Randomized Trial Demonstrates That Extended-Release Epidural Morphine May Provide Safe Pain Control for Lumbar Surgery Patients.

Randomized trial demonstrates that extended-release epidural morphine may provide safe pain control for lumbar surgery patients.

Surg Neurol Int. 2013; 4(Suppl 2): S51-7
Offley SC, Coyne E, Horodyski M, Rubery PT, Zeidman SM, Rechtine GR

Safe and effective postoperative pain control remains an issue in complex spine surgery. Spinal narcotics have been used for decades but have not become commonplace because of safety or re-dosing concerns. An extended release epidural morphine (EREM) preparation has been used successfully in obstetric, abdominal, thoracic, and extremity surgery done with epidural anesthesia. This has not been studied in open spinal surgery.Ninety-eight patients having complex posterior lumbar surgery were enrolled in a partially randomized clinical trial (PRCT) of low to moderate doses of EREM. Surgery included levels from L3 to S1 with procedures involving combinations of decompression, instrumented arthrodesis, and interbody grafting. The patients were randomized to receive either 10 or 15 mg of EREM through an epidural catheter placed under direct vision at the conclusion of surgery. Multiple safety measures were employed to prevent or detect respiratory depression. Postoperative pain scores, narcotic utilization, and adverse events were recorded.There were no significant differences between the two groups as to supplemental narcotic requirements, pain scores, or adverse events. There were no cases of respiratory depression. The epidural narcotic effect persisted from 3 to 36 hours after the injection.By utilizing appropriate safety measures, EREM can be used safely for postoperative pain control in lumbar surgery patients. As there was no apparent advantage to the use of 15 mg, the lower 10 mg dose should be used. HubMed – depression


Quality of life measures as a preliminary clinical indicator in patients with primary brain tumors.

Surg Neurol Int. 2013; 4: 48
Shields LB, Choucair A, Choucair AK

The health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures serve as valuable indicators of survival in patients with newly diagnosed primary brain tumors (PBTs). HRQOL outcomes may benefit clinical decision-making by individualizing patient treatment and improving communications between the doctor, patient, and families. Exploring the individual items of the European Organization and Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QOL) measures may be predictive of prognosis.We prospectively collected the validated HRQOL and standard clinical and radiological measures from 48 patients with newly diagnosed PBT. The patients were followed every 3 months over 2 years. No proxies were allowed. Questionnaire responses were compared between two groups: Patients with recurrence and/or death (n = 26) and patients without a recurrence (n = 22). A total of 17 patients succumbed to a tumor-related death. Statistical analysis utilizing nonparametric t-tests and Wilcoxon sign tests assessed QOL responses.Significant group differences were noted in the QOL measures with more negative responses in the recurrence group. EORTC QLQ-C30 questions revealed a poor global HRQOL scale (P < 0.005) and pain interfering with daily activities (P < 0.05). EORTC QLQ-BN20 questions revealed weakness of the legs (P < 0.05), coordination difficulties (P < 0.005), and unsteady gait (P < 0.05). Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questions reflected a patient who is slowed down (P < 0.01) and "frightened" (P < 0.05).Our analysis of longitudinal HRQOL measures may shed light on the prognostic significance of HRQOL measures in patients with newly diagnosed PBT. Further research is warranted to determine which selected individual measures of the EORTC QOL measures may be predictive of a patient's progression-free and overall survival and to test their validity and reliability in clinical trials. HubMed – depression


Early-stage psychotherapy produces elevated frontal white matter integrity in adult major depressive disorder.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e63081
Wang T, Huang X, Huang P, Li D, Lv F, Zhang Y, Zhou L, Yang D, Xie P

Psychotherapy has demonstrated comparable efficacy to antidepressant medication in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Metabolic alterations in the MDD state and in response to treatment have been detected by functional imaging methods, but the underlying white matter microstructural changes remain unknown. The goal of this study is to apply diffusion tensor imaging techniques to investigate psychotherapy-specific responses in the white matter.Twenty-one of forty-five outpatients diagnosed with major depression underwent diffusion tensor imaging before and after a four-week course of guided imagery psychotherapy. We compared fractional anisotropy in depressed patients (n?=?21) with healthy controls (n?=?22), and before-after treatment, using whole brain voxel-wise analysis.Post-treatment, depressed subjects showed a significant reduction in the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. As compared to healthy controls, depressed subjects demonstrated significantly increased fractional anisotropy in the right thalamus. Psychopathological changes did not recover post-treatment, but a novel region of increased fractional anisotropy was discovered in the frontal lobe.At an early stage of psychotherapy, higher fractional anisotropy was detected in the frontal emotional regulation-associated region. This finding reveals that psychotherapy may induce white matter changes in the frontal lobe. This remodeling of frontal connections within mood regulation networks positively contributes to the “top-down” mechanism of psychotherapy. HubMed – depression