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Acoustic neuroma can be treated with cyberknife radiosurgery

The Kashmir Monitor





Dr Aditya Gupta
Acoustic neuroma can be treated with cyberknife radiosurgeryAcoustic neuroma can be treated with cyberknife radiosurgery
What is Acoustic Neuroma?
Acoustic Neuroma which is also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a benign tumour which is non-cancerous and usually grows slowly. It develops on the main nerve that leads from the inner ear to the brain. The branches of this nerve influence the balance, hearing and the pressure from an acoustic neuroma that can cause hearing loss, ringing in your ear and unsteadiness.
The symptoms start with the gradual loss of hearing in one ear and the problem is accompanied by the ringing in the ear also with the feeling of fullness in the ear. The acoustic neuromas can cause the sudden hearing loss.
The symptoms that occur over time include
1. Vertigo
2. Facial numbness and tingling
3. Problem with balance
4. Facial weakness
5. Change in taste
6. Difficulty in swallowing
7. Headaches
8. Clumsiness
9. Mental confusion
Cyberknife radiosurgery has revolutionised the treatment of Acoustic Neuroma.
The cause of the development of acoustic neuroma is unknown. A rare hereditary disease ‘Neurofibromatosis’ is associated with acoustic neuroma.
It can also be caused by
1. Continuous exposure to loud noise
2. Radiation on face and neck can lead to acoustic neuroma many years later.
In 1 out of 10 people, an acoustic neuroma is caused by neurofibromatosis type-2 (NF2). NF2 can run in further generations also. A person suffering from NF2 can develop benign tumours on the spinal cord and the coverings of the brain. Acoustic neuromas formed through the type of cells called a schwann cell. These cells cover the nerve cells of the body. That’s why this tumour is also called vestibular schwannoma.
An acoustic tumour grows with the nerve in the brain. This nerve is called cranial nerves or the acoustic or vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve is responsible to control the sense of hearing and also the balance of the body. An acoustic tumour is rare and in between 1 and 20 people in every million worldwide are diagnosed each year with an acoustic neuroma. And it’s more common in women than men.
Acoustic neuroma treated with Cyberknife
Surveys say that two out of 100,000 people aged 30 to 60 develop acoustic neuroma, which makes this condition incredibly rare. The treatment depends on the size of a tumour. If a tumour is large, there will be more medical problems. The small size of a tumour is less than 1.5 cm, the medium is between 1.5 cm and 2.5 cm and large is 2.5 cm or larger. Small tumours require Cyberknife due to their size while the larger tumours typically require surgery.
The newest radiation therapy option for acoustic neuroma is a form of radio surgery that requires absolutely no incisions using a new technology called Cyberknife. Patients treated with this new non-invasive experience minimal to no side effects. Radio surgery techniques can stop tumours from growing by using high-dose exact precision radiation treatment. Patients treated by Cyberknife technology experience minimal to no side effects and receive treatment on an out-patient basis. After patients undergo radio surgery, the acoustic neuroma is closely monitored to confirm the growth has stopped or that a tumour has begun to shrink.
The surgery includes advanced robotics, tumour tracking and imaging capabilities. The patients with particular symptoms like pressure symptoms or imbalance may be best treated with this surgery because surgery will relieve the symptoms more rapidly. Also, the large tumours mean the size greater than 3.0 cm are best treated with surgery because these tumours can sometimes swell and cause obstruction in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.
Treatment starts with the CT scan. The CT scan image is then imported to the Cyberknife treatment planning system. The oncologist team plan to treat a tumour while avoiding surrounding important sensitive structures. The process involves several sittings and per sitting lasts for maximum 1 hour per sitting. The treatment does not require any sedation and is painless.
The chances of side effects are next to negligible. Hearing is preserved and achieved in 50-75% of the time. Temporary numbness of one side of the face is 2-3%. After the Cyberknife surgery tumours stabilise in size then shrink with time.



Cutting 300 calories in healthy adults known to improve heart health

The Kashmir Monitor



If you think you don’t need to cut calories just because you have a few extra pounds or are healthy, then take note! Even in healthy adults cutting around 300 calories a day significantly improved already good levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other markers, suggests a study. The study was published in the journal ‘The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology’.

The trial, part of an ongoing project with the National Institutes of Health continues to build on the researchers’ hypothesis that it’s not just weight loss that leads to these improvements, but some more complex metabolic change triggered by eating fewer calories than what’s expended.

“There’s something about caloric restriction, some mechanism we don’t yet understand that results in these improvements. We have collected blood, muscle and other samples from these participants and will continue to explore what this metabolic signal or magic molecule might be,” said William E. Kraus, the study’s lead author.


For the first month of the trial, participants ate three meals a day that would cut one-fourth of their daily calories to help train them on the new diet. Participants were asked to maintain the 25 per cent calorie reduction for two years. Their ability to do that varied, with the average calorie reduction for all participants being about 12 per cent. Still, they were able to sustain a 10 per cent drop in their weight, 71 per cent of which was fat, the study found.

There were numerous improvements in markers that measure the risk of metabolic disease. After two years, participants also showed a reduction in a biomarker that indicates chronic inflammation which has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.

“This shows that even a modification that is not as severe as what we used in this study could reduce the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People can do this fairly easily by simply watching their little indiscretions here and there, or maybe reducing the amount of them, like not snacking after dinner,” said Kraus.

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Just 20-minute ‘nature pill’ can lower your stress

The Kashmir Monitor



Taking just 20 minutes out of your day to stroll or sit near nature will significantly lower your stress hormone levels, a new study suggests.

Healthcare practitioners can use this finding to prescribe ‘nature pills’ to have a real measurable effect, according to researchers from the University of Michigan.

“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” said lead author MaryCarol Hunter from the varsity.


For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the research team involved 36 participants. Over an eight-week period, they were asked to take a ‘nature pill’ for at least 10 minutes, three times a week.

Levels of cortisol — a stress hormone — were measured from saliva samples taken before and after taking the ‘nature pill’, once every two weeks.

The data revealed that just a 20 minute nature experience was enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels.

And if you take in a little more nature experience – 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking – cortisol levels dropped at their greatest rate, the researchers said.

“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature,” Hunter noted.

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Exercise can help in containing arthritis

The Kashmir Monitor



A new study has found that degradation of cartilage due to osteoarthritis could be prevented with the help of exercise. The study, published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, demonstrates the benefits of exercise on the tissues that form our joints.

The researchers have shown for the first time how mechanical forces experienced by cells in joints during exercise prevent cartilage degradation by suppressing the action of inflammatory molecules that cause osteoarthritis. During exercise, the cartilage in joints such as the hip and knee is squashed.

This mechanical distortion is detected by the living cells in the cartilage, which then block the action of inflammatory molecules associated with conditions such as arthritis. The researchers showed that this anti-inflammatory effect of physical activity is caused by activation of a particular protein, called HDAC6, which triggers changes in the proteins that form primary cilia.


Pharmaceutical drugs that blocked HDAC6 activation prevented the anti-inflammatory effects of physical activity, while other drug treatments were able to mimic the benefits of exercise. Changes in length of the primary cilia, which are only a few 1000th of a millimetre, provided a biomarker of the level of inflammation.

Cilia got longer during inflammation, but treatments that prevented this elongation successfully prevented inflammation. Su Fu, a PhD student at Queen Mary University of London and study author, said: “We have known for some time that healthy exercise is good for you. Now we know the process through which exercise prevents cartilage degradation.”

Professor Martin Knight, lead researcher of the study added, “These findings may also explain the anti-inflammatory effects of normal blood flow in arteries, which is important for preventing arterial diseases such as atherosclerosis and aneurysm.” The researchers hope that these findings will help in the search for treatments for arthritis. The researchers suggest the results may lead to a whole new therapeutic approach known as “mechanomedicine” in which drugs simulate the effect of mechanical forces to prevent the damaging effects of inflammation and treat conditions such as arthritis.

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