In recent years, it has become widely appreciated that mild-to-moderate degrees of brain cooling, even when induced selectively without whole-body temperature alterations, are capable of conferring dramatic cerebroprotection; and conversely, mild degrees of temperature elevation may be markedly deleterious to the injured brain. The issue initially arose in laboratory because of unexplained and frustrating variability in the outcomes of apparently “standardized” animal models of global cerebral ischemia. The demonstration that milder degrees of brain temperature reduction confer cerebroprotection has stimulated efforts to monitor and, eventually, to modulate the brain temperature of patients with ischemic and traumatic brain injury. By incorporating micro-thermistors into a standard ventriculostomy cannula used for the monitoring of intracranial pressure, it has become possible to record temperature simultaneously at ventricular and cortical sites and to correlate it with systemic temperature. Pilot observations have suggested that human brain temperature is somewhat higher than core temperature.
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