Etminan N, Dreier R, Buchholz BA, Bruckner P, Steiger H-J, Hänggi D, et al. Exploring the Age of Intracranial Aneurysms Using Carbon Birth Dating: Preliminary Result. Stroke. STROKEAHA.112.67380. Published Ahead of Print on January 17, 2013.
SAH accounts for % of strokes. Prevalance studies have shown that % of people have aneurysms. SAH is a devastating disease though. It carries high morbidity and mortality. However it is not precisely known what are the predictors of rupture in SAH. In this journal of stroke Etminan et al explore a really novel hypothesis regarding prediction of rupture in aneurysms. They looked at feasibility of carbon dating of Aneurysms. Essentially carbon dating of aneurysms could establish the age of the collagen in the aneurysm wall. This in comparison with carbon dating of the person’s age called birth dating could lead to some idea about rapid collagen turn over in aneurysms, which might possibly lead to rupture. Etminan et al also looked at the ratio of C14to Carbon in the collagen which they expressed as F14C. In this study what the authors found was that all collagen samples from aneurysms were less than 5 years of age. This was true regardless of the rupture status or the age of the patient. However in patients who had a ruptured aneurysm F14C was directly correlated to the patients’ age and Aneurysm size.
This is a fascinating study which shows the feasibility of this process. However given the small sample size it is difficult to make any conclusions. This is primarily exploratory hypothesis generating manuscript. What this study does is provides a way to answer questions in a larger sample size with a similar study design. Another limitation of aneurysm dating is that only aneurysms which are getting clipped can be used in the study. Most of the aneurysms are now being coiled. Nevertheless F14C dating of aneurysms can potentially help in understanding the development and structural stability of ruptured and unruptured aneurysms.