00:00 / 00:00




Nervous system

Central nervous system disorders

Spina bifida

Chiari malformation

Dandy-Walker malformation


Tethered spinal cord syndrome

Aqueductal stenosis

Septo-optic dysplasia

Cerebral palsy

Spinocerebellar ataxia (NORD)

Transient ischemic attack

Ischemic stroke

Intracerebral hemorrhage

Epidural hematoma

Subdural hematoma

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Saccular aneurysm

Arteriovenous malformation

Broca aphasia

Wernicke aphasia

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

Kluver-Bucy syndrome

Concussion and traumatic brain injury

Shaken baby syndrome


Febrile seizure

Early infantile epileptic encephalopathy (NORD)

Tension headache

Cluster headache


Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Trigeminal neuralgia

Cavernous sinus thrombosis

Alzheimer disease

Vascular dementia

Frontotemporal dementia

Lewy body dementia

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Normal pressure hydrocephalus


Essential tremor

Restless legs syndrome

Parkinson disease

Huntington disease

Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (NORD)

Multiple sclerosis

Central pontine myelinolysis

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

Transverse myelitis

JC virus (Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy)

Adult brain tumors

Acoustic neuroma (schwannoma)

Pituitary adenoma

Pediatric brain tumors

Brain herniation

Brown-Sequard Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome

Treponema pallidum (Syphilis)

Vitamin B12 deficiency


Friedreich ataxia

Neurogenic bladder


Neonatal meningitis


Brain abscess

Epidural abscess

Cavernous sinus thrombosis

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Central and peripheral nervous system disorders

Sturge-Weber syndrome

Tuberous sclerosis


von Hippel-Lindau disease

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Peripheral nervous system disorders

Spinal muscular atrophy


Guillain-Barre syndrome

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Trigeminal neuralgia

Bell palsy

Winged scapula

Thoracic outlet syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Ulnar claw

Erb-Duchenne palsy

Klumpke paralysis


Myasthenia gravis

Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome

Autonomic nervous system disorders

Orthostatic hypotension

Horner syndrome

Nervous system pathology review

Congenital neurological disorders: Pathology review

Headaches: Pathology review

Seizures: Pathology review

Cerebral vascular disease: Pathology review

Traumatic brain injury: Pathology review

Spinal cord disorders: Pathology review

Dementia: Pathology review

Central nervous system infections: Pathology review

Movement disorders: Pathology review

Neuromuscular junction disorders: Pathology review

Demyelinating disorders: Pathology review

Adult brain tumors: Pathology review

Pediatric brain tumors: Pathology review

Neurocutaneous disorders: Pathology review




0 / 8 complete

USMLE® Step 1 questions

0 / 3 complete

High Yield Notes

13 pages



of complete


USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

of complete

A 17-year-old female presents to her primary care physician with worsening occipital headaches, gait disturbance, and diminished pain sensation. She recently burned herself while cooking after keeping her hand on a pan “that did not feel hot when touched.” The patient has also been experiencing worsening occipital headaches that wake her up from sleep as well as feelings of discoordination while walking. Vitals are within normal limits. Neurologic exam is notable for gait ataxia, down beating nystagmus, as well as bilateral loss of pain and temperature sensation in the upper extremities. Which of the following anatomic structures is directly disrupted by this patient's disease process? 

External References

First Aid








Syringomyelia p. 506

Horner syndrome p. 559

spinal cord lesions p. 548



Marisa Pedron

Tanner Marshall, MS

In syringomyelia, syrinx means cyst or cavity, and myelia means a condition of the spinal cord.

So, syringomyelia is a cystic enlargement of the spinal cord, and it typically starts medially and enlarges outwards, eventually damaging the spinothalamic tract, which is a part of the spinal cord that sends sensory signals about pain, pressure, temperature, and touch to the brain.

Now, the spinal cord itself is composed of both grey and white matter.

Grey matter is found within medial portion of the spinal cord and is shaped like a butterfly. This is where the cell bodies of different neurons can be found.

In the center of the grey matter there’s a small cavity the central canal which is filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

Cerebrospinal fluid helps provide nutrients and mechanical support to the brain and spinal cord.

Surrounding the grey matter is white matter, which consists of the axons of various neurons.

The spinal cord has different neural tracts that carry sensory information to and from the brain.

The corticospinal tract is a descending pathway which carries motor information from the brain to various muscles.

The dorsal column, located in the posterior portion of the spinal cord, is responsible for sensing pressure, vibration, fine touch, and proprioception, or the awareness of one’s body position in space.

Then there’s the spinothalamic tract, which is divided into two distinct tracts - the lateral spinothalamic tract which is responsible for sensing pain, pressure, and temperature, as well as the anterior spinothalamic tract which senses crude touch.


Syringomyelia refers to a condition in which a fluid-filled cavity, or syrinx, develops within the spinal cord, and it is most commonly caused by an Arnold-Chiari II malformation. The expanding cavity interferes with the spinothalamic tract which is responsible for pain, pressure, temperature, and crude touch, and results in the loss of these sensations in a cape-like distribution along the arms and back.

Syringomyelia may cause pain, paralysis, weakness, Horner syndrome, and stiffness in the back, shoulders, and extremities. In some cases, it can cause scoliosis or an abnormal curvature of the spine. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and may include medications, physical therapy, and surgery.


  1. "Robbins Basic Pathology" Elsevier (2017)
  2. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine" McGraw Hill Education/ Medical (2018)
  3. "Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8E" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  4. "CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2020" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2019)
  5. "Post-traumatic syringomyelia (cystic myelopathy): a prospective study of 449 patients with spinal cord injury." Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (1996)
  6. "Scoliosis associated with syringomyelia: analysis of MRI and curve progression" European Spine Journal (2007)

Copyright © 2023 Elsevier, except certain content provided by third parties

Cookies are used by this site.

USMLE® is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). COMLEX-USA® is a registered trademark of The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. NCLEX-RN® is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Osmosis or this website.