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Editorial |

Transient Ischemic Attack With Abnormal Diffusion-Weighted Imaging Results:  What's in a Name?

Louis R. Caplan, MD
Arch Neurol. 2007;64(8):1080-1082. doi:10.1001/archneur.64.8.1080.
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In this edition of the Archives, Prabhakaran et al1 emphasize the utility of diffusion-weighted (DWI) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in prognosticating the likelihood of a recurrent incident of brain ischemia in patients entering the hospital with a transient ischemic attack (TIA). They adopt the term TIA with abnormal DWI results. In contrast to Humpty Dumpty, cited earlier, I judge the utility of a new term by whether it proves more useful and accurate than an old term. Is TIA with abnormal DWI results better than TIA? Is the term TIA still useful? In any such analysis, it is always helpful to follow the historical development of the term and how it has changed during the years as well as its present utility.

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