The brain is the main organ of the central nervous system. It consists of over 35 billion cells. Five brain regions interact with each other using neural connections:

  • Oblong. Responsible for protective reflexes (sneezing, coughing, vomiting), food (sucking, salivation, swallowing), and cardiovascular (regulation of the heart and blood vessels, as well as breathing and hearing).
  • Back section. On their conscious facial expressions, chewing reflexes, balance, and muscle work.
  • Medium is responsible for muscle tone and skin pigmentation.
  • The intermediate regulates metabolism, cardiovascular activity, and sleep.
  • The ultimate is the highest center of mental activity. Responsible for smell, hearing, vision, movement. The most common brain diseases include atherosclerosis, stroke, tumor, vascular aneurysm, Alzheimer’s disease. According to statistics, up to 85% of people are predisposed to the development of diseases associated with the blood supply to the brain. Such data are a consequence of the unhealthy lifestyle of a modern person. The danger of brain diseases is in their asymptomaticity. That is, for a long time, they do not make themselves felt in any way.

Common symptoms of brain disease include:

  • Frequent headache that does not go away even after taking medication.
  • Memory impairment.
  • Constant tiredness.
  • Fainting.
  • Convulsions.
  • Fever. Body temperature can go up to 40 degrees.
  • Losing weight to the point of exhaustion.

If you have any of these symptoms, you need to get tested and see a doctor urgently.

Cerebral edema

Cerebral edema is a pathological condition in which there is a large accumulation of fluid in the intercellular space and brain cells. Cerebral edema is not an independent disease but a secondary developing process that can occur due to various diseases.

Causes of cerebral edema. The most common causes of cerebral edema are organic damage to its tissues and trauma. These conditions include traumatic brain injury, extensive ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes, ventricular hemorrhage, primary brain tumors, and brain damage. Cerebral edema can act as a complication of serious diseases like encephalitis, meningitis. Poisoning with drugs or carbon monoxide can cause cerebral edema.

In newborns, a pathological condition can develop due to toxicosis in the mother, intracranial injury during childbirth, prolonged labor due to entanglement of the umbilical cord.

Cerebral edema symptoms. The main symptoms of cerebral edema:

  • bursting headache
  • nausea and vomiting that does not bring relief
  • weakness, loss of strength, drowsiness
  • blurred vision
  • convulsions
  • labored breathing
  • loss of consciousness, ranging from mild depression of consciousness to coma.

Diagnostics. With a progressive deterioration of the patient’s condition, a neurologist may suspect cerebral edema. CT and MRI of the brain may be required to confirm the diagnosis. A neurologist can determine the cause of cerebral edema based on the results of an assessment of the neurological status, laboratory blood tests, the results of a neuroimaging study, and an ophthalmologist’s examination of the fundus. Cerebral edema is an urgent condition, so its diagnosis should take a minimum of time and take place in a hospital setting.

Viral Brain Infections

Viral Brain Infections

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, usually caused by a virus (viral encephalitis).

Encephalomyelitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, also more commonly caused by a virus.

Viral meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges (the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord) caused by a virus.

Symptoms of viral infections. Three types of symptoms accompany viral diseases of the brain. Some diseases are mild, causing fever and general malaise, often without specific symptoms. Other viral infections, such as viral meningitis, commonly cause fever, headache, vomiting, neck weakness, and stiffness. Still others, such as encephalitis, disrupt normal brain function, resulting in personality changes, seizures, weakness in one or more muscle groups, confusion, drowsiness that can escalate into a coma, and symptoms of meningitis.

Some viral infections cause additional symptoms. The early stages of encephalitis caused by the herpes simplex virus, for example, are often accompanied by seizures. Also, the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid contains, in addition to leukocytes, erythrocytes, which is not typical for other more easily proceeding viral diseases. This virus also leads to edema of the brain’s temporal lobe, which can be diagnosed quite early using magnetic resonance imaging. Computed tomography can detect changes only after severe damage has occurred.

Diagnostics of viral infections. At first, it is difficult for a doctor to distinguish viral or aseptic meningitis from bacterial, and encephalitis can resemble many other diseases that cause brain dysfunction. At the first sign of any of these conditions, the doctor seeks to pinpoint the cause of the disease. For this, a lumbar puncture is almost always done to assess changes in the cerebrospinal fluid in viral infections; the number of leukocytes in it increases, but the bacteria are absent. The identification of viruses in the cerebrospinal fluid is difficult and takes many days.

Doctors also use immunological studies that can detect antibodies against viruses, but even with their help, the virus can be identified in less than half of the cases. Your doctor may order a CT or MRI to make sure your symptoms are not caused by a brain abscess, stroke, hematoma, aneurysm, or tumor.

Brain herniation

Brain herniation

Brain herniation (encephalocele) is a malformation of the skull and brain, in which part of the brain substance is outside the cranium due to a defect in bone tissue. It manifests itself as a visible protrusion at the junction of the bones, accompanied by various symptoms, depending on size and location. Convulsions, hydrocephalus, liquorrhea, visual disturbances, and signs of mental retardation are possible. The diagnosis of encephalocele is based on the clinical picture of the developmental abnormality as confirmed by CT and MRI. The treatment is operative, the hernial sac is removed, and the bone defect is closed.

Brain herniation reasons. This disease is an abnormality in the development of the brain caused by exposure to teratogenic factors in early pregnancy. Disrupt the correct laying of the brain and its membranes can:

  • intrauterine infections
  • the direct toxic effect on the fetus (alcohol and drug use, smoking, various medications)
  • chronic hypoxia.

Heredity plays a role; this is especially true of congenital syndromes, part of the clinical picture of which is brain herniation. These pathologies include Meckel-Gruber syndrome, which also includes microcephaly, microphthalmos, and other defects.

Brain herniation symptoms. Clinical manifestations are extremely varied due to different sizes and locations. The formation is represented by a protrusion of a rounded shape and soft elastic consistency, always located in the midline at the junction of the bones of the skull. The skin above it is unchanged, but you can notice cicatricial deformity or thin and cyanotic more often. Large encephaloceles sometimes fluctuate and pulsate, which can be detected by both the pediatrician and the baby’s parents. Sometimes pulsation and discoloration appear only with exertion and crying but are absent at rest.With anterior brain herniation, difficulty in nasal breathing, liquorrhea is possible. True hypertelorism is always present, an increase in the distance between the eye sockets, which is often accompanied by visual disturbances. The nasal septum is widened and flattened, its displacement to the healthy side is noticeable. For the occipital formations, neurological symptoms, convulsions, and developmental delays are more characteristic. With such localization, the protrusion can reach large sizes, and a larger volume of the brain substance is involved in it. For the same reason, posterior cerebral hernias are often combined with microcephaly.

  • Can you survive brain herniation?

    It all depends on the location of the hernia. Parts of the brain that control breathing and blood flow can become damaged. Without treatment, you will most likely not be able to survive.
  • What happens with brain herniation?

    A hernia of the brain usually results from cerebral edema. The edema puts pressure on the brain tissue (increased intracranial pressure), causing the tissue to deviate from its normal position.
  • Is a viral infection contagious?

    Like bacterial infections, many viral infections are also contagious. They can be transmitted from person to person in many of the same ways, including coming into close contact with a person who has a viral infection.