Newsline — Thursday, December 5, 2013 13:08
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 13:00
A study published in Neuron has demonstrated that neurons in the amygdala, which processes emotions and enables face recognition, function somewhat differently in patients with autism spectrum disorder. Researchers in Cedars-Sinai’s department of neurosurgery and department of neurology, along with colleagues from the California Institute of Technology and Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, recorded the firing activity of individual nerve cells in the amygdalae of two patients with a high-functioning form of autism as they viewed pictures of entire faces or parts of faces on a screen. The research team then compared those recordings to recordings from neurons in patients who did not have autism, which led to the discovery that the “face-part-sensitive” neurons performed atypically in those with autism. The article’s senior author, Ralph Adolphs, PhD, Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Caltech, said that the study presents new insights into mechanisms underlying the symptoms of autism and opens the door for further studies. Click here to read the full article.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 9:00
Researchers were puzzled when three minimally conscious, brain-injured patients responded to the sleep aid, Ambien, and regained awareness. Now, a team of scientists, led by Weill Cornell Medical College, has discovered a signature of brain activity in these similarly “awakened” patients, identified by analyzing electroencephalography (EEG) tests. The resting EEG pattern the researchers saw in the patients indicates that they have a “recruitable reserve” of function in these critical brain areas that Ambien can harness to turn the brain on, even if only temporarily. “Now that we have uncovered important insight into fundamental mechanisms underlying the dramatic and rare response of some severely brain-injured patients to Ambien, we hope to systematically explore ways to achieve such kick-starts in other patients — that is our goal,” says the study’s senior investigator, Dr. Nicholas Schiff. Click here to read the full article.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 13:00
A new study suggests that older men who take long daily walks can significantly reduce their risk of stroke. A large population-based study reported in Stroke followed the walking patterns of 3,435 healthy men, aged 60 to 80, over a period of 10 years, investigating their weekly distance and pace. “If you took one thousand men who usually walk eight to 14 hours per week and followed them for 10 years, on average they would have 55 strokes, compared with 80 for the group who only walk 0 to three hours per week,” explains Barbara Jefferis, the study’s first author. Click here to read the full article.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 9:14
According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) School of Medicine, a new protocol that uses preventive blood-thinning medication in the treatment of patients with traumatic brain injuries reduces the risk of patients developing life-threatening blood clots without increasing the risk of bleeding inside the brain. “Our study found that treating traumatic brain-injured patients with an anticoagulant, or blood-thinning medication, is safe and decreases the risk of these dangerous clots,” said N. Scott Litofsky, MD, FAANS, chief of the MU School of Medicine’s Division of Neurological Surgery and director of neuro-oncology and radiosurgery at MU Health Care. Click here for more information.
Monday, December 2, 2013 13:00
An international patient trial suggests that the safest way of managing arteriovenous malformations (AVM) of the brain is to treat the patient’s symptoms only, and not the AVM. More than 200 patients with a brain AVM were followed for 33 months in a trial, which was led by the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. The trial found that the risks linked to treatment of AVMs were much higher than those associated with leaving them alone. Click here for more information.
Monday, December 2, 2013 9:08
Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, together with colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine, have discovered a new blood biomarker that correctly predicts which concussion victims go on to have white matter tract structural damage and persistent cognitive dysfunction following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). They found that the blood levels of a protein called calpain-cleaved αII-spectrin N-terminal fragment (SNTF) were twice as high in a subset of patients following a traumatic injury. Given on the day of the mTBI, the blood test showed 100-percent sensitivity to predict concussions leading to persisting cognitive problems, and 75-percent specificity to correctly rule out those without functionally harmful concussions. If validated in larger studies, a blood test measuring levels of SNTF could be helpful in diagnosing and predicting risk of long-term consequences of concussion. Click here to read more.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 9:00
While young children sleep, connections between the left and right hemispheres of their brains strengthen, perhaps helping brain functions mature, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder. The research team used electroencephalograms (EEGs) to measure the brain activity of eight sleeping children multiple times at the ages of 2, 3 and 5 years. “Interestingly, during a night of sleep, connections weakened within hemispheres but strengthened between hemispheres,” said Salome Kurth, a postdoctoral researcher and one of the lead researchers. Moreover, the research team also found that the strength of the connections between the left and right hemispheres increased by as much as 20 percent over a night’s sleep. Click here to read the full article.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 13:23
With a noninvasive screening device now being tested, Alzheimer’s disease experts at Cedars-Sinai say early detection might offer chance of timely intervention. Their preliminary results suggest that optical imaging of beta-amyloid plaques in the retina may predict whether the disease is imminent and may possibly offer earlier detection than other methods. The researchers also are identifying possible risk factors and studying immune system modulation as a way to treat the disease. “We believe Alzheimer’s is a complex disease involving inflammation and the immune system. In preclinical studies, we’ve found that if we manipulate the inflammation in the brain, we can significantly slow disease progression,” says Keith Black, MD, FAANS, professor and chair of the department of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai. Click here to read the full article.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:00
Neurosurgeons at University of California (UC) San Diego Health System are using a new approach to visualize the brain’s anatomy prior to surgery, and no needles, dyes or chemicals are needed to create the radiology scan. Yet the technique allows neurosurgeons to see the brain’s nerve connections, thus preserving and protecting critical functions, such as vision, speech and memory. The main imaging ingredient? Water. While the technique, called tractography or diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), has been used for investigational and diagnostic purposes to better understand the effect of stroke and neurological disease, UC San Diego Health System neurosurgeons are applying this technology to guide brain tumor surgery. Click here to read the full article.
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Managing Coding & Reimbursement Challenges in Neurosurgery 2013
Nov. 15-16, 2013; Coral Gables, Fla.
The 42nd Annual AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery
Dec. 3-6, 2013; Toronto
Washington Neuroradiology Review and Memorial Neuropathology Review
Feb. 8-13, 2014; Bethesda, Md.
2014 AANS/CNS Biennial Section on Pain Meeting
April 4, 2014; San Francisco
2014 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting
April 5-9, 2014; San Francisco