Monday, February 20, 2017

Hunched Over a Microscope, Santiago Ramon y Cajal Sketched the Secrets of How the Brain Works

Last month, the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis opened a traveling exhibit that is the first dedicated solely to Ramón y Cajal’s work. According to a New York Times article, it will make stops in Minneapolis; Vancouver, British Columbia; New York City; Cambridge, Mass.; and Chapel Hill, N.C., through April 2019.

Ramon y Cajal in his laboratory, circa 1885
 Thanks to Drs. Mark Cohen and John Evans for alerting me to this exhibit.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Best Post of November 2016: Calcifying Pseudoneoplasm of the Neuroaxis (CAPNON)

The next in our "Best of the Month" series is from November 11, 2016:

Approximately 59 cases of CAPNON have been reported in the literature, A non-neoplastic entity that can be found in either an intra-axial or extra-axial location, the pathogenesis of CAPNON is unclear but a reactive process has been favored. The outcome is generally considered to be excellent, with gross total resection typically curative. This case is somewhat unique in that it harbors adipose tissue.

Foci of calcification and fat are present in this midline example

Nodules of basophilic calcification

The calcifications have a chondromyxoid appearance

Surgery was complicated as the lesion encased the anterior cerebral arteries

Aiken AH, Akgun H, Tihan T, Barbaro N, Glastonbury C. Calcifying pseudoneoplasms of the neuroaxis: CT, MR Imaging, and Histologic Features. American Journal of Neuroradiology 30 (2009) 1256-1260.

Duque SG, Lopez DM, de Mendivil AO, Fernandez JD. Calcifying pseudoneoplasms of the neuroaxis: Report of four cases and review of the literature. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery 143 (2016) 116-120.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Ophthalmologist and Eye Pathologist David Wilson Visits University of Colorado Pathology Department

Dr. David Wilson (left) with residents and attendings at University of Colorado Pathology Dept today
The pathology department was one stop made by Dr. David Wilson, ophthalmologist and eye pathologist from Oregon Health and Science University, when he visited the University of Colorado today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Diagnostic and Prognostic Value of Human Prion Detection in Cerebrospinal Fluid

A report appearing in the current issue of Annals of Neurology (2017;81:79-92) titled "Diagnostic and Prognostic Value of Human Prion Detection in Cerebrospinal Fluid" investigates the second-generation real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) prion test in a broad spectrum of prion diseases. The study concludes as follows: "The diagnostic performance of the improved CSF RT-QuIC is superior to surrogate marker tests for prion diseases such as 14-3-3 and tau proteins, and together with PRNP gene sequencing the test allows the major prion subtypes to be differentiated in vivo. This differentiation facilitates prediction of the clinicopathological phenotype and duration of the disease—two important considerations for envisioned therapeutic interventions." Among the authors are Aaron Foutz (first author), Mark Cohen, and Jiri Safar (senior author).

Monday, January 23, 2017

FDA approves first drug for spinal muscular atrophy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Spinraza (nusinersen), the first drug approved to treat children and adults with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The FDA granted this application fast track designation and priority review. The drug also received orphan drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases.

Thanks to Dr. Nick Willard for alerting me to this development.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Nice Example of STAT6 nuclear positivity in a WHO grade III Solitary Fibrous Tumor/Hemangiopericytoma

STAT6 immunostaining shows strong nuclear positivity among tumor cells, while the cytoplasm is uniformly negative.  STAT6 nuclear immunoreactivity has been reported as a surrogate marker for the NAB2-STAT6 gene fusion, which is the defining driver mutation of solitary fibrous tumor/hemangiopericytoma. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bo Jackson says he won't let his kids play football

Bo Jackson in 2004
The implications of the description of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy continue to reverberate as yet another former professional football player states that he will not let his children play football. The Kansas City Star reported yesterday that former Heisman Trophy winner and Oakland Raider star running back Bo Jackson said he would not play football if he were growing up today and will not let his children play the sport.

“If I knew back then what I know now. I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody,” Jackson said in an interview. He went on to say that he has encouraged his children to play "anything but football". 

The NFL admitted in 2016 — after much hand-wringing and many denials and delays — that there is a link between football and CTE.

As a father of a 9-year-old boy myself, I communicated the same thing to my own son. 

(Thanks to Dr. Doug Shevlin for alerting me to this development.)