Patterns of Cerebral Glucose Metabolism Using18FDG and Positron Tomography in the Neurologic Investigation of the Full Term Newborn Infant
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18F fluorodeoxyglucose (18FDG) and positron tomography (PT) were used in 20 full term babies with seizures or hypotonia to describe regional cerebral glucose metabolism. Among babies with seizures, birth asphyxia was the most common cause. PT was performed at age 6-17 days. One hour before PT, 18FDG (50-100 microCi/kg) was injected intravenously. Ten or more PT sections were obtained in each infant. The areas of the brain that were metabolically the most active were the cortex and the thalami. Six cortical areas and a white matter reference area were selected for analysis of relative rates of glucose metabolism as indicated by relative rates of fluorine-18 activity. Cortical fluorine-18 activity was highest in the pericentral (sensorimotor) regions and lowest in the frontal regions. The overall cortex/white matter ratio for fluorine-18 activity averaged 1.78 +/- 0.44 (SD). Four patterns of regional cerebral glucose metabolism were distinguished: 1) bilateral symmetry, 2) loss of metabolic definition, 3) hemispheral asymmetry, 4) focal hyper- or hypometabolism. Patterns 1) and 2) correlated with a history of birth asphyxia, a diagnosis of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and the absence of focal echoes on cranial ultrasound. Hypodense areas on CT could be associated with either high or low fluorine-18 relative activity on PT. The prognostic significance of the presently reported patterns of cerebral glucose metabolism remains to be determined.
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