Graeme Clark Collection

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    Can we prevent cochlear implant recipients from developing pneumococcal meningitis?
    Wei, BPC ; Robins-Browne, RM ; Shepherd, RK ; Clark, GM ; O'Leary, SJ (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2008-01-01)
    The restoration of hearing to persons with severely or profoundly impaired hearing by means of a cochlear implant is one of the great achievements of bionics applied to medicine. However, pneumococcal meningitis in implant recipients has received high profile public attention as a result of the US Food and Drug Administration's public health notification and recent media attention. Worldwide, 118 of the 60,000 people who received cochlear implants over the past 20 years have acquired meningitis, causing deep concern in the international medical community. This review provides answers to pediatricians, internists, and infectious diseases doctors who have patients with cochlear implants and who have questions about the safety of the cochlear implant from both the clinical and scientific research perspectives. Both clinical and laboratory research support the notion that pneumococcal meningitis is more likely in patients who receive cochlear implantation, and that the surgical insertion technique and the cochlear implant design should be nontraumatic, and that all cochlear implant recipients should be offered vaccination against Streptococcus pneumoniae.
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    Promoting neurite outgrowth from spiral ganglion neuron explants using polypyrrole/BDNF-coated electrodes
    Evans, AJ ; Thompson, BC ; Wallace, GG ; Millard, R ; O'Leary, SJ ; Clark, GM ; Shepherd, RK ; Richardson, RT (WILEY, 2009-10-01)
    Release of neurotrophin-3 (NT3) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from hair cells in the cochlea is essential for the survival of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs). Loss of hair cells associated with a sensorineural hearing loss therefore results in degeneration of SGNs, potentially reducing the performance of a cochlear implant. Exogenous replacement of either or both neurotrophins protects SGNs from degeneration after deafness. We previously incorporated NT3 into the conducting polymer polypyrrole (Ppy) synthesized with para-toluene sulfonate (pTS) to investigate whether Ppy/pTS/NT3-coated cochlear implant electrodes could provide both neurotrophic support and electrical stimulation for SGNs. Enhanced and controlled release of NT3 was achieved when Ppy/pTS/NT3-coated electrodes were subjected to electrical stimulation. Here we describe the release dynamics and biological properties of Ppy/pTS with incorporated BDNF. Release studies demonstrated slow passive diffusion of BDNF from Ppy/pTS/BDNF, with electrical stimulation significantly enhancing BDNF release over 7 days. A 3-day SGN explant assay found that neurite outgrowth from explants was 12.3-fold greater when polymers contained BDNF (p < 0.001), although electrical stimulation did not increase neurite outgrowth further. The versatility of Ppy to store and release neurotrophins, conduct electrical charge, and act as a substrate for nerve-electrode interactions is discussed for specialized applications such as cochlear implants.
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    Polypyrrole-coated electrodes for the delivery of charge and neurotrophins to cochlear neurons
    Richardson, RT ; Wise, AK ; Thompson, BC ; Flynn, BO ; Atkinson, PJ ; Fretwell, NJ ; Fallon, JB ; Wallace, GG ; Shepherd, RK ; Clark, GM ; O'Leary, SJ (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2009-05-01)
    Sensorineural hearing loss is associated with gradual degeneration of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs), compromising hearing outcomes with cochlear implant use. Combination of neurotrophin delivery to the cochlea and electrical stimulation from a cochlear implant protects SGNs, prompting research into neurotrophin-eluting polymer electrode coatings. The electrically conducting polypyrrole/para-toluene sulfonate containing neurotrophin-3 (Ppy/pTS/NT3) was applied to 1.7 mm2 cochlear implant electrodes. Ppy/pTS/NT3-coated electrode arrays stored 2 ng NT3 and released 0.1 ng/day with electrical stimulation. Guinea pigs were implanted with Ppy/pTS or Ppy/pTS/NT3 electrode arrays two weeks after deafening via aminoglycosides. The electrodes of a subgroup of these guinea pigs were electrically stimulated for 8 h/day for 2 weeks. There was a loss of SGNs in the implanted cochleae of guinea pigs with Ppy/pTS-coated electrodes indicative of electrode insertion damage. However, guinea pigs implanted with electrically stimulated Ppy/pTS/NT3-coated electrodes had lower electrically-evoked auditory brainstem response thresholds and greater SGN densities in implanted cochleae compared to non-implanted cochleae and compared to animals implanted with Ppy/pTS-coated electrodes (p<0.05). Ppy/pTS/NT3 did not exacerbate fibrous tissue formation and did not affect electrode impedance. Drug-eluting conducting polymer coatings on cochlear implant electrodes present a clinically viable method to promote preservation of SGNs without adversely affecting the function of the cochlear implant.
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    Renewal-process approximation of a stochastic threshold model for electrical neural stimulation
    Bruce, Ian C. ; Irlicht, Laurence S. ; White, Mark W. ; O'Leary, Stephen J. ; Clark, Graeme M. ( 2000)
    In a recent set of modelling studies we have developed a stochastic threshold model of auditory nerveresponse to single biphasic electrical pulses (Bruce et al., 1999c) and moderate rate (less than 800 pulses per second) pulse trains (Bruce et al., 1999a). In this article we derive an analytical approximation for the single-pulse model, which is then extended to describe the pulse-train model in the case of evenly timed, uniform pulses. This renewal process description provides an accurate and computationally efficient model of electrical stimulation of single auditory nerve fibers by a cochlear implant that may be extended to other forms of electrical neural stimulation.
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    Meningitis after cochlear implantation: the risk is low, and preventive measures can reduce this further
    Wei, Benjamin P. C. ; Clark, Graeme M. ; O'Leary, Stephen J. ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; Robins-Browne, Roy M. ( 2007)
    Since the 1980s, more than 80 000 people have received cochlear implants worldwide. These implants are designed to enable people who are severely or profoundly deaf to experience sound and speech. Since 1990, implantation has become standard treatment for people who cannot communicate effectively despite well fitted hearing aids. Children who are deaf when they are born can perceive sound and learn to speak if they receive cochlear implants at a young age (ideally under 18 months). The use of cochlear implants has been thought to be safe. But since 2002 the number of patients with meningitis related to cochlear implantation has increased worldwide. Mortality and neurological complications after meningitis are high. We need to investigate the reasons for this and look at measures to reduce them.
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    Threshold shift: effects of cochlear implantation on the risk of pneumococcal meningitis
    Wei, Benjamin P. C. ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; Robins-Browne, Roy M. ; Clark, Graeme M. ; O'Leary, Stephen J. ( 2007)
    Unavailable due to copyright.
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    Effects of inner ear trauma on the risk of pneumococcal meningitis
    Wei, Benjamin P. C. ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; Robins-Browne, Roy M. ; Clark, Graeme M. ; O'LEARY, STEPHEN ( 2007)
    Objective: To examine the risk of pneumococcal meningitis in healthy rats that received a severe surgical trauma to the modiolus and osseous spiral lamina or the standard insertion technique for acute cochlear implantation. Design: Interventional animal studies. Subjects: Fifty-four otologically normal adult Hooded- Wistar rats. Interventions: Fifty-four rats (18 of which received a cochleostomy alone; 18, a cochleostomy and acute cochlear implantation using standard surgical techniques; and 18, a cochleostomy followed by severe inner ear trauma) were infected 4 weeks after surgery with Streptococcus pneumoniae via 3 different routes (hematogenous, middle ear, and inner ear) to represent all potential routes of bacterial infection from the upper respiratory tract to the meninges in cochlear implant recipients with meningitis. Results: Severe trauma to the osseous spiral lamina and modiolus increased the risk of pneumococcal meningitis when the bacteria were given via the middle or inner ear (Fisher exact test, P<.05). However, the risk of meningitis did not change when the bacteria were given via the hematogenous route. Acute electrode insertion did not alter the risk of subsequent pneumococcal meningitis for any route of infection. Conclusions: Severe inner ear surgical trauma to the osseous spiral lamina and modiolus can increase the risk of pneumococcal meningitis. Therefore, every effort should be made to ensure that cochlear implant design and insertion technique cause minimal trauma to the bony structures of the inner ear to reduce the risk of pneumococcalmeningitis.
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    Assessment of the protective effect of pneumococcal vaccination in preventing meningitis after cochlear implantation
    Wei, Benjamin P. C. ; Robins-Browne, Roy M. ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; AZZOPARDI, KRISTY ; Clark, Graeme M. ; O'Leary, Stephen J. ( 2007)
    Objectives: To examine if a 23-valent pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) reduces the risk of meningitis in healthy rats after cochlear implantation. Design: Interventional animal study. Interventions: Thirty-six rats (18 immunized and 18 unimmunized) received cochlear implantations and were then infected with Streptococcus pneumoniae via 3 different routes (hematogenous, middle ear, and inner ear) in numbers sufficient to induce meningitis. Results: The rats with implants that received PPV23 were protected from meningitis when the bacteria were delivered via the hematogenous and middle-ear routes (Fisher exact test P<.05). However, the protective effect of the vaccine in the rats with implants was only moderate when the bacteria were inoculated directly into the inner ear. Conclusions: Our animal model clearly demonstrates that immunization can protect healthy rats with a cochlear implant from meningitis caused by a vaccine-covered serotype. This finding supports the notion that all current and future implant recipients should be vaccinated against S pneumoniae.
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    The effect of polypyrrole with incorporated neurotrophin-3 on the promotion of neurite outgrowth from auditory neurons
    Richardson, RT ; Thompson, B ; Moulton, S ; Newbold, C ; Lum, MG ; Cameron, A ; Wallace, G ; Kapsa, R ; Clark, G ; O'Leary, S (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2007-01-01)
    This research aims to improve the nerve-electrode interface of the cochlear implant using polymer technology to encourage neuron survival, elongation and adhesion to the electrodes. Polypyrrole (Ppy) doped with p-toluene sulphonate (pTS) is an electroactive polymer into which neurotrophin-3 (NT3) can be incorporated. Ppy/pTS+/-NT3 was synthesised over gold electrodes and used as a surface for auditory neuron explant culture. Neurite outgrowth from explants grown on Ppy/pTS was equivalent to tissue culture plastic but improved with the incorporation of NT3 (Ppy/pTS/NT3). Electrical stimulation of Ppy/pTS/NT3 with a biphasic current pulse, as used in cochlear implants, significantly improved neurite outgrowth from explants. Using (125)I-NT3, it was shown that low levels of NT3 passively diffused from Ppy/pTS/NT3 during normal incubation and that electrical stimulation enhanced the release of biologically active NT3 in quantities adequate for neuron survival. Furthermore, Ppy/pTS/NT3 and its constituents were not toxic to auditory neurons and the Ppy/pTS/NT3 coating on gold electrodes did not alter impedance. If applied to the cochlear implant, Ppy/pTS/NT3 will provide a biocompatible, low-impedance substrate for storage and release of NT3 to help protect auditory neurons from degradation after sensorineural hearing loss and encourage neurite outgrowth towards the electrodes.
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    Protective effects of local administration of ciprofloxacin on the risk of pneumococccal meningitis after cochlear implantation
    Wei, Benjamin P. C. ; Robins-Browne, Roy M. ; Shepherd, Robert K. ; AZZOPARDI, KRISTY ; Clark, Graeme M. ; O'Leary, Stephen J. ( 2006)
    Objectives: To determine whether ciprofloxacin retains its antimicrobial activity after storage with Healon at ambient temperature and at 37°C over 5 weeks and then to establish whether the application of ciprofloxacin/Healon onto scala tympani electrode arrays reduces the risk of meningitis in implanted rats inoculated with S. pneumoniae. Study Design: In vitro laboratory and in vivo animal studies Methods: The antibacterial activity of three concentrations of ciprofloxacin/Healon (7.5, 75, and 750 µg/mL) was examined over 5 weeks at both ambient temperature (23°C) and body temperature (37°C). Thirty-six rats (18 implanted with ciprofloxacin [750 mg/mL]/Healon-coated electrode array and 18 without the coating) were infected with S. pneumoniae 4 weeks after implantation by way of three different routes of infection (hematogenous, middle ear, and inner ear) and observed for the development of meningitis. Results: The antibacterial activity of ciprofloxacin/Healon was maintained over 5 weeks at both 23°C and 37°C. The implanted rats with the ciprofloxacin/Healon-coated electrode array were protected from meningitis when the bacteria were given by way of the hematogenous route (Fisher’s exact test, P = .008) but not when the bacteria were inoculated directly into the middle or inner ear. However, the time to develop meningitis was significantly longer in rats implanted with a coated array, irrespective of the route of inoculation (P < .05, log rank test). Conclusion: Our animal model demonstrated that a ciprofloxacin-coated electrode array can protect healthy implanted rats from meningitis when the route of infection is hematogenous and can delay the onset of meningitis when bacteria are inoculated directly into the middle or inner ear.