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Mallory R. Peterson, Venkateswararao Cherukuri, Joseph N. Paulson, Paddy Ssentongo, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Benjamin C. Warf, Vishal Monga, and Steven J. Schiff

OBJECTIVE

The study of brain size and growth has a long and contentious history, yet normal brain volume development has yet to be fully described. In particular, the normal brain growth and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) accumulation relationship is critical to characterize because it is impacted in numerous conditions of early childhood in which brain growth and fluid accumulation are affected, such as infection, hemorrhage, hydrocephalus, and a broad range of congenital disorders. The authors of this study aim to describe normal brain volume growth, particularly in the setting of CSF accumulation.

METHODS

The authors analyzed 1067 magnetic resonance imaging scans from 505 healthy pediatric subjects from birth to age 18 years to quantify component and regional brain volumes. The volume trajectories were compared between the sexes and hemispheres using smoothing spline ANOVA. Population growth curves were developed using generalized additive models for location, scale, and shape.

RESULTS

Brain volume peaked at 10–12 years of age. Males exhibited larger age-adjusted total brain volumes than females, and body size normalization procedures did not eliminate this difference. The ratio of brain to CSF volume, however, revealed a universal age-dependent relationship independent of sex or body size.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings enable the application of normative growth curves in managing a broad range of childhood diseases in which cognitive development, brain growth, and fluid accumulation are interrelated.

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Jessica R. Lane, Paddy Ssentongo, Mallory R. Peterson, Joshua R. Harper, Edith Mbabazi-Kabachelor, John Mugamba, Peter Ssenyonga, Justin Onen, Ruth Donnelly, Jody Levenbach, Venkateswararao Cherukuri, Vishal Monga, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Benjamin C. Warf, and Steven J. Schiff

OBJECTIVE

This study investigated the incidence of postoperative subdural collections in a cohort of African infants with postinfectious hydrocephalus. The authors sought to identify preoperative factors associated with increased risk of development of subdural collections and to characterize associations between subdural collections and postoperative outcomes.

METHODS

The study was a post hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial at a single center in Mbale, Uganda, involving infants (age < 180 days) with postinfectious hydrocephalus randomized to receive either an endoscopic third ventriculostomy plus choroid plexus cauterization or a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Patients underwent assessment with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (Bayley-III; sometimes referred to as BSID-III) and CT scans preoperatively and then at 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. Volumes of brain, CSF, and subdural fluid were calculated, and z-scores from the median were determined from normative curves for CSF accumulation and brain growth. Linear and logistic regression models were used to characterize the association between preoperative CSF volume and the postoperative presence and size of subdural collection 6 and 12 months after surgery. Linear regression and smoothing spline ANOVA were used to describe the relationship between subdural fluid volume and cognitive scores. Causal mediation analysis distinguished between the direct and indirect effects of the presence of a subdural collection on cognitive scores.

RESULTS

Subdural collections were more common in shunt-treated patients and those with larger preoperative CSF volumes. Subdural fluid volumes were linearly related to preoperative CSF volumes. In terms of outcomes, the Bayley-III cognitive score was linearly related to subdural fluid volume. The distribution of cognitive scores was significantly different for patients with and those without subdural collections from 11 to 24 months of age. The presence of a subdural collection was associated with lower cognitive scores and smaller brain volume 12 months after surgery. Causal mediation analysis demonstrated evidence supporting both a direct (76%) and indirect (24%) effect (through brain volume) of subdural collections on cognitive scores.

CONCLUSIONS

Larger preoperative CSF volume and shunt surgery were found to be risk factors for postoperative subdural collection. The size and presence of a subdural collection were negatively associated with cognitive outcomes and brain volume 12 months after surgery. These results have suggested that preoperative CSF volumes could be used for risk stratification for treatment decision-making and that future clinical trials of alternative shunt technologies to reduce overdrainage should be considered.