Decoding the clinical effects of low-grade glioma–induced cortical excitability

J Neurosurg 140:18–26, 2024

Patients with low-grade glioma (LGG) in eloquent regions often present with seizures, and findings on detailed neuropsychological testing are often abnormal. This study evaluated the association between cortical excitability, seizures, and cognitive function in patients with LGG.

METHODS LGG patients who underwent transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) from January 2021 to December 2022 were studied. Cortical excitability was measured using the resting motor thresholds (RMTs) of the upper and lower extremities. Early postoperative seizures served as the seizure endpoint. Neuropsychological assessment was completed prior to surgery contemporaneous with the TMS studies.

RESULTS A total of 31 patients were analyzed for seizure outcome. Median (interquartile range [IQR]) upper-extremity RMT was 39% (34%–46%) of maximum stimulator output, and the median (IQR) lower-extremity RMT was 69% (51%79%). Lower-extremity RMT was higher in patients with early postoperative seizures, especially in those with motor region tumors (p = 0.02); however, RMT was not associated with seizures at presentation or long-term seizure control. A total of 26 patients completed neuropsychological assessment. There were significant negative correlations between upper-extremity RMT and psychomotor processing speed (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Fourth Edition [WAIS-IV] Processing Speed Index r = −0.42, p = 0.031; WAIS-IV Coding r = −0.41, p = 0.036; WAIS-IV Symbol Search r = −0.39, p = 0.048), executive function (Trail Making Test Part B r = −0.41, p = 0.036), and hand dexterity (Grooved Pegboard Test r = −0.50, p = 0.047).

CONCLUSIONS RMT was positively correlated with early postoperative seizure risk and negatively correlated with psychomotor processing speed, executive function, and hand dexterity. These findings support the theory of local and regional resting oscillatory network dysfunction from a glioma-brain network.

Falls and Fear of Falling in Shunted Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery 89:122–128, 2021

Gait and balance impairment are typical symptoms of idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH), implicating that falls may afflict these patients.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate falls, related injuries, and associated psychological features, before and after shunt surgery for INPH and compared to the general population.

METHODS: The study included 176 patients shunted for INPH and 368 age- and sexmatched controls. Falls, fear of falling (FOF), fall-related injuries (mild-severe), confidence in avoiding falls (Swedish Falls Efficacy Scale (FES(S)), quality of life (QoL; EuroQoL 5-dimension 5 level instrument), and symptoms of depression (Geriatric Depression Scale 15) were investigated. Pre- and postoperative observational times were 12 mo before surgery and 21 mo after (mean). Recurrent fallers fell ≥2 times.

RESULTS: More INPH patients than controls were recurrent fallers (67% vs 11%; P < .001). They feared falling more often (FOF, mean   standard deviation: 3.3   1.1 vs 1.6   0.9; P < .001) and had lower confidence in avoiding falls (FES(S) 78   40 vs 126   14; P < .001). After surgery, INPH patients improved in all parameters but they did not reach the levels of the controls. Among fallers there was no difference between patients and controls in the severity of injuries suffered. Low QoL and symptoms of depression were more common among recurrent fallers than one-time or nonfallers in both shunted patients and controls (P ≤ .001).

CONCLUSION: Falls, FOF, and low confidence in avoiding falls are considerable problems in INPH that may be reduced by shunt surgery. We suggest that remaining risk of falling and preventative measures are routinely considered in postoperative follow-ups and rehabilitation planning.

Chiari I malformation—neuropsychological functions and quality of life

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:1575–1582

Objective To assess the neuropsychological (NP) functioning and quality of life (QOL) before and 3 months after surgery on adults with Chiari I malformation (CMI).

Patients and methods All adult patients who had been diagnosed with CMI were invited to participate. Those who participated were assessed using a Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD) and NP examinations. Their QOL was assessed using the self-reported life satisfaction checklist, LiSat-11 and the five-dimensional EuroQol measurement of health outcome, EQ-5D-5L. All assessments were carried out both before and 3 months after surgery was performed. Demographic data and comorbidities were also registered.

Results Of the 11 patientswho underwentNP assessment, the majority demonstrated cognitive functioning within the normal range. However, postoperatively, their performance in verbal learning, psychomotor speed, colour naming speed and the ability to manage interference through response selection and inhibition (aspects of executive functioning) was significantly improved. Thirteen patients completed QOL assessments. When LiSat-11 item domains were compared with those of healthy subjects, patients reported a lower level of satisfaction with their life quality both before and after surgery. However, the EQ-5D-5L measurements, i.e., the descriptive system and the visual analogue, indicated that their QOL of life was significantly improved after surgery.

Conclusion There is scarcely any literature documenting effects of surgery on the QOL of CMI patients. The study we present here breaks new ground by comparing pre- and postoperative NP functions in CMI. We also examine the value of surgery for improving both NP functions and QOL in CMI.

Cognitive dysfunction and subjective symptoms in patients with arachnoid cyst before and after surgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162: 1041–1050

Arachnoid cysts are congenital, benign lesions in the brain and are often incidental radiological findings. Frequently, the arachnoid cysts are left untreated; however, recent studies have shown that arachnoid cysts can cause cognitive dysfunction that affect quality of life. Moreover, the function can improve after surgical decompression. Hence, there is controversy regarding symptomatology and treatment effects of arachnoid cysts. The aim of the study was to analyse if arachnoid cysts can cause cognitive impairment and subjective symptoms and if these impairments are reversible after surgical treatment.

Material and methods Twenty-one consecutive patients with radiologically confirmed supratentorial arachnoid cysts were cognitively evaluated using a battery of seven neuropsychological tests. Twelve of these patients underwent surgery and were evaluated before and after surgery. The patients were also evaluated with neuropsychological testing after surgery. Further information was extracted from the medical records. The cognitive test results were compared to standard population values using z-test, and the test results from the surgically treated patients were compared before and after surgery using paired t-test.

Results The surgically treated patients had a statistically significant improvement of neurocognitive test results after surgery in six out of the seven tests (p < 0.05). The total patient group showed lower mean values in all tests when compared to standard population. Statistical significance was, however, only detected in two of the seven tests. All surgically treated patients reported diminished symptoms after surgery.

Conclusions The patients with arachnoid cysts presented with cognitive dysfunction compared to the normal population which improved after surgical decompression. Arachnoid cysts should not be considered asymptomatic unless thoroughly evaluated with clinical and neuropsychological work-up.