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American Association of Neurological Surgeons 74th Annual Meeting, April 22-27, 2006

American Association of Neurological Surgeons 74th annual meeting

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons 74th annual meeting took place April 22-27 in San Francisco. The meeting, which drew about 2,800 medical attendees from around the world, presented research on a wide range of basic science and clinical issues, and included advances in spinal and vascular surgery, a vaccine treatment for brain tumors and deep-brain stimulation for depression.

"There's a lot of interest on implanting artificial discs in the cervical spine to preserve motion and reduce wear and tear on the disc above and below," said Alex Valadka, M.D., of University of Texas Medical School in Houston, one of the meeting's organizers. "A few years ago, an artificial lumbar disc was approved by the FDA, but it never really caught on. Anterior cervical approach is something much more familiar to neurological surgeons. It's a much more common operation than trying to do an unusual approach to a lumbar disc. I'm told by people in the know that later this year some of these artificial cervical discs might be FDA approved. There's a good-sized need for this."

Alan S. Boulos, M.D., of the Neurosciences Institute in Albany, N.Y., presented research on a new hydrogel coil that improves the success rates of endovascular treatment for cerebral aneurysms. "With this newer coil, the thought is that you can actually bring water into it, like a wet sponge, which will totally exclude blood flow from the aneurysm," Valadka said. "That way, you may promote thrombosis in the aneurysm and have a better effect. As technical improvements like this take hold, and more people gain experience with coiling, especially as more neurosurgeons start doing this and it becomes part of standard neurosurgical training, I think we'll see more and more coiling and less and less open surgery."

Amy Heimberger, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, presented research on a brain-tumor vaccine. "That's one we identified as being of special interest," Valadka said. "You harvest some of these cells and produce an antibody to a specific epitope and give it back to the patients. People have tried this for a while and it's never really worked, but in very small, very preliminary numbers of patients, it seems to have some exciting data. The test will be when you take it into prime time and use it on larger numbers of patients. It justifies a larger study."

The meeting also covered issues including movement disorders, gene therapy for Parkinson's disease and deep-brain stimulation, with researchers from The Cleveland Clinic presenting research on deep-brain stimulation for severe refractory depression. "Again, only very small numbers of patients were involved," Valadka said. But it's good to know that we may have a surgical option for depressed patients who haven't responded to conventional treatments."

Abstract
Abstract

Hypertonic Saline Found Effective for Brain Injuries

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with traumatic brain injury, a single osmotic agent -- hypertonic saline -- consistently decreases intracranial pressure while improving cerebral perfusion pressure and brain tissue oxygen, according to research presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

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Magnesium Levels Predict Brain Injury Outcomes

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with traumatic brain injury who have low serum magnesium levels tend to have poorer outcomes than patients who do not, according to research presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

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Growth Factor Receptor Status Affects Meningioma Course

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Epidermal growth factor receptor status is a predictor of survival among patients with atypical meningioma, according to preliminary research presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

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CT Angiography Detects Aneurysms After Hemorrhage

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Computed tomographic angiography (CTA) is as sensitive in detecting aneurysms in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage as conventional digital subtraction angiography, and can be done more quickly, according to research presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

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Researchers Test Hemoglobin Oxygen-Carrying Solution

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- The hemoglobin-based oxygen-carrying solution HBOC-201 may help decrease secondary brain injury in traumatic brain injury patients with hemorrhage, according to research in animals presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

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Outcomes Good in Clinical Trial of Artificial Cervical Disc

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Cervical disc arthroplasty with the Prestige ST artificial cervical disc is associated with significantly greater maintenance of neck motion in patients with single-level cervical disc disease, compared to standard treatment, according to preliminary research presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

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Minimally Invasive Surgery Viable for Herniated Discs

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Minimally invasive microendoscopic discectomy (MED) is a safe and effective treatment for lumbar disc herniations, and has similar rates of complications and recurrences as the standard procedure, according to research presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

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