BRAIN, DISEASES OF.- In addition to meningitis, cerebral apoplexy, dropsy of the brain, and softening of the brain, there are other affections of this organ which shall be discussed briefly in this space.
Disturbances of the circulation of the blood in the brain are among the more general causes of disease of that organ. If the blood supply is insuffi cient ((lurrnia), the patient becomes pale and dizzy, and subject to fainting spells. This condition is brought about by mental emotions, exhaustion, loss of blood, weakness of the heart, and by gastric disturbances (long continued fasting). Delicate, weak, chlorotic persons are specially subject to this disease, and may suffer also in the intervals from headache, exhaustion, and ringing of the ears. Regarding the treatment of fainting attacks, see the directions under FAINTING. To prevent a recurrence of the attacks, the best course to pursue is to improve gradually the delicate constitution by general hygienic measures.
Congestion, the opposite of anaemia, is the result of abnormal accumula tion of the blood in the head. The face becomes dark red, the arteries of the temple throb, and a sensation of dizziness is felt. The patient becomes subject also to attacks of fainting ; and even slight, temporary paralytic strokes occur (as in cerebral apoplexy). Alental emotions (as anger) are the cause also of this condition ; hut excesses in eating and drinking, great Beat, and tight clothing are also factors. Patients suffering from congestion should be placed in a quiet position. and with the upper part of the body raised. A cold-water compress or an ice-bag should be placed on the head ; a hot foot-bath with simultaneous cooling of the head also diverts the blood downward. General treatment to improve the health must be considered.
This includes the prohibition of alcoholic drinks and of food difficult to digest, attention to regular movements of the bowels, avoidance of over exertions, etc.
Tumours of the brain are of considerable importance. They occur not infrequently in middle-aged persons, oftener in men than in women, and the causes of their origin are but vaguely known. 1t is often difficult even for a physician to diagnose the affection in its early stages. Indistinct. dull headache is usually one of the earliest signs ; other disturbances appear only after weeks and months, and they may vary greatly according to the seat and the condition of the tumour. The symptoms include disturbances of vision (very frequent), dizziness, staggering gait, paralysis or weakness of Various limbs, vomiting, a dull stupor, unconsciousness, and loss of memory.
After months, more rarely after years, the disease terminates in death. Only such tumours are curable which may be removed by operation, or which are due to syphilis (see below).
Syphilis of the brain does not, as a rule, manifest itself until a long time (sometimes years) after the syphilitic infection. The symptoms of this disease vary greatly according to whether some syphilitic nodes or a general affection of the brain has developed. One form of cerebral syphilis can scarcely he distinguished from softening of the brain ; another occurs as an apoplectic stroke ; and a third form presents all the symptoms of syphilis. Recovery is possible if the disease is recognised in time. Children with in herited syphilis of the brain may remain mentally weak.