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Study suggests other causes for childhood brain aneurysms

CINCINNATIA new University of Cincinnati (UC) study questions the commonly held scientific belief that childhood brain aneurysms are caused by trauma, infection or underlying vascular malformations.

In a retrospective review of 53 Ohio children with intracranial (brain) arterial aneurysms, Todd Abruzzo, MD, found that the most common type of aneurysm among all age groups appeared to occur spontaneouslywith no related trauma or infection, recognizable clinical warnings signs or underlying medical causes, such as vascular malformations.

Researchers say this data suggests unknown genetic factors, environmental exposures or an interaction of the two may predispose certain children to aneurysm development.

An aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel weakens and stretches, forming a bulge in the vessel wall that can rupture and hemorrhage. Intracranial arterial aneurysmsuncommon in pediatric patientsare bulges that develop in the arteries that carry blood to the brain.

In addition, Abruzzo reports that 75 percent of the patients whose aneurysms developed spontaneously had no risk factors for vascular disease, which in adults include smoking and high blood pressure.

This is very significant because it provides insight into the mechanisms of aneurysm formation, says Abruzzo, an assistant professor of radiology, neurosurgery and biomedical engineering at UC and interventional neuroradiologist at University Hospital and Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center. Most cerebrovascular specialists believe that aneurysms arise from mechanical fatigue of the arterial wallresulting from wear and tear caused by a lifetime of excessive blood pressure and flow on thin-walled cerebral arteries.

But our study suggests thatunlike the adult diseasechildhood aneurysms may be driven by unique predisposing factors that we have not yet identified. It could have much less to do with underlying conditions commonly thought to contri
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Contact: Amanda Harper
amanda.harper@uc.edu
513-558-4657
University of Cincinnati
13-Jun-2007


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