An abscess may originate in multiple sites within the cranial cavity and therefore the term intracranial abscess more accurately describes it. Since the largest part of the brain, the cerebrum, is more commonly affected the term brain abscess is synonymous with cerebral abscess. An abscess may also occur in the cerebellum (cerebellar abscess) or brainstem (brainstem abscess). Another condition known as an empyema is also an accumulation of pus but this is within a naturally occurring cavity or space and in terms of the cranial cavity, it is more commonly known as pus around the brain. Both an abscess and empyema are broadly categorized under the term intracranial abscess.
Neurological Diseases's Articles Archives
Neurological disorders are a diverse group of diseases affecting the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Many neurological symptoms are part of occasional experiences in normal healthy individuals and is not linked to any disease – like pain, dizziness, numbness, muscle twitches, cramps or even tremors. Some neurological disorders can be very mild, causing minimal discomfort, while some can be very serious, life-threatening or debilitating disorders. Benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS) is a less severe but annoying type of neurological disorder. It is sometimes referred as ‘muscle twitching syndrome’ or ‘fasciculation syndrome’ and involves the rapid contraction and relaxation of the muscles.
What is benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS)?
Benign fasciculation syndrome is characterized by occasional or nearly continuous twitching of various skeletal (voluntary) muscles in the body. This type of muscle twitching can also be seen in association with serious disorders like spinal injury, multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This can sometimes make benign fasciculation syndrome patients extremely anxious about the twitching due to the similarity of symptoms.
The term brain injury is often used synonymously with traumatic brain injury (TBI), however, it is important to note that not all types of injury to the brain tissue is associated with trauma. Similarly, head trauma will not always result in brain injury. Therefore brain injury should never be assumed by the degree of head injury, although it should be suspected, investigated and monitored following trauma to the head.
There are various mechanisms by which the brain tissue may be injured, each with a host of causes and associated risk factors. The brain tissue is fairly delicate – oxygen ‘hungry’, demanding of glucose and sensitive to chemical toxins. More importantly though, it is unable to elicit any pain responses when undergoing damage unless the meninges, blood vessels and ventricles are affected.The warning signal of injury is therefore not present until associated symptoms arise as a result of damage, often to a significant area of the brain.
The pressure within the cranial cavity, the part of the skull that houses the brain, is maintained at a fairly constant level. This ensures that the brain can “float” in the CSF and be cushioned by the fluid without being compressed against the skull by its own weight, colliding with the skull bone during movement or damaged by excessive fluid pushing against the brain. The intracranial pressure, however, may rise under certain conditions and can lead to serious effects or even be life-threatening. A rapid rise in intracranial pressure is more dangerous as the compensatory mechanisms involving the volume of CSF cannot take effect and damage to brain tissue ensues in a short period of time.
The cranial cavity houses the brain and related structures but it is a rigid compartment that will not accommodate expansion of the tissues and fluid within. The dural folds are also rigid dividers that compartmentalize the different parts of the brain. The softer tissue of the brain therefore presses against the bone or dural folds or protrudes through any openings should there be swelling or bleeding within the parenchyma or cranial cavity. Read more on swelling of the brain and bleeding in the brain.
What is a brain herniation?
A brain herniation syndrome is when the brain tissue is pushed from its normal position and protrudes into adjacent compartments or may even push out of the skull if there is an opening present. In order to understand how a herniation develops and the different types of brain herniation syndromes, it is important to have a basic knowledge of intracranial anatomy.
- ABCD – First Aid: Injuries, Poisoning
- Addiction: Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
- Blood and Immunity
- Bones, Joints, Muscles and Connective Tissue Diseases
- Children's Health
- Current Health Articles
- Diagnostic Procedures
- Ears, Nose and Throat
- Eyes and Vision
- Gastro-Intestinal Diseases
- Genetic Diseases
- Heart and Vessels
- Hormones and Metabolism
- Infections and Infestations
- Kidneys and Urinary Tract
- Liver and Gallbladder
- Medical Questions
- Medical Terminology
- Medication, Supplements
- Men's Health
- Mental Health
- Mouth and Teeth Diseases
- Neurological Diseases
- Skin, Hair, Nails
- Sleep Related Disorders
- Surgery and Other Procedures
- Upper and Lower Limb
- Women's Health and Pregnancy