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.

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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.


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