Evaluation of Cerebral Biopsies for the Diagnosis of Dementia

Christine M. Hulette, Nancy L. Earl, Barbara J. Crain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To identify those patients most likely to benefit from a cerebral biopsy to diagnose dementia, we reviewed a series of 14 unselected biopsies performed during a 9-year period (1980 through 1989) at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Pathognomonic features allowed a definitive diagnosis in seven specimens. Nondiagnostic abnormalities but not diagnostic neuropathologic changes were seen in five additional specimens, and two specimens were normal. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was the most frequent diagnosis. One patient each was diagnosed as having Alzheimer's disease, diffuse Lewy body disease, adult-onset Niemann-Pick disease, and anaplastic astrocytoma. We conclude that a substantial proportion of patients presenting clinically with atypical dementia are likely to receive a definitive diagnosis from a cerebral biopsy. However, in those with coexisting hemiparesis, chorea, athetosis, or lower motor neuron signs, cerebral biopsies are less likely to be diagnostic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-31
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of neurology
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology

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