Intraventricular rupture of brain abscesses (IVRBA) remains a catastrophic and fatal complication of bacterial brain abscess (BBA). However, no information has been reported about the risk factors that are predictive of intraventricular rupture.
This study was undertaken to determine the potential risk factors that are predictive of intraventricular ruptures in patients with BBA but without intraventricular rupture when arriving at the hospital. A comparison is also made between patients who already have IVRBA at the time of admission (initial IVRBA) and those who have the episode during hospitalisation (subsequent IVRBA).
62 patients, including 45 who had initial IVRBA and 17 who had subsequent IVRBA, were examined. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that the adjusted risk of intraventricular rupture during hospitalisation for patients with multiloculated brain abscesses had an odds ratio (OR) of 4.2 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.24 to 14.3; p = 0.02) compared with those without multiloculated brain abscesses (referent); a reduction of 1 mm in the distance between the ventricle and brain abscesses would increase the rupture rate by 10% (p = 0.006, OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.83 to 0.97).
This study shows that if the abscess is deep seated, multiloculated and close to the ventricle wall, a reduction of 1 mm in the distance between the ventricle and brain abscesses will increase the rupture rate by 10%. Despite aggressive medical and surgical management shown in this series, many patients continue to progress poorly.
Patients with carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication may develop ongoing neurological and psychiatric symptoms that ebb and flow, a condition often called delayed encephalopathy (DE). The association between morphologic changes in the brain and neuropsychological deficits in DE is poorly understood.
Magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological tests were conducted on 11 CO patients with DE, 11 patients without DE, and 15 age-, sex-, and education-matched healthy subjects. Differences in gray matter volume (GMV) between the subgroups were assessed and further correlated with diminished cognitive functioning.
As a group, the patients had lower regional GMV compared to controls in the following regions: basal ganglia, left claustrum, right amygdala, left hippocampus, parietal lobes, and left frontal lobe. The reduced GMV in the bilateral basal ganglia, left post-central gyrus, and left hippocampus correlated with decreased perceptual organization and processing speed function. Those CO patients characterized by DE patients had a lower GMV in the left anterior cingulate and right amygdala, as well as lower levels of cognitive function, than the non-DE patients.
Patients with CO intoxication in the chronic stage showed a worse cognitive and morphologic outcome, especially those with DE. This study provides additional evidence of gray matter structural abnormalities in the pathophysiology of DE in chronic CO intoxicated patients.
Carbon monoxide intoxication; Cognitive deficits; Delayed encephalopathy; Magnetic resonance imaging; Voxel-based morphometry
Using high-resolution ultrasonography (US) to measure the median nerve cross-sectional areas (CSAs) such as in the “inching test” conducted in nerve conduction studies is a valuable tool to assess carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). However, using this US measurement method to assess the median nerve CSA in diabetic patients with CTS has rarely been reported. Therefore, we used this US measurement method in this study to measure median nerve CSAs and to compare the CSAs of idiopathic, diabetic and diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN) patients with CTS.
124 hands belonging to 89 participants were included and assigned into four groups: control (32), idiopathic (38), diabetic (38) and DPN (16) CTS. In the latter two groups, only patients with mild and moderately severe CTS were included. The median nerve CSAs were measured at 8 points marked as i4, i3, i2, i1, w, o1, o2, and o3 in the inching test. The measured CSAs in each group of participants were compared.
Compared with the CSAs of the control group, enlarged CSAs were found in the idiopathic, diabetic and DPN CTS groups. The CSAs were larger at i4, i3 and i2 in the diabetic CTS group compared to the idiopathic CTS group. The CSAs measured at the i1 and w levels of the DPN CTS group were smaller than those of the diabetic CTS group. In the diabetic CTS group, the cut-off values of CSAs measured at the inlet, wrist crease, and outlet were 15.3 mm2, 13.4 mm2 and 10.0 mm2, respectively, and 14.0 mm2, 12.5 mm2 and 10.5 mm2, respectively, in the DPN CTS group.
Compared with the median nerve CSAs of the control and idiopathic CTS groups, the median nerve CSAs of the diabetic patients with CTS were significantly enlarged. However, compared with the diabetic CTS group, the CSAs were significantly smaller in the DPN CTS group. This US 8-point measurement method can be of value as an important complementary tool for CTS studies and diagnosis among diabetic patients.
Q-Sweat is a model used for evaluating the post-ganglionic sudomotor function by assessing sweat response. This study aimed to establish the normative database of Q-Sweat test among Chinese individuals since this type of information is currently lacking.
One hundred and fifty (150) healthy volunteers, 76 men and 74 women with age range of 22–76 years were included. Skin temperature and sweat onset latency measured at the four sites (i.e., the forearm, proximal leg, distal leg, and the foot) did not significantly correlate with age, gender, body height (BH), body weight (BW), and body mass index (BMI) but the total sweat volume measured in all four sites significantly correlated with sex, BH, and BW. Except for the distal leg, the total sweat volume measured at the other three sites had a significant correlation with BMI. In terms of gender, men had larger total sweat volume, with median differences at the forearm, proximal leg, distal leg, and foot of 0.591 μl, 0.693 μl, 0.696 μl, and 0.358 μl, respectively. Regarding BW difference (≥62 and < 62 Kg), those with BW ≥62 Kg had larger total sweat volume. Median differences at the forearm, proximal leg, distal leg, and foot were 0.538 μl, 0.744 μl, 0.695 μl, and 0.338 μl, respectively. There was an uneven distribution of male and female participants in the two BW groups. In all conditions, the total sweat volume recorded at the foot site was the smallest.
This is the first report to show the normative database of sweat response in Chinese participants evaluated using Q-Sweat device. This normative database can help guide further research on post-ganglionic sudomotor or related clinical practice involving a Chinese population.
Age; Body height; Body mass index; Body weight; Chinese; Gender; Normative database; Q-Sweat; Sweat output
Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a common form of focal epilepsy. Serum biomarkers to predict cognitive performance in TLE patients without psychiatric comorbidities and the link with gray matter (GM) atrophy have not been fully explored.
Thirty-four patients with TLE and 34 sex - and age-matched controls were enrolled for standardized cognitive tests, neuroimaging studies as well as measurements of serum levels of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), S100ß protein (S100ßP), neuronal specific enolase (NSE), plasma nuclear and mitochondrial DNA levels.
Compared with the controls, the patients with TLE had poorer cognitive performances and higher HSP70 and S100ßP levels (p < 0.01). The patients with higher frequencies of seizures had higher levels of HSP70, NSE and S100ßP (p < 0.01). Serum HSP70 level correlated positively with duration of epilepsy (σ = 0.413, p < 0.01), and inversely with memory scores in the late registration (σ = −0.276, p = 0.01) and early recall score (σ = −0.304, p = 0.007). Compared with the controls, gray matter atrophy in the hippocampal and parahippocampal areas, putamen, thalamus and supplementary motor areas were found in the patient group. The HSP70 levels showed an inverse correlation with hippocampal volume (R square = 0.22, p = 0.007) after controlling for the effect of age.
Our results suggest that serum biomarkers were predictive of higher frequencies of seizures in the TLE group. HSP70 may be considered to be a stress biomarker in patients with TLE in that it correlated inversely with memory scores and hippocampal volume. In addition, the symmetric extratemporal atrophic patterns may be related to damage of neuronal networks and epileptogenesis in TLE.
Biomarkers; Neuropsychological performances; Temporal lobe epilepsy; Gray matter atrophy; Heat shock proteins
To examine the clinical characteristics of bacterial meningitis in elderly patients.
261 patients with adult bacterial meningitis (ABM), collected during a study period of 11 years (2000-2010), were included for study. Among them, 87 patients aged ≥ 65 years and were classified as the elderly group. The clinical and laboratory characteristics and prognostic factors were analyzed, and a clinical comparison with those of non-elderly ABM patients was also made.
The 87 elderly ABM patients were composed of 53 males and 34 females, aged 65-87 years old (median = 71 years). Diabetes mellitus (DM) was the most common underlying condition (34%), followed by end stage renal disease (7%), alcoholism (4%) and malignancies (4%). Fever was the most common clinical manifestation (86%), followed by altered consciousness (62%), leukocytosis (53%), hydrocephalus (38%), seizure (30%), bacteremia (21%) and shock (11%). Thirty-nine of these 87 elderly ABM patients had spontaneous infection, while the other 48 had post-neurosurgical infection. Forty-four patients contracted ABM in a community-acquired state, while the other 43, a nosocomial state. The therapeutic results of the 87 elderly ABM patients were that 34 patients expired and 53 patients survived. The comparative results of the clinical and laboratory characteristics between the elderly and non-elderly ABM patients showed that only peripheral blood leukocytosis was significant. Presence of shock and seizure were significant prognostic factors of elderly ABM patients.
Elderly ABM patients accounted for 34.8% of the overall ABM cases, and this relatively high incidence rate may signify the future burden of ABM in the elderly population in Taiwan. The relative frequency of implicated pathogens of elderly ABM is similar to that of non-elderly ABM. Compared with non-elderly patients, the elderly ABM patients have a significantly lower incidence of peripheral blood leukocytosis. The mortality rate of elderly ABM remains high, and the presence of shock and seizures are important prognostic factors.
Incremental palmar stimulation of the median nerve sensory conduction at the wrist, the "inching test", provides an assessment with reference to segments proximal and distal to the entrapment. This study used high-resolution ultrasonography (US) to measure the median nerve's cross-section areas (CSAs) like the "inching test" and to correlate with the nerve conduction study (NCS) severity and duration of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
Two hundred and twelve (212) "CTS-hands" from 135 CTS patients and 50 asymptomatic hands ("A-hands") from 25 control individuals were enrolled. The median nerve CSAs were measured at the 8-point marked as i4, i3, i2, i1, w, o1, o2, and 03 in inching test. The NCS severities were classified into six groups based on motor and sensory responses (i.e., negative, minimal, mild, moderate, severe, and extreme). Results of US studies were compared in terms of NCS severity and duration of clinical CTS symptoms.
There was significantly larger CSA of the NCS negative group of "CTS-hands" than of "A-hands". The cut-off values of the CSAs of the NCS negative CTS group were 12.5 mm2, 11.5 mm2 and 10.1 mm2 at the inlet, wrist crease, and outlet, respectively. Of the 212 "CTS-hands", 32 were NCS negative while 40 had minimal, 43 mild, 85 moderate, 10 severe, and two extreme NCS severities. The CSAs of "CTS-hands" positively correlated with different NCS severities and with the duration of CTS symptoms. By duration of clinical symptoms, 12 of the 212 "CTS-hands" were in the 1 month group; 82 in >1 month and ≤12 months group, and 118 in >12 months group. In "inching test", segments i4-i3 and i3-i2 were the most common "positive-site". The corresponding CSAs measured at i4 and i3, but not at i2, were significantly larger than those measured at points that were not "positive-site".
Using the 8-point measurement of the median nerve CSA from inlet to outlet similar to the "inching test" has positive correlations with NCS severity and duration of CTS clinical symptoms, and can provide more information on anatomic changes. Combined NCS and US studies using the 8-point measurement may have a higher positive rate than NCS alone for diagnosing CTS.
Refracture of cemented vertebrae is often seen after percutaneous vertebroplasty. The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate pre-procedural magnetic resonance images (MRI) for the prediction of further collapse and vertebral height loss after vertebroplasty. This study included 81 consecutive patients (73 women and 8 men) with osteoporotic compression fractures. MR studies were performed 1–5 days before vertebroplasty. Patients were followed to evaluate refracture for a minimum of 6 months after treatment. Cox proportional hazards model was used to evaluate relationships between clinical data, covariates on pre-procedural MRI, and the presence of cemented vertebrae refracture. The mean refracture rate was estimated with the Kaplan–Meier method. After a mean follow-up of 23.0 ± 8.2 months, 46 cemented vertebrae (57%) experienced refracture, and the mean loss of anterior vertebral height was 11.3%. The 1-year refracture rate after vertebroplasty was 7%, and rapid increased to 76% in the third year. Cox proportional analysis showed that any 1% decrease in signal intensity on T2-weighted images of the injured vertebra will increase the refracture rate by 0.74% (OR = 0.26, 95% CI 0.08–0.81, p = 0.02), and a 1% increase in the poorly enhanced volume ratio will increase the refracture rate by 4.3% (OR = 5.32, 95% CI 1.22–23.14, p = 0.03). Quantitative pre-procedural MRI appears to be useful in exploring vertebrae with poor bone marrow integrity, which effectively predicts the subsequent refracture of cemented vertebra.
Magnetic resonance imaging; Osteoporosis; Spine; Vertebral fracture; Vertebroplasty
Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX) is a rare lipid-storage disease. Neuromuscular abnormality and autonomic system (ANS) dysfuction in CTX are rarely examined in large-scale studies in the literature. We studied the peripheral nervous system, myopathology, and autonomic system of four CTX patients and performed a literature review of the reported CTX patients with peripheral neuropathy.
Four biochemically and genetically confirmed CTX patients, belonging to two families, were included for study and all received nerve conduction study (NCS), muscle biopsy for histopathologic and ultrastructural study, skin biopsy for intraepidermal nerve fiber (INEF) density measurement, autonomic testings including sympathetic skin response, R-R interval variation and head-up tilt test using an automated tilt table to record the changes of blood pressure and heart rate in different postures. The Q-Sweat test was also applied for the detection of sweat amount and onset time of response. The clinical characteristics, study methods and results of 13 studies of peripheral neuropathy in CTX patients in the literature were also recorded for analysis.
The results of NCS study showed axonal sensory-motor polyneuropathy in three CTX cases and mixed axonal and demyelinating sensor-motor polyneuropathy in one. The myopathological and histopathologic studies revealed mild denervation characteristics, but the ultrastructural study revealed changes of mitochondria and the membranous system, and increased amounts of glycogen, lipofuscin and lipid deposition. The ANS study revealed different degrees of abnormalities in the applied tests and the INEF density measurement showed small fiber neuropathy in three of the four CTX patients. The literature review of peripheral neuropathy in CTX revealed different types of peripheral neuropathy, of which axonal peripheral neuropathy was the most common.
Peripheral neuropathy, especially the subtype of axonal sensori-motor neuropathy, is common in patients with CTX. Evidence of lipid metabolic derangement in CTX can be reflected in ultrastructural studies of muscles. With an adequate multi-parametric evaluation, a high incidence of ANS abnormalities can be seen in this rare lipid-storage disease, and a high incidence of small fiber involvement is also reflected in the IENF density measurement of skin biopsies.
Super-infection in adult bacterial meningitis (ABM) is a condition wherein the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) grows new pathogen(s) during the therapeutic course of meningitis. It is an uncommon but clinically important condition rarely examined in literature.
Twenty-seven episodes of super-infection states in 21 ABM patients collected in a 9.5-year study period (January 2001 to June 2010) were evaluated. The clinical characteristics, implicated pathogens, results of antimicrobial susceptibility tests, and therapeutic outcomes were analyzed.
Twenty-one patients (13 men, 8 women) aged 25-73 years (median, 45 years) had post-neurosurgical state as the preceding event and nosocomial infection. The post-neurosurgical states included spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) with craniectomy or craniotomy with extra-ventricular drainage (EVD) or ventriculo-peritoneal shunt (VPS) in 10 patients, traumatic ICH with craniectomy or craniotomy with EVD or VPS in 6 patients, hydrocephalus s/p VPS in 2 patients, and one patient each with cerebral infarct s/p craniectomy with EVD, meningeal metastasis s/p Omaya implant, and head injury. All 21 patients had EVD and/or VP shunt and/or Omaya implant during the whole course of ABM. Recurrent fever was the most common presentation and the implicated bacterial pathogens were protean, many of which were antibiotic resistant. Most patients required adjustment of antibiotics after the pathogens were identified but even with antimicrobial therapy, 33.3% (7/21) died. Morbidity was also high among survivors.
Super-infection in ABM is usually seen in patients with preceding neurosurgical event, especially insertion of an external drainage device. Repeat CSF culture is mandatory for diagnostic confirmation because most of the implicated bacterial strains are non-susceptible to common antibiotics used. Unusual pathogens like anaerobic bacteria and fungi may also appear. Despite antimicrobial therapy, prognosis remains poor.
Acute/subacute cerebral infarction (ASCI) in HIV-negative cryptococcal meningoencephalitis (CM) adults has rarely been examined by a series of MRI-based follow-up study. We studied a series of MRI follow-up study of CM adults and compared the clinical characters of those with ASCI and those without ASCI.
The clinical characteristics and a series of brain MRI findings of seven CM adults with ASCI were enrolled for analysis. The clinical characteristics of another 30 HIV-negative CM adults who did not have ASCI were also included for a comparative analysis.
The seven HIV-negative CM adults with ASCI were four men and three women, aged 46-78 years. Lacunar infarction was the type of ASCI, and 86% (6/7) of the ACSI were multiple infarctions distributed in both the anterior and posterior cerebrovascular territories. The seven CM patients with ASCI were significantly older and had a higher rate of DM and previous stroke than the other 30 CM adults without ASCI. They also had a higher incidence of consciousness disturbance at presentation and had a poor prognosis.
ASCI was found in 18.9% (7/37) of HIV-negative CM adults. Serial MRI follow-up studies may allow a better delineation of ASCI in this specific group of infectious disease and multiple lacunar infarctions was the most common type. Older in age and presence of DM and previous stroke were the significant underlying conditions. CM patients with ASCI also had a poor therapeutic outcome.
Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX) is a rare genetic disorder. Recent studies show that brain damage in CTX patients extends beyond the abnormalities observed on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We studied the MRI and 99 mTc-ethyl cysteinate dimer single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) findings of CTX patients and made a correlation with the neuropsychological presentations.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and 3D T1-weighted images of five CTX patients were compared with 15 age-matched controls. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was use to delineate gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volume loss. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and eigenvalues derived from DTI were used to detect WM changes and correlate with neuropsychological results. SPECT functional studies were used to correlate with GM changes.
Cognitive results showed that aside from moderate mental retardation, the patient group performed worse in all cognitive domains. Despite the extensive GM atrophy pattern, the cerebellum, peri-Sylvian regions and parietal-occipital regions were correlated with SPECT results. WM atrophy located in the peri-dentate and left cerebral peduncle areas corresponded with changes in diffusion measures, while axial and radial diffusivity suggested both demyelinating and axonal changes. Changes in FA and MD were preceded by VBM in the corpus callosum and corona radiata. Cognitive results correlated with FA changes.
In CTX, GM atrophy affected the perfusion patterns. Changes in WM included atrophy, and axonal changes with demyelination. Disconnection of major fiber tracts among different cortical regions may contribute to cognitive impairment.
Vascular abnormalities are the predominant histologic changes associated with radiation in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). This study examined if the duration after radiotherapy correlates with the progression of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and investigated its relationship with inflammatory markers.
One hundred and five NPC patients post-radiotherapy for more than one year and 25 healthy control subjects were examined by B-mode ultrasound for IMT measurement at the far wall of the common carotid artery (CCA). Surrogate markers including lipid profile, HbA1c, and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) were assessed.
The IMT of CCA was significantly increased in NPC patients and carotid plaque was detected in 38 NPC patients (38/105, 36.2%). Significant risk factors for carotid plaques included age, duration after radiotherapy, and HbA1c levels. Age, duration after radiotherapy, hs-CRP, HbA1c, and platelet count positively correlated with IMT. The cut-off value of age and duration after radiotherapy for the presence of plaque was 52.5 years and 42.5 months, respectively. In NPC subjects, multiple linear regression analysis revealed that age, gender, duration after radiotherapy and platelet counts were independently associated with CCA IMT. After adjustments for age, gender and platelet counts, IMT increased in a linear manner with duration after radiotherapy.
Radiation-induced vasculopathy is a dynamic and progressive process due to late radiation effects. Extra-cranial color-coded duplex sonography can be part of routine follow-up in NPC patients aged ≥50 years at 40 months post-radiotherapy.
Atherosclerosis; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Radiotherapy; Risk factors
Both apoptosis and autoantibodies are important factors associated with disease activity in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study tested the hypothesis that increased leukocyte apoptosis is associated with elevated levels of autoantibodies and the disease activity of SLE.
Leukocyte apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry, including annexin V, APO2.7, and 7-amino-actinomycin D (7-AAD) on each subtype of leukocyte in 23 patients with SLE. Leukocyte apoptosis was also evaluated in nine patients with Sjogren’s syndrome (SJS) and in 20 volunteer subjects. Titers of common autoantibodies and the disease activity index (SLEDAI-2 k) of the SLE patients were also determined.
Except for annexin V and APO 2.7 of monocytes and late apoptosis (annexin V + 7-ADD) of lymphocytes, apoptosis in the total and in subsets of leukocytes were significantly higher in SLE patients than in controls (all p < 0.05, post hoc analysis). The mean percentage of late apoptosis of leukocytes (annexin V + 7-AAD) positively correlated with levels of anti-Ro52/60 (r = 0.513, p < 0.01), anti-La (r = 0.439, p = 0.04), and anti-Mi-2 (r = 0.492, p = 0.02), and inversely correlated with both C3 and C4 levels, although not statistically significant. The percentage of APO2.7 of CD19+ cells positively correlated with SLEDAI-2 K score (p = 0.01).
Leukocyte apoptosis is significantly higher in patients with SLE and correlates well with the levels of several autoantibodies. The APO2.7 of B-lymphocyte (CD19+) cells positively correlates with the disease activity of SLE.
Autoantibodies; Diseases severity score; Leukocyte apoptosis; Systemic lupus erythematosus
To compare the value of ultrasonography for diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in patients with and without diabetes mellitus (DM).
Eighty non-DM and 40 DM patients with electromyography-confirmed CTS were assessed and underwent high-resolution ultrasonography of the wrists. Cross-sectional area (CSA) and flattening ratio (FR) of the median nerve were measured at the carpal tunnel outlet (D) and wrist crease (W).
The 80 non-DM and 40 DM patients had 81 and 59 CTS-hands, respectively. The CSA_D and CSA_W were significantly larger in the CTS-hands and DM-CTS-hands compared to the normal control (p < 0.001). However, there is no difference of CSA_D and CSA_W between DM and non-DM CTS patients. Receiver operating characteristics [ROC] curve analysis revealed that CSA_W ≥13 mm2 was the most powerful predictor of CTS in DM (area under curve [AUC] = 0.72; sensitivity 72.9%, specificity 61.9%) and non-DM (AUC = 0.72; sensitivity 78.5%, specificity 53.2%) patients. The CSA positively correlated with the distal motor latency of the median compound motor action potential (CMAP), distal sensory latency of the median sensory nerve action potential (SNAP), and latency of the median F wave, but negatively correlated with the amplitude of the median CMAP, amplitude of the median SNAP, and sensory NCV of the median nerve. Stepwise logistic regression revealed that CSA_W (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.07-1.38; p = 0.003) was independently associated with CTS in DM patients and any 1 mm2 increase in CSA_W increased the rate of CTS by 28%.
The CSA of the median nerve at the outlet and wrist crease are significantly larger in CTS hands in both DM and non-DM patients compared to normal hands. The CSA of the median nerve by ultrasonography may be a diagnostic tool for evaluating CTS in DM and non-DM patients.
Carpal tunnel syndrome; Cross-sectional area; Median nerve; Ultrasonography
This study aimed to investigate the correlation of minimum inhibiting concentrations (MICs), obtained by broth micro-dilution, and clinical response in patients with cryptococcal meningitis.
Using retrospective analyses covering the period 2001–2010, factors affecting clinical therapeutic cure in patients with cryptococcal meningitis 10 weeks after the start of anti-fungal therapy were identified. Specific emphasis was placed on the role of anti-fungal susceptibility.
Of 46 patients with cryptococcal meningitis identified, 21 were cured after 10 weeks of treatment. Overall, 12 strains (26.1%) were resistant to fluconazole (>8 μg/ml) and 8 (17.4%) had an MIC >1 μg/ml for amphotericin B. Twenty-three patients received combination amphotericin B and fluconazole as their initial antifungal therapy, 17 were given amphotericin B only, five received fluconazole only, and one received a combination of amphotericin B and flucytosine. After 2 weeks, all patients received fluconazole (400–600 mg daily for 8 weeks at least, then 200 mg daily thereafter). The presence of isolates resistant to fluconazole (MIC >8 μg/ml; 4.8% vs. 44%, p < 0.01) were statistically significant among patients who were cured. Anti-fungal susceptibility, reflected by fluconazole MIC >8 μg/ml, was an independent predictor of therapeutic cure at 10-week evaluation (OR = 15.7; 95% CI: 1.8-135.9; p = 0.01), but higher MIC of amphotericin B (>1 μg/ml) was not.
The MICs of fluconazole, determined by the CLSI method, may be a potential predictor of therapeutic cure in patients with cryptococcal meningitis.
Cryptococcal meningitis; Fluconazole; Outcome; Susceptibility
This study aimed to analyze the clinical features, causative pathogens, neuro-imaging findings, and therapeutic outcomes of bacterial brain abscess in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) following radiotherapy.
NPC patients with bacterial brain abscess were evaluated. Their clinical data were collected over a 22-year period. For comparison, the clinical features, causative pathogens, neuro-imaging findings, and therapeutic outcomes between NPC and non-NPC patients were analyzed.
NPC accounted for 5.7% (12/210) of the predisposing factors, with Viridans streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus as the two most common causative pathogens. Significant statistical analysis between the two groups (NPC and non-NPC patients) included chronic otitis media (COM) as the underlying disease, post-radiation necrosis by neuro-imaging, and the temporal lobe as the most common site of brain abscesses. The fatality rate in patients with and without NPC was 16.7% and 20.7%, respectively.
NPC patients with bacterial brain abscess frequently have COM as the underlying disease. Neuro-imaging often reveals both post-radiation necrosis and the temporal lobe as the most common site of brain abscesses, the diagnosis of which is not always a straightforward process. Radiation necrosis can mimic brain abscess on neuro-imaging and pose significant diagnostic challenges. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for survival.
Bacterial brain abscess; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Therapeutic outcome
Hydrocephalus following spontaneous aneurysmal sub-arachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is often associated with unfavorable outcome. This study aimed to determine the potential risk factors and outcomes of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in aneurysmal SAH patients but without hydrocephalus upon arrival at the hospital.
One hundred and sixty-eight aneurysmal SAH patients were evaluated. Using functional scores, those without hydrocephalus upon arrival at the hospital were compared to those already with hydrocephalus on admission, those who developed it during hospitalization, and those who did not develop it throughout their hospital stay. The Glasgow Coma Score, modified Fisher SAH grade, and World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade were determined at the emergency room. Therapeutic outcomes immediately after discharge and 18 months after were assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Score.
Hydrocephalus accounted for 61.9% (104/168) of all episodes, including 82 with initial hydrocephalus on admission and 22 with subsequent hydrocephalus. Both the presence of intra-ventricular hemorrhage on admission and post-operative intra-cerebral hemorrhage were independently associated with shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in patients without hydrocephalus on admission. After a minimum 1.5 years of follow-up, the mean Glasgow outcome score was 3.33 ± 1.40 for patients with shunt-dependent hydrocephalus and 4.21 ± 1.19 for those without.
The presence of intra-ventricular hemorrhage, lower mean Glasgow Coma Scale score, and higher mean scores of the modified Fisher SAH and World Federation of Neurosurgical grading on admission imply risk of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in patients without initial hydrocephalus. These patients have worse short- and long-term outcomes and longer hospitalization.
Outcome; Risk factors; Hydrocephalus after spontaneous aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage
Background and aim
The sensitivity and specificity of biomarkers and scoring systems used for predicting fatality of severe sepsis patients remain unsatisfactory. This study aimed to determine the prognostic value of circulating plasma DNA levels in severe septic patients presenting at the Emergency Department (ED).
Sixty-seven consecutive patients with severe sepsis and 33 controls were evaluated. Plasma DNA levels were estimated by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay using primers for the human β-hemoglobin and ND2 gene. The patients’ clinical and laboratory data on admission were analyzed.
The median plasma nuclear and mitochondria DNA levels for severe septic patients on admission were significantly higher than those of the controls. The mean plasma nuclear DNA level on admission correlated with lactate concentration (γ = 0.36, p = 0.003) and plasma mitochondrial DNA on admission (γ = 0.708, p < 0.001). Significant prognostic factors for fatality included mechanical ventilation within the first 24 hours (p = 0.013), mean sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score on admission (p = 0.04), serum lactate (p < 0.001), and both plasma nuclear and mitochondrial DNA on admission (p < 0.001). Plasma mitochondrial DNA was an independent predictor of fatality by stepwise logistic regression such that an increase by one ng/mL in level would increase fatality rate by 0.7%.
Plasma DNA has potential use for predicting outcome in septic patients arriving at the emergency room. Plasma mitochondrial DNA level on admission is a more powerful predictor than lactate concentration or SOFA scores on admission.
Hospital mortality; Mitochondrial DNA; Nucleus DNA; Severe sepsis
Cerebral edema, a well-known feature of acute liver disease, can occur in cirrhotic patients regardless of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and adversely affect prognosis. This study characterized and correlated functional HE abnormalities in the brain to cerebral edema using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Forty-one cirrhotic patients (16 without HE, 14 minimal HE, 11 overt HE) and 32 healthy controls were assessed. The HE grade in cirrhotic patients was evaluated by the West Haven criteria and neuro-psychological examinations. Functional connectivity correlation coefficient (fc-CC) of the default mode network (DMN) was determined by rs-fMRI, while the corresponding mean diffusivity (MD) was obtained from DTI. Correlations among inter-cortical fc-CC, DTI indices, Cognitive Ability Screening Instrument scores, and laboratory tests were also analyzed. Results showed that gradual reductions of HE-related consciousness levels, from “without HE” or “minimal HE” to “overt HE”, correlated with decreased anterior-posterior fc-CC in DMN [F(4.415), p = 0.000)]. The MD values from regions with anterior-posterior fc-CC differences in DMN revealed significant differences between the overt HE group and other groups. Increased MD in this network was inversely associated with decreased fc-CC in DMN and linearly correlated with poor cognitive performance. In conclusion, cerebral edema can be linked to altered cerebral temporal architecture that modifies both within- and between-network connectivity in HE. Reduced fc-CC in DMN is associated with behavior and consciousness deterioration. Through appropriate targets, rs-fMRI technology may provide relevant supplemental information for monitoring HE and serve as a new biomarker for clinical diagnosis.
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome and a major complication of liver cirrhosis. Dysmetabolism of the brain, related to elevated ammonia levels, interferes with intercortical connectivity and cognitive function. For evaluation of network efficiency, a ‘small-world’ network model can quantify the effectiveness of information transfer within brain networks. This study aimed to use small-world topology to investigate abnormalities of neuronal connectivity among widely distributed brain regions in patients with liver cirrhosis using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). Seventeen cirrhotic patients without HE, 9 with minimal HE, 9 with overt HE, and 35 healthy controls were compared. The interregional correlation matrix was obtained by averaging the rs-fMRI time series over all voxels in each of the 90 regions using the automated anatomical labeling model. Cost and correlation threshold values were then applied to construct the functional brain network. The absolute and relative network efficiencies were calculated; quantifying distinct aspects of the local and global topological network organization. Correlations between network topology parameters, ammonia levels, and the severity of HE were determined using linear regression and ANOVA. The local and global topological efficiencies of the functional connectivity network were significantly disrupted in HE patients; showing abnormal small-world properties. Alterations in regional characteristics, including nodal efficiency and nodal strength, occurred predominantly in the association, primary, and limbic/paralimbic regions. The degree of network organization disruption depended on the severity of HE. Ammonia levels were also significantly associated with the alterations in local network properties. Results indicated that alterations in the rs-fMRI network topology of the brain were associated with HE grade; and that focal or diffuse lesions disturbed the functional network to further alter the global topology and efficiency of the whole brain network. These findings provide insights into the functional changes in the human brain in HE.
Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has elevated rates of co-morbid memory deficit and depression that are associated with higher relapse rates for substance abuse. White matter (WM) disruption in MMT patients have been reported but their impact on these co-morbidities is unknown. This study aimed to investigate changes in WM integrity of MMT subjects using diffusion tensor image (DTI), and their relationship with history of heroin and methadone use in treated opiate-dependent individuals. The association between WM integrity changes from direct group comparisons and the severity of memory deficit and depression was also investigated. Differences in WM integrity between 35 MMT patients and 23 healthy controls were evaluated using DTI with tract-based spatial statistical analysis. Differences in DTI indices correlated with diminished memory function, Beck Depression Inventory, duration of heroin use and MMT, and dose of heroin and methadone administration. Changes in WM integrity were found in several WM regions, including the temporal and frontal lobes, pons, cerebellum, and cingulum bundles. The duration of MMT was associated with declining DTI indices in the superior longitudinal fasciculus and para-hippocampus. MMT patients had more memory and emotional deficits than healthy subjects. Worse scores in both depression and memory functions were associated with altered WM integrity in the superior longitudinal fasciculus, para-hippocampus, and middle cerebellar peduncle in MMT. Patients on MMT also had significant WM differences in the reward circuit and in depression- and memory-associated regions. Correlations among decreased DTI indices, disease severity, and accumulation effects of methadone suggest that WM alterations may be involved in the psychopathology and pathophysiology of co-morbidities in MMT.
Serum concentrations of adhesion molecules may be connected to the pathogenesis of secondary brain injury after spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). This study posits the hypothesis that levels of adhesion molecules substantially increase after ICH and are decreased thereafter, and that they can predict treatment outcomes.
Two hundred and thirty-nine blood samples were collected from 60 consecutive patients admitted within 24 hours after onset of spontaneous ICH and 60 blood samples were collected from 60 volunteers. Additional samples were obtained on Days 4, 7, 10, and 14 after onset of ICH regardless of clinical deterioration.
Upon discharge, the therapeutic outcomes of the 60 spontaneous ICH cases based on the modified Rankin Disability Scale (mMRS) showed that 17 had no disability while 8.3% developed delayed cerebral infarction (DCI). Statistical analysis of adhesion molecules between patient groups with good outcome (mMRS = 0 or 1) and poor outcome (mMRS ≥2) revealed significant differences in diabetes mellitus (P=0.049), hyperlipidemia (P=0.012), mentality change (P=0.043), ICH volume and intraventricular hemorrhage on admission (P=0.036 and 0.006, respectively), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) on admission (P≤0.001), neuro-surgical intervention (P=0.003), and sE-selectin and soluble intercellular cell adhesion-molecule-1 (sICAM-1) levels on admission (P=0.036 and 0.019, respectively). Multiple logistic regression analysis of these significant variables showed that GCS on admission, hyperlipidemia, and sICAM-1 (P=0.039, 0.042, and 0.022, respectively) were independently associated with outcome of acute spontaneous ICH.
Increased sICAM-1 and sE-selectin levels may imply poor therapeutic outcomes for the treatment of spontaneous ICH during hospitalization. These early inflammatory responses may cause whole-brain injury immediately after spontaneous ICH and offer a potential therapeutic target for such patients. The importance of these findings is that they offer a potential therapeutic target for patients with spontaneous ICH.
Statins reportedly have anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects aside from cholesterol-lowering. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of pre-existing statin use on platelet activation markers and clinical outcome in acute ischemic stroke patients.
This prospective study evaluated 172 patients with acute ischemic stroke divided in two groups: patients with pre-existing statin (n = 43) and without pre-existing statin (66 cases with statins initiated post-stroke and 63 without statin treatment). Platelet activation markers (CD62P and CD63) were measured by flow cytometry at different time points after stroke and analyzed with clinical outcome.
The CD62P and CD63 expressions on platelets were significantly lower in the patients with pre-existing statin use compared to the patients without pre-existing statin use on Day 1 post-stroke (p < 0.05). The CD62P expression was significantly lower in the patients with pre-existing statin use on 90 days after the acute stroke (p < 0.05). Patients with pre-existing statin use had lower incidences of early neurologic deterioration (END) than those without treatment (p < 0.05). Among several baseline clinical variables, admission NIHSS score, history of coronary artery disease, and pre-existing statin use were independent predictions of good clinical outcome at three months.
Pre-existing statin use is associated with decreased platelet activity as well as improved clinical outcome and reduced END in patients with acute ischemic stroke.
flow cytometry; ischemic stroke; outcome; platelet activation
Erythropoietin (EPO) enhances the circulating level of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which has been reported to be associated with prognostic outcome in ischemic stroke (IS) patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the time course of circulating EPC level and the impact of EPO therapy on EPC level and clinical outcome in patients after acute IS.
In total, 167 patients were prospectively randomized to receive either EPO therapy (group 1) (5,000 IU each time, subcutaneously) at 48 h and 72 h after acute IS, or serve as placebo (group 2). The circulating level of EPCs (double-stained markers: CD31/CD34 (E1), CD62E/CD34 (E2) and KDR/CD34 (E3)) was determined using flow cytometry at 48 h and on days 7 and 21 after IS. EPC level was also evaluated once in 60 healthy volunteers.
Circulating EPC (E1 to E3) level at 48 h after IS was remarkably higher in patients than in control subjects (P < 0.02). At 48 h and on Day 7 after IS, EPC (E1 to E3) level did not differ between groups 1 and 2 (all P > 0.1). However, by Day 21, EPC (E1 to E3) level was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (all P < 0.03). Additionally, 90-day recurrent stroke rate was notably lower in group 1 compared with group 2 (P = 0.022). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that EPO therapy (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.153 to 0.730; P = 0.006) and EPC (E3) (95% CI, 0.341 to 0.997; P = 0.049) levels were significantly and independently predictive of a reduced 90-day major adverse neurological event (MANE) (defined as recurrent stroke, National Institutes of Health Stroke scale ≥8, or death).
EPO therapy significantly improved circulating EPC level and 90-day MANE.
Trial registration number