Video: Bugs in the Brain – HIV and Toxoplasmosis

HIV-induced compromise of the immune system leaves afflicted persons vulnerable to a wide variety of infections.  In this video, we discuss the neuroradiology and pathologic findings of an HIV+ patient with a brain infection caused by the protozoan parasite: Toxoplasma gondii. https://youtu.be/9mBmgNLz13o

Spinal Ependymoma: Gross Specimen

Ependymomas are tumors that arise from specialized glia called ependymal cells, which line the central cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) containing spaces within the brain and spinal cord called the ventricles and central canal, respectively. When ependymomas occur in the spinal cord, their central location requires that the surgeon cut through the spinal cord in order... Continue Reading →

Vestibular Schwannomas

Intracranial schwannomas most commonly arise from the vestibular portion of the Vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII). The central/proximal aspect of the nerve is myelinated by oligodendroglial cells whereas the distal/peripheral aspect is myelinated by Schwann cells. These distally located Schwann cells give rise to vestibular schwannomas that originate in the distal aspect of the nerve, usually within the internal auditory canal where it... Continue Reading →

Hippocampal Atrophy

The hippocampus is critical to learning and memory.  Patients with hippocampal atrophy often have difficulty with declarative memory (i.e. remembering facts, names, events, etc.) and making new memories. Hippocampal atrophy can be seen a variety of disease processes, including epilepsy and neurodegenerative disease. Note how atrophy in this elderly patient, who had memory difficulties prior to... Continue Reading →

Cerebral Vascular Territories

The cerebral hemispheres are supplied with blood via three major arteries: the anterior, middle, and posterior cerebral arteries.  This coronal section through the frontal lobes shows hemorrhage involving the vascular territory of which of these three major cerebral arteries? Answer:  The cerebral hemispheres are supplied with blood via three major arteries: the anterior, middle, and posterior... Continue Reading →

Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL)

Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) is a type of brain damage that affects fetuses and premature babies. At this stage of brain  development, the white matter surrounding the ventricles is particularly vulnerable to hypoxic (lack of oxygen) or ischemic (lack of blood flow) injury for a variety of reasons, including high metabolic demand in a location that... Continue Reading →

Dura Metastasis: Hepatocellular Carcinoma

The most common tumors found in the central nervous system and dura (i.e. the dense fibrous covering that envelops the brain) are those that have traveled from other body sites in a process called metastasis.  Depicted here is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a cancer of liver cells, that has metastasized to the dura overlying the anterior pole of the right frontal lobe. Microscopically, the neoplastic liver... Continue Reading →

Ice Cream and Imaging: Typical Appearance of Vestibular Schwannoma

Cranial nerve schwannomas most commonly arise from Schwann cells that myelinate the distal aspect of the vestibular division of the 8th cranial nerve. Vestibular schwannomas, sometimes referred to by the double misnomer "acoustic neuroma" (it is a double misnomer because they are not neuromas and they do not usually involve the acoustic division of cranial... Continue Reading →

Classic Imaging: Cyst with an Enhancing Mural Nodule

For many years the only mechanism for observing gross pathologic features of CNS neoplasms was to examine brains extracted after death.  However, advancements in imaging technology now allow providers to observe typical gross neuropathological findings in the brains of living patients.  Some brain tumors have characteristic MRI findings, an example of which is a cyst... Continue Reading →

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