What are Brain Disorders?
The central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system are the two main parts of the human nervous system. The central nervous system comprises of the brain and spinal cord. The brain controls all the activities, including the sense organs and muscles.
A brain disorder relates to any condition that affects the functioning of the brain. There are various types of brain disorders or diseases of varying severity and attributable to different causes. The list of brain disorders comprises of conditions such as brain infection, trauma, stroke, brain tumor etc. One of the most common brain disorders is epilepsy affecting about 50 million people globally.
Types of Brain Disorders
People may suffer from different types of brain disorders. Some of the general disorders of the brain are:
- Infection: The brain and its membranes are prone to infection. Infection of the brain tissues is known as encephalitis, whereas infection in the membrane is known as meningitis. When both conditions coincide, it is known as encephalomeningitis.
- Autoimmune diseases: In some cases, the immune system that protects the body from foreign invaders starts attacking the body tissues. Autoimmune encephalitis and Hashimoto’s encephalopathy are some of the brain-related autoimmune diseases.
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a condition characterized by excessive and disrupted electrical activity in the brain. It may be due to illness, trauma, or infections.
- Movement disorders: Some brain disorders may also lead to various movement disorders. Some of them are progressive and may result in total functional loss. Types of movement disorders are tremors, Parkinson’s disease, and ataxia.
- Tumour: Both benign and malignant tumours affect brain functioning. The tumour may be primary (initiated within the brain) or secondary (spread to the brain from another organ). Common types of brain tumours are astrocytoma, glioblastoma, and meningioma.
- Trauma: Traumatic injuries also interfere with brain functioning. Traumatic injuries include concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
- Stroke: Stroke occurs due to vascular problems in the brain. Stroke may result in paralysis or other life-threatening complications.
- Other conditions: Other brain disorders include dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, contusions, cerebral oedema, and hepatic encephalopathy.
Symptoms of Brain Disorders
Brain diseases exhibit varying symptoms. The symptoms that commonly occur due to brain diseases are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty in maintaining balance
- Numbness and weakness in muscles
- Confusion and mood disorders
Causes of Brain Disorders
There are various causes of brain disorders. These are:
- Vascular disease: Vascular diseases may be due to an obstruction or leakage of blood from the vessel.
- Infection: Infection in the brain may be due to various pathogens. These are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
- Accident: Brain disease may also be due to an accident. The accident may occur while travelling or playing contact sports.
- Underlying medical condition: Various underlying medical conditions may affect brain functioning. These include liver disease or tissue overgrowth.
- Age: Certain diseases occur during the normal ageing process. These are cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Genetics: Family history may also play a role in brain diseases. Genetic diseases related to the brain are Wilson’s and Tay-Sachs.
Diagnosis of Brain Disorders
Brain diseases can be diagnosed in various ways. The diagnostic methods include:
- Physical examination: The doctor may perform a comprehensive physical evaluation to determine the presence of brain disease. The doctor may also ask about a family history of any brain disease.
- Imaging methods: Imaging methods also help in the diagnosis of brain diseases. These methods include CT scan, MRI, and PET scan.
- Brain fluid analysis: The doctor may also advise the patient for a brain and spinal fluid analysis. It may provide valuable information about the cause of brain disease.
Treatment of Brain Disorders
Doctors provide treatment depending on the cause and severity of the disease. Some of the treatment options are:
- Speech therapy
- Lifestyle modifications