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Wesley W. Parke and Ryo Watanabe

✓ An epispinal system of motor axons virtually covers the ventral and lateral funiculi of the human conus medullaris between the L-2 and S-2 levels. These nerve fibers apparently arise from motor cells of the ventral horn nuclei and join spinal nerve roots caudal to their level of origin. In all observed spinal cords, many of these axons converged at the cord surface and formed an irregular group of ectopic rootlets that could be visually traced to join conventional spinal nerve roots at one to several segments inferior to their original segmental level; occasional rootlets joined a dorsal nerve root. As almost all previous reports of nerve root interconnections involved only the dorsal roots and have been cited to explain a lack of an absolute segmental sensory nerve distribution, it is believed that these intersegmental motor fibers may similarly explain a more diffuse efferent distribution than has previously been suspected.

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Ryo Watanabe and Wesley W. Parke

✓ During a study of the intrinsic vasculature of the lumbosacral spinal nerve roots in cadavers, a typical case of spinal stenosis was encountered. A review of the antemortem anamnesis revealed that this patient had had an intermittent claudication of the cauda equina. Investigation of the concomitant vascular and histopathological alterations of the affected nerve roots suggested that the claudication may have resulted from ectopic nerve impulse discharges elicited by rapid changes in the blood supply following exertion. The unexpectedly slight apparent neural deficit relative to observed root damage may be attributed to a neuronal plasticity within the spinal cord that permitted functional compensations to develop during the slow acquisition of the chronic nerve root pathology.

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Kohei Fukuoka, Takaaki Yanagisawa, Yuko Watanabe, Tomonari Suzuki, Masao Matsutani, Ichiei Kuji and Ryo Nishikawa

Although 11C-methionine (MET)-PET has been used to diagnose intracranial germ cell tumors (GCTs) arising in the basal ganglia, whether this imaging technique is useful in assessing treatment response and residual tumor is still unclear. The authors report 3 cases of basal ganglia GCTs in which the residual MET uptake at the end of treatment did not develop into a relapse, even without additional treatment. Case 1 is a 22-year-old man who had a second relapse of a left basal ganglia germinoma with diffuse dissemination on the walls of both of his lateral ventricles. MET-PET revealed high MET accumulation around tumors and their surroundings (maximum standardized uptake value [SUVmax] 3.3). After all treatments, MET-PET demonstrated mild tracer accumulation in both basal ganglia (SUVmax 2.2). Progression-free survival was 56 months from the second relapse without any further treatment. Case 2 is a 17-year-old boy with a left basal ganglia germinoma that showed increased MET uptake (SUVmax 4.2). After treatment, MET-PET revealed residual MET uptake (SUVmax 2.4) along the left posterior limb of the internal capsule. Progression-free survival was 52 months from the start of treatment. Case 3 is a 7-year-old boy with a left basal ganglia choriocarcinoma with increased tumor MET uptake (SUVmax 2.5). A minor enhanced mass remained on MRI after treatment with residual MET accumulation (SUVmax 1.4). Progression-free survival was 44 months. Treatment strategies based on MET uptake on PET should be carefully designed in patients with basal ganglia GCTs to avoid overtreatment and complications.