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      Focus Foundation Winter 2014 

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    •  Raymound 

      It’s a rare occasion when a radiologist receives a thank you card from a grateful patient. Now imagine getting a hand-drawn card from a 3-year-old child exclaiming, “You Rock!” Upon hearing the heartwarming story of little Raymond K. and the diagnosis and removal of his tumor, R&E Foundation staff asked John R. Hesselink, M.D. to share his experience with fellow donors.

      The Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) at University of California San Diego is dedicated to discovering the causes of autism and paving the way for more effective autism treatment. A local family volunteered their 1- and 3- year-old children to participate in autism research. As neuroradiologist for the center, I review all the MR scans done on the children to look for structural abnormalities and to detect any incidental lesions that might be of clinical significance. Upon reviewing the MRI of the 3-year-old child, I noticed a 1 cm lesion on the superior vermis of the cerebellum. I gave the differential of a mixed neuronalglial lesion or a low-grade astrocytoma, and I recommended a clinical MR scan and consultation with a neurosurgeon. The lesion Raymond is now perfectly healthy thanks to his parents’ decision to participate in a research trial for autism and the talented eyes of John R. Hesselink, M.D. was removed and pathology revealed a pilocytic astrocytoma.

      The child is neurologically normal and likely will require no further treatment. Although low-grade malignancies, by the time of presentation these tumors are often large and infiltrate normal cerebellum, making complete resection difficult and hazardous. Two months later, I received a call from the ACE center informing me that they had received a card and some pictures for me from the family.


      Dr. Hesselink is a professor of radiology and neuroscience, Chief of Neuroradiology, and Vice Chair of Radiology at University of California San Diego. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, 27 chapters, and 2 books, and has been co-investigator on more than 35 NIH grants.

      If you have a patient story that you would like to share, please contact Debborah Harp, Assistant Director, Fund Developement at 630-590-7773 or dharp@rsna.org.

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