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The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has recognised outstanding contributions to bioscience made by members of its research community.
Endoscopic Ipsilateral Interhemispheric Approach for Resection of Selected Deep Medial Brain Tumors.
BACKGROUND: The interhemispheric fissure provides a natural surgical corridor to access tumors of the deep medial surface of the brain. Conventional microscopic approaches to these tumors are limited by the narrow width of the interhemispheric fissure and need for retraction of brain tissue or traversing overlying cortex. Over the last decade, the endoscope has been used to improve visualization of the operative field in neurosurgery, with benefits in terms of surgical ergonomics and extent of tumor resections. In the context of the interhemispheric fissure, an endoscopic approach may improve visualization of some tumors by providing a brighter, more divergent light source at depth and by enabling the operator to inspect around curved structures (e.g., corpus callosum). CASE DESCRIPTION: In this report, we present a series of 5 cases with tumors at various locations along the anteroposterior extent of the interhemispheric fissure that were resected using an endoscopic ipsilateral interhemispheric approach. CONCLUSIONS: The endoscopic ipsilateral interhemispheric approach is an effective and versatile approach to resection of selected deep medial brain tumors extending anteriorly from the genu of the corpus callosum to the splenium. It has notable advantages over the microscope and can be considered a useful adjunct in the surgeon's armamentarium.
Identifying a structural brain lesion on MRI has important implications in epilepsy and is the most important factor that correlates with seizure freedom after surgery in patients with drug-resistant focal onset epilepsy. However, at conventional magnetic field strengths (1.5 and 3T), only approximately 60%-85% of MRI examinations reveal such lesions. Over the last decade, studies have demonstrated the added value of 7T MRI in patients with and without known epileptogenic lesions from 1.5 and/or 3T. However, translation of 7T MRI to clinical practice is still challenging, particularly in centers new to 7T, and there is a need for practical recommendations on targeted use of 7T MRI in the clinical management of patients with epilepsy. The 7T Epilepsy Task Force-an international group representing 21 7T MRI centers with experience from scanning over 2,000 patients with epilepsy-would hereby like to share its experience with the neurology community regarding the appropriate clinical indications, patient selection and preparation, acquisition protocols and setup, technical challenges, and radiologic guidelines for 7T MRI in patients with epilepsy. This article mainly addresses structural imaging; in addition, it presents multiple nonstructural MRI techniques that benefit from 7T and hold promise as future directions in epilepsy. Answering to the increased availability of 7T MRI as an approved tool for diagnostic purposes, this article aims to provide guidance on clinical 7T MRI epilepsy management by giving recommendations on referral, suitable 7T MRI protocols, and image interpretation.
Raman spectroscopy to differentiate between fresh tissue samples of glioma and normal brain: a comparison with 5-ALA-induced fluorescence-guided surgery.
OBJECTIVE: Raman spectroscopy is a biophotonic tool that can be used to differentiate between different tissue types. It is nondestructive and no sample preparation is required. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of Raman spectroscopy to differentiate between glioma and normal brain when using fresh biopsy samples and, in the case of glioblastomas, to compare the performance of Raman spectroscopy to predict the presence or absence of tumor with that of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA)-induced fluorescence. METHODS: A principal component analysis (PCA)-fed linear discriminant analysis (LDA) machine learning predictive model was built using Raman spectra, acquired ex vivo, from fresh tissue samples of 62 patients with glioma and 11 glioma-free brain samples from individuals undergoing temporal lobectomy for epilepsy. This model was then used to classify Raman spectra from fresh biopsies from resection cavities after functional guided, supramaximal glioma resection. In cases of glioblastoma, 5-ALA-induced fluorescence at the resection cavity biopsy site was recorded, and this was compared with the Raman spectral model prediction for the presence of tumor. RESULTS: The PCA-LDA predictive model demonstrated 0.96 sensitivity, 0.99 specificity, and 0.99 accuracy for differentiating tumor from normal brain. Twenty-three resection cavity biopsies were taken from 8 patients after supramaximal resection (6 glioblastomas, 2 oligodendrogliomas). Raman spectroscopy showed 1.00 sensitivity, 1.00 specificity, and 1.00 accuracy for predicting tumor versus normal brain in these samples. In the glioblastoma cases, where 5-ALA-induced fluorescence was used, the performance of Raman spectroscopy was significantly better than the predictive value of 5-ALA-induced fluorescence, which showed 0.07 sensitivity, 1.00 specificity, and 0.24 accuracy (p = 0.0009). CONCLUSIONS: Raman spectroscopy can accurately classify fresh tissue samples into tumor versus normal brain and is superior to 5-ALA-induced fluorescence. Raman spectroscopy could become an important intraoperative tool used in conjunction with 5-ALA-induced fluorescence to guide extent of resection in glioma surgery.
Network Analysis of the CSF Proteome Characterizes Convergent Pathways of Cellular Dysfunction in ALS.
Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a clinical syndrome with complex biological determinants, but which in most cases is characterized by TDP-43 pathology. The identification in CSF of a protein signature of TDP-43 network dysfunction would have the potential to inform the identification of new biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Methods: We compared CSF proteomic data from patients with ALS (n = 41), Parkinson's disease (n = 19) and healthy control participants (n = 20). Weighted correlation network analysis was used to identify modules within the CSF protein network and combined with gene ontology enrichment analysis to functionally annotate module proteins. Analysis of module eigenproteins and differential correlation analysis of the CSF protein network was used to compare ALS and Parkinson's disease protein co-correlation with healthy controls. In order to monitor temporal changes in the CSF proteome, we performed longitudinal analysis of the CSF proteome in a subset of ALS patients. Results: Weighted correlation network analysis identified 10 modules, including those enriched for terms involved in gene expression including nucleic acid binding, RNA metabolism and translation; humoral immune system function, including complement pathways; membrane proteins, axonal outgrowth and adherence; and glutamatergic synapses. Immune system module eigenproteins were increased in ALS, whilst axonal module eigenproteins were decreased in ALS. The 19 altered protein correlations in ALS were enriched for gene expression (OR 3.05, p = 0.017) and membrane protein modules (OR 17.48, p = 0.011), including intramodular hub proteins previously identified as TDP-43 interactors. Proteins decreasing over longitudinal analysis ALS were enriched in glutamatergic synapse and axonal outgrowth modules. Protein correlation network disruptions in Parkinson's disease showed no module enrichment. Conclusions: Alterations in the co-correlation network in CSF samples identified a set of pathways known to be associated with TDP-43 dysfunction in the pathogenesis of ALS, with important implications for therapeutic targeting and biomarker development.
“SAH-RISK”: Risk factors for subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) - a descriptive and comparative study using electronic health records.
The incidence of SAH is 7.9/100 000 person-years, with average age of onset of 62 (1). Non-traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is most commonly caused by rupture of a weakness of an intra-cranial blood vessel (aneurysm). Although it represents only 5% of all strokes, SAH accounts for a similar number of years of life lost as the more common types of stroke (2-4). Despite improvements in clinical management of patients, outcomes after SAH remain poor, with an estimated 26% mortality rate and only 55% of patients regaining independent function (4). Knowledge of modifiable risk factors for SAH is important in terms of prevention. Prospective population-based studies suggest that women have a 1.24 times greater risk of SAH than men. This becomes apparent after 50 years of age, and increases with each decade (5). An explanation for this observation is lacking, however. Loss of the protective effects of oestrogen in the post-menopausal state has been proposed, but studies comparing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) exposure vs. no HRT exposure on SAH incidence draw conflicting conclusions (6, 7). Hypertension is an established modifiable risk factor for SAH, approximately doubling the risk of SAH (8, 9). A rise of 10mmHg in systolic blood pressure increases risk of SAH by 21% (10). A recent meta-analysis demonstrates a global decline in blood pressure which parallels a decrease in the global incidence of SAH (1) - highlighting the importance of primary prevention. Whilst calcium channel blockers are routinely used to prevent secondary ischaemia following SAH, there is no evidence to support the preferential use of specific anti-hypertensives in patients at risk. There is some evidence that certain classes of antihypertensive may offer greater protection against stroke compared to other antihypertensives. One meta-analysis found that calcium channel blockers (CCBs) were associated with a reduced risk ratio (RR) of stroke incidence, compared to other antihypertensive classes (RR 0.83, 95% confidence interval 0.79-0.89)(11). In addition, angiotensin 2 inhibitors (ARBs) may reduce stroke risk compared to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEis)(12), but the literature is inconsistent (11, 13). These findings are often based on meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials that recorded stroke as a secondary outcome – often not specifying if the stroke was haemorrhagic or ischaemic. This protocol describes: 1) a descriptive study of the antecedent demographics and characteristics of SAH patients; 2) a comparative study investigating sex-differences and antihypertensive use on the risk of SAH.
AbstractThe World Health Organization (WHO) promotes physical exercise and a healthy lifestyle as means to improve youth development. However, relationships between physical lifestyle and brain development are not fully understood. Here, we asked whether a brain – physical latent mode of covariation underpins the relationship between physical activity, fitness, and physical health measures with multimodal neuroimaging markers. In 50 12-year old school pupils (26 females), we acquired multimodal whole-brain MRI, characterizing brain structure, microstructure, function, myelin content, and blood perfusion. We also acquired physical variables measuring objective fitness levels, 7-days physical activity, body-mass index, heart rate, and blood pressure. Using canonical correlation analysis we unravel a latent mode of brain – physical covariation, independent of demographics, school, or socioeconomic status. We show that MRI metrics with greater involvement in this mode also showed spatially extended patterns across the brain. Specifically, global patterns of greater grey matter perfusion, volume, cortical surface area, greater white matter extra-neurite density, and resting state networks activity, covaried positively with measures reflecting a physically active phenotype (high fit, low sedentary individuals). Showing that a physically active lifestyle is linked with systems-level brain MRI metrics, these results suggest widespread associations relating to several biological processes. These results support the notion of close brain-body relationships and underline the importance of investigating modifiable lifestyle factors not only for physical health but also for brain health early in adolescence.Significance statementAn active lifestyle is key for healthy development. In this work, we answer the following question: How do brain neuroimaging markers relate with young adolescents’ level of physical activity, fitness, and physical health? Combining advanced whole-brain multimodal MRI metrics with computational approaches, we show a robust relationship between physically active lifestyles and spatially extended, multimodal brain imaging derived phenotypes. Suggesting a wider effect on brain neuroimaging metrics than previously thought, this work underlies the importance of studying physical lifestyle, as well as other brain – body relationships in an effort to foster brain health at this crucial stage in development.
Background: Rare Eye Diseases (RED) are the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness for children and young adults in Europe. This heterogeneous group of conditions includes over 900 disorders ranging from relatively prevalent disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa to very rare entities such as developmental eye anomalies. A significant number of patients with RED have an underlying genetic etiology. One of the aims of the European Reference Network for Rare Eye Diseases (ERN–EYE) is to facilitate improvement in diagnosis of RED in European member states. Main body: Technological advances have allowed genetic and genomic testing for RED. The outcome of genetic testing allows better understanding of the condition and allows reproductive and therapeutic options. The increase of the number of clinical trials for RED has provided urgency for genetic testing in RED. A survey of countries participating in ERN-EYE demonstrated that the majority are able to access some forms of genomic testing. However, there is significant variability, particularly regarding testing as part of clinical service. Some countries have a well-delineated rare disease pathway and have a national plan for rare diseases combined or not with a national plan for genomics in medicine. In other countries, there is a well-established organization of genetic centres that offer reimbursed genomic testing of RED and other rare diseases. Clinicians often rely upon research-funded laboratories or private companies. Notably, some member states rely on cross-border testing by way of an academic research project. Consequently, many clinicians are either unable to access testing or are confronted with long turnaround times. Overall, while the cost of sequencing has dropped, the cumulative cost of a genomic testing service for populations remains considerable. Importantly, the majority of countries reported healthcare budgets that limit testing. Short conclusion: Despite technological advances, critical gaps in genomic testing remain in Europe, especially in smaller countries where no formal genomic testing pathways exist. Even within larger countries, the existing arrangements are insufficient to meet the demand and to ensure access. ERN-EYE promotes access to genetic testing in RED and emphasizes the clinical need and relevance of genetic testing in RED.
Several studies have established specific relationships between White Matter (WM) and behaviour. However, these studies have typically focussed on fractional anisotropy (FA), a neuroimaging metric that is sensitive to multiple tissue properties, making it difficult to identify what biological aspects of WM may drive such relationships. Here, we carry out a pre-registered assessment of WM-behaviour relationships across multiple behavioural, anatomical and biological domains. Surprisingly, we find support for predicted relationships between FA and behaviour only in one of three pre-registered tests. We also find no evidence for consistent multimodal signatures across neuroimaging markers with different biological sensitivity, which suggests there is no common biological substrate for WM-behaviour relationships. These results demonstrate that FA-behaviour relationships from the literature may not be easily generalisable across domains. They also highlight a broad heterogeneity in WM's relationship with behaviour, indicating that variable biological effects may be shaping their interaction.