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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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Brain Lesions: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

What Are the Different Types of Brain Lesions? continued...

Cerebral infarction: Infarction refers to death of tissue. A cerebral infarction, or stroke, is a brain lesion in which a cluster of brain cells die when they don't get enough blood.

Cerebral palsy : This type of brain lesion occurs when a baby is still in the mother's womb. Cerebral palsy does not progress over time. The brain lesions affect the child's ability to move, which can also make communication and related skills difficult. However, many children with cerebral palsy have normal intellectual functioning.

Multiple sclerosis (MS): With this condition, the immune system attacks and damages the nerve linings (myelin) in the brain and spinal cord. These lesions make it difficult for messages to be sent and received properly between the brain and the rest of the body.

Tumors: Tumors are clumps of cells that grow abnormally from normal tissue. Some tumors in the brain are noncancerous, or benign. Others are cancerous. They may start in the brain, or they may spread from elsewhere in the body (metastatic). They may grow quickly or they may remain stable.

How Are Brain Lesions Diagnosed?

The methods used to find and diagnose brain lesions depend on the symptoms. In many cases, CT and MRI imaging studies help pinpoint the location, size, and characteristics of the lesions. Blood and other lab tests may also be done to look for signs of infection.

How Are Brain Lesions Treated?

Treatment depends on the type of brain lesion. The goals of treatment may be to provide a cure, relieve symptoms, or improve the quality or length of life. Common approaches for treating brain lesions include the following:

  • "Wait and see;" if the lesion is not causing problems and is not growing, you may only need periodic checkups.
  • Surgical removal of the lesion, if possible; new surgical techniques may make it possible to remove even hard-to-reach lesions.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for lesions that are cancerous
  • Medication to fight infections, such as antibiotics or other antimicrobial drugs
  • Medication to calm the immune system or otherwise change the immune system's response
  • Medication or other therapies to relieve symptoms associated with the brain lesion

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