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1.  Substantial and reversible brain gray matter reduction but no acute brain lesions in ultramarathon runners: experience from the TransEurope-FootRace Project 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:170.
During the extremely challenging 4,487 km ultramarathon TransEurope-FootRace 2009, runners showed considerable reduction of body weight. The effects of this endurance run on brain volume changes but also possible formation of brain edema or new lesions were explored by repeated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies.
A total of 15 runners signed an informed consent to participate in this study of planned brain scans before, twice during, and about 8 months after the race. Because of dropouts, global gray matter volume analysis could only be performed in ten runners covering three timepoints, and in seven runners who also had a follow-up scan. Scanning was performed on three identical 1.5 T Siemens MAGNETOM Avanto scanners, two of them located at our university. The third MRI scanner with identical sequence parameters was a mobile MRI unit escorting the runners. Volumetric 3D datasets were acquired using a magnetization prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo (MPRAGE) sequence. Additionally, diffusion-weighted (DWI) and fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) imaging was performed.
Average global gray matter volume as well as body weight significantly decreased by 6% during the race. After 8 months, gray matter volume returned to baseline as well as body weight. No new brain lesions were detected by DWI or FLAIR imaging.
Physiological brain volume reduction during aging is less than 0.2% per year. Therefore a volume reduction of about 6% during the 2 months of extreme running appears to be substantial. The reconstitution in global volume measures after 8 months shows the process to be reversible. As possible mechanisms we discuss loss of protein, hypercortisolism and hyponatremia to account for both substantiality and reversibility of gray matter volume reductions. Reversible brain volume reduction during an ultramarathon suggests that extreme running might serve as a model to investigate possible mechanisms of transient brain volume changes. However, despite massive metabolic load, we found no new lesions in trained athletes participating in a multistage ultramarathon.
See related commentary
PMCID: PMC3566943  PMID: 23259507
body weight; brain volume; catabolism; DWI; lesion; MRI; ultramarathon
2.  Sensitive and Specific Immunohistochemical Diagnosis of Human Alveolar Echinococcosis with the Monoclonal Antibody Em2G11 
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is caused by the metacestode stage of Echinococcus multilocularis. Differential diagnosis with cystic echinococcosis (CE) caused by E. granulosus and AE is challenging. We aimed at improving diagnosis of AE on paraffin sections of infected human tissue by immunohistochemical testing of a specific antibody.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We have analysed 96 paraffin archived specimens, including 6 cutting needle biopsies and 3 fine needle aspirates, from patients with suspected AE or CE with the monoclonal antibody (mAb) Em2G11 specific for the Em2 antigen of E. multilocularis metacestodes. In human tissue, staining with mAb Em2G11 is highly specific for E. multilocularis metacestodes while no staining is detected in CE lesions. In addition, the antibody detects small particles of E. multilocularis (spems) of less than 1 µm outside the main lesion in necrotic tissue, liver sinusoids and lymphatic tissue most probably caused by shedding of parasitic material. The conventional histological diagnosis based on haematoxylin and eosin and PAS stainings were in accordance with the immunohistological diagnosis using mAb Em2G11 in 90 of 96 samples. In 6 samples conventional subtype diagnosis of echinococcosis had to be adjusted when revised by immunohistology with mAb Em2G11.
Immunohistochemistry with the mAb Em2G11 is a new, highly specific and sensitive diagnostic tool for AE. The staining of small particles of E. multilocularis (spems) outside the main lesion including immunocompetent tissue, such as lymph nodes, suggests a systemic effect on the host.
Author Summary
Echinococcosis is a life-threatening disease in humans that is caused by the larval stages of the tapeworms Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus granulosus. The eggs of the parasites are released with faeces of canids, and humans are aberrantly infected. In humans, the larval stages of the parasites cause tumour-like lesions mainly in the liver and the lungs. Precise diagnosis of the parasite responsible for human disease is of utmost importance since therapy regimens largely differ between cystic and alveolar echinococcosis. Diagnosis is based on serology, imaging and histology, the latter being the gold standard. However, conventional histology cannot always clearly identify the causative parasite because both parasites can cause human tissue to present similar features. Therefore, we have developed the monoclonal antibody Em2G11 and an immunohistological technique that allows a cheap and fast clear-cut diagnosis of E. multilocularis even on aspirates and small archived bioptic tissue samples. Furthermore, this technique disclosed an unknown feature of human alveolar echinococosis we called "small particles of E. multilocularis" (spems). We argue that these small particles represent micro-fragments of E. multilocularis and thus point to a new form of host-parasite interaction.
PMCID: PMC3493387  PMID: 23145198
3.  Sixty-four MDCT achieves higher contrast in pancreas with optimization of scan time delay 
World Journal of Radiology  2012;4(7):324-327.
AIM: To compare different multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) protocols to optimize pancreatic contrast enhancement.
METHODS: Forty consecutive patients underwent contrast-enhanced biphasic MDCT (arterial and portal-venous phase) using a 64-slice MDCT. In 20 patients, the scan protocol was adapted from a previously used 40-channel MDCT scanner with arterial phase scanning initiated 11.1 s after a threshold of 150 HU was reached in the descending aorta, using automatic bolus tracking (Protocol 1). The 11.1-s delay was changed to 15 s in the other 20 patients to reflect the shorter scanning times on the 64-channel MDCT compared to the previous 40-channel system (Protocol 2). HU values were measured in the head and tail of the pancreas in the arterial and portal-venous phase.
RESULTS: Using an 11.1-s delay, 74.2 HU (head) were measured on average in the arterial phase and 111.2 HU (head) were measured using a 15-s delay (P < 0.0001). For the pancreatic tail, the average attenuation level was 76.73 HU (11.1 s) and 99.89 HU (15 s) respectively (P = 0.0002). HU values were also significantly higher in the portal-venous phase [pancreatic head: 70.5 HU (11.1 s) vs 84.0 HU (15 s) (P = 0.0014); pancreatic tail: 67.45 HU (11.1 s) and 77.18 HU (15 s) using Protocol 2 (P = 0.0071)].
CONCLUSION: Sixty-four MDCT may yield a higher contrast in pancreatic study with (appropriate) optimization of scan delay time.
PMCID: PMC3419869  PMID: 22900134
Computed tomography; Pancreas; Scan delay; Protocol; Contrast enhancement
4.  Monitoring Gastric Filling, Satiety and Gastric Emptying in a Patient with Gastric Balloon Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging—A Feasibility Report 
Intragastric balloons are used for short term weight loss therapy in obese. It is possible to monitor the ballon with sonography, however this method is sometimes insufficient in obese patients. Therefore MRI seems to be a potential therapy-monitoring option.
In this feasibility report we want to demonstrate the potential use of functional MRI in monitoring gastric filling, patient satiation and gastric emptying in a obese patient who previously received intragastric balloon placement.
Material and methods
We selected one patient (male, 178 cm, 127 kg, BMI = 40,5 kg/m2) who recently received a gastric balloon and visualized gastric motility in presence of the gastric balloon before and after food intake. Fast cross-sectional images in one breathhold spin echo or gradient echo sequences were aquired. Real-time gastric motion was performed with cine mode.
MRI offers perfect visualisation of gastric balloons in obese patients. Gastric filling and emptying can be monitored in correlation to patient satiety sensation. MRI can visualize the gastric balloon with degree of filling and possible leakages. Cine mode sequences demonstrate gastric motility and gastric wall peristalsis.
MR is a valuable imaging alternative for patients with intragastric balloons
PMCID: PMC3785374  PMID: 24179344
5.  p16 Expression Differentiates High-Risk Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor and Predicts Poor Outcome1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2008;10(10):1154-1162.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are characterized by alterations in genes involved in cell cycle regulation. Although p16 (INK4A) have been extensively investigated in GISTs, there are still discrepancies regarding its prognostic value. Therefore, we evaluated the clinical occurrence, diagnostic and prognostic value of p16 staining in GIST. One hundred one patients (54 women and 47 men) with a mean age of 64.1 years (range, 17–94 years) were surgically treated for a GIST within a 10-year period. Of these patients, 28 (28%) were affected by metastases (mean follow-up, 4.5 years). In 36 patients (36%), GIST occurred coincidentally with other malignancies. Expression of c-kit was confirmed in 97 GIST patients (96%). In patients with high-risk GIST, the expression of p16 expression was highly predictive for poor prognosis, i.e., the development of recurrence or metastases (P = .006) and poor survival (P = .004). In addition, the expression of p16 was highly predictive for reduction of the survival in patients who were affected by metastases or recurrence (P = .041). The disease-specific and disease-free 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rate was 96%, 90%, and 85% and 81%, 77%, and 72%, respectively. Primary tumor state, tumor size, and high-risk classification were confirmed as relevant predictors for unfavorable prognosis in GIST (P < .001). Our results indicate that in high-risk GIST and in patients with recurrence or metastases, the expression of p16 is highly predictive for poor outcome. Thus, in addition to high-risk classification, p16 expression might be an indicator for “very high risk GIST.”
PMCID: PMC2546588  PMID: 18813351

Results 1-5 (5)