August Journal Round-Up

It’s that time of the month again – welcome to the August journal round-up!

Emergency – The longstanding issue of blunt cerebrovascular injury following craniocervical injury was again on the agenda this month; Cook et al. came to the conclusion that for these purposes children may well be little adults, as the modified Denver criteria have a high sensitivity for these injuries. However, the issues of radiation dose and what treatment is appropriate have not yet been settled. To further complicate matters, Grandhi et al. in JNS found that CTA has a high false positive rate for BCVI (in adults), particularly for Biffl grade 1 injuries, and suggest that these should be confirmed with DSA which brings its own problems.

Away from these thorny issues, Rozell et al. present a case based approach to infectious and inflammatory conditions presenting to the emergency department in Emergency Radiology, which may be a particularly useful summary to registrars starting their neuro blocks.

Vascular/Intervention – Optimising endovascular therapy for stroke and the pre-procedural imaging remains a dominant theme of this month’s journal articles. A retrospective analysis of MR CLEAN trial data published in Radiology by Jansen et al. demonstrated that the opacification of cerebral veins (using a scoring system based on three areas) predicted the response to intra-arterial therapy, although this relied on satisfactory venous opacification on a CTA. Sallustio et al. in AJNR showed that using the ASPECTS score on CTA was a better predictor of outcome than using it on non-contrast CT, although also in AJNR Pfaff et al. demonstrated the utility of automated ASPECTS scoring (e-ASPECTS) as this also correlated with outcome (as well as with expert raters).

Tumour – The spectrum of leptomeningeal malignancy and its mimics is covered in a handy pictorial review in Neurographics by Salehi et al., including the multitude of leptomeningeal neoplasms as well as infectious and inflammatory causes. Mimics are also the subject of an article by Starr and Cha in Clinical Radiology, which highlights five key features to alert the radiologist that an apparent meningioma may not be what it seems – significantly high or low T2 hyperintensity, osseous destruction, leptomeningeal extension and lack of a dural tail. Finally, in JNS Starke et al. examine the dreaded pineal cyst, examining key features from their cohort that are associated with hydrocephalus and malignant transformation.

DegenerativeJennings et al. in JAMA Neurology showed the predictive value of dopaminergic imaging in Parkinson’s disease, showing that a combination of hyposmia and positive DAT-SPECT predicts a conversion to PD within four years; this could also be used as a quantitative biomarker to measure disease progression over time. It is worth also checking out the accompanying editorial (by Postuma) which places the findings in context.

Cerebral amyloid angiopathy is a common diagnosis but still presents a diagnostic dilemma and our pathophysiological understanding of the condition remains incomplete. Two articles published this month aim to help tackle this and are complementary in their aims. Firstly, a comprehensive radiological review in Neurographics, by Koren et al., which covers the imaging features and Boston diagnostic criteria as well as the rarer inflammatory subtype. Secondly, a broader, more clinically orientated overview in JNNP by Banerjee et al. examines the current state of knowledge and future directions for diagnosis and treatment.

SpineKralik et al. studied the utility of 3D SPACE imaging for the diagnosis of spinal dural arteriovenous fistula; as expected, abnormal flow voids associated with dAVFs were better seen on 3D imaging, however the authors stress the importance of using this in tandem with 2D T2 imaging for assessing cord signal change.

Miscellaneous – I never know which section PRES belongs in, and it seems I’m in good company as a practical review of the condition outlines in JNNP this month. Gao et al. present a review of the different theories of aetiology for this heterogeneous disorder, and most importantly for the radiologist stress that the diagnosis of PRES is far from the endpoint of investigation and should prompt a search for underlying causes.

With the controversy surrounding the significance of gadolinium deposition in the brain still very much alive, a review of pathology of the dentate nucleus seems timely, and Bond et al. provide a thorough summary of the functional anatomy and conditions affecting this area.

And finally, public service announcement of the month goes to Sriram et al. in JNS, who presented a case of penetrating spinal injury by a swordfish – a key differential to consider in the fisherman presenting with hemiparesis.

That’s all for this month, do let us know what you’ve found useful this month! Coming up over the next couple of weeks we have a summary of the recent UKNG annual meeting, and we’ll have highlights from the BSNR Annual Meeting towards the end of September – do follow us on @BSNRTrainees for updates.