List of Brain Diseases with Brief Description

In This Article You Will Know:

  • What is an extraordinary natural defence of the brain?
  • Which brain diseases is likely to be present if IQ score is below 70?
  • What are the symptoms of common brain disorders?

A spongy mass of protein and fat, your brain is made up of billions of neurons and glial cells. While the neurons collect and transmit electrochemical signals, the glial cells are concerned with providing physical protection to the neurons. They help keep the neurons and the brain healthy.

Layers of Brain Protection:

Being extremely delicate, the brain needs maximum protection. The skull and three tough membranes – called the meninges – protect the master organ against physical damages. The third layer of defence is of the fluid-filled membranes,which act as cushions and keep the delicate, spongy mass from being damaged by abrasion with the inside of the skull.

Extraordinary Brain Defence – The Blood-Brain Barrier:

The fourth layer of defence after the skull, the meninges, and the fluid-filled cushions, the blood-brain barrieralso serves as proof that your brain is an extraordinary organ. This unique defensive feature was discovered in the 19th century when a dye injected into the bloodstream coloured all organs of the body except the brain and spinal cord.

The ingenious, protective covering is made up of a special kind of cells, which are tightly bound and act as a semi-permeable gate throughout most of the organ. Its primary job is to prevent some toxins, pathogens, and other harmful substances in the bloodstream from entering the brain, thus maintaining a safe and stable brain environment. However, it allows passage to oxygen and vital nutrients.

Diseases of Brain:

The brain is susceptible to various kinds of infections and other disorders of varying intensity such as the brain cancer, tumours, Alzheimer's disease, alcoholism, amnesia, altitude sickness, autism, epilepsy, and so on.

Though it is very difficult to treat the complex diseases of the brain, considerable advancement in the field of health sciences and medical research has offered various remedial strategies to most of such conditions.

Now let's discuss, turn by turn, some of the commonly occurring brain diseases with their diagnostic symptoms and frequently recommended treatment measures:

Brain Cancer/Tumour:

Onthe brain diseases list, cancer and tumour are the terms used alternatively.Each refers to the accumulation of the malignant mass caused by the uncontrolled division of cells in any tissue across the body.

Diseases of Brain - Brain Tumor

Fig. 1: Brain Tumor

Still, there lies a difference, i.e. tumours may be either cancerous or non-cancerous (benign).They can be located and diagnosed by Computed Tomography Scans, an MRI, biopsy, and electroencephalography, etc.

Critical symptoms include severe headaches, vomiting, double vision, seizures, mental confusion, and loss of memory. Surgical therapy, microsurgery, radiation therapy, laser surgery, and use of corticosteroids are the available treatment options.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease can be characterized by the gradual degeneration of neurons in the brain, which are associated with the process of cognitive information. Its symptoms are very slow to appear and, after getting progressively worse, they become irreversible.

Diseases of Brain - Alzheimer's Disease

Fig. 2: Alzheimer's Disease

Some of the most frequently observed indicative signs include short-term memory loss, impaired judgment, language difficulties, recognition issues, and difficulty in walking. They can be relieved by medications, and inhibitors of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, viz. rivastigmine, galantamine, and donepezil.

Alcoholism

Caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol, it is a chronic illness of the brain. It may also be the outcome of social, psychological, genetic and psychological factors.

The critical symptoms involve the dependence and extreme desire for alcoholic consumption, that may lead to severe brain damage and early death of the young adult.

The critical conditions are very difficult to deal with, but social assistance (supportive therapy), psychological therapy, avoiding alcohol, coping mechanisms, administration of detoxifying agents, and medications are helpful.

Amnesia

Caused by psychological trauma, brain damage, disease, hysteria, head injury or nervous functional disorder, it results in the systematic, partial or complete loss of memory.

The excessive and frequent use of hypnotic drugs may lead to the temporary onset of the associated symptoms.

Both of its types, anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia, can be managed without any treatments. But if this is not the case, the lost memory can be regained by means of learning fresh, non-declarative knowledge involving perceptual and conceptual priming.

Mountain Sickness

Also known as 'Altitude Sickness', it involves the malfunctioning of the major organ of central nervous system (brain) caused by the pathological effects of high altitude on human beings.

When you go above the sea level, you gradually experience decreased or insufficient oxygen pressure at the height of about 8,000 feet or more.

Some of the obvious symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, headache, and sleep disturbances.

They can easily be relieved by descent to the lower altitudes where there is normal oxygen pressure, or by the prescription of acetazolamide, injectable steroids, and supplemental oxygen.

Autism

Having a genetic basis (mutations or rare combinations of common genetic variants), this is a serious condition on the list of brain diseases.

In this case, the patient suffers from communication difficulties, and impaired social interaction. A child affected with this disease may not usually be able to live an independent life. But they can gain self-control by the modification of their early behaviour, cognitive intervention, and medical management.

Diseases of Brain - Autism

Fig. 3: Autism

The autism spectrum disorders are very common among children in the United States. More than half of the new born babies that can be effectively treated by prescription of antipsychotics, stimulants, and antidepressants (e.g. anticonvulsants, psychoactive drugs).

Epilepsy

It is associated with different behavioural, physiological, nutritional, genetic, and biological factors like alcoholism, drug addiction, brain cancer, stroke or brain trauma.

Epilepsy is characterized by onset of seizures owing to the interruption in the normal electrical activity of your brain. The disease is more common among the inhabitants of developing nations of the world (about 80%). According to a survey, about 50 million people are suffering from seizure disorder worldwide.

Sudden fear, uncontrolled movement of body parts, confusion, and loss of consciousness are some of the symptoms that can be relieved by the best available medications, surgical therapy, and use of specialized diets.

The Concussion of the Brain

Involving the temporary loss of consciousness resulting from a forceful blow or injury to the head, it is the brief interruption of normal electrical activity in the brain. It cannot be equated to more severe injuries or traumas of the brain, such as cerebral lacerations and bruises.

Under ordinary circumstances, the symptoms can easily be relieved within a day a two. But repeated incidences of brain concussions can even lead to permanent brain damage.

The treatment usually involves bed rest under observation for about 24 hours, but severe headache can be relieved by the prescription of ibuprofen or acetaminophen.The use of aspirin is avoided because it may lead to internal bleeding.

Brain Abscess

It involves infection and accumulation of pus in the brain that irritates or destroys the surrounding brain tissue and raises the pressure inside the rigid skull.

Approximately, ten percent of the cases are reported to be fatal, but the patient can get fully recovered if immediate medical treatment is provided.

The symptoms include nausea, severe headache, partial paralysis, drowsiness, epileptic seizures, and the discharge of pus from the ear or nose.

The symptoms can be relieved by large doses of antibiotics, surgical therapy, and use of anticonvulsant drugs. However, the increased awareness of healthcare has made the disease very rare because any kinds of infections in the body are treated through antibiotics before they worsen to cause such complications.

Brain Haemorrhage

One of the two main types of strokes, the brain haemorrhage is characterized by the rupture of artery and consequential bleeding. The bleeding may be either intracerebral (into the brain) or subarachnoid (into the space between the membranes).

There are several diagnostic symptoms, viz. excruciating headache, stiff neck, mental confusion, nausea, vomiting, partial paralysis, speech difficulty, loss of consciousness, and double vision. The diagnosis can be carried out through lumbar puncture, CT scan, MRI and arteriography.

The patient must be taken to the ICU of hospital for emergency treatment that may involve life support and surgical repair of the ruptured artery.

Stroke

Occurring usually in childhood below or up to the age of 18, the disease retards or reduces up to 70% of the intellectual capabilities of the victim.

The patient may face many difficulties in routine life such as social interaction, independent living, learning, communication, working, and self-care. However, according to the historical definition, the disease is most likely to be present if the intelligence quotient or IQ score is below 70.

Some of the obvious symptoms include difficulty in language and learning, loss of memory, difficulty in problem-solving, and lack of social inhibitors.

Generally, there are no medications available for the effective treatment of the disease. In the case of medical complications, the health care provider may suggest certain medications to relieve the symptoms.

About the Author

Posted by: M.Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar, Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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