Stereotactic thalamotomy in the treatment of essential tremor of the upper extremity: reassessment including a blinded measure of outcome. (17/2578)

The effectiveness of high frequency stimulation of the thalamic nucleus ventralis intermedius (Vim-HFS) for treatment of tremor has been studied by blinded assessment. The effectiveness of thalamotomy for essential tremor of the upper extremity by use of a blinded measure of outcome is now reported. Thalamotomy was performed in 21 patients (three operated on bilaterally) with medically intractable, essential tremor. Assessments of function, handwriting/drawing, and tremor amplitude were done before and at 3 and 12 months after surgery. The handwriting/drawing score was rated by a neurologist blinded to patient identity, laterality, and operative status. By comparison with baseline, both the total functional score and the total score from blinded assessment of handwriting/drawing improved significantly at 3 and 12 months after surgery. The two scores were significantly correlated, suggesting that the blinded assessment is a good predictor of a total disability from tremor. Complications after unilateral thalamotomy included transient dysarthria, permanent perioral numbness, and permanent mild disequilibrium in one patient each. Permanent mild dysarthria occurred in two of three patients operated bilaterally. Thus a blinded assessment of outcome establishes that unilateral thalamotomy is an effective, safe procedure for the treatment of essential tremor.  (+info)

Limb development: Farewell to arms. (18/2578)

Forelimbs and hindlimbs are, clearly, quite different, and it has long been appreciated that their differences are assigned early in development; the genetic basis of these differences has been more mysterious, however. Recent work has now shown that the homeobox gene Pitx1 imparts identity to the developing hindlimb bud.  (+info)

Cardiac- and noncardiac-related coherence between sympathetic drives to muscles of different human limbs. (19/2578)

Partial coherence analysis was used to evaluate the extent to which coherence between resting muscle sympathetic activity (MSA) in different pairs of limbs in humans is explained by the common baroreceptor input and by other noncardiac-related factors. Multiunit MSA in two or three nerves, arterial blood pressure, and electrocardiogram were recorded simultaneously. Correlated MSA consisted of a sharp periodic component at the heart rate and a wideband component of relatively low power distributed between 0 and 2-2.5 Hz. Quantitative analysis revealed stronger coupling between MSAs in close limbs than in distant limbs (peak coherence leg-leg, 0. 94 +/- 0.03; arm-leg, 0.76 +/- 0.11). Furthermore, the wideband component, unaffected by partialization with circulatory signals, was significantly stronger between leg-leg (0.67 +/- 0.10) than between arm-leg pairs (0.29 +/- 0.10), i.e., noncardiac-related components explained 71% of leg-leg and 38% of arm-leg coherences at the frequency of the heart. Our results indicate that nonuniform relationship exists between resting sympathetic outflow to muscles in close and distant extremities which is, however, partially masked by the effect of the common rhythmic baroreceptor input.  (+info)

Anaerobic power of the arms and legs of young and older men. (20/2578)

The purpose of this study was to examine differences in the anaerobic exercise performance of young and older men. Eight healthy, active older (68.5 +/- 2.4 years old, mean S.D.) and eight healthy, active young (30.6 +/- 4.5 years old) subjects were assessed for peak and mean power output (PP and MP, respectively) of the legs and arms, during 30 s Wingate tests. PP during leg exercise was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in the young (14.6 +/- 1.6 W kg-1) compared with the older (10.7 +/- 1.0 W kg-1) group. MP of the legs was also greater in the young subjects (10.7 +/- 0.7 vs. 7.4 +/- 0.9 W kg-1). These differences in PP and MP remained significant when expressed relative to lean leg volume. PP during arm cranking was significantly greater in the young subjects (8.9 +/- 0.7 vs. 7.5 +/- 0.6 W kg-1) as was MP (6.4 +/- 0.7 vs. 5.0 +/- 0.7 W kg-1). Post-exercise blood lactate concentration in the older group (7.0 +/- 1.6 mmol l-1) was less (P < 0.05) than in the young group (10.6 +/- 2.0 mmol l-1), for leg work only. The significant loss of anaerobic power in the older group could not be explained by a difference in muscle mass. Power output was also lower in the arms, but to a lesser extent. The results of this study suggest that a reduction in the ability to perform high intensity exercise may be an inevitable consequence of ageing. The extent, however, of this decline varies with different muscle groups.  (+info)

The enigma of desmoid tumors. (21/2578)

OBJECTIVE: To analyze patients with recurrent extremity desmoids, in whom the surgical therapeutic option was either major amputation or observation. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: The biology and natural history of desmoid tumors are an enigma. These tumors invade surrounding structures and recur locally but do not metastasize. The morbidity of treating these tumors in the context of their relatively benign biology is uncertain. METHODS: Between July 1982 and June 1998, the authors treated and prospectively followed 206 patients with extremity desmoid tumors. All patients underwent standardized surgical resection, the surgical goal always being complete resection with negative margins. When tumors recurred, they were evaluated for reresection. Amputation was considered when resection was not possible because of neurovascular or major bone involvement, or in the presence of a functionless, painful extremity. RESULTS: During this period, 22 patients had disease that was not resectable without amputation. This was out of a total of 115 patients with primary disease and 91 patients with recurrent disease. All recurrences were local; in no patient did metastasis develop. In this group of 22 patients with unresectable disease, 7 underwent amputation and 15 did not. These 15 patients were followed, alive with disease, having no surgical resection. Four patients received systemic treatment with tamoxifen and nonsteroidal antiinflammatories, three received systemic cytotoxic chemotherapy, and two received both tamoxifen and chemotherapy. Six patients received no systemic treatment. The range of follow-up was 25 to 92 months. In all patients, there was no or insignificant tumor progression; in three patients who underwent observation alone, there was some regression of tumor. During follow-up, no patient has required subsequent amputation, and no patient has died from disease. CONCLUSIONS: In desmoid tumors, aggressive attempts at achieving negative resection margins may result in unnecessary morbidity. Function- and structure-preserving procedures should be the primary goal. In select patients, whose only option is amputation, it may be prudent to observe them with their limb and tumor intact.  (+info)

Reach plans in eye-centered coordinates. (22/2578)

The neural events associated with visually guided reaching begin with an image on the retina and end with impulses to the muscles. In between, a reaching plan is formed. This plan could be in the coordinates of the arm, specifying the direction and amplitude of the movement, or it could be in the coordinates of the eye because visual information is initially gathered in this reference frame. In a reach-planning area of the posterior parietal cortex, neural activity was found to be more consistent with an eye-centered than an arm-centered coding of reach targets. Coding of arm movements in an eye-centered reference frame is advantageous because obstacles that affect planning as well as errors in reaching are registered in this reference frame. Also, eye movements are planned in eye coordinates, and the use of similar coordinates for reaching may facilitate hand-eye coordination.  (+info)

Response of anterior parietal cortex to cutaneous flutter versus vibration. (23/2578)

The response of anesthetized squirrel monkey anterior parietal (SI) cortex to 25 or 200 Hz sinusoidal vertical skin displacement stimulation was studied using the method of optical intrinsic signal (OIS) imaging. Twenty-five-Hertz ("flutter") stimulation of a discrete skin site on either the hindlimb or forelimb for 3-30 s evoked a prominent increase in absorbance within cytoarchitectonic areas 3b and 1 in the contralateral hemisphere. This response was confined to those area 3b/1 regions occupied by neurons with a receptive field (RF) that includes the stimulated skin site. In contrast, same-site 200-Hz stimulation ("vibration") for 3-30 s evoked a decrease in absorbance in a much larger territory (most frequently involving areas 3b, 1, and area 3a, but in some subjects area 2 as well) than the region that undergoes an increase in absorbance during 25-Hz flutter stimulation. The increase in absorbance evoked by 25-Hz flutter developed quickly and remained relatively constant for as long as stimulation continued (stimulus duration never exceeded 30 s). At 1-3 s after stimulus onset, the response to 200-Hz stimulation, like the response to 25-Hz flutter, consisted of a localized increase in absorbance limited to the topographically appropriate region of area 3b and/or area 1. With continuing 200-Hz stimulation, however, the early response declined, and by 4-6 s after stimulus onset, it was replaced by a prominent and spatially extensive decrease in absorbance. The spike train responses of single quickly adapting (QA) neurons were recorded extracellularly during microelectrode penetrations that traverse the optically responding regions of areas 3b and 1. Onset of either 25- or 200-Hz stimulation at a site within the cutaneous RF of a QA neuron was accompanied by a substantial increase in mean spike firing rate. With continued 200-Hz stimulation, however, QA neuron mean firing rate declined rapidly (typically within 0.5-1.0 s) to a level below that recorded at the same time after onset of same-site 25-Hz stimulation. For some neurons, the mean firing rate after the initial 0.5-1 s of an exposure to 200-Hz stimulation of the RF decreased to a level below the level of background ("spontaneous") activity. The decline in both the stimulus-evoked increases in absorbance in areas 3b/1 and spike discharge activity of area 3b/1 neurons within only a few seconds of the onset of 200-Hz skin stimulation raised the possibility that the predominant effect of continuous 200-Hz stimulation for >3 s is inhibition of area 3b/1 QA neurons. This possibility was evaluated at the neuronal population level by comparing the intrinsic signal evoked in areas 3b/1 by 25-Hz skin stimulation to the intrinsic signal evoked by a same-site skin stimulus containing both 25- and 200-Hz sinusoidal components (a "complex waveform stimulus"). Such experiments revealed that the increase in absorbance evoked in areas 3b/1 by a stimulus having both 25- and 200-Hz components was substantially smaller (especially at times >3 s after stimulus onset) than the increase in absorbance evoked by "pure" 25-Hz stimulation of the same skin site. It is concluded that within a brief time (within 1-3 s) after stimulus onset, 200-Hz skin stimulation elicits a powerful inhibitory action on area 3b/1 QA neurons. The findings appear generally consistent with the suggestion that the activity of neurons in cortical regions other than areas 3b and 1 play the leading role in the processing of high-frequency (>/=200 Hz) vibrotactile stimuli.  (+info)

Failure of cerebellar patients to time finger opening precisely causes ball high-low inaccuracy in overarm throws. (24/2578)

We investigated the idea that the cerebellum is required for precise timing of fast skilled arm movements by studying one situation where timing precision is required, namely finger opening in overarm throwing. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that in overarm throws made by cerebellar patients, ball high-low inaccuracy is due to disordered timing of finger opening. Six cerebellar patients and six matched control subjects were instructed to throw tennis balls at three different speeds from a seated position while angular positions in three dimensions of five arm segments were recorded at 1,000 Hz with the search-coil technique. Cerebellar patients threw more slowly than controls, were markedly less accurate, had more variable hand trajectories, and showed increased variability in the timing, amplitude, and velocity of finger opening. Ball high-low inaccuracy was not related to variability in the height or direction of the hand trajectory or to variability in finger amplitude or velocity. Instead, the cause was variable timing of finger opening and thereby ball release occurring on a flattened arc hand trajectory. The ranges of finger opening times and ball release times (timing windows) for 95% of the throws were on average four to five times longer for cerebellar patients; e.g., across subjects mean ball release timing windows for throws made under the medium-speed instruction were 11 ms for controls and 55 ms for cerebellar patients. This increased timing variability could not be explained by disorder in control of force at the fingers. Because finger opening in throwing is likely controlled by a central command, the results implicate the cerebellum in timing the central command that initiates finger opening in this fast skilled multijoint arm movement.  (+info)