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  • Writer's pictureJonathon Jundt

Cavum Septum Pellucida (um)

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Latin for translucent wall cavity.

The septum pellucidum comprises two thin tissue walls that separate the frontal horns of the right and left ventricles of the brain with cavum referring to the cavities between those membranes. It occasionally communicates posteriorly with the eponymous cavum Vergae. Andrea Verga (1811-1895) was an Italian psychiatrist, anatomist, and neurologist who was known for establishing the "Italian Archive for nervous diseases and more particularly for mental insanities", directing the Milanese asylum, and describing the cavum septum pellucidum and cavum Vergae through dissections.

Similar to cardiac septal defects, these spaces are found to occur in nearly all premature infants, 85% of full term neonates, and 12% of children until the age of 16 years but subsequently fuse and disappear in the majority of humans. Occasionally, cysts may form in these cavities resulting in increased intracranial pressure, headaches, papilledema, syncope, cognitive impairment, emotional and behavioral disturbances. An enlarged cavum septum pellucidum has been associated with schizophrenia, increased aggressiveness, alcoholism, developmental neurological disorders, professions involving repeated head trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorders, and military combat veterans.

That an Italian anatomist with extensive experience with the "criminally insane" first described this structure may suggest he was seeking or inadvertently found an anatomical explanation for severe mental illness. Confirmed (loosely associated) within the past few decades with MRI, CT imaging, and postmortem examination of concussive traumatic encephalopathy, it is fascinating that a scientist may have uncovered this relationship 170 years ago in Milan based on a combination of clinical experience and anatomical study.

The proximity of the corpus callosum or white matter myelinated messaging "roadways" of the brain to these structures ignites a curiosity regarding a signal transmission versus signal origination etiology. "Males were found to have a total myelinated fiber length of 176,000 km (109,391 miles) at the age of 20 and 97,200 km (60,397 miles) at the age of 80, whereas the total length in females was 149,000 km (92,584 miles) at the age of 20 and 82,000 km (50,952 miles) at the age of 80. This finding corresponds to a 10% decrease per decade or a total decrease of 45% from the age of 20 to 80 years, and a sex difference of 16%."

Historically, damaged or diseased anatomical structures resulted in pathology that revealed the function of those structures. Given that the cavum septum pellucidum and cavum et vergae are spaces between dense bundles of messaging neurons, that when disturbed have been associated with mental illness, perhaps these cavities or a lack thereof serve a role in neural ternary quantum computing to process thoughts.

"Andrea Verga Treviglio (Bergamo) 1811- Milano 1895

Anatomico di discreta reputazione (il suo nome resta legato al "ventricolo di Verga"), si dedicò agli studi psichiatrici. Diviene quindi direttore del manicomio milanese della Senavra e dell'Ospedale Maggiore di Milano, dove, a partire dal 1865, insegnò "Clinica delle malattie mentali". Nel 1852 dette vita alla prima rivista specializzata "L'Appendice psichiatrica" della "Gazzetta medica italiana". Nel 1864 fondò, insieme a Cesare Castiglioni e Serafino Biffi, l'"Archivio Italiano per le malattie nervose e più particolarmente per le alienazioni mentali". Tra le sue opere: Studi anatomici sul cranio e sull'encefalo. Psicologici e frenatrici, Milano, Manini-Wiget, 1896-97. Fu nominato senatore nel 1897."

Trzesniak C, Oliveira IR, Kempton MJ, Galvão-de Almeida A, Chagas MH, Ferrari MC, Filho AS, Zuardi AW, Prado DA, Busatto GF, McGuire PK, Hallak JE, Crippa JA. Are cavum septum pellucidum abnormalities more common in schizophrenia spectrum disorders? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Schizophr Res. 2011 Jan;125(1):1-12.

Degreef G, Lantos G, Bogerts B, Ashtari M, Lieberman J. Abnormalities of the septum pellucidum on MR scans in first-episode schizophrenic patients. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1992 May-Jun;13(3):835-40

Tubbs RS, Krishnamurthy S, Verma K, Shoja MM, Loukas M, Mortazavi MM, Cohen-Gadol AA. Cavum velum interpositum, cavum septum pellucidum, and cavum vergae: a review. Childs Nerv Syst. 2011 Nov;27(11):1927-30.

Chon MW, Choi JS, Kang DH, Jung MH, Kwon JS. MRI study of the cavum septum pellucidum in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2010 Jun;260(4):337-43

Marner, Lisbeth, et al. "Marked loss of myelinated nerve fibers in the human brain with age." Journal of comparative neurology 462.2 (2003): 144-152.

Johnson, Andrew S., and William Winlow. "Does the brain function as a quantum phase computer using phase ternary computation?." Frontiers in Physiology 12 (2021).

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