Conditions of the Brain

Brain Injury

A brain injury can hap­pen any­time, any­where and to any­one. Peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing pos­si­ble brain injury should seek imme­di­ate med­ical atten­tion. Symp­toms may include headache, dizzi­ness, and lethar­gy.


Brain Tumors

There are more than 120 types of brain tumors and each person’s tumor can be dif­fer­ent. Symp­toms include headaches, seizures, hear­ing and vision loss and even depres­sion. They occur in peo­ple of all ages, but sta­tis­ti­cal­ly occur more fre­quent­ly in chil­dren and old­er adults. Treat­ments for brain tumors vary depend­ing on the type of tumor, but often include med­i­cines, radi­a­tion and surgery. A few exam­ples of brain tumors are:

  • Glioma: A glioma tumor is a type of pri­ma­ry brain tumor that starts in the brain or spinal cord tis­sues. It is a can­cer­ous tumor that can be hard to treat. Symp­toms vary depend­ing on loca­tion of the tumor, but can include changes in mood or prob­lems with speech, mem­o­ry and coor­di­na­tion.
  • Menin­gioma: A menin­gioma is a type of tumor that devel­ops from the meninges, the mem­brane that sur­rounds the brain and spinal cord. The can be benign or malig­nant. They may cause seizures, headaches or arm and leg weak­ness. The type of treat­ment rec­om­mend­ed depends on where the tumor is locat­ed.

Chiari Malformation

Chiari mal­for­ma­tions are struc­tur­al defects in the cere­bel­lum, the part of the brain that con­trols bal­ance. Nor­mal­ly the cere­bel­lum and parts of the brain stem sit in an indent­ed space at the low­er rear of the skull, above the open­ing to the spinal canal. When part of the cere­bel­lum is locat­ed below the open­ing to the spinal canal, it is called a Chiari mal­for­ma­tion. The result­ing pres­sure on the cere­bel­lum and brain stem may affect func­tions con­trolled by these areas and block the flow of cere­brospinal flu­id (CSF) — the clear liq­uid that sur­rounds and cush­ions the brain and spinal cord — to and from the brain. There are four class­es of Chiari mal­for­ma­tions. Some patients may expe­ri­ence no symp­toms, while oth­ers expe­ri­ence symp­toms such as severe headache, neck pain, dizzi­ness, ver­ti­go or ring­ing in the ears. Chiari mal­for­ma­tions can be treat­ed with surgery.

For more infor­ma­tion on Chiari Mal­for­ma­tion, click here »


Colloid Cyst

A col­loid cyst is a benign brain cyst that devel­ops in the mid­dle part of the brain in the third ven­tri­cle, a flu­id-filled part of the brain. They don’t tend to grow or spread, and most peo­ple either expe­ri­ence no symp­toms or may have a his­to­ry of headaches. If the cyst grows and blocks flu­id flow in the brain, patients can also expe­ri­ence nau­sea, vom­it­ing and loss of con­scious­ness.


Concussion

A con­cus­sion is a trau­mat­ic brain injury that occurs as a result of a blow to the head. These injuries can change the way a person’s brain works. Symp­toms include dizzi­ness, headaches, for­get­ful­ness and con­fu­sion. How­ev­er, some­times a per­son who has a con­cus­sion may not real­ize it. Any­one who expe­ri­ences a severe blow to the head should seek med­ical atten­tion.


Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

This is a con­di­tion where there is too much cere­brospinal flu­id in the ven­tri­cles of the brain, caus­ing abnor­mal brain func­tion. It can also dam­age or destroy brain tis­sue. Symp­toms often begin slow­ly and include changes in how a per­son walks, slow­ing men­tal func­tion and incon­ti­nence.


Pituitary Tumors

Pitu­itary tumors are abnor­mal growths in the pitu­itary gland. They are most­ly non­cancer­ous, but affect the lev­els of hor­mones in the body that reg­u­late cer­tain bod­i­ly func­tions. Symp­toms include headache, nau­sea, vision loss and fatigue. A vari­ety of treat­ments exist for pitu­itary tumors.


Skull-base Tumors

A skull-base tumor is any abnor­mal mass that devel­ops at the base of the skull. There are many dif­fer­ent types of skull-base tumors, both malig­nant and benign. They are very close to crit­i­cal nerves and blood ves­sels in the brain, head, neck, and spinal cord, and can there­fore affect the body’s abil­i­ty to func­tion. Surgery is often a nec­es­sary treat­ment. An exam­ple of a skull base tumor is:

  • Acoustic Neu­ro­ma: Acoustic neu­ro­ma is a rare, benign tumor of the bal­ance or hear­ing nerves. The tumor grows on the cra­nial nerve lead­ing to the inner ear. The most com­mon first symp­tom is hear­ing loss in the ear affect­ed by the tumor. If the tumor con­tin­ues to grow, it can threat­en neu­ro­log­i­cal func­tion and even life.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigem­i­nal neu­ral­gia is a chron­ic pain con­di­tion that affects the fifth cra­nial nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. The dis­or­der caus­es extreme, spo­radic, sud­den burn­ing or shock-like face pain that lasts any­where from a few sec­onds to as long as 2 min­utes per episode. These attacks can occur in quick suc­ces­sion. The inten­si­ty of pain can be phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly inca­pac­i­tat­ing. Treat­ment options include med­i­cines and surgery.


Click the links below for information on additional Brain Conditions


For more infor­ma­tion on Cra­nial Anato­my, click here »