurysms lack all three layers of the arterial wall that include the intima, media and adventitia. Pseudoaneurysms are most commonly seen after injuries to the artery in the form of blunt trauma and puncture, and are less common after surgeries such as carotid endarterectomy. These lesions present most frequently as enlarging, pulsatile, expandable masses associated with swelling and pain. Management of this complication is challenging. Traditionally, open surgical repair has been the preferred treatment. Recently, endovascular techniques using stent graft implantation alone or combined graft and coil embolization have offered a less invasive approach for the management of this lesion. Pseudoaneurysm development has been described within hours to several years after initial arterial injury, normally presenting within 5 years. To our knowledge, this is the first case report of pseudoaneurysm formation in a patient presenting 29 years after a carotid endarterectomy; during that time the patient remained completely asymptomatic until 2 months prior to his admission. The patient is an 84-year-old male with a history of stroke which prompted a left carotid endarterectomy in 1981. Twenty-nine years post procedure it was noted that the patient had a lump that was progressively enlarging on the left side of his neck, zone 1. It was pulsatile on examination. MRI/A imaging suggested a left carotid bulb aneurysm. The consulting vascular surgeon felt the patient would not be a good surgical candidate and so stenting was considered. Carotid and cerebral angiogram demonstrated a large 6 cm left carotid pseudoaneurysm off the carotid bulb. The diagnostic procedure was followed by a successful placement of an 8 x 10 cm Viabahn covered stent from the left common carotid artery to the left internal carotid artery. Following the procedure, the carotid artery was patent and there was minimal to no further residual filling of the pseudoaneurysm. Poststenting, the patient remained at his neurological baseline. This case demonstrates that pseudoaneurysm formation can occur as a long term complication after carotid endarterectomy. It may present as a rapidly expandable, pulsatile, vascular lesion in the absence of clinical and sub-clinical infection. Placement of an endovascular stent graft may be a safe and effective option for treatment of infected and non-infected carotid pseudoaneurysm.
 
Article
Paraganglioma of the cauda equina is an unusual tumor and do not have the secretory properties of the same tumors arising outside the nervous system. In none of the few cases reported in literature a preoperative diagnosis was possible, and the surgical findings raised questions in the differential diagnosis with ependymomas. A rare case of paraganglioma of the cauda equina studied both pre- and postoperatively by MRI, and treated with subtotal excision combined with radiotherapy is described. Results and recurrence rates of the cases reported in literature are reviewed. Though MRI imaging has proven to be more sensitive than other radiological procedures, we stress the difficulties of preoperative diagnosis of paragangliomas in this site. The correct diagnosis of the paraganglioma of the cauda equina still relies on immunochemistry and electron microscopy. Total excision is often very difficult owing the tendency of these neoplasms to infiltrate cauda's roots. A 33-month recurrence free follow-up of our patient confirms that successful treatment is achieved by subtotal resection combined with radiotherapy.
 
Article
Thirty-five children under 15 years of age with optic nerve injury are prospectively studies for their clinical presentation, radiological findings, visual evoked potentials and outcome. Over 50% were under 10 years of age. In half of the children, injury was due to fall from a height. Fracture of the skull was recorded in a third of the patients, and optic canal fracture was seen only in three children. Visual Evoked Potentials (VEP) were record in 30 children and were repeated several times in first three weeks. All the patients received corticosteroids and optic canal decompression was not carried out routinely. Overall spontaneous visual recovery was observed in 12 patients. Among the 30 children in whom Veps were recorded, 17 children had repeatedly absent VEP, and none of the children showed wave formation, 10 (77%) had visual recovery. Only in 5 patients an optic canal decompression was carried out several weeks after injury. This study brings out the role of VEP in children with optic nerve injury.
 
Article
This 12-week, product-evaluation registry study aimed to compare the effects of supplementation with French Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol®) on cognitive function, attention, and mental performance in healthy professionals with increased oxidative stress (oxstress) in a professional context. Professionals were screened for increased oxstress: 60 subjects (range 35-55 years, no risk conditions, no addictions) voluntarily decided to be followed up. Diet, alcohol and lifestyle patterns, including exercise, were controlled. Pycnogenol® (150 mg/day) was used in combination with a health plan to enhance mental performance and control oxstress. A group of 30 professionals used Pycnogenol, and 29 acted as comparable controls for a period of 12 weeks. The two registry groups were comparable. Cognitive function, attention, mental performance, sustained attention, memory, executive functions, mood and oxstress values were comparable at inclusion. At 12 weeks the improvement in Pycnogenol patients was more significant than in controls. Plasma-free radicals (oxstress) were significantly decreased (median -35%) at 12 weeks in Pycnogenol patients in comparison with a non-significant variation observed in controls (+0.9%; difference between groups). Considering the cognitive test battery (PASAT, pattern recognition memory, spatial recognition memory, spatial working memory), Pycnogenol subjects showed a small but significant improvement with spatial recognition memory unchanged. Mood parameters (alertness, anxiety, contentedness) also improved in professionals using the supplement. In the evaluation of 12 professional daily tasks all items were improved with Pycnogenol supplementation. The score relative to semi-professional minitasks was improved more in Pycnogenol subjects. Tolerability and compliance were optimal with >94% of the doses of supplement correctly used. Pycnogenol supplementation for 12 weeks appears to improve cognitive function and oxstress in healthy professionals.
 
Article
Thoracic disc herniation is uncommon and surgery for thoracic disc herniation represents less than 1-2% of operations for disc disease. However, there is no consensus on the best approach and reports are based on small series. A consecutive series of 35 thoracic disc herniations (25 in women and 10 in men) were treated between 1991 and 1996 using the transpedicular approach and followed in a prospective study. All patients had a preoperative MRI examination. The mean age was 51 years. The T6-7 and T7-8 level were the most frequent localization. The interval between onset of symptoms and operation ranged from 6 weeks to 4 years with a mean of 18 months. Presenting symptoms on admission was radiculopathy in 12 patients and myelopathy in 23 patients. Severe urinary symptoms were found in 2 patients, moderate symptoms in 9 patients, mild symptoms in 3 patients and 21 patient had no urinary symptoms. One patient was paraplegic immediately after surgery and she made no further improvement. A good result was found in 15 patients, a fair result was found in a further 11 patients but in 8 patients the outcome was unchanged with no effect of a reoperation in two cases. No clinical or radiographic features of instability were found. The postoperative course was uneventful, except in one patient with a wound abscess leading to discitis. The transpedicular approach can be an effective and safe method of surgical decompression in carefully selected patients.
 
Article
In a review of Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging findings of 35 cervical spondylotic myelopathy patients, a localized increased signal intensity was observed within the most compressed segment of the cervical cord on T2 and proton density weighted images. Size and duration of cervical cord constriction seemed to be the predisposing factors in producing such an abnormality. All patients underwent surgery. Postoperatively the high MR signal intensity disappeared in 3 (8.6%) cases, decreased in other 20 (57.1%) cases, and did not change in the remaining 12 (34.3%) cases. Thus reversible (edema, transient ischemia) and/or irreversible (malacia, gliosis) histological changes seemed to be represented in MR signal enhancement.
 
Article
Thirty-six drug-resistant epileptic patients submitted to callosotomy were studied. Anterior callosotomy was performed in 27 patients, total two-stage callosotomy was performed in 8 patients and 1 patient had only posterior callosotomy. We found mutism in 10 patients (2 after complete callosotomy and 8 after anterior section). The patients did not speak, but the comprehension was present: they were able to carry out orders and to write. Their attitude to the environment was characterized by complete indifference. The mutism was always transient, lasting from 4 to 25 days (mean 7 days). Regression of mutism was always complete. We think that this complication should be chiefly attributed mainly to surgical manipulation, even if it is impossible to completely exclude a multi-factorial etiology.
 
Top-cited authors
Alessandro Carretta
  • University of Bologna
Corrado Iaccarino
  • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
Carlotta Morselli
  • Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi
Daniel M Prevedello
  • The Ohio State University
Waleed Brinjikji
  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research