Brain damage can occasionally result in paradoxical functional benefit, which could help identify therapeutic targets for neuromodulation. However, these beneficial lesions are rare and lesions in multiple different brain locations can improve the same symptom. Using a technique called lesion network mapping, we show that heterogeneous lesion locations resulting in tremor relief are all connected to common nodes in the cerebellum and thalamus, the latter of which is a proven deep brain stimulation target for tremor. These results suggest that lesion network mapping can identify the common substrate underlying therapeutic lesions and effective therapeutic targets. Ann Neurol 2018;83:153-157.
OBJECTIVE: Most acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients with unwitnessed symptom onset are ineligible for intravenous thrombolysis due to timing alone. Lesion evolution on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) correlates with stroke duration, and quantitative mismatch of diffusion-weighted MRI with FLAIR (qDFM) might indicate stroke duration within guideline-recommended thrombolysis. We tested whether intravenous thrombolysis ≤4.5 hours from the time of symptom discovery is safe in patients with qDFM in an open-label, phase 2a, prospective study (NCT01282242).
METHODS: Patients aged 18 to 85 years with AIS of unwitnessed onset at 4.5 to 24 hours since they were last known to be well, treatable within 4.5 hours of symptom discovery with intravenous alteplase (0.9mg/kg), and presenting with qDFM were screened across 14 hospitals. The primary outcome was the risk of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) with preplanned stopping rules. Secondary outcomes included symptomatic brain edema risk, and functional outcomes of 90-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS).
RESULTS: Eighty subjects were enrolled between January 31, 2011 and October 4, 2015 and treated with alteplase at median 11.2 hours (IQR = 9.5-13.3) from when they were last known to be well. There was 1 sICH (1.3%) and 3 cases of symptomatic edema (3.8%). At 90 days, 39% of subjects achieved mRS = 0-1, as did 48% of subjects who had vessel imaging and were without large vessel occlusions.
INTERPRETATION: Intravenous thrombolysis within 4.5 hours of symptom discovery in patients with unwitnessed stroke selected by qDFM, who are beyond the recommended time windows, is safe. A randomized trial testing efficacy using qDFM appears feasible and is warranted in patients without large vessel occlusions. Ann Neurol 2018;83:980-993.
Integrity of the default mode network (DMN) is believed to be essential for human consciousness. However, the effects of acute severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) on DMN functional connectivity are poorly understood. Furthermore, the temporal dynamics of DMN reemergence during recovery of consciousness have not been studied longitudinally in patients with acute severe TBI. We performed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) to measure DMN connectivity in 17 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with acute severe TBI and in 16 healthy control subjects. Eight patients returned for follow-up rs-fMRI and behavioral assessment six months post-injury. At each time point, we analyzed DMN connectivity by measuring intra-network correlations (i.e. positive correlations between DMN nodes) and inter-network anticorrelations (i.e. negative correlations between the DMN and other resting-state networks). All patients were comatose upon arrival to the ICU and had a disorder of consciousness (DoC) at the time of acute rs-fMRI (9.2 ± 4.6 days post-injury): 2 coma, 4 unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, 7 minimally conscious state, and 4 post-traumatic confusional state. We found that, while DMN anticorrelations were absent in patients with acute DoC, patients who recovered from coma to a minimally conscious or confusional state while in the ICU showed partially preserved DMN correlations. Patients who remained in coma or unresponsive wakefulness syndrome in the ICU showed no DMN correlations. All eight patients assessed longitudinally recovered beyond the confusional state by 6 months post-injury and showed normal DMN correlations and anticorrelations, indistinguishable from those of healthy subjects. Collectively, these findings suggest that recovery of consciousness after acute severe TBI is associated with partial preservation of DMN correlations in the ICU, followed by long-term normalization of DMN correlations and anticorrelations. Both intra-network DMN correlations and inter-network DMN anticorrelations may be necessary for full recovery of consciousness after acute severe TBI.
Background and aims: Assessment of ischemic lesions on computed tomography or MRI diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) using the Alberta Stroke Program Early Computed Tomography Score (ASPECTS) is widely used to guide acute stroke treatment. However, it has never been defined how many voxels need to be affected to label a DWI-ASPECTS region ischemic. We aimed to assess the effect of various lesion load thresholds on DWI-ASPECTS and compare this automated analysis with visual rating.
Materials and methods: We analyzed overlap of individual DWI lesions of 315 patients from the previously published predictive value of fluid-attenuated inversion recovery study with a probabilistic ASPECTS template derived from 221 CT images. We applied multiple lesion load thresholds per DWI-ASPECTS region (>0, >1, >10, and >20% in each DWI-ASPECTS region) to compute DWI-ASPECTS for each patient and compared the results to visual reading by an experienced stroke neurologist.
Results: By visual rating, median ASPECTS was 9, 84 patients had a DWI-ASPECTS score ≤7. Mean DWI lesion volume was 22.1 (±35) ml. In contrast, by use of >0, >1-, >10-, and >20%-thresholds, median DWI-ASPECTS was 1, 5, 8, and 10; 97.1% (306), 72.7% (229), 41% (129), and 25.7% (81) had DWI-ASPECTS ≤7, respectively. Overall agreement between automated assessment and visual rating was low for every threshold used (>0%: κ = 0.020 1%: κ = 0.151; 10%: κ = 0.386; 20% κ = 0.381). Agreement for dichotomized DWI-ASPECTS ranged from fair to substantial (≤7: >10% κ = 0.48; >20% κ = 0.45; ≤5: >10% κ = 0.528; and >20% κ = 0.695).
Conclusion: Overall agreement between automated and the standard used visual scoring is low regardless of the lesion load threshold used. However, dichotomized scoring achieved more comparable results. Varying lesion load thresholds had a critical impact on patient selection by ASPECTS. Of note, the relatively low lesion volume and lack of patients with large artery occlusion in our cohort may limit generalizability of these findings.
Despite the proven efficacy of intravenous alteplase or endovascular thrombectomy for the treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke, only a minority receive these treatments. This low treatment rate is due in large part to delay in hospital arrival or uncertainty as to the exact time of onset of ischemic stroke, which renders patients outside the current guideline-recommended window of eligibility for receiving these therapeutics. However, recent pivotal clinical trials of late-window thrombectomy now force us to rethink the value of a simplistic chronological formulation that "time is brain." We must recognize a more nuanced concept that the rate of tissue death as a function of time is not invariant, that still salvageable tissue at risk of infarction may be present up to 24 h after last-known well, and that those patients may strongly benefit from reperfusion. Multiple studies have sought to address this clinical dilemma using neuroimaging methods to identify a radiographic time-stamp of stroke onset or evidence of salvageable ischemic tissue and thereby increase the number of patients eligible for reperfusion therapies. In this review, we provide a critical analysis of the current state of neuroimaging techniques to select patients with unwitnessed stroke for revascularization therapies and speculate on the future direction of this clinically relevant area of stroke research.
Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) remains a leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in most developed countries. This work summarizes state-of-the-art, and possible future, diagnostic and evaluation approaches in multiple stages of CVD, including (i) visualization of sub-clinical disease processes, (ii) acute stroke theranostics, and (iii) characterization of post-stroke recovery mechanisms. Underlying pathophysiology as it relates to large vessel steno-occlusive disease and the impact of this macrovascular disease on tissue-level viability, hemodynamics (cerebral blood flow, cerebral blood volume, and mean transit time), and metabolism (cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption and pH) are also discussed in the context of emerging neuroimaging protocols with sensitivity to these factors. The overall purpose is to highlight advancements in stroke care and diagnostics and to provide a general overview of emerging research topics that have potential for reducing morbidity in multiple areas of CVD.
We sought to investigate the relationship between blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and microstructural white matter integrity, and their potential impact on long-term functional outcomes in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). We studied 184 AIS subjects with perfusion-weighted MRI (PWI) performed <9 h from last known well time. White matter hyperintensity (WMH), acute infarct, and PWI-derived mean transit time lesion volumes were calculated. Mean BBB leakage rates (K2 coefficient) and mean diffusivity values were measured in contralesional normal-appearing white matter (NAWM). Plasma matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) levels were studied at baseline and 48 h. Admission stroke severity was evaluated using the NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS). Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) was obtained at 90-days post-stroke. We found that higher mean K2 and diffusivity values correlated with age, elevated baseline MMP-2 levels, greater NIHSS and worse 90-day mRS (all p < 0.05). In multivariable analysis, WMH volume was associated with mean K2 ( p = 0.0007) and diffusivity ( p = 0.006) values in contralesional NAWM. In summary, WMH severity measured on brain MRI of AIS patients is associated with metrics of increased BBB permeability and abnormal white matter microstructural integrity. In future studies, these MRI markers of diffuse cerebral microvascular dysfunction may improve prediction of cerebral tissue infarction and functional post-stroke outcomes.
Acute ischemic stroke represents a major cause of long-term adult disability. Accurate prognostication of post-stroke functional outcomes is invaluable in guiding patient care, targeting early rehabilitation efforts, selecting patients for clinical research, and conveying realistic expectations to families. The involvement of specific brain regions by acute ischemia can alter post-stroke recovery potential. Understanding the influences of infarct topography on neurologic outcomes holds significant promise in prognosis of functional recovery. In this review, we discuss the recent evidence of the contribution of infarct location to patient management decisions and functional outcomes after acute ischemic stroke.
Epidemiological studies suggest that a single moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Histopathological studies describe complex neurodegenerative pathologies in individuals exposed to single moderate-to-severe TBI or repetitive mild TBI, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). However, the clinicopathological links between TBI and post-traumatic neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, PD, and CTE remain poorly understood. Here, we describe the methodology of the Late Effects of TBI (LETBI) study, whose goals are to characterize chronic post-traumatic neuropathology and to identify in vivo biomarkers of post-traumatic neurodegeneration. LETBI participants undergo extensive clinical evaluation using National Institutes of Health TBI Common Data Elements, proteomic and genomic analysis, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and prospective consent for brain donation. Selected brain specimens undergo ultra-high resolution ex vivo MRI and histopathological evaluation including whole-mount analysis. Co-registration of ex vivo and in vivo MRI data enables identification of ex vivo lesions that were present during life. In vivo signatures of postmortem pathology are then correlated with cognitive and behavioral data to characterize the clinical phenotype(s) associated with pathological brain lesions. We illustrate the study methods and demonstrate proof of concept for this approach by reporting results from the first LETBI participant, who despite the presence of multiple in vivo and ex vivo pathoanatomic lesions had normal cognition and was functionally independent until her mid-80s. The LETBI project represents a multidisciplinary effort to characterize post-traumatic neuropathology and identify in vivo signatures of postmortem pathology in a prospective study.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Oxidative stress is an early response to cerebral ischemia and is likely to play an important role in the pathogenesis of cerebral ischemic injury. We sought to evaluate whether hyperacute plasma concentrations of biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and tissue damage predict infarct growth (IG).
METHODS: We prospectively measured plasma F2-isoprostane (F2-isoP), urinary 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguoanosine, plasma oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay, high sensitivity C reactive protein, and matrix metalloproteinase 2 and 9 in consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke presenting within 9 hours of symptom onset. Patients with baseline diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and follow-up diffusion-weighted imaging or computed tomographic scan were included to evaluate the final infarct volume. Baseline diffusion-weighted imaging volume and final infarct volume were analyzed using semiautomated volumetric method. IG volume was defined as the difference between final infarct volume and baseline diffusion-weighted imaging volume.
RESULTS: A total of 220 acute ischemic stroke subjects were included in the final analysis. One hundred seventy of these had IG. Baseline F2-isoP significantly correlated with IG volume (Spearman ρ=0.20; P=0.005) and final infarct volume (Spearman ρ=0.19; P=0.009). In a multivariate binary logistic regression model, baseline F2-isoP emerged as an independent predictor of the occurrence of IG (odds ratio, 2.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.37-4.83; P=0.007). In a multivariate linear regression model, baseline F2-isoP was independently associated with IG volume (B, 0.38; 95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.72; P=0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: Elevated hyperacute plasma F2-isoP concentrations independently predict the occurrence of IG and IG volume in patients with acute ischemic stroke. If validated in future studies, measuring plasma F2-isoP might be helpful in the acute setting to stratify patients with acute ischemic stroke for relative severity of ischemic injury and expected progression.