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1.  Effect of Psychological Status on Outcome of Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery 
Asian Spine Journal  2012;6(3):178-182.
Study Design
Prospective longitudinal study.
To determine if preoperative psychological status affects outcome in spinal surgery.
Overview of Literature
Low back pain is known to have a psychosomatic component. Increased bodily awareness (somatization) and depressive symptoms are two factors that may affect outcome. It is possible to measure these components using questionnaires.
Patients who underwent posterior interbody fusion (PLIF) surgery were assessed preoperatively and at follow-up using a self-administered questionnaire. The visual analogue scale (VAS) for back and leg pain severity and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were used as outcome measures. The psychological status of patients was classified into one of four groups using the Distress and Risk Assessment Method (DRAM); normal, at-risk, depressed somatic and distressed depressive.
Preoperative DRAM scores showed 14 had no psychological disturbance (normal), 39 were at-risk, 11 distressed somatic, and 10 distressed depressive. There was no significant difference between the 4 groups in the mean preoperative ODI (analysis of variance, p = 0.426). There was a statistically and clinically significant improvement in the ODI after surgery for all but distressed somatic patients (9.8; range, -5.2 to 24.8; p = 0.177). VAS scores for all groups apart from the distressed somatic showed a statistically and clinically significant improvement. Our results show that preoperative psychological state affects outcome in PLIF surgery.
Patients who were classified as distressed somatic preoperatively had a less favorable outcome compared to other groups. This group of patients may benefit from formal psychological assessment before undergoing PLIF surgery.
PMCID: PMC3429608  PMID: 22977697
Spine; Low back pain; Outcomes research; Spinal fusion; Psychological tests
2.  Space-time clustering analyses of type 1 diabetes in children from north-east England: support for an infectious aetiology? 
Environmental Health  2009;8(Suppl 1):S14.
The aetiology of type 1 diabetes in children is uncertain. A number of recent studies have suggested an infectious aetiology. It has been postulated that an infectious agent may be involved. Support for this hypothesis may be provided by a finding of space-time clustering. The aims of this study were: (i) to determine whether there was space-time clustering in cases of childhood diabetes from north-east England; and to test for differences in space-time clustering: (ii) due to age at diagnosis; (iii) between the sexes and (iv) between levels of residential population density.
We studied incidence of type 1 diabetes diagnosed in children aged 0-14 years and diagnosed during the period 1990-2007. All cases were resident in a defined geographical region of north-east England (Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne and North Tyneside). We applied a second-order procedure based on K-functions to test for global clustering. Locations were residential addresses at time of diagnosis. Tests were repeated using nearest neighbour thresholds to allow for variable population density, providing the primary result for each analysis. Differences between sexes and between levels of population density were assessed.
We analysed 457 cases of type 1 diabetes. Overall, there was marginally significant evidence of global space-time clustering (P = 0.089). There was statistically significant clustering amongst pairs of cases that contained at least one female (P = 0.017), but not amongst pairs of cases that contained at least one male (P = 0.190). Furthermore, there was significant clustering amongst pairs of cases that contained at least one from a more densely populated area (P = 0.044), but not amongst pairs of cases that contained at least one from a less densely populated area (P = 0.226).
Although the analyses have only found marginally significant evidence of global space-time clustering for cases of type 1 diabetes diagnosed in north-east England, there were two notable findings. First, there was evidence of clustering amongst females and secondly clustering was confined to cases from more densely populated areas. These findings are consistent with a possible aetiological involvement of an infectious agent.
PMCID: PMC2796492  PMID: 20102581
3.  Donor site morbidity following iliac crest bone harvesting for cervical fusion: a comparison between minimally invasive and open techniques 
European Spine Journal  2008;17(6):845-852.
We have studied the occurrence of donor site morbidity, cosmesis and overall satisfaction with graft procedure in 76 patients who had undergone iliac crest bone harvesting for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Totally 24 patients underwent an open procedure and 52 a minimally invasive trephine harvesting method. Although our study demonstrated substantial donor site pain and its effect on ambulation in both groups, this was of limited duration. Two patients, one in each group, suffered long-term pain that was eventually resolved. Totally 8.3% of patients in the open group suffered minor complications and 11.5% in the trephine group. There were two cases of meralgia parasthetica. There were no major complications in either group. There was no statistically significant difference in morbidity between the open and trephine groups. There was a trend towards significance (P = 0.076) for pain at the donor site, with less pain reported by patients who underwent the trephine procedure for harvesting.
PMCID: PMC2519000  PMID: 18389294
Bone grafting; Donor site; Morbidity; Trephine; Cervical fusion

Results 1-3 (3)