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Prior research has typically found a negative relationship between chronic pain and memory, and we examined whether cognitive control processes (e.g. reflection and rumination) moderated this relationship in individuals with Chiari malformation Type I (CM). CM is a neurological condition in which the cerebellar tonsils descend into the medullary and upper cervical spine regions potentially resulting in severe headaches and neck pain.
CM patients who had (n = 341) and had not (n = 297) undergone decompression surgery completed the McGill Pain Questionnaire-Short Form-Revised (SF-MPQ-2), the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), and the Rumination-Reflection Questionnaire (RRQ). Immediate recall scores were compared to those of 102 healthy controls, and delayed recall performance was compared across other variables within the CM group.
CM patients performed more poorly on immediate recall than did controls. Within CM patients, we observed main effects for reflection and age, and a pain x reflection x surgical status (surgery v. no surgery) interaction in which non-decompressed individuals with low levels of pain and high levels of reflection showed superior delayed recall relative to non-decompressed individuals with higher pain and all decompressed individuals.
CM patients show an immediate recall deficit relative to controls, regardless of surgical status. High levels of reflection were associated with better delayed recall performance in non-decompressed CM patients with lower pain levels. High levels of chronic pain may overwhelm increased focused attention abilities, but higher levels of reflection partially overcome the distracting effects of pain and this may represent a type of resilience.
Brain Metastases (BM) represent a leading cause of cancer mortality. While metastatic lesions contain subclones derived from their primary lesion, their functional characterization has been limited by a paucity of preclinical models accurately recapitulating the stages of metastasis. This work describes the isolation of a unique subset of metastatic stem-like cells from primary human patient samples of BM, termed brain metastasis initiating cells (BMICs). Utilizing these BMICs we have established a novel patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of BM that recapitulates the entire metastatic cascade, from primary tumor initiation to micro-metastasis and macro-metastasis formation in the brain. We then comprehensively interrogated human BM to identify genetic regulators of BMICs using in vitro and in vivo RNA interference screens, and validated hits using both our novel PDX model as well as primary clinical BM specimens. We identified SPOCK1 and TWIST2 as novel BMIC regulators, where in our model SPOCK1 regulated BMIC self-renewal and tumor initiation, and TWIST2 specifically regulated cell migration from lung to brain. A prospective cohort of primary lung cancer specimens was used to establish that SPOCK1 and TWIST2 were only expressed in patients who ultimately developed BM, thus establishing both clinical and functional utility for these gene products. This work offers the first comprehensive preclinical model of human brain metastasis for further characterization of therapeutic targets, identification of predictive biomarkers, and subsequent prophylactic treatment of patients most likely to develop BM. By blocking this process, metastatic lung cancer would effectively become a localized, more manageable disease.
To determine the cause of an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa cerebral ventriculitis among eight patients at a community hospital neurosurgical intensive care unit. All had percutaneous external ventricular catheters (EVCs) to monitor cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure.
Cohort study of all patients who had EVCs placed during the epidemic period (August 8-October 22, 1997). A case-patient was any patient with P aeruginosa ventriculitis during the epidemic period. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed on all isolates.
P aeruginosa was significantly more likely to be isolated from CSF per EVC placed in the epidemic than pre-epidemic (January 1-August 7, 1997) periods (8/61 [13%] vs 2/131 [1.5%], P = 002). During the epidemic period, ventriculitis was significantly more likely after EVC placement in the operating room than in other units (8/24 vs 0/22, P = .004). EVC placement technique differed for EVCs placed in the operating room (little hair was removed, preventing application of an occlusive dressing) versus other hospital units (more hair was removed, and an occlusive dressing was applied). Among patients who had operating room EVC placement, contact with one healthcare worker was statistically significant (7/13 vs 0/8, P = .02). Hand cultures of this worker were negative. All isolates had closely related PFGE patterns.
These data suggest that a single healthcare worker may have contaminated EVC insertion sites, resulting in an outbreak of P aeruginosa ventriculitis. Affected patients were unlikely to have had an occlusive dressing at the EVC insertion site. Application of a sterile occlusive dressing may decrease the risk of ventriculitis in patients with EVCs.
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