Neuroimaging pp 909-950 | Cite as

Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases of the Brain and Spinal Cord

  • Nadine Girard
  • Robert A. Zimmerman


The ability to detect intracranial and spinal infection has progressively improved with first the introduction of computed tomography (CT) in 1973, and then magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 1982 (Table 24.1). CT is rapid; bone and blood are shown as areas of high density, while brain, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and air are shown as areas of lower density. Abnormalities of the paranasal sinuses and cranial vault can also be shown. Abnormalities of the blood—brain barrier (BBB) are shown, after the injection of intravenous iodinated contrast media, by producing contrast enhancement. MRI has a number of major advantages compared to CT: (1) Its multiplanar capability improves the evaluation of the extent of lesions; (2) its lack of bone artifacts improves the detection of the lesions in the posterior fossa and temporal lobes, as well as those involving meninges and dura matter, particularly on postcontrast scans; (3) MR is sensitive to alterations in brain water content, a condition seen in spine and parenchymal infections; and MR is highly sensitive in the detection of blood products within a hematoma whether acute, subacute, or chronic; and (4) MR is sensitive in demonstrating blood flow within arteries and veins. In addition, MR angiography (MRA) can be performed easily; MRA information is available on both the partition images, as well as the reconstructed maximum intensity projection (MIP) images.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Multiple Sclerosis Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy High Signal Intensity 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadine Girard
  • Robert A. Zimmerman

There are no affiliations available

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