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Age-related brain changes may contribute to axial features in Parkinson's disease (PD).
To determine if ventricular volume and white matter high signal changes (WMC) are related to motor signs in PD and controls independent of age.
Patients were rated with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (subscore A: tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, and facial expression; subscore B: speech and axial impairment). Steps and time taken to walk 9.144 meters were measured. Total ventricular volume (TVV) and intracranial volume (ICV) were measured on T1-weighted MRI using manual tracing software. WMC were rated on axial T2-weighted, dual-echo or FLAIR MR images using a visual scale.
TVV (cm3) (PD: 36.48 ± 15.93; controls: 32.16 ± 14.20, p = 0.21) and WMC did not differ between groups (PD: 3.7 ± 4.2; controls: 3.2 ± 3.1, p = 0.55). Age correlated positively with ICV-corrected TVV and WMC in PD (cTVV: r = 0.48, p = 0.003; WMC: r=0.42, p=0.01) and controls (cTVV: r = 0.31, p = 0.04; WMC: r=0.44, p=0.003). Subscore B (r = 0.42, p = 0.01) but not subscore A (r = 0.25, p = 0.14) correlated with cTVV in PD. Steps and walking time correlated with cTVV and WMC in PD; cadence correlated with cTVV and steps with WMC in controls. Age-adjustment eliminated correlations.
Subscore B, but not subscore A correlated positively with ventricular volume in PD, though this association was accounted for by age. Age-related brain change super-imposed on PD may contribute to axial features.
Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a well-recognized neurologic disorder that typically presents with orthostatic headaches, low cerebral spinal fluid pressures and distinct abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging.
We present a case of a rare presentation of SIH.
A 49-year-old man presented with a two week history of orthostatic headaches that rapidly progressed to encephalopathy and coma, requiring intubation. Neuroimaging revealed abnormalities typical of SIH; diffusely enhancing pachymeninges, subdural fluid collections, and descent of the brain. Treatment with an epidural blood patch reversed his coma within minutes. Following a second blood patch, the patient became asymptomatic. No cerebral spinal leak could be identified on magnetic resonance imaging or on a nuclear medicine technetium cerebral spinal fluid flow study. At six month follow-up, he remained symptom free.
The mechanism of coma in SIH is presumed to be compression of the diencephalon from downward displacement of the brain. Although it is very unusual for patients with SIH to present with coma, it is important to recognize since the coma may be reversible with epidural blood patches.
Intravenous rt-PA (IV rt-PA) for acute stroke has raised many concerns, including its inadvertent use in patients presenting with acute stroke-like symptoms as the expression of their somatoform disorder. Diagnosis of the somatoform disorder is often delayed, and thrombolytics in these patients for their stroke-like presentation subjects them to risk for hemorrhage.
The presentation, neurological findings, and the therapeutic decision making was audited in 85 patients who received IV rt-PA for a diagnosis of acute stroke. All the surviving patients were re-examined neurologically at least three months after IV rt-PA. Baseline and follow-up brain CT scans were re-reviewed by a neuroradiologist who was blinded to clinical presentation and outcome. Patients whose clinical presentation, brain CT and neurological outcome did not fit into known or expected anatomical and clinical patterns of stroke underwent psychological assessment using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2.
In two patients three stroke-like presentations of somatoform disorder inadvertently were treated with IV rt-PA. This was primarily caused by abbreviated neurological examination and narrow differential diagnosis.
Patients with somatoform disorder may present with symptoms mimicking acute stroke. Under the time constraints of IV rt-PA use, a diagnosis of somatoform disorder can be missed, subjecting such patients to the potential complications of thrombolytics.
Fusiform cerebral aneurysms are dilatations of the entire circumference of a segment of cerebral artery, usually considered due to atherosclerosis in adults. They are relatively thick-walled and elongated, causing neural compression or ischemia when discovered. We have noted a subset of fusiform cerebral aneurysms that vary from this common description.
Out of a series of 472 intracranial aneurysms treated over 11 years, 11 patients between the ages 16 and 67 years (mean age 37) were identified who had discrete fusiform aneurysms unassociated with generalized cerebral atherosclerosis, connective tissue disorder or inflammation. Three presented with hemorrhage, six with neural compression by the aneurysm and two were discovered incidentally.
Nine aneurysms were located in the posterior circulation, the other two in the intracranial carotid artery. Their mean length and width were 16.3 and 11 mm, respectively. Three aneurysms contained thrombus. The eight aneurysms that were exposed surgically were partly or substantially thin-walled with normal appearing parent arteries. Eight were treated with proximal occlusion and three were circumferentially “wrapped”. Parent artery occlusion caused one death and one mild disability and the remaining patients made good recoveries (follow-up 0.5 - 10 years).
There is a subset of cerebral aneurysms with discrete fusiform morphology, apparently unrelated to cerebral atherosclerosis or systemic connective tissue disease, thin-walled in part or whole, more common in the vertebrobasilar system, and possessing a risk of rupture. Treatments currently available include proximal occlusion or aneurysm “wrapping”, different approaches than neck-clipping or endovascular coiling of side-wall saccular cerebral aneurysms that leave the parent artery intact.
Internal carotid artery dissection has been extensively studied and well-described. Although there has been a recent increase in the number of reported cases of vertebral artery (VA) dissection, the clinical variety of presentation and the early warning symptoms have not been well-described before. Our objectives in this study include: (1) To determine the early symptoms and warning signs which may help the clinician in the early identification and treatment of patients with VAdissection. (2) To explore the variety of clinical presentation of VA dissection and its relation to prognosis.
Design and setting:
Retrospective analysis of hospital records in a tertiary academic centre for the period 1989-1999.
Twenty-six patients were identified (13 men and 13 women). The mean age was 48. Possible precipitating factors were identified in 14 patients (53%). Sporting activity and chiropractic manipulations were the most common (15% and 11% respectively). Headache and/or neck pain was the prominent feature in 88% of patients and was a warning sign in 53%, preceding onset of stroke by up to 14 days. The most common clinical features included vertigo (57%), unilateral facial paresthesia (46%), cerebellar signs (33%), lateral medullary signs (26%) and visual field defects (15%). Bilateral VA dissection presented in six patients (24%). The most common region of dissection was the C1-C2 level (16 arteries, 51%). Intracranial VAdissection was found in eight arteries (25%). The majority of patients (83%) had favorable outcome. Poor prognosis was associated with (1) bilateral dissection; (2) intracranial VA dissection accompanied by subarachnoid hemorrhage. Only two patients reported stroke recurrence.
Our findings show that VA dissection affects mainly middle age persons and involves both sexes equally. Headache and/or neck pain followed by vertigo or unilateral facial paresthesia is an important warning sign that may precede onset of stroke by several days. Although the majority of patients will have excellent prognosis, this was less likely in patients presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage or bilateral VA dissection. Recurrence rate was low.
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