Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Limbic tract anomalies in pediatric myelomeningocele and Chiari II malformation

Vachha B, Adams RC, Rollins NK. Limbic tract anomalies in pediatric myelomeningocele and Chiari II malformation: anatomic correlations with memory and learning--initial investigation. Radiology. 2006 Jul;240(1):194-202.

PURPOSE: To prospectively determine anomalies of limbic tracts and to describe the relationship between these anomalies, seen on diffusion-tensor magnetic resonance (MR) and fiber tract (FT) reconstruction images, and learning and memory in children with myelomeningocele (MM) and Chiari II malformation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The investigation was HIPAA compliant and approved by institutional review boards; informed consent was obtained. In seven male and six female patients (aged 6 months to 16 years) with MM and Chiari II malformation, diffusion-tensor imaging and FT reconstruction were performed. FT reconstruction was generated with fractional anisotropy continuous tracking algorithm and manually drawn regions of interest. Limbic tract abnormalities were assessed on FT reconstruction images by an experienced pediatric neuroradiologist blinded to results of cognitive testing. Nine patients met criteria for memory and learning testing by a trained cognitive neuroscientist blinded to MR results. Exact Wilcoxon rank sum test was used to compare performance with learning and memory tasks in two groups.

RESULTS: Eleven of 13 patients had defects within fornices and/or cingulum; three patients had aberrant fibers of cingulum. In nine patients, six had deficits in general memory; four, in learning; and four, in both. Atresia or hypoplasia of crura and body of fornices was noted in six patients with memory deficits and four patients with learning deficits. Five of six patients with memory deficits and three of four with learning deficits had hypoplasia or atresia of cingulum. Exact Wilcoxon rank sum test demonstrated significantly poorer performance for nonverbal immediate recall tasks in patients with anomalies of the fornix compared with those without (P = .04, exact two-tailed test).

CONCLUSION: Diffusion-tensor and FT reconstruction images revealed that limbic fiber abnormalities were common in patients with MM and Chiari II malformation. Nonverbal immediate recall task performance appeared to be related to abnormalities of the fornix.

PMID: 16793979

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