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Mayo Clinic Clarifies Diagnosis and Treatment for Rare, Serious Blood Vessel Disease of Brain and Spinal Cord
Date:10/18/2007

ROCHESTER, Minn., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayo Clinic has clarified the methods of diagnosis and optimal management of a rare and little-understood blood vessel disease of the brain and spinal cord that often leads to stroke or death. Primary central nervous system vasculitis (PCNSV) can best be identified through a combination of diagnostic techniques consisting of angiography (imaging the cerebral arteries), brain biopsy and other laboratory studies.

This disease is often suspected based on a combination of symptoms, along with the initial results of brain imaging with CT or MRI. The Mayo study clarifies the usefulness of the evaluation techniques and suggests that a combined diagnostic approach is needed. Primary central nervous system vasculitis is difficult to diagnose because it is not a single disease, but a variable syndrome that appears to consist of several distinct subsets of different diseases that can mimic other less-serious conditions, thus eluding treatment. Frequent symptoms are headache, altered cognition, or stroke, and visual symptoms. Recognizing the symptoms and understanding the role of evaluation techniques, may lead to earlier identification and treatment of patients.

This Mayo Clinic analysis of 101 patients seen with primary central nervous system vasculitis over 21 years represents one of the largest reported groups of patients with this disorder. The Mayo Clinic research report on improved understanding of PCNSV appears in the current edition of Annals of Neurology (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jissue/78504407).

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Research

Primary central nervous system vasculitis has two traits that make it difficult, yet important, to study:

-- It is rare and poorly understood. Few medical centers see enough patients with confirmed diagnoses to collect enough data to anal
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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