Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Neurologia medico-chirurgica


The efficacy of hybrid assistive limb (HAL) rehabilitation in the acute phase of stroke remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of patients with acute intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) who were treated with or without HAL rehabilitation. Among 270 patients with acute ICH from 2009 to 2014, 91 patients with supratentorial ICH were included in this retrospective study. Of these, 14 patients (HAL group) received HAL rehabilitation at approximately 1 week after ICH occurrence, while the remaining 77 patients received usual rehabilitation without HAL (N-HAL group). We obtained various patient data from the hospitals where the patients were moved to for further rehabilitation. Statistical comparisons were performed for the characteristics of the ICH patients, and outcomes between the HAL and N-HAL groups. There were no differences in outcomes between the HAL and N-HAL groups. However, patients with right ICH in the HAL group exhibited a significant association with a functional independence measure (FIM) score of ≥ 110 compared with patients in the N-HAL group (HAL group: 81.8%, N-HAL group: 43.9%, P = 0.04). In patients with right ICH, HAL rehabilitation was associated with improved outcomes as evaluated by the FIM score. Thus, HAL rehabilitation may improve outcomes of acute ICH in appropriately selected patients.

Concepts: Patient, Hospital, Stroke, HAL 5


“Once development was ended…in the adult centers, the nerve paths are something fixed and immutable. Everything may die, nothing may be regenerated,” wrote Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a Spanish neuroanatomist and Nobel Prize winner and the father of modern neuroscience. This statement was the central dogma in neuroscience for a long time. However, in the 1960s, neural stem cells (NSCs) were discovered. Since then, our knowledge about NSCs has continued to grow. This review focuses on our current knowledge about NSCs and their surrounding microenvironment. In addition, the clinical application of NSCs for the treatment of various central nervous system diseases is also summarized.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, DNA, Neuron, Brain, Stem cell, Neuroscience, Neurogenesis


There are considerable variations in the anatomy of the human ophthalmic artery (OphA), such as anomalous origins of the OphA and anastomoses between the OphA and the adjacent arteries. These anatomical variations seem to attribute to complex embryology of the OphA. In human embryos and fetuses, primitive dorsal and ventral ophthalmic arteries (PDOphA and PVOphA) form the ocular branches, and the supraorbital division of the stapedial artery forms the orbital branches of the OphA, and then numerous anastomoses between the internal carotid artery (ICA) and the external carotid artery (ECA) systems emerge in connection with the OphA. These developmental processes can produce anatomical variations of the OphA, and we should notice these variations for neurosurgical and neurointerventional procedures.

Concepts: Embryo, Developmental biology, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, External carotid artery, Embryology, Arteries of the head and neck, Ophthalmic artery


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) plays an essential role in maintaining the homeostasis of the central nervous system. The functions of CSF include: (1) buoyancy of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves; (2) volume adjustment in the cranial cavity; (3) nutrient transport; (4) protein or peptide transport; (5) brain volume regulation through osmoregulation; (6) buffering effect against external forces; (7) signal transduction; (8) drug transport; (9) immune system control; (10) elimination of metabolites and unnecessary substances; and finally (11) cooling of heat generated by neural activity. For CSF to fully mediate these functions, fluid-like movement in the ventricles and subarachnoid space is necessary. Furthermore, the relationship between the behaviors of CSF and interstitial fluid in the brain and spinal cord is important. In this review, we will present classical studies on CSF circulation from its discovery over 2,000 years ago, and will subsequently introduce functions that were recently discovered such as CSF production and absorption, water molecule movement in the interstitial space, exchange between interstitial fluid and CSF, and drainage of CSF and interstitial fluid into both the venous and the lymphatic systems. Finally, we will summarize future challenges in research. This review includes articles published up to February 2016.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Psychology, Neuron, Spinal cord, Brain, Cerebrospinal fluid, Meninges


When the head is encircled with a wire clothes hanger and the unilateral fronto-temporal region is compressed, the head rotates unexpectedly. As the mechanism is unclear, however, we have temporarily named this phenomenon as the “hanger reflex.” We previously reported a case wherein this phenomenon was applied to treat cervical dystonia. Because little is known about this phenomenon, we determined how often this phenomenon is observed in healthy subjects. Study participants were 120 healthy Japanese adults (60 men and 60 women) aged 19-65 years. A wire clothes hanger was applied to each subject’s head. The longer side of the hanger was attached over the volunteer’s fronto-temporal regions on both sides of the head in succession (i.e., two applications per volunteer). We evaluated whether the subjects felt the sensation of head rotation by using a questionnaire. The sensation of head rotation was observed in 95.8% of subjects. There were five non-responders (4.2%). In 85.4% of the trials, head rotation was observed in the direction that coincided with the side compressed by the hanger. There were no differences in responses between genders. The incident rate of the hanger reflex was remarkably high and most likely represents a prevalent phenomenon in humans. The mechanism underlying the reflex remains unknown. Further research should be performed to elucidate the underlying causes of the hanger reflex, which represents a potential treatment for cervical dystonia.

Concepts: Scientific method, Observation, Compression


Our aim was to clarify the nutritional status and energy intake needed for activities of daily living (ADL) improvement among convalescent stroke patients. This retrospective cohort study of stroke patients used data from the Japan Rehabilitation Nutrition Database. Mean energy intake per ideal body weight was 26 kcal/kg/day at 1 week after hospitalization. Patients were divided into two groups according to energy intake: ≥26 kcal/kg/day (high) and <26 kcal/kg/day (low). ADL was evaluated using Functional Independence Measure (FIM), and nutritional status was evaluated using the mini nutritional assessment short form score. We created an inverse probability weighted (IPW) model using propensity scoring to control and adjust for patient characteristics and confounders at the time of admission. The analysis included 290 patients aged 78.1 ± 7.8 years. There were 165 patients with high energy intake and 125 patients with low energy intake. FIM score was significantly higher in the high group compared with the low group (median 113 vs 71, P <0.001). FIM efficiency was also higher in the high group (median 0.31 vs 0.22, P <0.001). FIM efficiency was significantly higher in the high energy intake group than in the low energy intake group after adjustment by IPW (median 0.31 vs 0.25, P = 0.011). Nutritional status improvement was also higher in the high energy intake group after adjustment by IPW (60.6% vs 45.2%, P <0.001). High energy intake was associated with higher FIM efficiency and nutritional status improvement at discharge among convalescent stroke patients.


Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare but uniformly fatal cancer of the brain, with peak incidence in children of 5-7 years of age. In contrast to most types of human cancer, there has been no significant improvement in treatment outcomes for patients with DIPG. Since DIPG occurs in the brainstem, a vital region of the brain, there are no surgical options for providing relief to patients, and chemotherapy as well as radiation therapy provide palliative relief at best. To date, more than 250 clinical trials evaluating radiotherapy along with conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy, as well as newer biologic agents, have failed to improve the dismal outcome when compared with palliative radiation alone. The recent discovery of somatic oncogenic histone gene mutations affecting chromatin regulation in DIPG has dramatically improved our understanding of the disease pathogenesis in DIPG, and these findings have stimulated the development of novel therapeutic approaches targeting epigenetic regulators for disease treatment. This review will discuss about the role of histone modification in chromatin machinery and epigenetic therapeutic strategies for the treatment of DIPG.

Concepts: DNA, Medicine, Cancer, Ionizing radiation, Oncology, Histone, Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy


Anterior cervical foraminotomy (ACF) is a surgical procedure for cervical radiculopathy to avoid fusion and adjacent segment disease (ASD), but its long-term outcome has yet to be investigated. It is also unclear whether ACF enables preservation of range of motion (ROM) and decreases ASD compared with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). This study included nine patients who underwent ACF, and 12 who underwent ACDF and with follow-up period of at least 5 years (average follow-up: 8.7 years). Preoperative and postoperative radiological findings were investigated, comparing the changes in ACF versus ACDF. All disc height (DH) levels (C2/3-C7/Th1) were measured preoperatively and postoperatively in all 21 patients to compare with the change due to the natural history. The ACF group experienced significant loss of DH (0.6 mm, 13.5%, p <0.01) and ROM (p <0.01) at the operated level postoperatively. However, loss of DH was not significantly different from natural changes at unaffected levels, and ROM was maintained. The ACDF group experienced a significant increase in the ROM of the cranial adjacent segment from 6.46 mm to 7.45 mm (p <0.01), and the dislocation in dynamic X-ray was also significantly increased from 1.61 mm to 2.89 mm (p <0.01), indicating radiological ASD. The ACF group had no significant increase in ROM and dislocation. ACF causes significant loss of DH and ROM, but this change is not significantly different compared with natural changes at unaffected levels. Furthermore, ACF causes less ASD than ACDF in the long term.


The concepts of gene therapy were initially introduced during the 1960s. Since the early 1990s, more than 1900 clinical trials have been conducted for the treatment of genetic diseases and cancers mainly using viral vectors. Although a variety of methods have also been performed for the treatment of malignant gliomas, it has been difficult to target invasive glioma cells. To overcome this problem, immortalized neural stem cell (NSC) and a nonlytic, amphotropic retroviral replicating vector (RRV) have attracted attention for gene delivery to invasive glioma. Recently, genome editing technology targeting insertions at site-specific locations has advanced; in particular, the clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated-9 (CRISPR/Cas9) has been developed. Since 2015, more than 30 clinical trials have been conducted using genome editing technologies, and the results have shown the potential to achieve positive patient outcomes. Gene therapy using CRISPR technologies for the treatment of a wide range of diseases is expected to continuously advance well into the future.


Prognosis for patients with acute basilar artery occlusion (BAO) remains poor. Successful revascularization is a main predictor of favorable clinical outcomes after mechanical thrombectomy for BAO. However, even if mechanical thrombectomy is successful, some patients have a poor clinical outcome, including vegetative state and mortality. This study investigated the factors that are predictive of extremely poor clinical outcomes despite successful revascularization after mechanical thrombectomy for BAO. We evaluated 35 consecutive patients who presented with acute ischemic stroke due to BAO and who were successfully treated with mechanical thrombectomy. A very poor outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of 5 or 6 at 3 months after treatment. The associations between the clinical, imaging, procedural factors, and poor outcome were evaluated. Using univariate analyses, there were significant differences in the preoperative National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score (22.0 ± 9.0 vs. 30.5 ± 4.3, p <0.001), and infarct volume in brain stem (0.11 ± 0.19 cc vs. 2.55 ± 1.56 cc, p <0.001) between the control and very poor outcome groups. In receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, the area under ROC curve of infarct volume in brain stem was 0.891 to predict very poor outcome. Preoperative infarct volume in brain stem is strong predictor for very poor outcome. The infarct volume in brain stem is useful for deciding treatment indications.