Brain Eating Amoeba

Naegleria fowleri, better known as "brain-eating amoeba", is a free-living amoeba that is a major cause of a rare brain infection called Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, which typically affects young people with a history of swimming in warm fresh water such as a lake or stream. After entering the nose and crawling up the olfactory nerves... Continue Reading →

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Malignant Meningitis

The brain is surrounded by several layers of protective coverings collectively called meninges.  The semi-translucent innermost layers, called the leptomeninges, form a "shrink-wrap" around the brain that allows for easy flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) along the outer surface of central nervous system structures. Unfortunately, it also allows for easy spread of neoplastic cells.  The image shows the inferior aspect... Continue Reading →

Myxopapillary Ependymoma: Radiology-Pathology Correlation

Myxopapillary ependymoma arises in the lumbar region of the spinal cord and typically produces symptoms associated with impingement of the spinal nerve roots of the cauda equina. It usually appears as an oval or sausage-shaped contrast-enhancing mass, like the one pictured in this MRI image (sagittal post-contrast T1 Fat-sat).  The myxopapillary ependymoma in the inset photograph represents a gross surgical... Continue Reading →

Secretory Meningioma: A unique Meningioma variant

The secretory subtype of meningioma (pictured here) is just one of many variants of meningioma, a usually histologically benign tumor that arises from the meninges (i.e. the outer coverings overlying the brain) and often contains concentrically-layered calcifications called psammoma bodies.  The secretory variant can be suspected on imaging by the exuberant edema often seen in the adjacent brain tissue.  Microscopically,... Continue Reading →

True Ependymal Rosettes in Ependymoma

The microscopic appearance of ependymomas is dominated by the presence of radially-arranged tumor cells forming rosettes (black arrows), which are named for their resemblance to the flower-like architecture of rose windows in gothic cathedrals.  The perivascular pseudorosette, characterized by tumor cells radially arranged around a central vessel, is more common by far, but it is not specific to... Continue Reading →

Severe Jaundice of the Brain

Not a trick of the eyes.  This brain with a pronounced green discoloration belonged to an adult with marked jaundice due to acute and severe liver disease. Jaundice occurs when the blood carries higher than normal levels of bilirubin, a substance that is usually processed by the liver into bile which is then eliminated via the stool and urine. Liver disease... Continue Reading →

Stroke: Resolving Infarction

Brain infarction, or stroke, refers to brain tissue death due to a lack of life-sustaining blood flow to this area.  This brain, which belonged to a person with extensive cardiovascular disease, shows a resolving infarction involving the cerebral cortex of the occipital lobe.  Microscopically this yellow-brown discolored area is infiltrated by an army of macrophages that slowly removes the dead brain tissue until,... Continue Reading →

Glomus Jugulare Tumor

Glomus jugulare tumor is a slow-growing neoplasm that is often found incidentally. It arises within the jugular foramen of the temporal bone, near the opening of the foramen magnum (the large hole at the base of the skull where the spinal cord and brainstem connect).  The jugular foramen contains the cranial nerves IX, X, and XI and patients will often present with... Continue Reading →

Acute Traumatic Brain Injury – Hemorrhagic Infarction

Acute traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in a variety of hemorrhagic cerebral insults leading to brain death.  This photograph depicting a brain of a person involved in a motor vehicle accident, shows a large hemorrhage in the left temporal-occipital region that 1. involves the brain tissue proper (i.e. intraparenchymal hemorrhage), 2. extends beneath the arachnoid layer of... Continue Reading →

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