The Moyamoya Center was established in 2006 when the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke granted Washington University a five-year grant to perform a long-term study of moyamoya disease outcomes.


In moyamoya disease, the large arteries inside the skull (vessels that carry blood to the brain) narrow and often completely close off. The cause of the narrowing is unknown. To compensate, smaller branches of these arteries grow larger. "Moyamoya" is a Japanese term used to describe the hazy appearance of these small vessels on an angiogram. Moyamoya can be diagnosed by cerebral angiography x-ray studies or by noninvasive Moyamoya MRI scans.

The increased blood flow through these smaller arteries causes stress. Hemorrhage (bleeding), aneurysm and thrombosis often result.

Learn more about Moyamoya disease and diagnosing Moyamoya disease.


Moyamoya is difficult to treat because so little is known about the disease. Some people never have a stroke while others may have several. There are surgical operations that may improve blood flow to the brain. These operations may cause complications, however, and may not always achieve the desired result of improving brain blood flow. Sometimes blood flow to the brain is normal despite the blockages because of connections from normal arteries that bypass the blockages. People with normal blood flow may not have anything to gain from Moyamoya surgery.

Research at the Moyamoya Center is ongoing in an effort to better understand and treat this complex neurological condition.

Read more about diagnosing Moyamoya and surgery for Moyamoya.

For a referral to a Washington University neurologist or neurosurgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call [Dynamic_Phone_Number].

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