Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Robin Williams had Lewy Body Disease

Robin Williams
The official cause of Robin Williams' death, released Friday by the Marin County coroner, was ruled a suicide by hanging, with no evidence of alcohol or illegal drugs in his system and only therapeutic concentrations of prescribed medications.

Williams had long battled alcoholism, drug addiction and depression, but in November 2013 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, according to his widow, after noticing a tremor in his left arm and difficulty moving on his left side as early as 2011.

Now a redacted pathology report from the autopsy on Williams' body has been made public and mentions "Diffuse Lewy body dementia,". Given that Dementia with Lewy Bodies can involve vivid visual hallucinations, it has now been speculated that perhaps such hallucinations may have lead to Williams' death.

Media reports, quoting anonymous "family sources," state that Williams' family believes that Lewy body disease was a critical "triggering" factor in his suicide. If so, this would be an unusual manifestation of the disease. Suicides have not been linked specifically to the hallucinations of Lewy Body Disease in the past.

Dennis Dickson, MD
"The use of the term dementia in the neuropathology report should not be inferred to mean that dementia was observed during life," warns Dennis Dickson of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, who says he reviewed the neuropathology report.

"Mr. Williams was given a clinical diagnosis of (Parkinson's) and treated for motor symptoms. The report confirms he experienced depression, anxiety and paranoia, which may occur in either Parkinson's disease or dementia with Lewy bodies," Dickson said.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Atlas of Gross Neuropathology" to be released in the United States tomorrow!



I just received this nice email in my inbox this afternoon from a rising star in the neuropathology firmament. I hope that  readers will share their feedback on this new atlas in the comments section of Neuropathology Blog in the coming months:


Dear Brian:

I hope all is well for you.

I just wanted to let you know that our book is finally going to be released in the US tomorrow.


We would love to hear some feedback from people about the book. We hope it is useful in many settings, specialties and different levels of training and practice.

Very best wishes,


Sandra Camelo-Piragua, M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Neuropathology Division
Pathology Department
University of Michigan

1301 Catherine St, MSB1  M4213
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 734-936-1889
Fax:       734-615-2965

Friday, October 10, 2014

Best Post of August 2015: 35-year-old woman who died after a presumed seizure episode

The next in our "Best of the Month" series is from Thursday, August 21, 2014:

A 35-year-old woman died after a witness saw her "foaming at the mouth". A seizure was presumed to have occurred by emergency personnel. At autopsy, there was mild dilatation of the lateral and third ventricles:



This translucent mass was identified in the third ventricle:


Histological examination of the cyst contents revealed:

Although no ciliated epithelium was identified within the specimen, there were columnar cells with a pseudostratified configuration:


However, the majority of the cyst lining was flattened, simple epithelium:


Diagnosis is colloid cyst of the third ventricle. Normally one would see ciliated columnar cells lining the cyst, but they appear to be attenuated and flattened by the internal pressure of the cyst itself.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My secret agent intercepted this communication

Editors: Seth Love, Arie Perry, James Ironside, Herbert Budka
Title: Greenfield's Neuropathology 9e
ISBN: 9781444166934
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Estimated pub date: 20 February 2015
Estimated extent: 2000pp
Print run: 2000 copies

Listed on Amazon for only $778.35!!!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

New ISN book – Peripheral Nerve Disorders – coming soon

A new book covering peripheral nerve diseases (part of the International Society of Neuropathology series)  is about to be released . The book editors are Jean-Michel Vallet and Joachim Weiss and includes chapters from a range of other international experts who have produced a clinically orientated guide to the pathology of peripheral nerve disorders. The book includes the latest molecular and pathological findings to provide the most up-to-date understanding of the pathogenesis of these disorders.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Best Post of July 2014: 3D print of white matter "captures a sense of delicate complexity that evokes a sense of wonder about the brain"

The next in our "Best of the Month" series is from July 2, 2014:

Creating an accurate 3D model of the brain's white matter for Philadelphia's Franklin Institute was a project no 3D printing company would tackle -- until 3D Systems (Rock Hill, SC) agreed to take it on. Here is an image of the finished project, which took about 210 hours to print out:

Interviewed for the tech website CNET, Franklin Institute chief bioscientist and lead exhibit developer Dr Jayatri Das said that the model "has really become one of the iconic pieces of the exhibit. Its sheer aesthetic beauty takes your breath away and transforms the exhibit space," said . "The fact that it comes from real data adds a level of authenticity to the science that we are presenting. But even if you don't quite understand what it shows, it captures a sense of delicate complexity that evokes a sense of wonder about the brain."

Thanks to the illustrious Dr. Doug Shevlin for informing me of this remarkable feat of engineering which, in his words, sits at "the intersection of neuroscience, computers and 3D printing".

Friday, September 12, 2014

PBS's Frontline Spotlights Neuropathology in Documentary Film

In the film, which airs Tuesday, Oct. 8 beginning at 9 pm EST, FRONTLINE investigates the hidden story of the NFL’s response to head injuries. Through interviews with former players, scientists and neuropatholgists, it examines what the NFL knew about the risks of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and when it knew it. Dr. Bennet Omalu, the first neuropathologist to draw a connections between playing football and the development of CTE, is featured in this remarkable documentary.

See a six-minute preview of the film here.

Dr. Bennet Omalu, the first pathologist to posit the connection between CTE and playing football

Thanks to Dr. Doug Shevlin sending me this link.