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Research on neuroplasticity in recovery from aphasia depends on the ability to identify language areas of the brain in individuals with aphasia. However, tasks commonly used to engage language processing in people with aphasia, such as narrative comprehension and picture naming, are limited in terms of reliability (test-retest reproducibility) and validity (identification of language regions, and not other regions). On the other hand, paradigms such as semantic decision that are effective in identifying language regions in people without aphasia can be prohibitively challenging for people with aphasia. This paper describes a new semantic matching paradigm that uses an adaptive staircase procedure to present individuals with stimuli that are challenging yet within their competence, so that language processing can be fully engaged in people with and without language impairments. The feasibility, reliability and validity of the adaptive semantic matching paradigm were investigated in sixteen individuals with chronic post-stroke aphasia and fourteen neurologically normal participants, in comparison to narrative comprehension and picture naming paradigms. All participants succeeded in learning and performing the semantic paradigm. Test-retest reproducibility of the semantic paradigm in people with aphasia was good (Dice coefficient = 0.66), and was superior to the other two paradigms. The semantic paradigm revealed known features of typical language organization (lateralization; frontal and temporal regions) more consistently in neurologically normal individuals than the other two paradigms, constituting evidence for validity. In sum, the adaptive semantic matching paradigm is a feasible, reliable and valid method for mapping language regions in people with aphasia.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Ultrasound imaging for kidney stones suffers from poorer sensitivity, diminished specificity, and overestimation of stone size compared to computed tomography (CT). The purpose of this study was to demonstrate in vitro feasibility of novel ultrasound imaging methods comparing traditional B-mode to advanced beamforming techniques including plane wave synthetic focusing (PWSF), short-lag spatial coherence (SLSC) imaging, mid-lag spatial coherence (MLSC) imaging with incoherent compounding, and aperture domain model image reconstruction (ADMIRE). The ultrasound techniques were evaluated using a research-based ultrasound system applied to an in vitro kidney stone model at 4 and 8 cm depths. Stone diameter sizing and stone contrast were compared among the different techniques. Analysis of variance was used to analyze the differences among group means, with p < 0.05 considered significant, and a Student's t test was used to compare each method with B-mode, with p < 0.0025 considered significant. All stones were detectable with each method. MLSC performed best with stone sizing and stone contrast compared to B-mode. On average, B-mode sizing error ± SD was > 1 mm (1.2 ± 1.1 mm), while those for PWSF, ADMIRE, and MLSC were < 1 mm (- 0.3 ± 2.9 mm, 0.6 ± 0.8, 0.8 ± 0.8, respectively). Subjectively, MLSC appeared to suppress the entire background thus highlighting only the stone. The ADMIRE and SLSC techniques appeared to highlight the stone shadow relative to the background. The detection and sizing of stones in vitro are feasible with advanced beamforming methods with ultrasound. Future work will include imaging stones at greater depths and evaluating the performance of these methods in human stone formers.
BACKGROUND - Magnetic compression anastomosis (magnamosis) uses a pair of self-centering magnetic Harrison Rings to create an intestinal anastomosis without sutures or staples. We report the first-in-human case series using this unique device.
STUDY DESIGN - We conducted a prospective, single-center, first-in-human pilot trial to evaluate the feasibility and safety of creating an intestinal anastomosis using the Magnamosis device. Adult patients requiring any intestinal anastomosis to restore bowel continuity were eligible for inclusion. For each procedure, 1 Harrison Ring was placed in the lumen of each intestinal segment. The rings were brought together and mated, and left to form a side to side, functional end to end anastomosis. Device movement was monitored with serial x-rays until it was passed in the stool. Patients were monitored for adverse effects with routine clinic appointments, as well as questionnaires.
RESULTS - Five patients have undergone small bowel anastomosis with the Magnamosis device. All 5 patients had severe systemic disease and underwent complex open urinary reconstruction procedures, with the device used to restore small bowel continuity after isolation of an ileal segment. All devices passed without obstruction or pain. No patients have had any complications related to their anastomosis, including anastomotic leaks, bleeding, or stricture at median follow-up of 13 months.
CONCLUSIONS - In this initial case series from the first-in-human trial of the Magnamosis device, the device was successfully placed and effectively formed a side to side, functional end to end small bowel anastomosis in all 5 patients. No patients have had any anastomotic complications at intermediate follow-up.
Copyright © 2017 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The challenging biological and mechanical environment of posterolateral fusion (PLF) requires a carrier that spans the transverse processes and resists the compressive forces of the posterior musculature. The less traumatic posterolateral approach enabled by minimally invasive surgical techniques has prompted investigations into alternative rhBMP-2 carriers that are injectable, settable, and compression-resistant. In this pilot study, we investigated injectable low-viscosity (LV) polymer/composite bone grafts as compression-resistant carriers for rhBMP-2 in a single-level rabbit PLF model.
METHODS - LV grafts were augmented with ceramic microparticles: (1) hydrolytically degradable bioactive glass (BG), or (2) cell-degradable 85% β-tricalcium phosphate/15% hydroxyapatite (CM). Material properties, such as pore size, viscosity, working time, and bulk modulus upon curing, were measured for each LV polymer/ceramic material. An in vivo model of posterolateral fusion in a rabbit was used to assess the grafts' capability to encourage spinal fusion.
RESULTS - These materials maintained a working time between 9.6 and 10.3 min, with a final bulk modulus between 1.2 and 3.1 MPa. The LV polymer/composite bone grafts released 55% of their rhBMP-2 over a 14-day period. As assessed by manual palpation in vivo, fusion was achieved in all (n = 3) animals treated with LV/BG or LV/CM carriers incorporating 430 μg rhBMP-2/ml. Images of μCT and histological sections revealed evidence of bone fusion near the transverse processes.
CONCLUSION - This study highlights the potential of LV grafts as injectable and compression-resistant rhBMP-2 carriers for posterolateral spinal fusion.
INTRODUCTION - There is a need to develop imaging methods sensitive to axonal injury in multiple sclerosis (MS), given the prominent impact of axonal pathology on disability and outcome. Advanced multi-compartmental diffusion models offer novel indices sensitive to white matter microstructure. One such model, neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI), is sensitive to neurite morphology, providing indices of apparent volume fractions of axons (v), isotropic water (v) and the dispersion of fibers about a central axis (orientation dispersion index, ODI). NODDI has yet to be studied for its sensitivity to spinal cord pathology. Here, we investigate the feasibility and utility of NODDI in the cervical spinal cord of MS patients.
METHODS - NODDI was applied in the cervical spinal cord in a cohort of 8 controls and 6 MS patients. Statistical analyses were performed to test the sensitivity of NODDI-derived indices to pathology in MS (both lesion and normal appearing white matter NAWM). Diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) analysis were also performed to compare with NODDI.
RESULTS - A decrease in NODDI-derived v was observed at the site of the lesion ( < 0.01), whereas a global increase in ODI was seen throughout white matter ( < 0.001). DKI-derived mean kurtosis (MK) and radial kurtosis (RK) and DTI-derived fractional anisotropy (FA) and radial diffusivity (RD) were all significantly different in MS patients ( < 0.02), however NODDI provided higher contrast between NAWM and lesion in all MS patients.
CONCLUSION - NODDI provides unique contrast that is not available with DKI or DTI, enabling improved characterization of the spinal cord in MS.
Ocular angiogenesis is a blinding complication of age-related macular degeneration and other retinal vascular diseases. Clinical imaging approaches to detect inflammation prior to the onset of neovascularization in these diseases may enable early detection and timely therapeutic intervention. We demonstrate the feasibility of a previously developed cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) targeted molecular imaging probe, fluorocoxib A, for imaging retinal inflammation in a mouse model of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization. This imaging probe exhibited focal accumulation within laser-induced neovascular lesions, with minimal detection in proximal healthy tissue. The selectivity of the probe for COX-2 was validated
PURPOSE - Ultrasonic propulsion is a new technology using focused ultrasound energy applied transcutaneously to reposition kidney stones. We report what are to our knowledge the findings from the first human investigational trial of ultrasonic propulsion toward the applications of expelling small stones and dislodging large obstructing stones.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Subjects underwent ultrasonic propulsion while awake without sedation in clinic, or during ureteroscopy while anesthetized. Ultrasound and a pain questionnaire were completed before, during and after propulsion. The primary outcome was to reposition stones in the collecting system. Secondary outcomes included safety, controllable movement of stones and movement of stones less than 5 mm and 5 mm or greater. Adverse events were assessed weekly for 3 weeks.
RESULTS - Kidney stones were repositioned in 14 of 15 subjects. Of the 43 targets 28 (65%) showed some level of movement while 13 (30%) were displaced greater than 3 mm to a new location. Discomfort during the procedure was rare, mild, brief and self-limited. Stones were moved in a controlled direction with more than 30 fragments passed by 4 of the 6 subjects who had previously undergone a lithotripsy procedure. The largest stone moved was 10 mm. One patient experienced pain relief during treatment of a large stone at the ureteropelvic junction. In 4 subjects a seemingly large stone was determined to be a cluster of small passable stones after they were moved.
CONCLUSIONS - Ultrasonic propulsion was able to successfully reposition stones and facilitate the passage of fragments in humans. No adverse events were associated with the investigational procedure.
Copyright © 2016 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - Patients with end-stage renal disease on maintenance hemodialysis are much more sedentary than healthy individuals. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility and safety of a 12-week intradialysis yoga intervention versus a kidney education intervention on the promotion of physical activity.
DESIGN AND METHODS - We randomized participants by dialysis shift to either 12-week intradialysis yoga or an educational intervention. Intradialysis yoga was provided by yoga teachers to participants while receiving hemodialysis. Participants receiving the 12-week educational intervention received a modification of a previously developed comprehensive educational program for patients with kidney disease (Kidney School). The primary outcome for this study was feasibility based on recruitment and adherence to the interventions and safety of intradialysis yoga. Secondary outcomes were to determine the feasibility of administering questionnaires at baseline and 12 weeks including the Kidney Disease-Related Quality of Life-36.
RESULTS - Among 56 eligible patients who approached for the study, 31 (55%) were interested and consented to participation, with 18 assigned to intradialysis yoga and 13 to the educational program. A total of 5 participants withdrew from the pilot study, all from the intradialysis yoga group. Two of these participants reported no further interest in participation. Three withdrawn participants switched dialysis times and therefore could no longer receive intradialysis yoga. As a result, 13 of 18 (72%) and 13 of 13 (100%) participants completed 12-week intradialysis yoga and educational programs, respectively. There were no adverse events related to intradialysis yoga. Intervention participants practiced yoga for a median of 21 sessions (70% participation frequency), with 60% of participants practicing at least 2 times a week. Participants in the educational program completed a median of 30 sessions (83% participation frequency). Of participants who completed the study (n = 26), baseline and 12-week questionnaires were obtained from 85%.
CONCLUSIONS - Our pilot study of 12-week intradialysis yoga and 12-week educational intervention reached recruitment goals but with less than targeted completion and adherence to intervention rates. This study provided valuable feasibility data to increase follow-up and adherence for future clinical trials to compare efficacy.
Copyright © 2015 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - We conducted a prospective trial of BRAF and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) targeted therapy in advanced, operable BRAF mutation-positive melanoma to determine feasibility, tumor response rates, and biomarkers of response and resistance.
STUDY DESIGN - Thirteen patients with locally or regionally advanced BRAF mutation-positive melanoma received dabrafenib 150 mg po bid for 14 days, followed by dabrafenib plus trametinib 2 mg po daily for 14 days before operation. Biopsies and tumor measurements were obtained at baseline and days 14 and 28. Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded specimens were analyzed with hematoxylin and eosin, Ki-67, cleaved caspase-3, CD8, phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and phosphorylated MEK immunostains.
RESULTS - Therapy was tolerated well, with toxicity ≥ grade 3 in 2 of 13 (15%) patients. All 12 patients receiving >14 days of therapy had substantial reduction in tumor volume (65% at day 14 and 78% at day 28) and underwent resection. After 14 days of dabrafenib therapy, there was a marked reduction in viable melanoma cells and a CD8 T-cell--rich infiltrate. Proliferation of the residual melanoma cells was reduced and apoptosis was increased. The cells continued to express phosphorylated ERK and phosphorylated MEK consistent with incomplete mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway inhibition.
CONCLUSIONS - Preoperative targeted therapy of advanced BRAF-mutant melanoma is feasible, well tolerated, induces brisk tumor responses, and facilitates correlative science. A CD8 T-cell-rich infiltrate indicates a potential immune-mediated mechanism of action. Both proliferation and apoptosis were inhibited, but the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway remained activated, suggesting intrinsic resistance in a subset of tumor cells. Additional investigation of the anti-tumor immune response during targeted therapy and the mechanisms of intrinsic resistance can yield novel therapeutic strategies.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.