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Background: Diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) tractography is commonly used in neurosurgical practice, but is largely limited to the preoperative setting. This is due primarily to image degradation caused by susceptibility artifact when conventional single-shot (SS) echo-planar imaging DTI is acquired for open cranial, surgical position intraoperative DTI (iDTI). A novel, artifact-resistant, readout-segmented (RS) DTI has not yet been evaluated in the intraoperative MRI (iMRI) environment. Our objective was to evaluate the performance of RS-DTI versus SS-DTI for intraoperative white matter imaging. Methods: Pre- and intraoperative 3T, T1-weighted and DTI (RS-iDTI and SS-iDTI) in 22 adults undergoing intraaxial iMRI resections (low-grade glioma: 14, 64%; high-grade glioma: 7, 32%; cortical dysplasia: 1). Regional susceptibility artifact, anatomical deviation relative to T1WI, and tractographic output were compared between iDTI sequences. Results: RS-iDTI resulted in less regional susceptibility artifact and mean anatomic deviation (RS-iDTI: 2.7±0.2 mm versus SS-iDTI 7.5±0.4 mm; p<0.0001). Tractographic failure occurred in 8/22 (36%) patients for SS-iDTI whereas RS-iDTI permitted successful reconstruction in 4 of these 8. Maximal tractographic differences between DTI sequences were substantial (mean 9.7±5.7 mm). Conclusions: Readout-segmented EPI enables higher quality and more accurate DTI for surgically relevant tractography of major white matter tracts in intraoperative, open cranium, neurosurgical applications at 3T.
Background: There are few published reports on the safety and efficacy of stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) in the presurgical evaluation of pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy. Our objective was to describe institutional experience with pediatric SEEG in terms of (1) insertional complications, (2) identification of the epileptogenic zone and (3) seizure outcome following SEEG-tailored resections. Methods: Retrospective review of 29 patients pediatric drug resistant epilepsy patients who underwent presurgical SEEG between 2005 – 2018. Results: 29 pediatric SEEG patients (15 male; 12.4 ± 4.6 years old) were included in this study with mean follow-up of 6.0 ± 4.1 years. SEEG-related complications occurred in 1/29 (3%)—neurogenic pulmonary edema. A total of 190 multi-contact electrodes (mean of 7.0 ± 2.5per patient) were implanted across 30 insertions which captured 437 electrographic seizures (mean 17.5 ± 27.6 per patient). The most common rationale for SEEG was normal MRI with surface EEG that failed to identify the EZ (16/29; 55%). SEEG-tailored resections were performed in 24/29 (83%). Engel I outcome was achieved following resections in 19/24 cases (79%) with 5.9 ± 4.0 years of post-operative follow-up. Conclusions: Stereoelectroencephalography in presurgical evaluation of pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy is a safe and effective way to identify the epileptogenic zone permitting SEEG-tailored resection.
Background: Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) accounts for approximately 20% of pediatric epilepsy cases. Of those, many are considered medically intractable and require surgical interventions. In this study, we hypothesized that mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) was less common in patients who had undergone surgery for intractable pediatric TLE than in adult series. We further hypothesized that there was a radiological and pathological discordance in identifying the cause of pediatric TLE. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of pediatric patients with TLE who had undergone surgical treatments as part of the University of Alberta’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Program between 1988 and 2018. Along with preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reports, post-surgical pathology results and seizure outcomes were studied Results: Of the 83 pediatric patients who had undergone temporal lobe epilepsy surgery, 28% had tumors, 22% had dual pathologies, 18% had MTS, 11% had focal cortical dysplasia, and 22% had other pathologies. In addition, for 36% of these patients, discordance between their pre-surgical MRI reports and post-surgical pathology reports were found. Conclusions: This was one of the largest retrospective cohort studies of pediatric patients who had undergone surgery for intractable TLE. This study showed that tumors, and not MTS, were the most common pathology in surgical pediatric TLE.
The Berkeley Visible Image Tube (BVIT) has been a user instrument on the SALT 10-m telescope for the past six years. It can observe transient astrophysical phenomena occurring on time-scales of micro-seconds. This overview presented some recent observations of a dMe flare star, and discussed the recent results of our optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (OSETI) around nearby exoplanet-hosting stars.
Background: Selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SAH) is a surgical option in well-selected cases of pediatric medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). The objective of this study was to compare the surgical outcome and the rate of reoperation for ongoing or recurrent seizures between SAH and anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) in pediatric TLE. Methods: Retrospective review of 78 pediatric intractable TLE patients referred to the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at our institution between 1988 and 2015 treated initially with either a trans-middle temporal gyrus SAH (19) or ATL (59). Patients underwent baseline long-term video electroencephalography and 1.5-Tesla MRI. Neuropsychological testing was performed preoperatively and 12-months postoperatively (including reoperations). Results: The mean follow-up was 64 months (range, 12-186 months). The average age at initial surgery was 10.6±5 years with an average delay of 5.7±4 years between seizure onset and surgery. Ultimately 78% were seizure-free (61/78) at most recent follow-up. Seizure freedom after initial surgical treatment was achieved in 81% of patients who underwent ATL (48 patients) versus 42% in SAH (8 patients; p<0.001). Of patients with ongoing disabling seizures following SAH, reoperation (ATL) was offered in 8 resulting in seizure freedom in 63%, without interval neuropsychological decline. Conclusions: SAH amongst well-selected pediatric TLE results in significantly worse seizure control compared with ATL.
Background: It remains difficult to predict which patients will experience ongoing seizures or neuropsychological deficits following Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE) surgery. MRI allows measurement of brain structures, such as the contralateral (non-resected) hippocampus (cHC) after TLE surgery. Preliminary evidence suggests that the cHC atrophies following surgery, however, the time course of this atrophy, relation to cognitive deficits and seizure outcome remains unclear. Methods: T1-weighted MR imaging and hippocampal volumetry in 26 TLE patients pre- and post-TLE surgery (and 12 controls) as: 1) two-scan group (TSG) (pre- and post-operatively at 5.4 years) and 2) longitudinal group (LG; pre- and on post-operatively on day 1,2,3,6,60,120 and at an average 2.4 years. Seizure outcome and pre- and post-operative neuropsychological assessment was performed. Results: The TSG had significant atrophy by 12% of the unresected cHC (p<0.0001) most pronounced (27%) in the hippocampal body alone. The LG revealed that this atrophy occured rapidly over the first week (1.3%/day; 3%/day cHC body). Significantly greater cHC atrophy was observed in those with ongoing seizures versus the seizure free (p=0.048). Conclusions: Significant cHC atrophy following TLE surgery that begins immediately, progresses over the first week, and remains signficantly depressed. The severity postoperative cHC atrophy may represent an early biomarker of the propensity for delayed seizure recurrence.
Offload delay is a prolonged interval between ambulance arrival in the emergency department (ED) and transfer of patient care, typically occurring when EDs are crowded. The offload zone (OZ), which manages ambulance patients waiting for an ED bed, has been implemented to mitigate the impact of ED crowding on ambulance availability. Little is known about the safety or efficiency. The study objectives were to process map the OZ and conduct a hazard analysis to identify steps that could compromise patient safety or process efficiency.
A Health Care Failure Mode and Effect Analysis was conducted. Failure modes (FM) were identified. For each FM, a probability to occur and severity of impact on patient safety and process efficiency was determined, and a hazard score (probability X severity) was calculated. For any hazard score considered high risk, root causes were identified, and mitigations were sought.
The OZ consists of six major processes: 1) patient transported by ambulance, 2) arrival to the ED, 3) transfer of patient care, 4) patient assessment in OZ, 5) patient care in OZ, and 6) patient transfer out of OZ; 78 FM were identified, of which 28 (35.9%) were deemed high risk and classified as impact on patient safety (n=7/28, 25.0%), process efficiency (n=10/28, 35.7%), or both (n=11/28, 39.3%). Seventeen mitigations were suggested.
This process map and hazard analysis is a first step in understanding the safety and efficiency of the OZ. The results from this study will inform current policy and practice, and future work to reduce offload delay.
Background: Dysembryoblastic neuroepithelial tumors (DNETs) are benign tumors of the cerebral cortex that most commonly occur in children or young adults. Seizures are a frequent presenting feature, with an incidence of 80-100%, and are often an indication for surgical resection. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of children with DNETs who underwent epilepsy surgery between 1998 and 2014. Results: A total of 12 subjects were identified (6 males, 6 females), all of whom had seizures prior to surgical resection. Of these patients, 1 had infantile spasms, 2 had simple partial seizures and 10 had complex partial seizures. Tumors were located in the temporal (n=7), frontal (n=3) or parietal (n=2) cortex. These patients went on to have surgery on average 15 months after seizure onset, 3 had incomplete resections. At an average follow up of 6 years 4 months, all patients were class 1 on Engel’s Classification. All but one subject with rare non-disabling seizures were seizure free, with only 6 on medication. Follow up MR imaging revealed tumor recurrence in 1 subject. Conclusions: Despite differing seizure seminology and tumor location, surgical resection of these low-grade tumors resulted in excellent seizure outcome even in the setting of incomplete tumor resection.
This paper brings together the work of the GI Solvency II Technical Provisions working party. The working party was formed in 2009 for the primary purpose of raising awareness of Solvency II and the impact it would have on the work that reserving actuaries do. Over the years, the working party’s focus has shifted to exploring and promoting discussion of the many practical issues raised by the requirements and to promoting best practice. To this end, we have developed, presented and discussed many of the ideas contained in this paper at events and forums. However, the size of the subject means that at no one event have we managed to cover all of the areas that the reserving actuary needs to be aware of. This paper brings together our thinking in one place for the first time. We hope experienced practitioners will find it thought provoking, and a useful reference tool. For new practitioners, we hope it helps to get you up-to-speed quickly. Good luck!
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious disorder incurring high costs due to hospitalization. International treatments vary, with prolonged hospitalizations in Europe and shorter hospitalizations in the USA. Uncontrolled studies suggest that longer initial hospitalizations that normalize weight produce better outcomes and fewer admissions than shorter hospitalizations with lower discharge weights. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of hospitalization for weight restoration (WR) to medical stabilization (MS) in adolescent AN.
We performed a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 82 adolescents, aged 12–18 years, with a DSM-IV diagnosis of AN and medical instability, admitted to two pediatric units in Australia. Participants were randomized to shorter hospitalization for MS or longer hospitalization for WR to 90% expected body weight (EBW) for gender, age and height, both followed by 20 sessions of out-patient, manualized family-based treatment (FBT).
The primary outcome was the number of hospital days, following initial admission, at the 12-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were the total number of hospital days used up to 12 months and full remission, defined as healthy weight (>95% EBW) and a global Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) score within 1 standard deviation (s.d.) of published means. There was no significant difference between groups in hospital days following initial admission. There were significantly more total hospital days used and post-protocol FBT sessions in the WR group. There were no moderators of primary outcome but participants with higher eating psychopathology and compulsive features reported better clinical outcomes in the MS group.
Outcomes are similar with hospitalizations for MS or WR when combined with FBT. Cost savings would result from combining shorter hospitalization with FBT.
This study aimed to assess the speed of referral, diagnosis and treatment of patients with lymphoma presenting with a neck lump, and to identify where delays are occurring that prevent UK national targets from being met.
The study entailed a retrospective survey of patients presenting with a neck lump secondary to lymphoma between 2006 and 2008 in Gloucestershire, UK.
Forty-seven of 54 patients (87 per cent) were seen within 2 weeks of referral. However, the 62-day rule, which covers the time from referral to the initiation of treatment, was met in only 32 of the 54 cases (59 per cent). There were no breaches of the 31-day target, which concerned the time from decision to treat to the initiation of treatment. Subsequent target breaches were due to longer waiting times for radiological and pathological investigations.
Radiological examinations should be ordered at the first consultation and biopsies performed as soon as possible. Establishing one-stop, rapid access clinics should improve the achievement of a maximum 62-day wait for patients with lymphoma presenting with neck lumps.
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a condition that usually affects young, obese women. Management is aimed at controlling symptoms of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) and prevention of visual failure due to papilledema. A common surgical treatment for IIH is the insertion of a lumboperitoneal shunt (LP shunt). Secondary symptomatic tonsillar herniation is an uncommon side effect following lumbar cerebrospinal fluid diversion.
We present two cases of symptomatic secondary tonsillar herniation, one associated with a syrinx, in patients with IIH following valved LP shunting. Treatment options for this side effect may include transplanting the shunt to the ventricular system or decompression of the foramen magnum.
In our cases we elected to alter the construct of the LP shunt by inserting a programmable valve which led to clinical and radiological reversal of the tonsillar herniation as well as a dramatic reduction in an associated syrinx.
When faced with LP shunt induced symptomatic secondary tonsillar herniation, consideration may be given to altering LP shunt dynamics, prior to inserting a ventricular catheter into normal sized ventricles or decompressing the posterior fossa.
The WASP consortium is conducting an ultra-wide field survey of stars between 8–15 mag from both hemispheres. Our primary science goal is to detect extra-solar ‘hot-Jupiter’-type planets that eclipse (or transit) bright host stars and for which further detailed investigation will be possible. We summarize the design of the SuperWASP instruments and describe the first results from our northern station SW-N, sited in La Palma, Canary Islands. Our second station, which began operations this year, is located at the South African Astronomical Observatory. Between April and September, 2004, SW-N continuously observed ~6.7 million stars. The consortium's custom-written, fully automated data reduction pipeline has been used to process these data, and the information is now stored in the project archive, held by the Leicester database and archive service (LEDAS). We have applied a sophisticated, automated algorithm to identify the low-amplitude (~0.01 mag), brief (~few hours) signatures of transiting exoplanets. In addition, we have assessed each candidate in the light of all available catalogue information in order to reject data artefacts and astrophysical false positive detections. The highest priority candidates are currently being subjected to further observations in order to select the true planets. Once the exoplanets are confirmed, a host of exciting opportunities are open to us. In this paper, we describe two techniques that exploit the transits in order to detect other objects within the same system. The first involves determining precise epochs for a sequence of transit events in order to detect the small timing variations caused by the gravitational pull of other planets in the same system. The second method employs ultra-high precision photometry of the transits to detect the deviations caused by the presence of exoplanetary moons. Both of these techniques are capable of detecting objects the size of terrestrial planets.