This month the PNA Spotlight focuses on Dr. Mario Zuccarello, director of the Brain Tumor Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute. He is also a Professor of Neurosurgery and John M. Tew Chair in surgical neuro-oncology in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Zuccarello earned his MD from the University of Padova, Italy where he did his residency. He completed research fellowships at the University of Iowa and at the University of Virginia. He did his clinical training at the University of Cincinnati. He joined the faculty at the University of Cincinnati in 1990, and he was the Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery until 2017. Dr. Zuccarello was kind enough to answer a series of questions from the PNA. His answers follow.
What inspired you to choose your career path?
Early experiences with my father’s illness gave me my first exposure to medicine. As I started medical school, I became deeply interested in the anatomy and physiology of the brain. This led to my discovery of neuroscience and to the realization that the best way I could get to know brain function was to become a neurosurgeon. After I became a neurosurgery resident, I understood that neurosurgery required my entire dedication and commitment. I was fortunate to learn from mentors who taught me the importance of knowledge of surgical neuroanatomy to perform surgery accurately and safely. I still have the pleasure of learning and perfecting new surgical techniques, and continue to carry this message to my trainees.
This month the PNA Medical Corner showcases an article co-written by PNA member Dr. Jamie J Van Gompel, a neurosurgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, NY. The study looked at the consistency of pituitary tumors as predicted using magnetic resonance elastography. They found that MRE can predict the stiffness of a tumor better than MRI, and can be helpful in pre-surgical planning.
J Neurosurg 2021 Oct 29;1-8.
doi: 10.3171/2021.6.JNS204425. Online ahead of print.
Predicting pituitary adenoma consistency with preoperative magnetic resonsance elastography
Salomon Cohen-Cohen 1, Ahmed Helal 1, Ziying Yin 2, Matthew K Ball 3, Richard L Ehman 2, Jamie J Van Gompel 1 4, John Huston 2
Please find attached the information about two clinical trials available at WCM. These trials have a novel, selective cortisol receptor blocker for the treatment of ectopic, pituitary, and adrenal Cushing syndrome with overt hypercortisolism (GRACE study). As well as a milder adrenal Cushing SD, where just 1mg Dex test needs to be abnormal (GRADIENT study).
These are phase 3 trials. Also, we have the extension phase for GRACE and are working on getting to our site the extension for GRADIENT study. This will permit patients to utilize the drug beyond the clinical trial, till it becomes available in the market.
Study: Tumor Subtype Does Not Predict Remission in Acromegaly
A study from Iran looked at remission rates in acromegaly patients with three subtypes of pituitary adenomas (densely granulated, sparsely granulated and dual staining) and found no major predictive role in terms of remission. There was no statistically significant difference in the rate of remission between the single-staining group and the dual-staining group. But the densely granulated group had a 2-fold remission rate compared to the other groups. Read more:
Case Study: Depression Abates after Cushing's Surgery
An article in Cushing’s Disease News looks at the case of a suicidal woman in Saudi Arabia whose depression eased but did not go away after treatment for Cushing’s. Read more:
Study: Low-income Prolactinoma Patients Suffer Worse Health Outcomes
The abstract of a study from the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics, which was reprinted in DocWireNews.com compares outcomes for prolactinoma patients with varying ages, sex, race and insurance status. They concluded that patients in the bottom 25%, income-wise, had statistically significantly poorer outcomes compared to wealthier patients. Patients who are female or who received a diagnosis at a later stage also suffered poorer outcomes. Read more here:
A blog from pituitary patient and author John Pavlovitz tells the story of a terrifying post-surgical seemingly near-death experience, where he almost bled out after somehow dislodging the clots formed at the surgical site in his brain. Read more here
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Disclaimer: PNA does not engage in the practice of medicine. It is not a medical authority, nor does it claim to have medical expertise. In all cases, PNA recommends that you consult your own physician regarding any course of treatment or medication.
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