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1.  Cerebral vein thrombosis: clinical manifestation and diagnosis 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:69.
Background
Cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is a disease with a wide spectrum of symptoms and severity. In this study we analysed the predictive value of clinical signs and symptoms and the contribution of D-dimer measurements for diagnosis.
Methods
We evaluated consecutive patients admitted with suspected CVT receiving non-invasive imaging. Symptoms and symptom combination as well as D-dimer levels were evaluated regarding their diagnostic value.
Results
239 patients were included in this study, 170 (71%) were females. In 39 patients (16%) a CVT was found. For identifying a CVT patients underwent either a venous CT-angiography or MR-angiography or both. No combination of symptoms either alone or together with the D-dimer measurements had a sensitivity and positive predictive value as well as negative predictive value and specificity high enough to serve as red flag. D-dimer testing produced rates of 9% false positive and of 24% false negative results. For D-dimer values a Receiver Operating Characteristic curve (ROC) and the area under the curve (AUC = 0.921; CI: 0.864 - 0.977) were calculated. An increase of sensitivity above 0.9 results in a relevant decrease in specificity; a sensitivity of 0.9 matches a specificity value of 0.9. This corresponds to a D-dimer cut-off level of 0.16 μg/ml.
Conclusion
Imaging as performed by venous CT-angiography or MR-angiography has a 1 to 2 in 10 chance to detect CVT when typical symptoms are present. D-dimer measurements are of limited clinical value because of false positive and negative results.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-69
PMCID: PMC3135524  PMID: 21663613
2.  Decrease in shunt volume in patients with cryptogenic stroke and patent foramen ovale 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:123.
Background
In patients with patent foramen ovale (PFO) there is evidence supporting the hypothesis of a change in right-to-left shunt (RLS) over time. Proven, this could have implications for the care of patients with PFO and a history of stroke. The following study addressed this hypothesis in a cohort of patients with stroke and PFO.
Methods
The RLS volume assessed during hospitalisation for stroke (index event/T0) was compared with the RLS volume on follow-up (T1) (median time between T0 and T1 was 10 months). In 102 patients with a history of stroke and PFO the RLS volume was re-assessed on follow-up using contrast-enhanced transcranial Doppler/duplex (ce-TCD) ultrasound. A change in RLS volume was defined as a difference of ≥20 microembolic signals (MES) or no evidence of RLS during ce-TCD ultrasound on follow-up.
Results
There was evidence of a marked reduction in RLS volume in 31/102 patients; in 14/31 patients a PFO was no longer detectable. An index event classified as cryptogenic stroke (P < 0.001; OD = 39.2, 95% confidence interval 6.0 to 258.2) and the time interval to the follow-up visit (P = 0.03) were independently associated with a change in RLS volume over time.
Conclusions
RLS volume across a PFO decreases over time, especially in patients with cryptogenic stroke. These may determine the development of new strategies for the management in the secondary stroke prevention.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-123
PMCID: PMC3022769  PMID: 21190569
3.  Evaluation of the middle cerebral artery occlusion techniques in the rat by in-vitro 3-dimensional micro- and nano computed tomography 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:36.
Background
Animal models of focal cerebral ischemia are widely used in stroke research. The purpose of our study was to evaluate and compare the cerebral macro- and microvascular architecture of rats in two different models of permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion using an innovative quantitative micro- and nano-CT imaging technique.
Methods
4h of middle cerebral artery occlusion was performed in rats using the macrosphere method or the suture technique. After contrast perfusion, brains were isolated and scanned en-bloc using micro-CT (8 μm)3 or nano-CT at 500 nm3 voxel size to generate 3D images of the cerebral vasculature. The arterial vascular volume fraction and gray scale attenuation was determined and the significance of differences in measurements was tested with analysis of variance [ANOVA].
Results
Micro-CT provided quantitative information on vascular morphology. Micro- and nano-CT proved to visualize and differentiate vascular occlusion territories performed in both models of cerebral ischemia. The suture technique leads to a remarkable decrease in the intravascular volume fraction of the middle cerebral artery perfusion territory. Blocking the medial cerebral artery with macrospheres, the vascular volume fraction of the involved hemisphere decreased significantly (p < 0.001), independently of the number of macrospheres, and was comparable to the suture method. We established gray scale measurements by which focal cerebral ischemia could be radiographically categorized (p < 0.001). Nano-CT imaging demonstrates collateral perfusion related to different occluded vessel territories after macrosphere perfusion.
Conclusion
Micro- and Nano-CT imaging is feasible for analysis and differentiation of different models of focal cerebral ischemia in rats.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-36
PMCID: PMC2885328  PMID: 20509884
4.  Transcranial sonography for diagnosis of Parkinson's disease 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:9.
Background
In idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) transcranial sonography (TCS) represents an alternative diagnostic method to verify clinical diagnosis. Although the phenomenon of an increased echogenicity of the Substantia nigra (SN) is well known this method is still not widly used in the diagnostic workup. Until now reliability of this method is still a matter of debate, partly because data only existed from a few laboratories using the same ultrasound machine. Therefore our study was conducted to test the reliability of this method by using a different ultrasound device and examining a large population of control and IPD subjects by two examiners to calculate interobserver reliability.
Method
In this study echogenicity of SN was examined in 199 IPD patients and 201 control subjects. All individuals underwent a neurological assessment including Perdue pegboard test and Webster gait test. Using a Sonos 5500 ultrasound device area of SN was measured, echogenicity of raphe, red nuclei, thalamus, caudate and lenticular nuclei, width of third and lateral ventricle were documented.
Results
We found a highly characteristic enlargement of the SN echogenic signal in IPD. The cut-off value for the SN area was established using a ROC curve with a sensitivity of 95% corresponding to an area of SN of 0.2 cm2 and was found to be equivalent to the cut-off values of other studies using different ultrasound devices.
Conclusions
Our study shows that TCS is a reliable and highly sensitive tool for differentiation of IPD patients from individuals without CNS disorders.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-9
PMCID: PMC2822767  PMID: 20089201

Results 1-4 (4)