Does vestibular stimulation activate thalamocortical mechanisms that reintegrate impaired cortical regions?
Caloric stimulation induced a transient reversal of multimodal hemispatial cognitive deficits in an 81-year-old woman with an acute left cerebral hemisphere stroke. The patient had unawareness of her right hand (asomatognosia), right-sided visual unawareness (hemineglect), aphasia and right-sided weakness (hemiplegia) prior to the stimulation. Transient improvements in impaired sensory, motor, linguistic and cognitive function developed within 30 s following application of the caloric stimulus and onset of horizontal nystagmus. The effect persisted for 3 min and ceased completely after 5 min. While several recent reports have described the capacity of caloric stimulation to transiently improve or reverse a wide range of attentional, cognitive and motor impairments, most examples are in right-hemisphere-damaged patients with long-standing brain injury. Typically, patients have been tested several months or years after the onset of the deficit. A possible mechanism for the temporary reintegration of multiple cognitive functions in this patient is discussed. (+info)
An aural myiasis case in a 54-year-old male farmer in Korea.
A 54-year-old male farmer residing in Chunchon, Korea, complaining of blood tinged discharge and tinnitus in the left ear for two days, was examined in August 16, 1996. Otoscopic examination revealed live maggots from the ear canal. The patient did not complain of any symptoms after removal of maggots. Five maggots recovered were identified as the third stage larvae of Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae). This is the first record of aural myiasis in Korea. (+info)
Magnetic resonance cisternography using the fast spin echo method for the evaluation of vestibular schwannoma.
Neuroimaging of vestibular schwannoma was performed with the fat-suppression spoiled gradient recalled acquisition in the steady state (SPGR) method and magnetic resonance (MR) cisternography, which is a fast spin echo method using a long echo train length, for the preoperative evaluation of the lateral extension of the tumor in the internal auditory canal, and the anatomical identification of the posterior semicircular canal and the nerves in the canal distal to the tumor. The SPGR method overestimated the lateral extension in eight cases, probably because of enhancement of the nerves adjacent to the tumor in the canal. The posterior semicircular canal could not be clearly identified, and the cranial nerves in the canal were shown only as a nerve bundle. In contrast, MR cisternography showed clear images of the lateral extension of the tumor and the facial and cochlear nerves adjacent to the tumor in the internal auditory canal. The anatomical location of the posterior semicircular canal was also clearly shown. These preoperative findings are very useful to plan the extent to which the internal auditory canal can be opened, and for intraoperative identification of the nerves in the canal. MR cisternography is less invasive since no contrast material or radiation is required, as with thin-slice high-resolution computed tomography (CT). MR cisternography should replace high-resolution CT for the preoperative neuroradiological evaluation of vestibular schwannoma. (+info)
Human beta-defensin-1 mRNA is transcribed in tympanic membrane and adjacent auditory canal epithelium.
The external auditory canal is less susceptible to infections than the sensitive middle-ear cavity. Since recent research has provided insight to the production of potent antimicrobial peptides from various surface epithelia, we wanted to investigate whether protection of the external auditory canal in part could be explained by the production of human beta-defensin-1 (HBD-1). This particular peptide is known to be constitutively expressed in various surface epithelia, such as airway, skin, and urogenital tissues. By reverse transcriptase PCR we demonstrate HBD-1 mRNA in the pars tensa and pars flaccida of the tympanic membrane and in the meatal skin. In situ hybridization studies localized the HBD-1 mRNA to the epidermal layer of these tissues. The HBD-1 transcripts were also evident in the sebaceous glands and in hair follicles of the meatal skin. In contrast, HBD-1 mRNA was not detected in the tympanal epithelium of the eardrum. The widespread presence of mRNA encoding for this broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide in the meatal skin and tympanic membrane suggests that HBD-1 participates in the innate antimicrobial defense of the external auditory canal and middle-ear cavity. (+info)
Parathyroid hormone-parathyroid hormone-related peptide receptor expression and function in otosclerosis.
The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility that an abnormality related to parathyroid hormone (PTH) action is involved in the increased bone turnover observed in otosclerosis. To do so, expression and function of the PTH-PTH-related peptide (PTHrP) receptor were studied in the involved tissue (stapes) and compared with that in control bone sample obtained from the external auditory canal (EAC) in the same patient in 10 cases of otosclerosis and in 1 case of osteogenesis imperfecta. PTH-PTHrP receptor expression was studied by RT-PCR of RNA prepared from cultured cells in three patients and RNA directly extracted from bone samples in four patients. PTH-PTHrP receptor function was assessed by measuring the stimulation of cAMP production by 0.8, 8, and 80 nM PTH in bone cell cultures in seven cases. Results showed that PTH-PTHrP receptor mRNA expression in the otosclerotic stapes was lower than that in EAC samples (P < 0.05), whereas it was higher in stapes than that in EAC in the case of osteogenesis imperfecta. cAMP production after PTH stimulation was lower in bone cells cultured from otosclerotic stapes compared with that in cells cultured from EAC (range of increase in stimulation: 0.8-4.5 and 1.5-7 in stapes and EAC bone cells, respectively, P < 0.05). In contrast, the stimulation of cAMP production by forskolin was not significantly different in otosclerotic stapes and EAC bone cells (range of increase in stimulation: 20.7-83.1 and 4.9-99.8 in stapes and EAC, respectively, P > 0.05). These results show a lower stimulation of cAMP production in response to PTH associated with a lower PTH-PTHrP receptor mRNA expression in pathological stapes from patients with otosclerosis compared with that in control EAC samples. This difference supports the hypothesis that an abnormal cellular response to PTH contributes to the abnormal bone turnover in otosclerosis. (+info)
Study of lipid in the ear canal in canine otitis externa with Malassezia pachydermatis.
An epidemiological investigation of 120 canine otitis externa cases in 1,370 dogs was done on the incidence rate, ear pinna shapes, breeds and their relationships. Eighty-five cases (12.6%) in 672 dogs with pendulous ears and 35 cases (5.0%) in 698 dogs with erect ears had otitis externa, and the difference between them was significant (P<0.05). Ninety-five auditory cerumen specimens were cultured for Malassezia pachydermatis (M. pachydermatis) and analyzed for concentrations of major fatty acids. Although rates of cases positive for M. pachydermatis in both ear pinna shapes were almost the same, i.e. 55.2% in the pendulous group and 53.6% in the erect group, the average total fatty acid level of the pendulous ear group was significantly (P<0.05) higher than that in the erect ear group after dismissing extraordinary levels in the Siberian husky. Isolated M. pachydermatis strains were examined for the effects of fatty acid supplementation on their growth. The majority of the strains utilized fatty acids and grew faster in fatty acid supplemented broth. These results suggest that M. pachydermatis, the predominant causative agent of canine otitis externa, prefers the auditory canal of dogs with lipid-rich earwax and grows fast, but growth strongly depends upon the canine breed. (+info)
Isolating the auditory system from acoustic noise during functional magnetic resonance imaging: examination of noise conduction through the ear canal, head, and body.
Approaches were examined for reducing acoustic noise levels heard by subjects during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a technique for localizing brain activation in humans. Specifically, it was examined whether a device for isolating the head and ear canal from sound (a "helmet") could add to the isolation provided by conventional hearing protection devices (i.e., earmuffs and earplugs). Both subjective attenuation (the difference in hearing threshold with versus without isolation devices in place) and objective attenuation (difference in ear-canal sound pressure) were measured. In the frequency range of the most intense fMRI noise (1-1.4 kHz), a helmet, earmuffs, and earplugs used together attenuated perceived sound by 55-63 dB, whereas the attenuation provided by the conventional devices alone was substantially less: 30-37 dB for earmuffs, 25-28 dB for earplugs, and 39-41 dB for earmuffs and earplugs used together. The data enabled the clarification of the relative importance of ear canal, head, and body conduction routes to the cochlea under different conditions: At low frequencies (< or =500 Hz), the ear canal was the dominant route of sound conduction to the cochlea for all of the device combinations considered. At higher frequencies (>500 Hz), the ear canal was the dominant route when either earmuffs or earplugs were worn. However, the dominant route of sound conduction was through the head when both earmuffs and earplugs were worn, through both ear canal and body when a helmet and earmuffs were worn, and through the body when a helmet, earmuffs, and earplugs were worn. It is estimated that a helmet, earmuffs, and earplugs together will reduce the most intense fMRI noise levels experienced by a subject to 60-65 dB SPL. Even greater reductions in noise should be achievable by isolating the body from the surrounding noise field. (+info)
Depression of sublingual temperature by cold saliva.
Sublingual and oesophageal temperatures were compared at various air temperatures in 16 subjects. In warm air (25-44 degrees C) sublingual temperatures stabilized within plus or minus 0-45 degrees C of oesophageal temperatures, but in air at room temperature (18-24 degrees C) they were sometimes as much as 1-1 degrees C below and in cold air (5-10 degrees C) as much as 4-4 degrees C below oesophageal readings. The sublingual-oesophageal temperature difference in cold air was greatly reduced by keeping the face warm, but it was not reduced in two patients breathing through tracheostomies and thereby eliminating cold air flow from the nose and pharynx. Parotid saliva temperature was low and saliva flow high during exposure, and cold saliva seemed to be mainly responsible for the erratic depression of sublingual temperature in the cold. These results indicate hazards in the casual use of sublingual temperatures, and indicate that external heat may have to be supplied to enable them to give reliable clinical assessments of body temperature. (+info)