• Neurologic dysfunction is a significant source of morbidity and mortality in the sickle cell diseases, occurring with a prevalence of 6% to 34%. Because changes in brain glucose metabolism may precede gross functional or morphologic alterations, we recently applied the technique of positron emission tomography with fluorodeoxyglucose F 18 in an exploratory study to compare six patients with sickle cell disease without prior neurologic abnormalities (and with normal cranial computed tomographic scans) with six healthy age-matched controls, with respect to overall and regional cerebral metabolic rates for glucose. We found no significant difference in the global metabolic rates for the two groups. However, we observed an unusual clustering of abnormal regional cerebral metabolic rates for glucose in the frontal lobes of these subjects. These results support previous observations that frontal lobe involvement may be quite prevalent in sickle cell disease, even among individuals with normal computed tomographic scans.
Rodgers GP, Clark CM, Larson SM, Rapoport SI, Nienhuis AW, Schechter AN. Brain Glucose Metabolism in Neurologically Normal Patients With Sickle Cell Disease: Regional Alterations. Arch Neurol. 1988;45(1):78–82. doi:10.1001/archneur.1988.00520250084025
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