News | September 08, 2011

MRI Study Suggests Brain Blood Vessel Abnormality May Be Factor in Parkinson's Disease

September 8, 2011 — A study in the journal Neurology International reveals a potentially treatable blood vessel abnormality in the brain may be the cause of Parkinson’s disease in some patients. A team of physicians and neuroscientists at Pittsburgh’s Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) conducted the study.

The study's lead author, Peter Jannetta, M.D., is credited with developing the modern surgical technique to treat such conditions. He is recognized worldwide as one of the preeminent authorities on diseases associated with vascular compression of cranial nerves.

Called microvascular decompression (MVD), the procedure involves repositioning compressive arteries in the brain and placing a protective pad between the artery and the structure it is compromising.

Jannetta first observed the possible role of vascular compression in Parkinson’s while treating a patient for the cranial nerve disease trigeminal neuralgia who also suffered from Parkinson’s. In addition to vascular compression of the left trigeminal nerve, the patient also had notable compression of an area of the brain called the left cerebral penduncle. The cerebral penduncles are two cylinder-like nerve bundles in the brainstem that act as a conduit for signals controlling motor functioning throughout the body.

After performing MVD of the left trigeminal nerve, Jannetta decompressed the patient's cerebral penduncle by mobilizing and repositioning the offending artery. The results were stunning. By post-operative day five, the patient's Parkinson's symptoms, including severe tremor and rigidity, had disappeared.

She remained symptom free for 18 months, after which she suffered a full recurrence. A follow-up magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showed new compression of the non-treated right cerebral penduncle by the opposite posterior cerebral artery.

Based on this case, Jannetta and his AGH colleagues conducted a blinded MRI study analyzing the brains of 20 patients with Parkinson's and 20 healthy control subjects. The study showed 78 percent of the Parkinson's patients had visible arterial compression/distortion of one or both cerebral penduncles.

Of the study's 20 control subjects, just two had low-grade compression of the cerebral penduncle and one of those was subsequently diagnosed with Parkinson's.

A multi-center clinical trial to further explore the AGH team's premise has already been organized and is slated to begin later in 2011.

For more information: www.wpahs.org/locations/allegheny-general-hospital

Related Content

Technology | Focused Ultrasound Therapy | June 19, 2018
EDAP TMS SA has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Focal One device for...
Clinical Trial Testing Topical Gel to Reduce Breast Density
News | Breast Density | June 19, 2018
Women with dense breast tissue soon might be adding a new product to their skincare routine to help them fight breast...
New Prostate Cancer Radiotherapy Technique Aims to Preserve Sexual Function
News | Radiation Therapy | June 18, 2018
A multicenter clinical trial being led by UT Southwestern physicians is testing a technique for sparing nerve bundles...
Report Finds Identifying Patients for Lung Cancer Screening Not So Simple
News | Lung Cancer | June 18, 2018
New findings in the current issue of The American Journal of Managed Care suggest that getting the right patients to...
Elekta Unity High-Field MR-Linac Receives CE Mark
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | June 18, 2018
Elekta announced that its Elekta Unity magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system has received CE mark,...
Washington University in St. Louis Begins Clinical Treatments With ViewRay MRIdian Linac
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | June 14, 2018
June 14, 2018 — The Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in S
PET/CT Changes Care for 59 Percent of Suspected Recurrent Prostate Cancer Cases
News | Prostate Cancer | June 13, 2018
A recently presented investigational clinical trial evaluated the impact of 18F fluciclovine positron emission...
American Society of Neuroradiology Honors Peter Chang with Cornelius G. Dyke Memorial Award
News | Neuro Imaging | June 13, 2018
Peter Chang, M.D., current neuroradiology fellow at UCSF and recently recruited co-director of the UCI Center for...
Accuray TomoTherapy System Beneficial in Two Total Body Irradiation Studies
News | Radiation Therapy | June 13, 2018
Recently published data from two new studies demonstrate the benefits of Accuray’s TomoTherapy System in the delivery...
Women More Likely to Use Other Preventive Health Services Following Mammography
News | Mammography | June 13, 2018
Medicare beneficiaries who undergo breast cancer screening with mammography are more likely than unscreened women to...
Overlay Init