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Tools & Techniques Diagnostics & prognostics

An Inside Look at the CNS

At a Glance

  • Current tests for problems of the brain and spine can be invasive or require significant time investment to obtain results
  • Patients with neurological symptoms often can’t wait for an answer – so they’re treated based on early evidence
  • CSF cytokine profiling is rapid and performed on spinal fluid samples routinely obtained from patients with serious CNS disorders
  • Performing such a procedure early in a patient’s presentation can optimize treatment and spare the patient unnecessary additional tests

A patient presents with neurological symptoms – perhaps headache, numbness, or functional difficulties. It’s clear that this is an urgent situation, but the patient obviously can’t be treated appropriately without knowing the underlying cause of their symptoms. But even the most basic questions – for example, “Is the problem a brain infection or cancer?” – can be time-consuming and require a brain biopsy to answer.

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About the Authors

Danielle Fortuna

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.


Mark Curtis

Associate Professor and Director of Neuropathology and the Residency Program at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA.

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